A Painted ‘Forest’
Try this cool idea this winter for long-lasting color
by Ellen Zachos

When we moved into our new condo, there was a dead mountain ash tree in the backyard. I’d just come back from a visit to Chicago and I’d seen how the parks department there had painted dead trees, turning them into art. Inspired, I painted my own dead tree, and used it to hang wind chimes, lamps, and houseplants summering outdoors. The bright purple was a great accent color in the garden.   >> read article
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Various Vinegars
Make your own herbal vinegars to add zip to your recipes
by Rebecca Stoner Kirts

Here it is winter and I am yearning for the taste of my favorite fresh herbs. I prepared for this moment by making a variety of herbal vinegars in the early fall. It is a great easy way to add a gourmet zip to so many recipes – from salads to meats. Additionally, herbal vinegars can be used for cosmetic uses, medical purposes, plus household uses. Who would have thought you could have herbal vinegars on hand to beat the heat, as well as to battle illnesses and insects.   >> read article
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Every Gardener’s Challenge
Bringing color to trouble spots in the landscape
by Dwain Hebda

Every yard has them – those troublesome spots that just don’t want to cooperate with your grand vision for the yard of your dreams. While there’s no miracle cure, there are steps the backyard gardener can take to bring life and interest to barren areas.   >> read article
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Following Directions
Understanding the labels on your pesticides and herbicid
by Bob Westerfield

In a world of litigation and lawsuits it is no surprise that any pesticide being sold for profit must contain legal labeling. While it seems like a simple and common sense thing to do, many people never read the labels, or if they do, they don’t really understand them. Consumers flock to the stores on Saturdays purchasing an arsenal of weed killers, insecticides, and fungicides, many times not fully understanding what they have bought or how to correctly apply it.   >> read article
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5 Houseplant Enemies and What to Do
How did you miss those insects? How did they get in?
by Lisa Eldred Steinkopf

You may notice yellowing or dropping leaves, or a sticky substance on the leaves or floor before you ever see a pest. Those are some of the symptoms that may clue you in that your plants have a problem.   >> read article
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No Judgement
It’s not what you plant, but how you grow it
by PJ Gartin

There isn’t a single gardener on this green Earth who doesn’t harbor plant prejudices. Some of us moan that Zinnia are too common, while others judge Agapanthus as old-fashioned and boring. Surely, I’m not the only one who’s tired of seeing yellow swaths of Chinese hibiscus (H. rosa-sinensis) interspersed with croton (Codiaeum variegatum). This pair, along with their faithful sidekick, Vinca, has been so overplanted at commercial sites that home gardeners now refer to them as “shopping-center” plants.

Although we’d rather eat compost than inflict our gardening opinions on others, the truth is that most of us are garden snobs. If we stop pointing fingers, we’d be more successful with our own garden designs. It’s time to remove our horticultural blinkers and accept that it’s not what you plant but how you grow it.   >> read article
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Super-Sized Sculptures
by Kelly Bledsoe

Throughout the years, I have explored and taken pictures of lots and lots of gardens. I am always amazed and intrigued by the personal touches gardeners add, and lately my eyes have been drawn to selectively placed, oversized sculptures.

These super-sized sculptures seem to have a calming effect and perhaps this is why I am so drawn to them in my perpetually chaotic life. These larger-than-life sculptures strategically situated in the garden, without distraction from nearby plants, structures or any other elements, have captured my interest and a good bit of my spare time ...   >> read article
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Focal-Point Plants
by Shannon Pable

Have you ever wondered why some gardens suck you in, transporting you to another dimension, your curiosity pulling you around every corner, while others have about as much interest as your sock drawer, leaving no lasting impression? What element is missing?

A focal point is that element that is used to draw your eye into the garden. Your gaze will stop at this element. Then your eye will travel to adjacent plants and details that you may not have noticed otherwise. Having a series of focal points, each just visible from a distance, will help guide you through the garden, from one garden room to the next.

What makes a plant a focal point? It could be form, color or texture, something that catches your eye that is unique from anything else surrounding it. It is large enough to stand on its own, but you must be mindful of scale. If it’s too small for the “garden room,” it will not be noticed. And if it’s too large, it will completely overpower the garden and be out of balance. You will want to select a plant that has year-round interest unless it’s used in a garden area that is only visited during a particular season, such as summer ...   >> read article
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