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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable?

When I want to get a room full of gardeners engaged in a lively debate, I bring up the topic of tomatoes. A question that transforms shy, reserved types into outspoken, opinionated verbal wranglers is this one: “Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable?”

>> read “Tomato: Fruit or Vegetable?”       #Fruit   #Misc   #Unusual   #Vegetables
Japanese Style in the Garden

Japanese gardens have weathered the test of time.

Principles originating centuries ago still guide and inspire garden designers in search of harmony and beauty. Japanese gardens are often described as beautiful, simple, serene and harmonious. For the aspiring designer, intimidating also comes to mind. Some design principles are consistent across all design disciplines, while others seem new and challenging to a Western-minded gardener. Let’s explore the Japanese garden and discuss a few concepts that make this approach so enduring.

>> read “Japanese Style in the Garden”       #Design   #Themed Gardens   #Unusual
Creative Containers

Repurposing all types of objects into creative and sometimes wacky planters is a major gardening trend so hop aboard and I will give you some of my ideas. I have long been a fan of this idea – whether antiques or something you discover in the attic or barn – repurposing provides a vessel with non-traditional flair. Nothing is out of bounds, often the quirkier it is the more impact it will have. So let your imagination run wild. Pursue the flea markets, rummage through grandma’s attic or go picking in farm outbuildings, any object is fair game.

>> read “Creative Containers”       #Containers   #Decorating   #Unusual
Hugelkultur

When I first heard about hugelkultur from Paul Wheaton, it was a true “aha” moment. Why are gardeners working so hard to keep their plants watered during the drought of summer when Mother Nature is doing just fine all by herself? No one is watering the plants in the woods during a drought! If there’s one thing that makes me want to throw in the gardening towel, it’s wrestling with a kinked hose when it’s 95 F and 100 percent humidity outside. Just imagine not having that nightmare to contend with anymore!

>> read “Hugelkultur”       #How to   #Irrigation   #Raised Beds   #Unusual
Out There Plants

At the risk of being a little too outré, I grew some plants that are not the usual garden suspects. These are plants known in the business as “straight species,” and are closer to wild types and not grown in normal suburban gardens. Give these plants a shot once you get tired of the standard garden fare.

>> read “Out There Plants”       #Misc   #Unusual   #Vegetables
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
 
 
 

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