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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Monstera

Today, many once-popular horticultural trends are just as passé as swim-tops for men and iceberg lettuce in a salad. Remember when everybody had an air plant pinned to the curtains in most rooms of the house and gardeners were happy to have plain white petunias? If you don’t recall those days of yore, you certainly will not remember the popularity once surrounding the Monstera deliciosa, or Swiss-cheese plant.

The botanical name, Monstera, is Latin for strange or monstrous, and points to some of the oddities associated with this rambling vine. These include aerial roots and large, glossy leaves full of deeply lobed cutouts and neatly cut round or oval holes, hence the common name Swiss-cheese plant.

>> read “Monstera”       #Plant Profile   #Unusual   #Vines
Surprising Pollinators

Helping pollinators is a hot gardening trend right now (dare we say there’s a “lot of buzz”?). Initiatives such as the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge are bringing attention to the need to create habitats for at-risk pollinators such as monarch butterflies and honeybees. But many other species – including some surprising ones like flies, moths, and hummingbirds – also act as pollinators, and also need our help.

>> read “Surprising Pollinators”       #Beneficials   #Insects   #Unusual
Super Size It!

I love big plants! Whether I’m designing a large estate garden or a small courtyard, big plants with large, architectural leaves and sometimes stunning flowers always play a role. A very wide-growing plant may be difficult to accommodate in a small space, but tall plants can be used almost anywhere, so don’t let the height of a plant scare you away! In fact, you’ll find that tall plants, even in small spaces, add a dramatic sense of layering and help to create that lush garden effect that we’re all after.

So what are my favorite super-sized plants? I’m glad you asked! Here are a few large-growing favorites that have graced my garden and the gardens of my clients for many years.

>> read “Super Size It!”       #Design   #Ornamentals   #Unusual
Exotic Flavors
Growing some out-of-the-ordinary seasonings

If, like many of us, you have been trying to eat more locally produced food lately, no doubt you have already learned how to keep the produce bin stocked with beans, tomatoes, lettuce and corn by growing them at home or visiting the local farmers’ market. Nothing beats local produce for flavor and nutrition, and eating close to home helps conserve the fuel that would have been used to transport the food across the country. But what about those wonderful, exotic flavors like ginger? They will always have to come from far away, right?

>> read “Exotic Flavors”       #Edibles   #Fruit   #Herbs   #Unusual
The Unusual Suspects
One dozen off-the-beaten-path shrubs for your garden

“And now for something completely different.” It’s time to play a little bit of classic comedy movie trivia. From which movie did the following line become famous: “We want a shrubbery”? If you’re my age or have ever in your life encountered the classic Monty Python skits you would know that this line is from the hilarious bridge scene as the Knights of the Round Table attempt to correctly answer the pun posed by the Knights that say “Ni!” to gain access across the guarded bridge in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

>> read “The Unusual Suspects”       #Natives   #Shrubs   #Unusual
Weeping Plants

Some of the most spectacular landscape plants you will ever have the joy of seeing are those that have been developed with a weeping growth habit. Literally, dozens and dozens of trees, shrubs and even some perennials have been introduced through the years that display this unusual physical characteristic.

>> read “Weeping Plants”       #Unusual
Gardening Up High
Resplendent green rooftops provide benefits all year

Tall, slender stems of grass swish in the warm summer breezes, while coreopsis and coneflowers bob their heads, as if waving. They and dozens of other plants grow in a diverse garden planted on top of a garage in the middle of St. Louis, Missouri. If a person doesn't look up when walking or driving by, they'll miss seeing it.

>> read “Gardening Up High”       #Unusual   #Urban Gardening
Whitewater Red Bud
Cercis canadensis

Cercis canadensis ‘Whitewater’ is a “hot plant” out of North Carolina and a North American native tree too! This small, deciduous tree with beautifully variegated white and green leaves was developed by Dr. Dennis Werner at North Carolina State University. It’s a good choice to incorporate into your garden where contrasting foliage color is desired. Traditional magenta-pink flowers of the redbud emerge in the early spring on bare branches ...

>> read “Whitewater Red Bud”       #Plant Profile   #Trees   #Unusual   #Variegated
Chinese Che Tree
Cudrania tricuspidata

Grape-size red fruits catch the eye starting in late August on this uncommon but commendable fruit tree known as Chinese che. At first it is slow to grow, a few inches at best. Just be patient – as with many plants three years seems to be the charm ...

>> read “Chinese Che Tree”       #Edibles   #Fruit   #Trees   #Unusual
Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick
Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’

Are you interested in the unusual, or even the bizarre? If so, your curiosity (and that of your neighbors) might be piqued by the uniqueness of the contorted European filbert, a plant fondly known as Harry Lauder’s walking stick ...

>> read “Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick”       #Plant Profile   #Shrubs   #Unusual
A Spring-time Wonder
The setting for a different kind of blooming adventure.

In the spring, Forty Acre Rock near Lancaster, S.C., goes from drab to dramatic with a burst of flashy colors on a granite outcrop that's the centerpiece of a state preserve. Small wild plants called elf orpine, black-spored quillwort and pool sprite bloom to showcase a mix of red, green and white hues in shallow, water-filled pools. These rare plants put on their show from March through early May, until the pools dry up and Forty Acre Rock's colors revert to dull grays and greens of lichens and mosses.

>> read “A Spring-time Wonder”       #Unusual
Pink Velvet Banana

The cinnamon scent, exotic leaves and exceptional fruit color of Musa velutina (pink velvet banana or hairy banana) will add a tropical flair to any garden and are hard to resist once you have seen them. With adequate winter mulch, its cold hardiness makes it possible to be grown outside tropical zones.

>> read “Pink Velvet Banana”       #Edibles   #Fruit   #Unusual
 
 
 

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