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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Backyard Birds
Keep feathered friends flocking to your garden

"Tea-kettle, tea-kettle,"sings the little Carolina wren as it crouches in the garden shed waiting for the most opportune moment to sneak from its perch to the suet hanging from the old oak tree. Nearby, a shy and diminutive Carolina chickadee scolds the gray squirrel with a "chickadee-dee-dee" for stealing the small sunflower seeds that were destined for his early morning breakfast.

>> read “Backyard Birds”    
Simpler Than You Think
Saving and Storing Your Own Seeds

My grandfather’s shed was a mysterious place. Tools I didn’t recognize lined the walls over shelves of coffee cans filled with rusty hardware. Most interesting to me were the dozens of blue glass jars tucked carefully toward the back of each shelf, with seeds of every color and shape imaginable tightly sealed inside. Seed saving seems to have gone the way of horse-drawn plows. Many gardeners opt for ...

>> read “Simpler Than You Think”    
High Octane Vines
Garden Rooms Exhibit Creativity

Many gardeners today are transforming their landscape with “high octane” vines that grow with extreme vigor, climb easily on their own with tendrils or disks and provide almost instant cover. These hot, new vines may be annuals or perennials, depending on the selection.

>> read “High Octane Vines”    
Wilted Rainbow Chard

There are many recipes for wilted chard in which the greens are sautéed and then simmered in stock until they are extremely tender. This is not that kind of recipe. To retain the crunch, freshness, and color, just gently warm the chard in oil you’ve infused with flavor. Serves four.

>> read “Wilted Rainbow Chard”       #Edibles   #Recipes
Topiary Gardens

Ultimately, gardening is the act of ‘controlling’ plants and shaping the landscape to our own designs. Topiary takes ‘gardening’ to a higher level. Topiary, the art of training live plants to grow into a myriad of shapes and forms by clipping foliage and branches has been practiced since Roman times. The word itself comes from the word topiarius, a description of an ornamental landscape gardener or the creator of topia ...

>> read “Topiary Gardens”       #Art   #Design   #Landscaping   #Pruning   #Shrubs   #Themed Gardens   #Trees
Trees for Winter Interest
It’s all about the bark and berries.

Bark is beautiful. Berries are also beautiful. So says Dr. Leonard O. Miller, who suggests selecting and planting items for winter interest. Dr. Miller is the developer of Lendonwood Gardens in Grove, Okla., and donated the property to a nonprofit corporation in January 1997. Lendonwood Gardens is at its peak in the spring and summer.

>> read “Trees for Winter Interest”    
Bonfire Begonias
Enliven your spring patio and landscape.

Enliven your spring patio and landscape with Bonfire begonias. Their shocking scarlet-orange blossoms easily light up canopied beds and containers as profusions of dainty bells elegantly hang from arching blue-green limbs. Perfect for hanging baskets or mixed containers, Bonfire begonias stand only 18 inches in height, as their swooping stems gracefully cascade downward, creating a remarkable fountain of fiery orange. Heat up your containers with innovative varieties like Bonfire Choc Orange or Bonfire Choc Pink to enjoy cinnamon red and cotton candy blooms, lavishly infused with rich, chocolate mocha leaves.

>> read “Bonfire Begonias”       #Hot Plants
Made in the Shade
Indicator Plants And Shade Gardening

Shade is a major design consideration in most gardens in the Southern U.S. Given the opportunity, we nestle our homes under the spreading boughs of forest giants and are forced from the outset to develop a garden that will never know the full intensity of the sun. Or, if our subdivision was a cotton field or cow pasture in a previous life, we grow our own shade – never quite believing that those small switches we plant will one day become sylvan giants and rob sunlight like a thief in the night. Shade is a good thing, though. It makes our outdoor living spaces habitable during the muggy months and permits the summer-long enjoyment of our gardens.

>> read “Made in the Shade”    
Mamou
Erythrina herbacea

Erythrina herbacea is best known in Louisiana as mamou, but it also answers to coral bean, Cherokee bean and cardinal spear. A member of the Fabaceae (bean) family, mamou has compound (trifoliate) leaves, thorny stems and showy red flowers on tall spikes in late spring to early summer, followed by long slender pods opening to reveal bright crimson-red seeds.

>> read “Mamou”       #Hot Plants
Outdoor Benches

Placing a bench in the garden is not a simple matter of carrying it from the delivery truck to the patio. To really incorporate it into the overall garden landscape, there are a few basic considerations.

First, you should determine whether or not you really intend to sit on the bench. Are you showcasing it for garden tours, or do you want the bench to serve as your own private retreat? Do you see it as place to exhibit containers, or a spot to write a letter to a friend? Answering these questions will help you determine appropriate size, design and materials.

>> read “Outdoor Benches”    
The Basics of Bulb Planting

Gardeners are an optimistic lot, always planning for the future and dreaming about what is yet to come. Nowhere is this optimism more apparent than when we plant bulbs. In our mind’s eye, we see glorious displays of tulips and drifts of golden daffodils splashed across our gardens like so much spilled paint.

>> read “The Basics of Bulb Planting”    
Lemon Balm
The Scent of Sweet Dreams and Calm Nerves

What can produce a mild sedative effect, relieve cramps and gas and produce antibacterial and antiviral properties, according to modern research? Lemon balm. No new discovery, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) was noted by the 16th century physician Paracelsus as healing patients at death’s door. The Roman scholar Pliny, another believer in the effects of lemon balm, thought ...

>> read “Lemon Balm”    
 
 
 

New from our Bloggers:


Create Healthy Garden Soil
Tips to create healthy garden soil naturally.

[+] Garden Joy


Harvesting and Cooking With Dried Beans
Let some bean pods dry on the vine and save dried beans for winter soups.

[+] Bee Happy Garden