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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

A Painted ‘Forest’
Try this cool idea this winter for long-lasting color

When we moved into our new condo, there was a dead mountain ash tree in the backyard. I’d just come back from a visit to Chicago and I’d seen how the parks department there had painted dead trees, turning them into art. Inspired, I painted my own dead tree, and used it to hang wind chimes, lamps, and houseplants summering outdoors. The bright purple was a great accent color in the garden.

>> read “A Painted ‘Forest’”       #Art   #Colorful   #Design   #How to
Lemony Herbs
When you can't grow lemons, grow lemony herbs

No lemons? No problem. If you want to enjoy a homegrown lemony taste, consider growing some lemony herbs in your garden.

>> read “Lemony Herbs”       #Edibles   #Herbs   #Plant Profile
Various Vinegars
Make your own herbal vinegars to add zip to your recipes

Here it is winter and I am yearning for the taste of my favorite fresh herbs. I prepared for this moment by making a variety of herbal vinegars in the early fall. It is a great easy way to add a gourmet zip to so many recipes – from salads to meats. Additionally, herbal vinegars can be used for cosmetic uses, medical purposes, plus household uses. Who would have thought you could have herbal vinegars on hand to beat the heat, as well as to battle illnesses and insects.

>> read “Various Vinegars”       #Edibles   #Herbs   #How to
Following Directions
Understanding the labels on your pesticides and herbicid

In a world of litigation and lawsuits it is no surprise that any pesticide being sold for profit must contain legal labeling. While it seems like a simple and common sense thing to do, many people never read the labels, or if they do, they don’t really understand them. Consumers flock to the stores on Saturdays purchasing an arsenal of weed killers, insecticides, and fungicides, many times not fully understanding what they have bought or how to correctly apply it.

>> read “Following Directions”       #Advice   #Health and Safety   #Pests
5 Houseplant Enemies and What to Do
How did you miss those insects? How did they get in?

You may notice yellowing or dropping leaves, or a sticky substance on the leaves or floor before you ever see a pest. Those are some of the symptoms that may clue you in that your plants have a problem.

>> read “5 Houseplant Enemies and What to Do”       #Containers   #Insects   #Pests
Bats Are the Good Guys
If you are afraid of bats, you have bats in the belfry.

Halloween is coming, and we all are carving pumpkins and decorating the yard with funny and scary creatures. However, the one creature that strikes fear into everyone’s heart is very real – the bat.

>> read “Bats Are the Good Guys”    
Gardening Goofs
Tough lessons learned through experience

One positive aspect of living in an area with four actual, distinct seasons is that each spring starts afresh – with enthusiasm and excitement for gardening, with an expectation of doing better than the year before. With a promise to learn from mistakes, we move optimistically into another growing season. Learning from others’ goofs may help you avoid these pitfalls:

>> read “Gardening Goofs”    
Super-Sized Sculptures

Throughout the years, I have explored and taken pictures of lots and lots of gardens. I am always amazed and intrigued by the personal touches gardeners add, and lately my eyes have been drawn to selectively placed, oversized sculptures.

These super-sized sculptures seem to have a calming effect and perhaps this is why I am so drawn to them in my perpetually chaotic life. These larger-than-life sculptures strategically situated in the garden, without distraction from nearby plants, structures or any other elements, have captured my interest and a good bit of my spare time ...

>> read “Super-Sized Sculptures”    
Focal-Point Plants

Have you ever wondered why some gardens suck you in, transporting you to another dimension, your curiosity pulling you around every corner, while others have about as much interest as your sock drawer, leaving no lasting impression? What element is missing?

A focal point is that element that is used to draw your eye into the garden. Your gaze will stop at this element. Then your eye will travel to adjacent plants and details that you may not have noticed otherwise. Having a series of focal points, each just visible from a distance, will help guide you through the garden, from one garden room to the next.

What makes a plant a focal point? It could be form, color or texture, something that catches your eye that is unique from anything else surrounding it. It is large enough to stand on its own, but you must be mindful of scale. If it’s too small for the “garden room,” it will not be noticed. And if it’s too large, it will completely overpower the garden and be out of balance. You will want to select a plant that has year-round interest unless it’s used in a garden area that is only visited during a particular season, such as summer ...

>> read “Focal-Point Plants”    
Fall Gardening Strategies

The summer garden is largely finished and your fall crops are growing nicely, but there’s still plenty to do: Winter is on its way and doing the right work now can really put you ahead next spring. The life in your garden may slow down during winter, but never absolutely ceases. So why not use your garden’s downtime to your advantage? You can, with a range of fall gardening strategies.

>> read “Fall Gardening Strategies”       #Fall   #Seeds   #Winter
The Joys of Garden Journaling

Once the explosion that is summer comes to a screeching halt, gardeners are susceptible to “garden fatigue.” Ah, but fall is for reflection — on the successes and failures of the year’s garden, on the “bones” of the landscape, on the cyclical nature of life. It is a time for slowing down, observing, writing snippets of poetry. It is the perfect time to start a garden journal.

>> read “The Joys of Garden Journaling”       #Fall   #Misc   #Tools
Harvesting and Storing Veggies and Fruits
Save the garden’s best to brighten winter.

My neighbor, we call him “Farmer Mel,” does something I find baffling. He practices serious delayed gratification. Throughout summer and into fall, he freezes about 50 quarts of homegrown, luscious, sweet, red, ripe raspberries. He, his wife, grown kids and grandkids enjoy them all winter.

>> read “Harvesting and Storing Veggies and Fruits”    
 
 
 

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