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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Shrubs for Summer
Five successful shrubs to try in Zones 3-6

When it comes to shrubs for the home garden, there are quite a few varieties to choose from. I recommend that before purchasing a shrub or two, a basic question should be asked – do you have room for something that can grow anywhere from 5 to 15 feet tall? Some gardeners have lots of room and some might not, so it’s a point I believe that needs to be considered. However, if you do have the room, one good thing about shrubs is once they’re established, they require very little maintenance.

>> read “Shrubs for Summer”       #Ornamentals   #Shrubs   #Summer
Odd Tools for Odd Jobs

By the time we hit the hot months of July and August, most folks would rather be sipping cold tea in their air-conditioned homes rather than working out in their gardens or mowing their lawns. By this time, garden chores such as mowing grass, weeding flowerbeds and tending to our vegetable garden have been a major part of our schedules throughout the spring and early summer months. While most gardeners are usually equipped with the proper tools to accomplish necessary tasks, there are a few oddball tools out there that may be worth taking a look at. Many of these tools are designed to accomplish specific jobs that would otherwise be very time consuming and much more frustrating. The right tools can definitely make the job easier and more enjoyable. Here is a quick look at some of the equipment out there and how to decide what you really need.

>> read “Odd Tools for Odd Jobs”       #Summer   #Tools   #Unusual
Refresh Summer Perennials

Keeping a garden at its best requires planning and a little effort. Spring through fall, here are a few tips for refreshing your perennials.

>> read “Refresh Summer Perennials”       #Advice   #Pruning   #Summer
5 Must Have Herbs for Summer

I decided to plant some herbs along with my annuals. That was the summer I broke free from my mother’s way of gardening and went out on my own. The fragrance and flavors of the herbs were more powerful to me than the colors brought by the annuals. In the years that followed, I learned how to grow, harvest, and preserve herbs.

>> read “5 Must Have Herbs for Summer”       #Annuals   #Herbs   #Summer
The Procrastinator’s Garden

If you are reading this well after Memorial Day, and you are wishing you had planted a vegetable garden this spring, but think now it is too late, you are in luck. It is not too late to plant a vegetable garden and reap an abundant harvest.

>> read “The Procrastinator’s Garden”       #Raised Beds   #Summer   #Vegetables
After the Tulips
Fill in the gaps after the spring blooms have faded

The glory of the spring was upon us. The first crocus had bloomed, winter aconite made a carpet, the hyacinth crowns were showing, the tips of the daffodils and tulips were emerging and suddenly everything burst into color. Like the finale of a fireworks display, there was much excitement in the garden. Ah, spring.

But a few weeks later, the flowers faded, petals fell to the ground, the stems were bare and there was only leftover foliage to watch wither away. Not so exciting.

>> read “After the Tulips”       #Design   #Flowers   #Perennials   #Summer
High and Dry
Vegetables for when Mother Nature turns up the heat

A kitchen garden’s survival during a drought, or periods drier than normal requires planning, preparing and making smart, water-saving decisions along the way.

>> read “High and Dry”       #Irrigation   #Summer   #Vegetables
From Drab to Fab: Half-Hardy Salvias for Summer Fun

My first garden experiences with tropical sages were a bit drab. Six-packs of mealycup sage (Salvia farinacea) from the grocery store bloomed through the summer with flowers the color of new Levis. The next year, to be fancy, I grew the seed strain ‘Strata’. Its flowers were closer to the color of dirty overalls. Then, of course, there was red Texas sage (Salvia coccinea) and its variety ‘Lady in Red’ — far more elegant in name than in physical reality — plus its bizarre faded pink variant ‘Coral Nymph’.

Yes, they were reliable. They needed little attention, they tolerated heat and drought, and stayed colorful throughout the summer. But they didn’t do anything that a plastic cactus wouldn’t.

>> read “From Drab to Fab: Half-Hardy Salvias for Summer Fun”       #Colorful   #Flowers   #Summer
Midsummer Checkup

Tall, multicolored ‘Granny’s Bouquet’ zinnias flourish in the sunny border. We’ve been clipping them regularly for the table, which encourages new flowering. Heritage garden roses are into their second or third flush. Landscape roses continue strong and brighter than ever. Grape, patio and large luscious tomatoes are at peak production. Yellow and green summer squash are so prolific that neighbors walk the other way when they see you carrying yet another vegetable.

July and August also can bring out the worst in marginally healthy plants. Plants are a collection of living cells, just like us. We’re more susceptible to going downhill fast when stressed, underfed, dehydrated, injured, too hot or too cold.

>> read “Midsummer Checkup”       #Advice   #Pests   #Summer
A Checklist for Summer Entertaining

Your lovely, flower-filled landscape is the perfect setting for entertaining friends and family, but if you don’t have much experience in throwing a party it can be a bit daunting. Whether you’re hosting a graduation party, birthday bash or Fourth of July celebration, completing this simple checklist of tasks will help you organize and pull off the big event in style. Let’s get started!

>> read “A Checklist for Summer Entertaining”       #Decorating   #Misc   #Summer
Fire in the Landscape

Earth, wind, water and fire – yes, fire in the landscape. The glow of a flickering flame invites guests to relax, and it’s a great way to create an interactive environment in your garden. Fire lures guests in and provides a connection with the garden that’s enjoyed both physically and visually. Fire adds a mesmerizing element of mystique and magic to your landscape.

>> read “Fire in the Landscape”       #Design   #Misc   #Summer
Caladiums
caladium bicolor

Learn about Caladiums in this plant profile video.

>> read “Caladiums”       #Plant Profile   #Summer   #Video
 
 
 

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