Buttery yellow begonias highlight an overflowing window box.Photos by Yvonne Duivenvoorden

Mulch is the secret to success, says Deborah. ?It?s cheap as nails, made from salmon waste [from salmon farms], sawdust and shavings from local evergreens. We call it ?fish and chips.?? A keen handyman as well as gardener, Rick made a two-bin covered composter. Seven years of applying compost plus fish and chips resulted in rich, loamy soil. What they can?t defeat is the everlasting wind, which not only dries out plants but also knocks them over. The solution is gardening intensively and close to the ground. Deborah would rather not stake plants, although she?ll do it for her beloved peonies. Many perennials such as asters are sturdier if they get whacked back in summer.

Buttery yellow begonias highlight an overflowing window box.