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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Divine Intervention: Un-holey Containers Provide Freedom from Watering

Watering containers becomes a boring chore when the dog days of summer roll around. Who wants to be lugging hoses and watering cans when it’s blistering hot? Those containers we enjoyed planting in the spring have flourished under our good care. Roots have swelled to fill the pots and foliage and flowers spill over the edges. Sure, they look pretty, but those big root systems and extensive foliage and flowers now require water — lots of water ...

>> read “Divine Intervention: Un-holey Containers Provide Freedom from Watering”    
Green Gap Perennials

Midwestern gardeners have a narrow gap between the cold of winter and heat of summer. But, because of the fickleness of spring weather, there is often a significant gap between the peak of spring bloom (bulbs, roses and early perennials) and the maturity of summer flowers (annuals and summer perennials, such as echinaceas and daylilies). This gap usually becomes apparent throughout late May and early June, when many people’s gardens are green and growing, but with few flowers ...

>> read “Green Gap Perennials”    
Fall Invaders

It happens every year when the nights start getting cold — pests come crawling into your house from every nook and cranny. Here is a look at several home invaders and what to do to deter them.
Autumn is a wonderful time of year, with colorful leaves and invigorating cool weather. However, for many pests the change in season signals the need to seek shelter from the cold winter ahead ...

>> read “Fall Invaders”    
The Dog Days Are Over: Summer Blues to Turn Down the Heat

My garden always starts to look tired in August. The roses have long since faded and given up. The daylilies are done screaming “orange!” in the corners. Even the annuals, the proud cheerleaders of color, have exhausted themselves in the heat ...

>> read “The Dog Days Are Over: Summer Blues to Turn Down the Heat”    
Thought for Food: Planning Perfect Produce

Winter in Iowa is tailor-made for solving problems in the vegetable garden – before they begin. Our long cold nights are perfect for curling up in your favorite chair with garden books, magazines and the new crop of seed catalogs. Start by choosing troublefree varieties ...

>> read “Thought for Food: Planning Perfect Produce”       #Advice   #Edibles
Millstones: Symbols of Harvest in Today’s Gardens

When it comes to collecting millstones, the maxim “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” rings true. In the late 1880s, large urban mill operators started dumping these grain and corn crushers out back as a new roller technology made them obsolete and eventually put the smaller rural mills out of business. When propped alongside an old mill, the granite wheels’ interesting patterns began to attract attention for their ornamental appeal. Others were put to use as stepping stones along a path or a stoop for the back door ...

>> read “Millstones: Symbols of Harvest in Today’s Gardens”    
‘Ruby Falls’ Redbud
Cercis canadensis ‘Ruby Falls’

Gardeners hungry for great plants in small spaces will quickly welcome the ‘Ruby Falls’ weeping redbud (Cercis canadensis ‘Ruby Falls’) into their landscapes.

‘Ruby Falls’, bred at North Carolina State University from other purple-leafed redbuds ‘Covey’ and ‘Forest Pansy’, has the strong pink flowers of its parents – and their deep purple to shiny burgundy leaves that fade to green.

>> read “‘Ruby Falls’ Redbud”       #Hot Plants
Step-by-Step - Create a Raised Garden Bed

Now is the time to think about all those new garden beds you want to add in 2012. Here is a step-by-step primer on how to construct a raised bed the right way — from the ground up. The simple, cruel fact of ornamental gardening is that even when we do every other facet right, failure is all too common if our soil is bad. Improving our soil from the very start is an absolute must — especially when starting a new bed ...

>> read “Step-by-Step - Create a Raised Garden Bed”    
Mulches for the Vegetable Garden

Mulch inhibits weeds and conserves soil moisture. However, many gardeners don’t use mulch in their vegetable beds. Here’s the lowdown on which mulches to use and how to use them. When you mention mulch, the first thought that comes to most minds is the aesthetic look of it in the landscape. A nice, dark bark mulch makes the plants in the bed standout a bit more, but mulch is more than looks ...

>> read “Mulches for the Vegetable Garden”    
Edible Fig
Ficus carica

Though we wouldn’t plant a fig tree (Ficus carica) outdoors with winter coming, we certainly can buy one to grow indoors then plant outside in the spring. With global climate change and the USDA Planting Zone adjustments, some fig varieties will thrive where before they’d likely have died in temperatures below 10 F ...

>> read “Edible Fig”    
Build a Better Rose Garden

Roses have been cultivated for many centuries, but according to legend it was Empress Josephine who created the modern rose garden. Her ambition was to acquire every known variety, and her collection was laid out in orderly rows. Now 200 years later, many rose gardens are still planted out in this style ...

>> read “Build a Better Rose Garden”    
Tool Time
The Best Tools for the Vegetable Gardener

What tools are the ‘must haves’ for the serious gardener? Which tools might make good holiday gifts? Here are a few recommendations.

>> read “Tool Time”    
 
 
 

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