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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

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
Peony Power

Peonies are one of the best perennial choices for a Midwest garden. The reason is simple: Peonies are hardy and extremely reliable. Once established these beauties are durable and low maintenance. Another admirable aspect of peonies is that, unlike some other perennials, the do not ramble. They come back reliably year after year with little care and produce huge flowers — even enough blooms for cut-flower bouquets.

>> read “Peony Power”       #Flowers   #Pink
Keep Your Friends Close, but Your Anemones Closer

Move over pansy, cyclamen and snapdragon. Anemone (A. coronaria) is the new darling of the cool-season bloomers. After showing up in garden centers around mid-December last year, this scintillating Mediterranean native was snapped up faster than a gardener can say “ranunculus.”

>> read “Keep Your Friends Close, but Your Anemones Closer”       #Colorful   #Flowers   #Plant Profile
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
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
Hold On to Summer

Hate saying goodbye every year to your beautiful flowers? Dry those blossoms and you can keep them for years to come. I’ve always been intrigued with flower drying; in fact I used strawflowers (Xerochrysum bracteatum), statice (Limonium spp.) and baby’s breath (Gypsophila spp.) in my bridal bouquet so I could keep them along with my memories of that eventful day. I even had strawflowers placed on the wedding cake instead of flowers made of icing. I still have those flowers, though they are fading a bit. And they still make me chuckle when I think how my mom bartered manure for them from a neighbor.

>> read “Hold On to Summer”       #Crafts   #Flowers   #How to
Slow Down and Smell the Flowers

During the past few years, the Slow Flower movement has been generating a lot of buzz in the media. Following the success of the Slow Food movement, Debra Prinzing, author of The 50 Mile Bouquet, coined the term “Slow Flowers” in an attempt to talk about some of the reasons for supporting local flower growers as well as appreciating in-season blooms.

>> read “Slow Down and Smell the Flowers”       #Flowers   #Misc   #Sustainability and Self-Sufficiency
History of the Rose

Roses are more than prickly garden plants with exquisite flowers. They are much more than roots and leaves, stems and petals. They are the ultimate symbol of beauty, displaying perfection and romance. But beyond this, they are metaphors of society and us throughout history, as well as today.

>> read “History of the Rose”       #Flowers   #Roses
Clematis 101

Virtually all clematis books are British. I think it’s some kind of law. According to those books, you may pronounce it “klem-a-tiss,” “kli-mah-tiss,” “klem-at-iss” or “klem-ay-tiss.” The plants are fabulous, and will respond no matter how you address them. Most Americans only spiral one up their mailbox post, but the Brits have been exploring the potential of almost 300 species and even more varieties and cultivars, using them far more imaginatively in their gardens for eons.

>> read “Clematis 101”       #Flowers   #Plant Profile   #Vines
Aprils Remembered

As I was scanning my photo library, considering the many garden plants I could write about for this article, I came across a file of photos, all taken during the month of April – not all in the same year, but all in April – gardens ranging from Jackson, Miss., to Louisville, Ky. It reminded me just how abundant the garden is this time of year. This is the season when gardening seems effortless. Well, almost. The weeds are as high-spirited as the annuals and perennials, so diligence in their control is necessary; but still, the garden is lush and growing rapidly, and the vibrant green of spring radiates from its very heart. There is a certain pristine quality about all of the plants emerging fresh and new.

>> read “Aprils Remembered”       #Colorful   #Flowers   #Spring
Some Enchanted Evening

After a long day at work, nothing is more relaxing to me than an evening stroll through the garden. The colors are more saturated in the sunset light than any other time of day, and after dark, the garden takes on a life of its own. In an attempt to attract nighttime pollinators, flowers often unleash intoxicating fragrances that permeate the damp, evening air. Some even open in time-lapse fashion, and I find myself mesmerized watching their petals unfurl. Many of these plants are easy to find and to grow, which makes them all the more appealing. If I had to narrow the list down to just a few of my top favorites that make my garden come to life every night, the list might look something like this

>> read “Some Enchanted Evening”       #Fragrant   #Flowers   #Themed Gardens   #White
Making a Moon-Moth Garden

Many people enjoy their gardens during the daylight hours and head indoors as the sun starts to set. But if you install a moon-moth garden, you’ll find yourself anticipating the approach of late afternoon and early evening when you’ll be able to watch the flowers open followed by the night insect visitors (mostly moths).

>> read “Making a Moon-Moth Garden”       #Flowers   #Insects   #White