As the summer days slowly slip by, you may find yourself spending more time outdoors in the warmer weather. Although many ambitious gardeners plant in the early spring, there are plenty of drought-resistant and waterwise plants that can thrive in the late summer sun.

Whether you’re a first-time gardener working with a single window box, or you’ve got dozens of plants in a carefully cultivated flowerbed, there are several local nurseries and public gardens where you can learn, get inspiration and find new ways to grow.

What to Plant

Before you load up your cart with plants, you’ll want to figure out what you’d like to get out of your garden. If you’re eager for a quick vegetable harvest, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and baby carrots do quite well this time of year, and will be ready to harvest in early fall.

Leafy greens like lettuce, swiss chard and spinach can be planted throughout August to stagger your harvest in the coming months. If you’re looking for a longer growing season that extends into early winter, perennial herbs like oregano, sage and rosemary will grow throughout the fall and return next spring.

For more colorful flora, hydrangea and even dwarf Japanese cedar all hit their peak in late summer and will continue to bloom into the fall.

Where to Shop

Once you’ve decided what you’d like to plant in your garden, it’s time to go shopping. Even during the pandemic, many local nurseries are still open, albeit with social distancing and other safety measures in place. Check out any of the local shops below for their expert advice and gardening supplies.

  • Swansons Nursery: Not far from North Beach, this exceptional nursery can answer all of your questions, and carries everything from decorative houseplants to pollinator attractors for your yard. Be sure to reserve your shopping time before you visit, or order online with easy curbside pickup.
  • Wells Medina Nursery: On the eastside, Wells Medina Nursery offers a unique variety of plants, including trees and shrubs for larger landscaping projects. With perennials and hardy flowering plants, a trip here is sure to brighten up your yard. To maintain safety, the nursery is asking customers to be prepared with their selections and to load their own purchases.
  • West Seattle Nursery: This local West Seattle establishment prides itself on its unusual selection of plants. Their selection includes Japanese maples, conifers, roses and a variety of houseplants, annuals and perennials. While no appointment is necessary to visit, customers may be asked to wait outside to ensure proper social distancing.

Get Inspired

In Seattle, Kubota Garden is a stunning example of landscaping that has been tended over generations. The public garden showcases native plants and Japanese design that is meticulously cultivated for maximum peace and serenity. Although group tours are currently cancelled, the garden is open for socially-distanced self-guided tours.

On the Eastside, Bellevue Botanical Garden is sure to spark some ideas. Encompassing 53 acres and several smaller gardens, this urban escape offers plenty of inspiration. In particular, the Waterwise Garden and Native Discovery Garden feature plants that require little watering and are well-suited to the local climate. While the Visitor Center is currently closed, the garden is still open for self-guided visits.

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