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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Grow Succulents!

Succulents are a great way to begin gardening, teaching children to garden, or building the confidence of a person who doesn’t exactly have a “green thumb.” Succulents seem to thrive when you ignore them. They require very little care after planting. In fact, making sure the pot has good drainage, and that the soil has extra pumice and horticultural sand to promote drainage is as difficult as it gets.

>> read “Grow Succulents!”       #Plant Profile   #Succulents
Love Those Lilies

The lily is the queen of the garden, hands down. The intoxicating fragrance of a ‘Casa Blanca’ lily on a warm summer’s eve drifts across the garden enticing you to linger. The fragrant ‘Star Gazer’ is one of the most popular lilies in flower arrangements. The tiger lily is a friendly reminder that not all lilies are proper cultivated ladies – this is the wild child in the group. The ubiquitous Easter lily graces many homes in the spring and other lilies stand in the garden towering over everything else there. The term “gilding the lily” means trying to make something more beautiful than a lily, which I believe is impossible.

>> read “Love Those Lilies”       #Bulbs   #Flowers   #Perennials
Growing Microgreens

Microgreens are a fun way to add variety to your daily meals. They are nutrient dense, colorful and have fresh flavors along with tender crunch. I have been growing microgreens about five years and they are easy for the home gardener to grow.

>> read “Growing Microgreens”       #Edibles   #Seeds   #Vegetables
Do It Yourself Cold Frames

Winter gardening is the busy gardener’s dream come true – bountiful harvests with little to no weeding, watering, or other tiresome work. However, you do need to provide a bit of protection for winter veggies. DIY cold frames can be both inexpensive and highly functional, and constructed using materials you may already have on hand.

>> read “Do It Yourself Cold Frames”       #How to   #Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency   #Winter
Holiday Decorating from the Garden

If you’re looking for some great new traditions to start with your family and want to get away from all the excess of the holidays, why not adorn your home with the beauty from your garden? Look for organic touches like pine cones, fresh greenery and berries, and make use of simple items that create ambiance. Try not to go overboard, remember, the idea is to simply make your home more festive.

>> read “Holiday Decorating from the Garden”       #Holiday: Christmas   #Decorating   #Winter
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
Resolutions for a Better Harvest

I don't wait for January to make resolutions for the New Year. While the memory of the successes and failures of the recent season is still fresh in my mind, I like to make a list of resolutions as soon as I’ve put my garden to bed for the winter.

Here are just a few of those resolutions I’ve made over the years that have resulted in more fun, less work and a better harvest.

>> read “Resolutions for a Better Harvest”       #Misc   #Seeds   #Winter
Perennial Planning 101

Creating a 100 percent pure perennial bed can be quite a daunting task. The thought of planning a flowerbed that provides interest from spring until fall is enough to have the most seasoned landscape designers running for the hills. With this simple plan, you can dip your toes into the wonderful world of perennials without creating a panic.

>> read “Perennial Planning 101”       #Colorful   #Flowers   #Perennials
Between a Rock and a Hardscape

A few years ago, a friend was installing night lighting in a garden for his client who wanted stone features as accents among the plants and around a backyard patio where he entertained family and friends. My friend invited me to accompany him to a garden center specializing in stone products. I was amazed at the choices of stone available – from small natural stone, to flat cut stone, to relatively large boulders. Displays showed examples of stone for terraces, walls, benches, paths and water features.

The possibilities seemed endless, and I began to see stone and rocks in an entirely different way. I began to notice them in fields and woods, along roadsides and in other natural settings. I began to realize that no garden could be complete without stone.

>> read “Between a Rock and a Hardscape”       #Design   #Hardscaping   #Misc
Wet Feet

Too much water is a fairly common problem in many flowerbeds in this region, where we may get about 4 inches of rain every month between late fall and early spring. Four inches of rain wouldn’t be considered “too much” water during the summer, when plants are actively growing and transpiring. During the cool season, temperatures are low so water loss through evaporation is limited, and plants are not actively growing, which does not take up a lot of water. Without good drainage, you may have a problem with too much water.

>> read “Wet Feet”       #Hardscaping   #Irrigation   #Raised Beds
Alchemy In the Aromatic Jar

Pickling is an ancient art, practiced around the globe for thousands of years to keep surplus harvests from spoilage, but flourishes now because of sheer adoration of pickles’ zip and zing. We Southerners slip into poetry over our mouthwatering pickles, as Thomas Jefferson did more than 200 years ago: “On a hot day in Virginia, I know nothing more comforting than a fine spiced pickle, brought up trout-like from the sparkling depths of the aromatic jar.”

>> read “Alchemy In the Aromatic Jar”       #Edibles   #Recipes   #Vegetables
Plants Need Their Rest Too

This is about the time of year I start getting inquiries from local media about why leaves turn colors in the fall. What they really want to know is the exact week of peak color to inform the leaf-peepers. I usually respond that the plants are preparing to enter dormancy and peak color depends on prevailing weather conditions and is often unpredictable.

But what exactly is dormancy and why is it crucial to plants? Like explaining why leaves change color, the answer is not straightforward and “depends,” which is not the answer most people want to hear. I’ll attempt to explain in layman’s terms an interesting facet of a plant’s life.

>> read “Plants Need Their Rest Too”       #Colorful   #Fall   #Orange   #Trees
 
 
 

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