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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Color Eggs with Natural Dyes from the Garden

Hard to imagine but folks couldn’t always go to the department store and buy egg coloring kits. So, what did they use to dye their eggs? If you read the title then you guessed it: flowers, leaves and fruits of plants growing nearby or in their gardens.

>> read “Color Eggs with Natural Dyes from the Garden”       #Colorful   #Crafts   #Holiday: Easter   #How to
Dragonfly Fascination

Dragonflies with their ominous beauty, vivid colors and their spectacular flying maneuvers have provided hours of entertainment for many gardeners. Dragonflies are widespread across the United States and can be enticed to visit most yards. There are more than 450 species found throughout the United States and Canada. They range in color and size from the small eastern amberwing to the very large and brilliantly colored green darner. Although these insects tend to stay close to their birthplace, they are strong fliers that will explore surrounding areas. So if you garden even remotely near fresh water or a wetland, you can lure dragonflies to your yard.

>> read “Dragonfly Fascination”       #Colorful   #Insects   #Wildlife
Winter Wakeups
Three shrubs to beat the doldrums

Right now we are in the thick of it. Cold, dark and dreary days of winter are surrounding us with a blanket of plain white, brown, and gray. Depressing to a gardener that longs for shimmers of green and color, any color will do.

Typically we go to the catalogs, books, and internet to find treasures for the coming spring, but there are gems to be found in the winter garden if you plan for it. There are many shrubs, deciduous and evergreen, that fill corners of gardens throughout the year bringing yearlong interest. Here are three shrubs that keep working even when the world goes blah.

>> read “Winter Wakeups”       #Colorful   #Ornamentals   #Winter
The Lure and Lore of Hellebores

Looking for an evergreen perennial with elegant, richly colorful flowers that thrives in shade and doesn’t tempt deer? The leafy hellebore (Helleborus spp.) is the gardener’s favorite for those qualities and more.

Mostly problem free, hellebores bloom from late winter to early spring across the United States in Zones 5 and 6. Their drooping flowers can be pink, mauve, white, speckled, green, burgundy, yellow, bi-colored, black-purple and more. They last into the summer, becoming greener or darker with maturity.

>> read “The Lure and Lore of Hellebores”       #Colorful   #Flowers   #Plant Profile
‘Leave’ the Color

It does not matter how you come to embrace growing plants inside. Indoor gardening, putting plants in containers rather than in the ground, is a unique style. The hobby consumes a plant lover’s life no matter how innocently the introduction came about.

>> read “‘Leave’ the Color”       #Colorful   #Ornamentals   #Unusual
Growing Succulents in Containers

They can be hairy, tiny, fuzzy, striped or ghost-like. They can form rosettes of dusty slate blue, green or white edged in red, or blend in with their surroundings. These are just a few of the variations found in plants beneath the umbrella term “succulent.” They’re fairly new on the mainstream gardening scene, especially in the Midwest.

>> read “Growing Succulents in Containers”       #Colorful   #Containers   #Succulents   #Xeriscaping
Tropical Plants

“Go big or stay at home.” It’s become one of my springtime battle cries. Like me, my garden is becoming mature, (perhaps overgrown?), with plants becoming more relaxed, settled in and, some may even say, sloppy. It cries out for some eye-catching eye candy, something with a stately presence.

Luckily, Midwest garden centers finally are embracing the beauty of the tropics, so big plants are not hard to find. And I’m not talking about hardy shrubbery. Elephant ears, papyrus and tiger-striped cannas beckon and find rides in my cart along with the premium annuals and promising perennials.

>> read “Tropical Plants”       #Colorful   #Unusual
Dahlias for Smiles, Not for Show
You don’t have to be ‘serious’ to grow dahlias

My grandfather’s neighbor grew dahlias – giant things, with huge, coarse leaves. Their stems were trussed to stout bamboo poles, held captive to protect the hope of a flower. He’d pinch out most of the flower buds, trampling them into the ground, squeezing the plant’s energy into one tremendous effort of bloom. I don't grow these dahlias.

>> read “Dahlias for Smiles, Not for Show”       #Colorful   #Flowers   #Ornamentals
11 Plants that Love the Cold

As the Director of the Allen Centennial Garden, a public garden on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I’m always on the lookout for plants that extend the season of interest for our visitors. Plants that are hardy, easy to grow and dependable rank high on this list of some of our favorites.

>> read “11 Plants that Love the Cold”       #Colorful   #Feature   #Winter
‘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”       #Colorful   #Plant Profile   #Trees
‘Appalachian Red’ Redbud

The eastern redbud has long been a staple for southern gardeners and when the delicate flowers fill the forest edges, warmer weather is just a whisper away. While the eastern redbud’s popularity remains strong, there have been a host of newcomers hitting the streets in the last few years. One of my personal favorites is Cercis canadensis ‘Appalachian Red’ or the Appalachian red redbud.

>> read “‘Appalachian Red’ Redbud”       #Colorful   #Plant Profile   #Trees
 
 
 

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