Monthly Archives: June 2019

The Glass Art of Dale Chihuly—Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England

One of the world’s foremost glass sculptors is Pacific Northwest native, Dale Chihuly of Tacoma, Washington. At the Seattle Center (near the Space Needle) is the Chihuly Garden and Glass showcasing the work of this world renown artist (

For several years, my wife and I have been intending to see Chihuly’s work in Seattle, but you know how it goes. Imagine our excitement when on our recent trip to London while visiting the world famous Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew we just stumbled on this exhibition of Chihuly art occurring at the same time ( and

Please enjoy the photos we took of the work of this amazing artist, which is juxtaposed with the plants of the world’s oldest and foremost botanic gardens. Glass sculptures and in a garden setting is a stunning and eye-popping combination as you will see below. Please enjoy!

Nathan and Sandi Lawrence at the Royal Botanic Gardens known as Kew Gardens, near London in May 2019
The Kew Gardens contains the world’s largest greenhouses including this one.
Kew even contains a castle with a Chihuly glass sculpture (and Nathan) in the foreground.
Kew has its own Japanese pagoda built in the mid-1700s along with a Japanese garden.

Now wasn’t that worth looking at? You don’t see this kind of thing everyday! (All photos taken by Nathan and Sandi Lawrence)

Check out these BIG TREES—this time in London and Ireland!

My wife and I just returned from a three week trip to the British Isles including Scotland and Ireland. During our six days in London, a twelve day cruise that stopped at ten cities ending with two days in Paris, this tree guy kept his eyes open for cool trees—especially big ones.

It’s hard to top the Pacific Northwest and California for big trees. They just grow bigger and faster here than just about any other place on earth. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t big old trees to discover elsewhere, as I found out on our recent European trip as we visited numerous botanical gardens, castles, palaces, cathedrals and parks.

Allow me to share what I discovered.

When you think of London you generally think of things like this:

Buckingham Palace
The Tower Bridge
The British Parliament
Westminster Abbey

But how about the trees? Without trees, we’d all be dead and most of these building couldn’t have been constructed. Right?

Nathan next to an ancient London plane or sycamore tree in Hyde Park, London.
This ancient oak tree is located in the Royal Botanical Society’s Kew Gardens near London. The Kew Gardens have the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world and were started in 1759.
Nathan next to a giant sycamore tree at Kew Gardens.
Here’s the sycamore tree looking up into its crown.
Nathan next to a large common beech tree at Kew Gardens.
For you wine connoisseurs, here is a Mediterranean cork oak from which wine corks are made. This tree is also at the Kew Gardens.

Now let’s take a quick trip to southern Ireland. First stop is the Blarney Castle, but not to kiss the Blarney Stone, but to look at the ancient gardens adjacent to the castle.

Here’s what’s left of the world famous Blarney Castle. Not much. But the trees will still be here long after the castle is merely a heap of stone rubble!
Here is the largest common or English yew (Taxus baccata) that I’ve ever seen. Notice its size compared to my hat!
This is a giant, goofy looking Pacific Northwest native—a western red cedar—growing in Ireland at Blarney Castle.
This is the fabulous Powerscourt Estate near Dublin, Ireland with its world class botanical gardens.
Powerscourt Estate
This enormous Scotch or Scotts pine—a native to Eurasia and a common ornamental tree in Northwest landscapes—is located in the botanical gardens of the Powerscourt Estate.
This massive common beech tree is also located at Powerscourt Estate in Ireland.

June in the Garden—A To Do List

This guide is tailored for the western valleys of Oregon and Washington.

YOU can help to make the world a better, a more friendly, loving and beautiful place by being a good steward of the spot on this earth that you are privileged to be borrowing for a time—your garden. Nathan, the Treevangelist, urges you to treat your spot on this planet like your own personal Garden of Eden paradise. Then notice the joy that it will bring to you! This is your Divinely mandated responsibility. Your trees, shrubs, flowers and the wildlife in your yard will express their smiling appreciation back to you as they radiate love , joy and beauty bursting forth with vibrant and verdant life. Here is a to do list to help you to do just that…

Readers’ suggestions on how to improve this list are gladly solicited. If you, the reader, have any suggestions for additions to this month’s list, please put them in the comments section of this article, and I will add them to the list. Thank you in advance! — Nathan

Tree and Shrub Care

  • Birch trees: Thanks to the bronze birch borer beetle, a large number of the Pacific Northwest birch trees are dying. To make your tree less hospitable to this nasty and lethal pest, there are two inexpensive things you can do. First, apply several inches of mulch to the ground under the canopy of your birch tree. Second, with a whirly bird sprinkler, irrigate the area under the birch’s canopy. The more water the better, since birches are water-loving trees. Irrigate once a week for several hours during warm weather and twice during hot weather. These two actions will lessen the chances that the beetle will attack and kill your birches.
  • Hedges: Shear after spring growth and before hot weather. Shearing during hot weather may result in sun scald of foliage.
  • Maples (including Japanese maples): Monitor the leaves of all maples and other trees and shrubs for symptoms of the potentially lethal verticillium wilt fungal disease. If you see branch dieback, call us.
  • Mulch: Apply two to three inches of mulch around all trees and ornamental shrubs. This helps to fertilize the plants and feed the soil, and also protects them against weed growth and loss of water when the warmer  weather returns.
  • Ornamental shrub pruning: Be careful not to do major pruning during periods of hot weather, since doing so exposes tender leaves underneath that haven’t acclimated to the sun’s ultraviolet rays yet, since they have been shielded by the layer of leaves you’ve just removed by pruning. Sun scald of these tender leaves may occur, especially on southern and southwestern sides of the plant. Sun scalded leaves won’t kill the plant, but it looks unsightly.
  • Pine tree pruning: Don’t do major pruning of pine trees during the growing season, since this attracts sequoia pitch moth infestation.
  • Pruning of large trees: Most trees in the temperate western valleys of Oregon and Washington can be pruned anytime of the year. If you’re not sure what to do, or how to do it, call Good News Tree Service, Inc. for a consultation, pruning lessons or to have them do the pruning for you.
  • Prune fast growing ornamental shrubs that are beginning to look shabby. You may need to prune them again in the early summer for a more neat and manicured look. 
  • Tree and shrub removal and stump grinding can be done all year long. 
  • Trees: Have an ISA Certified Arborist with an ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualification (like Good News Tree Service, Inc.) inspect your large trees for the potential of failure due to weak root systems and defects in trunks and branches. This can be done anytime of the year.
  • Rhododendrons: Remove old blooms (called “dead heading”). Though it  looks better aesthetically to remove the dead blooms, it doesn’t hurt the plants to leave them on.
  • Watering: During the hot summer months, well established trees and larger ornamental shrubs need little or no watering. However, newly planted trees and shrubs will need watering for the first two to three summers until their roots get established. Regular lawn irrigation isn’t sufficient to give trees and shrubs the deep watering they need to survive the summer heat. During warm weather, deep water your new plants at least once per week. During hot weather, twice per week.

Plant Health Care

Good News Tree Service, Inc. provides full plant health care services as listed below.

  • Aphids: If aphids are a problem, there are a variety of ways to effectively control this pesky insect that drops its sticky honeydew excrement all over vehicles and hard surfaces. Ask Good News Tree Service, Inc. for solutions to your aphid problems.
  • Arborvitae Twig Blight: Spray in the spring and early summer when new growth starts at two week intervals.
  • Bronze Birch Borer: Treat any time this month. If your birch trees are dying, it is likely because of this pest. Treatments are available and effective , but expensive. Trees can be effectively treated from mid-May through June.
  • Dogwood Anthracnose: If you missed spring foliar spraying, can use treat with a systemic fungicidal basal bark spray (available through a licensed commercial pesticide applicator). Symptoms of this foliar fungal disease include brownish, reddish purplish leaf spots getting increasingly larger as the summer draws on until many leaves are no longer predominantly green.
  • Deep Root Fertilization: Trees and ornamental shrubs—deep root fertilize to promote lush, healthy-looking and vigorous crown growth. Urban soils tend to lacking in many of the nutrients that trees and shrubs need to survive. Many are malnourished or are starving to death, which is why they don’t look radiantly healthy are struggling with pest issues. Deep root fertilization helps to promote healthy-looking and pest-resistant trees and shrubs. The best time of the year to do this is in the spring and fall.
  • Lawns: Fertilize lawns.
  • Monitor trees and shrubs for insect pests: Piercing and sucking plant pests (e.g. aphids, lacebugs, scales, weevils, mites, etc.) are now out and active. If major infestation occurs, plan a course of action to treat your trees and shrubs against these pests. Small numbers of piercing and sucking insects are not harmful to plants. In fact, they provide food for the beneficial, predatory insects that feed on them. To control harmful insects, one can apply systemic insecticides against piercing sucking insects (aphids, lacebugs, scales, weevils, etc.) via soil injections (one treatment gives season-long control). If applied according to label directions, this will kill only the harmful and not beneficial insects.
  • Spider mites will start to become active as the weather warms. Systemic insecticides are available against this pest.
  • Tent Caterpillar: Apply systemic pesticide for season-long control.
  • Verticillium Wilt: You can still treat trees for this soil born fungal pathogen during the summer, but fall is the best time to treat, and spring is the second best time. Maples are especially plagued by this disease. During hot weather, symptoms include smaller than normal cupped leaves in the upper canopy, often with the death of the entire branch occurring.

Elsewhere in the Garden

  • Put slug bait around your flowers and tender perennials like hostas. 
  • Apply two to three inches of mulch (e.g. bark dust, garden compost or wood chips) on all of your shrub beds. Covering bare dirt areas in your yard with mulch helps to prevent soil compaction from rains, and weed growth, and helps to enrich our heavy clay soils.
  • Continue planting annual and perennial flowers.
  • Cut English ivy off of the base of trees. (This can be done any time of the year.)
  • Feed the birds. Dutifully maintain your bird feeders. Bring life and excitement to your backyard by turning it into a bird sanctuary. The birds will thank you for your generosity by providing you with hours of entertainment, and by eating insect pests that harm your ornamental trees and shrubs. Birds in the yard are not only fun to watch, but they perform the vital task of eating harmful insects. 
  • This is a good time of the year to plant trees and shrubs. Visit your local nursery and select your favorite ornamental shrubs and shade trees. After planting your new shrubs, just make sure that you water them well immediately and regularly subsequently for the first two or three summers until their roots get established. During warm weather (in the 60s to low 80s), deep root water once per week. During hot weather (mid-80s and higher) deep root water at least twice per week.
  • Water and fertilize annuals and perennial flowers. The hotter the weather, the more water they will need. Flowers in pots and hanging baskets dry out especially quickly, and so need watering every day or two.
  • Fertilize your ornamental shrubs with a slow release fertilizer. If the shrubs have a layer of barkdust or other mulch around them, rake the mulch away and apply the fertilize to the bare dirt, so that it actually reaches the plant’s root zone.