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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Problem or Opportunity

Many gardeners tend to view landscaping problems first as a challenge, and then as an opportunity. The thought of transforming an uninviting eyesore into a functional and beautiful garden area causes a rush of excitement. Being able to also trade high maintenance for low maintenance puts many gardeners in a state of euphoria. Yes, gardeners tend to be “glass-half-full” kind of folks.

>> read “Problem or Opportunity”    
Three Tasty, Warm-Season Herbs

If you drive through any small town across America, you will find either (or both) Mexican or a wide variety of Asian restaurants. Where burgers, pizza or fried chicken and mashed potatoes were once all that was available to choose from for supper, a huge variety of flavors have cropped up. Today, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Guatemalan and a vast array of other ethnic restaurants exist throughout the country ...

>> read “Three Tasty, Warm-Season Herbs”    
Topiary Gardens

Ultimately, gardening is the act of ‘controlling’ plants and shaping the landscape to our own designs. Topiary takes ‘gardening’ to a higher level. Topiary, the art of training live plants to grow into a myriad of shapes and forms by clipping foliage and branches has been practiced since Roman times. The word itself comes from the word topiarius, a description of an ornamental landscape gardener or the creator of topia ...

>> read “Topiary Gardens”       #Art   #Design   #Landscaping   #Pruning   #Shrubs   #Themed Gardens   #Trees
Orchids - Methods for Growing the Perfect Phalaenopsis

When beginners tell me they want to start growing orchids, the discussion usually gets around to the question, “ What is the best orchid to start with?” My answer is: “Phalaenopsis because it is so easy to grow and stays in flower a long time, and a greenhouse is not necessary for good results with this plant.”

>> read “Orchids - Methods for Growing the Perfect Phalaenopsis”    
Lemon Balm
The Scent of Sweet Dreams and Calm Nerves

What can produce a mild sedative effect, relieve cramps and gas and produce antibacterial and antiviral properties, according to modern research? Lemon balm. No new discovery, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) was noted by the 16th century physician Paracelsus as healing patients at death’s door. The Roman scholar Pliny, another believer in the effects of lemon balm, thought ...

>> read “Lemon Balm”    
Sweet Alyssum Wonderland Series
Lobularia maritima

Sweet alyssum, as the name hints, is certainly a sweet-smelling annual, but it’s often grown in such small quantities that the smell is overlooked. Butterflies are drawn to the fragrant small flowers that range in color from blue to lavender, pink, yellow and white.

>> read “Sweet Alyssum Wonderland Series”       #Hot Plants
Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ Seed Catalogs

The pumpkins on the seed catalog covers were drawn so huge that Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater could have made a house for his wife from one of the pumpkin shells. The pictured giant red strawberries were so voluptuous children could hardly hold them. And the pink roses were flawless, of course, and all prize winners.

Welcome to the wonderful world of vintage seed catalogs. Before photography became a vital part of print and online catalogs, artists drew fantastic images of eggplants and green beans, dahlias and daises to entice customers into buying seeds and bulbs. Reality was sketchy. But as every good gardener today knows (as he or she thumbs through the mound of catalogs that come in the mail and online this time of year), it didn’t really matter. Seed companies were selling the dream, not unlike modern times.

>> read “Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ Seed Catalogs”    
Learning Garden Lingo
Unraveling the colorful language of gardening

Are you occasionally perplexed by a term used in a gardening book or magazine article? You are not alone if — as a newcomer to America’s most popular pastime — you are sometimes confused with terminology such as “friable loam.” Gardening is like many other hobbies, with unique and often colorful lingo ...

>> read “Learning Garden Lingo”    
Prime Perennials for Shady Areas

A shady garden is much more than a place that is not dominated by sun. A leafy ceiling, a soft brown floor and pretty plants that come and go with the seasons make a shade garden an irresistible spot to relax and feel the cool beauty of Mother Nature as she likes things to be. After all, if we did not need open spaces for our houses and roads, the forests that once covered the South would slowly return.

>> read “Prime Perennials for Shady Areas”    
Resource Conservation
Low-water-use gardening with grasses and succulents

As reported rainfall declines and the demand for water increases, it becomes time for gardeners to rethink their gardening style and move away from the manicured lawn and heavily watered and fertilized yards. Now, and in the future, we need to look to the low-water-use garden. This does not mean that a gardener has to sacrifice color ...

>> read “Resource Conservation”    
Air Layering
A Makeover for Overgrown Houseplants

Houseplants bring life to our homes and offices, but sometimes they outgrow their welcome. Those with woody stems, such as dracaenas, corn plants and scheffleras, can become too tall and lose their shape or threaten the ceiling. Instead of tossing them out and buying new plants or giving them to a friend with taller ceilings, try air layering. This easy propagation technique will not only rejuvenate your plants — it will reward you with new plants for your efforts ...

>> read “Air Layering”    
The Traditional Scarecrow

I was halfway through my childhood before finding the nerve to watch The Wizard of Oz without hiding at some point during the film. I suppose it was the witch (the wicked one from the west) — it would be an understatement to say that she intimidated me. The scarecrow was a much more pleasant fellow but, truth be known, he was also a bit unsettling to me ...

>> read “The Traditional Scarecrow”