Welcome to the New Green Thumb Company Website!

We’re proud to announce the launch of our brand new website.

We are delighted to officially announce the launch of http://greenthumbcompany.com on November 1, 2016.

Our goal of our new website is to provide our visitors an easier way to learn about the services and lawn care solutions we provide at Green Thumb Company. The site was designed with you (our wonderful clients) in mind and is chock-full of several useful features.

It’s now easier than ever to contact Green Thumb Company for a service call, see what services we offer, receive a convenient FREE online quote, and learn about employment opportunities when they are available. Plus, our visitors now have the option of viewing our website on a smartphone, tablet, desktop computer or laptop without losing any functionality, as the responsive site simply adapts to the screen you’re using.

Our current and prospective clients will find useful information about the types of services we provide, read seasonal tips and view projects photos featured on the homepage of our website. We will be also be updating our content with helpful information including company announcements and articles in the News section, while you can read about client successes in the testimonials section or request a Free Quote directly from our website.

We hope you enjoy using the new website and look forward to hearing from you.

For any questions, suggestions, feedback or comments, please E-mail us.

Thank You!


Amy Harmon
Green Thumb Company
+1 360.671.LAWN (5296)


Green Thumb Company to offer free quotes for fall services


BELLINGHAM- Award-winning lawn maintenance business Green Thumb Company will be offering free quotes for a multitude of services this fall.

Green Thumb Company serves both commercial properties and residential customers in the Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden area.

Services offered will include yard cleanup, leaf cleanup, pruning, hedge trimming, lawn mowing, bark spreading and more. Grounds maintenance will also be available through 12 month contracts.

Green Thumb Company has served the Bellingham area for almost three decades. While the company has evolved from what originally consisted of an old truck and a few lawnmowers to a now full-service residential and commercial grounds maintenance business, the dedication and passion of husband and wife owners Allen and Amy Harmon has never ceased.

Allen and Amy’s love for gardening and work ethic began with their parents. Each grew up surrounded by lush lawns, blooming flowers and thriving gardens. The tradition is now growing in their two sons, who show a love for dirt, as well as a desire to learn more about the family business.

The Harmons’ employees are no exception to Allen and Amy’s work ethic. The company earned the US Commerce Association Best of Bellingham award for 2012, 2015 and 2016.

For more information about Green Thumb Company, visit www.greenthumbcompany.com or call (360) 671-5296.

Green Thumb Company receives Best in Bellingham Award

Best-ofBham-2015-Vert-GreenthumbGreen Thumb Company Receives US Commerce Association Best of Bellingham Award 2015

Green Thumb Company, LLC in Bellingham, WA has been selected for the 2015 Best of Bellingham Award in the Lawn Maintenance category by the U.S. Commerce Association (USCA).

The USCA “Best of Local Business” Award Program recognizes outstanding local businesses throughout the country. Each year, the USCA identifies companies that they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and community.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2015 USCA Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the USCA and data provided by third parties.

The U.S. Commerce Association (USCA) is a New York City based organization funded by local businesses operating in towns, large and small, across America. The purpose of USCA is to promote local business through public relations, marketing and advertising.

Green Thumb Company is a full-service professional grounds maintenance company servicing both residential and commercial accounts in Bellingham Washington. For more information about Green Thumb Company or their services, visit www.greenthumbcompany.com

The Purpose of a Landscape Maintenance Contract

residential and commercial maintenance Bellingham, WA

For residential and commercial landscape maintenance in Bellingham, WA – call Green Thumb Company.

A consistent and well thought out landscape maintenance contract is the best way to protect your outdoor investment. A well-kept landscaped yard sends a special message – regardless if your style is symmetrically subtle or brightly and texturally dramatic, and says a lot about the owners.

A well maintained landscape can also make the curb appeal of a house “pop out” from the neighboring surroundings, which is vital when it comes time to sell your home. But regardless of what reason is most important to you, the simple act of coming home to a lovely yard is one of the best feelings in the world!

After spending a considerable amount of money on your landscape design and installation, it only makes sense to both protect it and ensure that it develops as you’ve planned. That is where a landscape maintenance contract comes in. We offer scheduled maintenance contracts, vacation and seasonal programs as well as comprehensive property clean ups and work both with residential and commercial home owners.

Green Thumb Company’s Landscaping and Yard Maintenance Contracts are custom designed according to the needs of our customers’ landscapes — as well as their budgets. We listen to your preferences and note what you don’t like, versus what you enjoy doing yourself in the garden, to create a plan that is perfect for you!

Some items that may be included in a contract include:

  • Lawn Maintenance
  • Shrub, Ground Cover and Vine Maintenance
  • Small Tree Maintenance.
  • Flower Bed Maintenance
  • Seasonal Color Maintenance
  • Surface Maintenance
  • Fertilization Program
  • Lime Application Program
  • Spreading Bark Mulch and / or Compost and Soil onto flowerbeds and garden beds
  • Pruning
  • Lawn De thatching
  • Lawn Aeration

Seasonal and vacation services might include leaf removal, bark and mulch spreading, weed control in planting and flower beds, gravel refurbishing, lawn renovation and more.

Contact us at 360-671-LAWN (5296) to discuss your landscape maintenance needs for Bellingham, Ferndale and the surrounding neighborhoods like Birchwood, Edgemoor, Happy Valley, Geneva, Barkley, Cornwall Park, Columbia, Sunnyland, Fairhaven, Sehome, Whatcom Falls, South Hill and King Mountain. For more than 24 years, Green Thumb Company has specialized in servicing many of Whatcom County’s fine neighborhoods. Let us help you out with your landscaping needs with a contract designed specifically for you!

Great Online Resources for Pacific Northwest Gardeners

It’s true, all of us, (including me!) have been guilty of waiting until the last minute to start gardening projects. And, yes, I have underestimated what it takes to take a project from dream to reality. Come springtime, the sun is out and I’m itching to get back into the garden – but my design isn’t completed, and now I’m crazy busy with work! I missed my window of opportunity and darn it all if my project won’t get finished now for months. I KNOW better..!

Each spring following the first sunny weekend, our office gets excited calls from folks anxious to design and build their new gardens, discuss landscaping projects and launch into creating their dream backyard…immediately. Guess what? While you might wait to call in spring – all that means is that your design project will begin in the spring, but it likely won’t be finished until much later in the year.

The reality is planning for your springtime projects should begin in winter – if not much earlier…Why wait when you can start now?

Whether you’re hoping to put in a new vegetable bed, renovate your ornamental shrub borders, design your perennials garden or create a new project from scratch, it’s important to jump into the planning phase as the icicles are dripping from the eaves. If you wait until the spring sunshine to start your planning, be ready to wait even longer to watch your garden grow. Don’t let winter get away from you. Jump into your project now – even as you finish mulching your garden beds and start checking off your Christmas shopping list.

I’ve put together a list of a few resources to help get your creative juices flowing. Go fetch a cup of tea, boot up your computer and settle into your chair to and begin your springtime planning today.

Enjoy the resources and the season,
Amy Harmon

Online Gardening Resources

UW Burke Museum Herbarium
biology.burke.washington.edu/herbarium/imagecollection.php – Fantastic site with 1000’s of plants and images specific to the northwest. Excellent help for plant identification.

Great Plant Picks

King County Yard & Garden topics

Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides

Northwest Garden News

Pacific Northwest Chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture – Tree Care

Plant Native
www.plantnative.com – Includes a nice step by step plan for naturescaping.

Plant Amnesty
http://www.plantamnesty.org/ A fun & informative website, with tongue in cheek humor

Rainy Side Gardeners
http://www.rainyside.com/ – Maritime Pacific Northwest Gardening has a nice native plant section with photos.

Seattle Times- Plant Life
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/plantlife/ A selection of articles written by Valerie Easton, a Seattle freelance writer and contributing editor for Horticulture magazine.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
http://wdfw.wa.gov/wlm/living/index.htm – Living with Wildlife

Washington Native Plant Society
http://www.wnps.org/ – A non profit organization for native plants.

Washington State University Extension

Washington State University Native Plants
gardening.wsu.edu/text/nwnative.htm – Identifying, Propagating, and Landscaping. Nice photos!

Pacific Northwest Native Wildlife Gardening.
www.tardigrade.org – Includes a listserv for gardening for wildlife (with native plants).

Washington State University website
www.puyallup.wsu.edu/~Linda%20Chalker-Scott/ -Puyallup site full of horticulture myths. Very informative!

USDA National plant database
plants.usda.gov – Lots of information and images on plants beyond the northwest.

Green Thumb Company is a Bellingham based, full-service grounds maintenance company. We have a commitment to provide great landscaping services with outstanding customer satisfaction and have been serving Whatcom County customers in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden for more than 20 years.

If you would like to increase your home’s curb appeal or maintain your new or mature landscaping investment by developing a contract that is specific to your yard & landscaping needs as well as your budget, please give us a call at 360-671-LAWN (5296).

Spring blooming bulbs add seasonal color

After a long, wet Pacific Northwest winter, these early spring-blooming bulbs offer a welcome preview of the flowers and colors to follow.

Nothing signals the end of the winter season like seeing the first crocuses poking their heads through the last of the wet, dark soil. Few plants are as easy to grow, or as rewarding, as the early-blooming bulbs.

The only challenge is remembering to purchase and plant the bulbs during the excitement of the summer and fall gardening season, (it’s always hard for me to remember just how bleak the garden can look in late winter). Plan now for fall planting, and come spring you’ll be glad you did!

I’ve put together a selection of early-blooming bulbs that grow well in the area. Since many of these are small in size and statue, they look best planted in relatively large numbers. Don’t be intimidated by the thought of planting 100 or more bulbs; the tiny bulbs take just seconds to plant, especially if your soil is relatively loose. Simply make a slice in the soil with a trowel about 4 inches deep, wiggle it a little to make a hole, and, holding the soil back with the trowel, drop in the bulb. As you slide out the trowel, push any scattered soil back into the hole, then water the area to settle the soil.

 Spring Beauty, Scilla SibericaScilla siberica ‘Spring Beauty’
Spring Beauty (Scilla)

Spring beauties are one of the earliest spring flowers to bloom. Flowering for a remarkably long time they bear clusters of bloom spikes that offer scented deep blue flowers. Exquisite when planted under spring flowering shrubs such as forsythia, azaleas, rhododendrons, and magnolias.

 ‘Golden Bowl’ Crocus

Unlike snowdrops, crocus ring in the spring in a range of colors. Since the bright colors contrast with any remaining snow, they are wonderful planted in masses so you can enjoy a carpet of color from a distance. In the case of crocuses, more is definitely better! And like snowdrops, crocuses will multiply each year, especially if they are planted in the very well-drained soil they prefer.

Chionodoxa luciliae
Snow Glories (Chionodoxa)

Sometimes called Glory of the Snow, these beauties will blanket the ground with blue in early spring. Each bulb produces multiple star-shaped, sky-blue flowers. Just 4 to 5 inches in height, they look best planted in large drifts, and will multiply rapidly.



muscari albumMuscari botryoides ‘Album’
Grape Hyacinth (Muscari)

Grape hyacinths aren’t true hyacinths, but instead are in the genus Muscari. However, if you look closely at these flowers, you’ll see the resemblance to hyacinths in the clusters of tiny flowers atop strap-like foliage. Grape hyacinths are so eager to multiply that they can become weedy–that is, if you consider a plant with such beautiful flowers a weed. Plant them where they can spread freely–in the lawn, under shrubs–rather than in a formal bed.

‘Blue Jacket’
  ‘Jan Bos’


If the grape hyacinth above, with their diminutive stature and often muted colors, gently announce the arrival of spring, these two true hyacinths yell it from the rooftops! Not only are they extravagant in appearance, they are also wonderfully fragrant. Add these to the fact that hyacinths are very easy to grow, and there’s no reason not to include at least a few of these beauties in your garden. They are also excellent for forcing indoors, where you can enjoy their scent each time you pass by.

While there are hundreds of varieties of beautiful spring bulbs, I hope that this list can get you started thinking about planting some bulbs of your own this fall. Start looking now for your favorites when you are out and about town, check out the local gardening shops this spring for different varieties and ask your neighbors what it is, if they have something blooming that catches your eye.  Take notes and come fall, be ready to plant!

I hope you are loving all the bounty that spring brings us in Bellingham – my family and I sure am.

Enjoy the season ~  Amy Harmon

Green Thumb Company is a Bellingham based, full-service grounds maintenance company. We have a commitment to provide great landscaping services with outstanding customer satisfaction and have been serving Whatcom County customers in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden for more than 20 years.

If you would like to increase your home’s curb appeal or maintain your new or mature landscaping investment by developing a  contract that is specific to your yard & landscaping needs as well as your budget, please give us a call at 360-671-LAWN (5296).

7 Life Lessons You Can Learn from Gardening

Winter Gardening Thoughts, from Amy -- Green Thumb CompanyGardening is an activity that can range from growing a colorful row of nasturtiums lining a window box to harvesting acres of raspberries. But the process of gardening, from planting a seed to watching a plant develop, is a joy that I’ve felt since I was little girl.

 The basic principle of gardening is change and growth, just like life. One rule of thumb that has been true since the beginning of time is that change is inevitable — nothing ever stays the same. I have gained a new way of seeing both myself and the world I live in from all the time I spend in the garden and over time, I’ve begun to realize that the life lessons I’ve learned from enjoying the process of gardening are as diverse as the variety of plants that exist!

Here are some of a few of my favorite lessons, fresh from the garden. Enjoy the season and may it bring peace and joy to you and your family.

~ Amy Harmon, Owner
Green Thumb Company

It’s all about the dirt
You can wander into Bakerview Nursery or the Garden Spot and purchase any plant you desire, but if the soil you intend to place them in is not prepared well, or is not suited to what you intend to grow…your plants will suffer for it. This lesson holds true in so many other phases of life as well. The foundation of our general well being needs to be well-grounded, supported and rich with “the good stuff” in order for us to thrive. That foundation may depend on varying parts of our spirituality, family, physical health or financial well-being, and many other types of support, but that support is essential. In the end, our ability to grow is dependant on how we prepare and mix these foundations that allow us to thrive and grow strong – just like our plants.

Turn your face toward the sun if you want good energy
Most varieties of plants depend on sunlight to help them grow. Many plants like sunflowers, literally turn their petals and leaves toward the sun to gather the maximum energy to help process photosynthesis, the life-giving conversion of light to food. People are similar in some very literal ways, needing sunlight for health and for the production of that critical vitamin D in their systems (especially here in the Pacific Northwest!) Turning your face toward the sun can also be seen as a symbolic gesture as well. The sun represents optimism, a critical life-force for many people. Sunlight has been shown to improve moods in people just as it has shown to help plants grow. And whether it is physical or symbolic, the end result is the same…Sunlight is a positive thing*

*Of course, only in moderation and with a liberal dose of sunscreen. 🙂

It takes some weeding to make a garden grow
One of the most difficult concepts for beginning gardeners to understand is that individual plants require trimming, cutting and culling to thrive. Plants cannot grow well if they are choked out by other plants or allowed to extend themselves so far that their energy can’t be focused back toward producing blossoms, fruit or healthy stems and leaves. In people, the ability to weed out activities that don’t bring us pleasure or contentment, and trim back the fat or unkempt portions of our lives helps to contribute to our overall health and well being. A tree with branches that double back and crisscross over each other – effectively ceases its own growth and entangles its living branches. Similar to how we can allow too much in our lives to strangle our choices and choke out the pleasures of simplicity.

Long range planning
To make sure your garden is beautiful year round — and for many years to come, (instead of only looking good just as you’ve planted it), one must consider the future. Keep in mind that different plants bloom at various times of the year, and while one corner of the garden blooms merrily away, another might lie dormant. Other thoughts to consider might include each plant’s growth speed as well as what the mature height, width and average spread might be over several years. Life works that way too; a little planning ahead goes a long way to limiting potential growing pains, enjoying the beauty of the process and smoothing out the future.

Plant when the time is right, and enjoy the fruits of your labor
Effective gardeners develop a keen sense and understanding of the rhythms of the seasons… they are naturally intuitive to a seasonal clock of when to put certain plants in the ground. Plant too early and vegetables or flowering plants might freeze and die. Plant too late and the summer heat can kill off tender young shoots. One must always remember that it pays off (more than you think!) to harvest what you grow. Not just to enjoy the fruits of your labor, so to speak, but removing portions of the garden at certain times makes room for the next round of plants to flourish during their season. This is so true in many phases of life. We forget to take the time to enjoy that which we work so hard to create. Learning to indulge in a little bit of our resources each day is a healthy and positive way to reward ourselves for all our hard work. And it never hurts to awaken your senses to all the joys and pleasures around as you consider what your daily reward should be!

Winter Garden Reflections, by Amy -- Green Thumb CompanySurprises Can Be Perfectly Delightful
Sometimes something bizarre might surprise you in the garden. Maybe a wrong label was attached to a  seed packet or a pot was mismarked at the shop and you find a total unexpected plant growing in the middle of your yard. This has happened several times to me over the years and while at first I was disappointed when I didn’t get the plant I was anticipating – by the middle of the season, I found pleasure in the unexpected burst of color or foliage that appeared. Life works like that too. Although the life surprise might upset the balance or change the routine momentarily, it seems the unexpected always works itself out and more often than not, is welcomed – at least after the initial shock wears off.

Change is Good Thing
Sometimes a perennial will take a notion to seed itself smack dab in the middle of the yard instead of inside the boundaries of the bed. A short plant might get tucked behind a tall one or perhaps two brightly foliaged & budding plants fight for attention along the border. Feel confident in your ability to take action and change things! Dig up that short plant and bring it to the front. Move that bloomer to the other side of the garden where its hot orange flowers & chartreuse foliage don’t fight in competition against the explosive red petals and deeper brown leaves. It is okay to move things around, sometimes it’s essential to survival. Just as change is great in the garden, so it is with life. When I find I grow slightly irritated with where I currently am – I just gently remind myself it is okay to make changes to grow as a person and reposition!

If you are in need of a residential or commercial yard clean up or grounds maintenance work, give us a call and tell us about your landscaping needs.  We would be happy to give you a  free estimate and work with you to give your landscaping the care it needs this season.

Our Garden and Winter Yard Clean Up services include pruning, leaf clean up, branch and debris clean up, mulching, hedge and shrub trimming, weed control, fertilizing, increasing curb appeal, yard waste removal, weeding, yard clean ups, spreading new beauty bark or gravel, planting and/or removal of plants, and much more. Remember to mulch now to protect your plants before it snows! Call Green Thumb Company at (360) 671-LAWN for a free estimate, or Request a Quote directly from our website.

Wintertime Tool Maintenance Checklist

Tool MaintenanceHabit #7 in Steve Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is called “Sharpen the Saw.” Covey uses the common story of a woodcutter who is sawing for days on end but in the process of all that cutting, is becoming less and less productive. That woodcutter, like us gardeners, should always remember this very important fact: “the better a tool works for us, the less we have to work”!
Winter is a prime time to make sure our tools are working as hard as they can for us. A quick check over your gardening tools at the end of each season before you put them to rest for the winter will help increase their usefulness (and your happiness) for years! This winter time tool maintenance checklist is easy for anyone to follow and will help save you money in the long run, not to mention, making your job easier when springtime rolls back around. Just remember, you do not have to wait until the end of the season to protect your tool investment.

Every time you finish a job, take the following steps to preserve their longevity:
  1. Rinse tools after each use, dry them thoroughly and apply a light coat of oil to all metal parts.
  2. You can use a stiff-bristle brush to clean stubborn, hard-to-remove dirt.
  3. A designated space or worktable where you can inspect your tools and perform any necessary maintenance helps to make this chore go quickly. Remember to cover the area with newspaper or plastic sheeting to both help protect the area and make it easier to clean up after you are done.

 Be sure to store your tools off the ground and somewhere away from the rain and snow – moisture is bad news for tools! Garages and basements that have direct outdoor access are great storage places – as long as they are dry. If you do not have a place to store your tools and equipment, you may want to consider building or purchasing a tool shed for this purpose.

Step 1. Blades
Before you store your equipment for the off-season, sharpen or replace blades on tools that dig or cut. Digging and cutting tools’ blades get worn down faster than any other tool surface used in the garden, but filing can easily sharpen any nicked or dull blades. Maintain the sharp edge of all cutting tools by honing them using a medium-grit sharpening stone. For faster cutting, wet the stone with water or with honing oil, depending on the type of stone you’re using.

Safety Alert! Wear heavy gloves when cleaning or sharpening sharp cutting tools. Wear goggles when using a wire brush to remove rust and dirt. Sharpen very dull hedge trimmer blades by moving a file away from and diagonally across the sharp edge, making sure you maintain the factory bevel. Then decrease the angle slightly and hone just the last 1/16” of the blade with a sharpening stone. If your trimmer has a serrated blade, do not attempt to sharpen it. Check to be sure that all blades for power equipment are balanced so they will not vibrate off during use and cause possible injury or damage. Most digging tools are not sold sharpened, so you should to sharpen them from the very start. The more you use your digging tools, the duller they get. File the working edge to a 45-degree bevel with a coarse file. Since a bow saw cuts in both directions, use a triangular file to sharpen both sides of each of the saw’s teeth to a 45- to 60-degree bevel. To keep track of where you are, file every other tooth starting at one end of the blade – then file the remaining teeth the same way, working from the opposite end. Always file toward the sharp edge and pay attention to what you are doing. This is not the time to multitask!

 Helpful Tip: Clamp a pair of boards on the blade and lock it in a bench vise so you will not have to keep changing the blade position in the vise. Once the blades have all been sharpened and before you store these tools for the off-season, use that wire brush to remove surface dirt or rust. Wipe the metal down with a light oil to protect it from rust, especially if you store your tools in a damp garage or shed.

Sanding down the rough spots Step 2. Handles
Check your handles of each of your tools for any splinters, cracks or breaks. Smooth weathered, rough wooden handles with a medium-grit emery cloth – it will not tear as easily as sandpaper and it wraps around the handle easier. Tool handles should be smooth enough to slide your hand along without catching. If the wood is very rough, first sand across the grain in a “shoe-shine” fashion, then finish it up by sanding along with the grain. Of course, tools with fiberglass handles will not have these issues, so skip right past this step to number 3… 

Helpful Tip:
Wipe dry handles down with a heavy coat of linseed oil at the end of the season to rejuvenate and protect the wood over the winter months. Sometimes repairing a handle is not a safe option. In these cases, it may be worthwhile to replace the handle of a favorite, high quality tool – Use a ball-peen hammer or a block of wood with a nail hammer to knock the tool head out of the ferule on the handle. Consider fiberglass when replacing your tool handles – it is lighter and easier to maintain!

 Step 3. Mower Maintenance
Before you give your lawn mower the season off, empty out the fuel entirely by running the mower until it runs out of gas and the motor comes to a stop – don’t just dump it out. Change the oil and remove spark plugs – changing the spark plugs, if necessary. Reinstall the spark plug without connecting the ignition cable, and add a small amount of oil to the crankcase to store.

Safety Alert! Again, be sure that all blades for power equipment are balanced so they will not vibrate off during use and cause possible injury or damage

Never store a dirty mower! Not only will the care you take now help extend the life of your mower, cleaning out last season’s grass from underneath the mower is a dirty job – but SO much better than having to deal with old grass in the spring!

Thoroughly clean the engine and frame of the mower, on top and underneath, using a scraper to remove any built-up dirt and grass clippings on the underside of the mower. Rinse completely with a garden hose. Once it is clean, check the blade’s condition for wear and tear. If the blade needs sharpening, use a heavy file to remove dull edges or (better yet) simply replace it so it’s ready come spring.

Step 4. Weed Wacker Winterization
Remove all dirt, grease and debris from the trimmer using a stiff-bristle brush, then tighten all screws and hardware. Drain the fuel tank, remove the spark plug and add a small amount of oil into the cylinder. Pull the starting cord a couple of times to distribute the oil throughout. Reinstall the spark plug but do not connect the ignition cable, just leave it until spring.

That is it. Perfectly maintained tools ready for use first thing in the spring when that gardening bug hits.  Hope you enjoy your season and take the time to be grateful for all that we have, here in the Pacific Northwest. May your holiday season be filled with family, joy and peace. ~ Amy Harmon

 If you are in need of a residential or commercial yard clean up or grounds maintenance work, give us a call and tell us about your landscaping needs.  We would be happy to give you a  free estimate and work with you to give your landscaping the care it needs this season.

Our Garden and Winter Yard Clean Up services include pruning, leaf clean up, branch and debris clean up, mulching, hedge and shrub trimming, weed control, fertilizing, increasing curb appeal, yard waste removal, weeding, yard clean ups, spreading new beauty bark or gravel, planting and/or removal of plants, and much more. Remember to mulch now to protect your plants before it snows! Call Green Thumb Company at (360) 671-LAWN for a free estimate, or Request a Quote directly from our website.

Indoor and Outdoor Plant Care Between December and February

Taking care of your Indoor and Outdoor plants in Bellingham, WA in the winter

Winter Plant Care in Bellingham, WA

Many people see the fall and winter as a time to close down the garden and wait until the spring to start up gardening activities again. However, there are plenty of things you can be doing through the fall and winter months to continue enjoying the pleasures of gardening, both indoors and out.

As most gardeners soon realize, prepping your plants for the winter is a never ending task — gardening does not end just because summer is over. The timing of gardening chores and events can vary from year to year, depending on weather and site conditions, but a lifetime of winter gardening in the Pacific Northwest has taught me a few tricks to keep things looking great, even through the winter months.

Below is a basic guide to help sort out both the WHAT and the WHEN to tackle the most important tasks to keep both your outdoor AND your indoor garden plants looking fresh and fantastic for the holiday season and beyond.

 Enjoy the season ~ Amy Harmon

Indoor Plants

Houseplants need additional light in the winter months

Houseplants getting additional sunlight through the windows


  • Check houseplants for brown, dry edges on their leaves. This may indicate too little relative humidity in the house. Increase humidity by running a humidifier, grouping plants together, or using pebble trays.
  • Extend the beauty of holiday plants, such as poinsettias and Christmas cactus, by placing them in a cool, brightly lit area free from drafts.
  • Houseplants may not receive adequate light because days are short and gloomy. Move plants closer to windows, but avoid placing foliage against cold glass panes. Another option is to add artificial lighting in the area.
  • Because growth slows or stops in winter months, most plants will require less water and much less fertilizer.
  • If you are forcing bulbs for the holidays, bring them into warmer temperatures after they have been sufficiently “precooled”. Two to four weeks of warm temperatures (60°F), bright light, and moderately moist soil are needed to bring on flowers. Bulbs require a chilling period of about 10 to 12 weeks at 40°F to initiate flowerbeds and establish root growth. Precooled bulbs are available from many garden suppliers if you did not get yours cooled in time.
  • When shopping for a Christmas tree, check for flexible, green needles that do not shed, and a sticky trunk base, both indicators of freshness. Make a fresh cut on the trunk, and keep the cut end under water at all times.
  • Evergreens, except pines and spruce, can be trimmed now for a fresh supply of holiday greenery. Use proper pruning techniques to preserve the beauty of landscape plants.


  • Keep holiday poinsettias and other plants near bright window. Water as the top of soil becomes dry.
  • Check produce and tender bulbs that you have dug up and kept in storage. Discard any that show signs of decay, like mold or softening. Shriveling indicates insufficient relative humidity.


  • Check water levels daily in cut-flower vases and re-cut ends as needed.
  • Repot houseplants as they outgrow current pots.
  • Early blooms of spring-flowering bulbs can make a beautiful gift for your sweetheart. Keep the plant in a bright, cool location for longer lasting blooms. Forced bulbs make poor garden flowers and should be discarded as blooms fade.

Lawns, Woody Ornamentals, Landscape Plants, and Tree Fruits


  • Prevent bark-splitting of young and thin-barked trees, such as fruit and maple trees. Wrap trunks with tree wrap, or paint trunks with white latex (not oil-based) paint, particularly on the south- and southwest-facing sides.
  • Protect shrubs, such as junipers and arborvitae, from extensive snow loads by tying their stems together with twine. Carefully remove heavy snow loads with a broom to prevent limb breakage.
  • Protect broadleaf evergreens, or other tender landscape plants from excessive drying by winter sun and wind. Place canvas, burlap, or polyethylene plastic screens to the southland west to protect the plants. Similarly, shield plants from street and sidewalk salt spray.
  • Provide winter protection for roses by mounding soil approximately 12 inches high to insulate the graft union. Additional organic mulch, such as straw, compost, or chopped leaves, can be placed on top. Wait until late winter or early spring to prune.


  • Check the lower trunks of young trees for rodent injury. Prevent injury to the tree with hardware cloth/ or protective collars.
  • “Leaf”  (my feeble attempt of a pun) through the nursery catalogs and make plans for landscape and fruit orchard purchases. Order early for best selection.
  • Cut branches of forsythia, honeysuckle, pussy willow, crabapple and other early spring-flowering plants to force into blooming indoors. Place the branches in warm water and set them in a cool location.


  • Check mulches, salt/windscreens, rodent shields, and other cold weather plant protections to make sure they are in place.
  • Prune landscape plants, except early spring bloomers, Rhododendrons or other plants that have already budded, which should be pruned after flowers fade.
  • Prune fruit trees to control tree size. Remove dead, damaged, or weak limbs.

Flowers, Vegetables, and Small Fruits


  • Protect newly planted or tender perennials by applying mulch such as straw, chopped leaves, or other organic material after plants become dormant.
  • Store leftover garden chemicals where they will stay dry, unfrozen, and out of the reach of children, pets, and unsuspecting adults.
  • Mulch strawberries when temperatures have dropped to 20°F.
  • Clean up dead plant materials, synthetic mulch, and other debris in the vegetable garden as wells in the flower beds, rose beds, and orchards.
  • Order seed catalogs, and make notes for next year’s garden.


  • Browse through garden catalogs and order seeds and plants early for best selection.
  • Sketch your garden plans on paper, including what to grow, spacing, arrangement, and number of plants needed.
  • Wood ashes from the fireplace can be spread in the garden, but don’t overdo it. Wood ashes increase soil pH, and excess application can make some nutrients unavailable for plant uptake. Have your soil tested to be certain of the Ph before adding wood ash.


  • Prepare or repair lawn and garden tools for the upcoming season. (This will be the next article and I will link the two)
  • Start seeds indoors for cool-season veggies so they will be ready for transplanting to the garden early in the season. Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage seeds should be started five to seven weeks prior to transplanting.
  • Test leftover garden seed for germination. Place 10 seeds between moist paper toweling or cover with a thin layer of soil. Keep seeds warm and moist. If less than six seeds germinate, then fresh seed should be purchased.

 If you are in need of a residential or commercial yard clean up or grounds maintenance work, give us a call and tell us about your landscaping needs.  We would be happy to give you a  free estimate and work with you to give your landscaping the care it needs this season.

Our Garden and Winter Yard Clean Up services include pruning, leaf clean up, branch and debris clean up, mulching, hedge and shrub trimming, weed control, fertilizing, increasing curb appeal, waste removal, weeding, yard clean ups, spreading new beauty bark or gravel, planting and/or removal of plants, and much more. Remember to mulch now to protect your plants before it snows! Call Green Thumb Company at (360) 671-LAWN or Request a Quote directly from our website.

Lawn Maintenance Contracts Protect You And Your Yard

Possibly the cheapest way to increase the curb appeal of your Bellingham or Ferndale Washington home, as well as maintain your home investment, is with the services of a professional lawn care company. When you hire a landscaping company they will probably ask, and you should demand, they sign a lawn or yard maintenance contract. The agreement should specify the responsibilities of the company as well as the homeowner so there are no questions as to who is responsible for what part of the lawn care.

Any Whatcom County lawn maintenance professional will have a yard maintenance contract. This contract should spell out how many times the company will visit and mow your lawn as well as being specific as to what areas will be mown, weeded, trimmed or in other ways, worked on. The contract will probably leave open some wiggle room for the weather when cutting the grass will not be possible (Bellingham and Ferndale both have this challenge in early spring and again in the deep fall). Generally, the contract estimates how many times during the season specific care will be provided, but do keep in mind, weather always plays a role in the final outcome of any lawn maintenance contract. Especially here in the Pacific Northwest!

In a basic lawn maintenance contract it will generally state how often (for example on a weekly or bimonthly) work is to be done. Most landscaping or yard maintenance companies may also offer beginning and season ending services such as yard clean ups, fertilizer applications, winterizing, aerating, weeding (etc) and if they are to be included in the work, they should be written into the lawn maintenance contract.  

A well written contract is designed to let the customer (and company) know what specific tasks will be completed so that there is no question as to the expectations of the job. For example, a fall clean up might include deadheading, cutting back dead foliage, cleaning/raking up leaves, trimming bushes and shrubbery, pruning fruit trees or  weeding etc.

Mulching flower beds is usually done by a landscaping crew but many yard and lawn maintenance companies offer the service and if available, should be included into your lawn maintenance contract so you know what type of mulch will be used and when you can expect to see it applied. It should also be noted what happens to lawn clippings and if the company picks them up, how are they disposed of.

There are many jobs that a lawn care and landscaping company can perform to help reduce your time outside and having a lawn maintenance contract can insure the jobs get done when they say they will get done at a preset cost. The best companies will create a custom contract designed to suit a customer’s specific landscaping needs and budget.

We here at Green Thumb Company really try to figure out how best we can help a customer take care of the specific needs of their yard while staying within the parameters of whatever their budget is. It really is all about customer service! A landscape contract is just a tool to spell out mutual expectations – and show exactly how well your landscape company can take care of you.

Enjoy your summer ~ Amy Harmon

Green Thumb Company is a full-service grounds maintenance company that feels confident in our ability to meet all of your expectations. We have a commitment to provide great landscaping services with outstanding customer satisfaction and have been serving Whatcom County customers in Bellingham, Ferndale and Lynden for more than 20 years.

If you would like to increase your home’s curb appeal or maintain your new or mature landscaping investment by developing a  contract that is specific to your yard & landscaping needs as well as your budget, please give us a call at 360-671-LAWN (5296).