Witchhazel

What is your favorite late fall flowering tree?  Or what is your favorite mid-winter flowering shrub?  If you didn’t think common witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana) let me introduce the two of you.  Witchhazel (sometimes seen as witch hazel) is a small tree or large shrub that can be either multi stem or single trunk reaching between…

Outdoor Christmas Containers—Scrounging at its Finest!

  I love putting together outdoor holiday containers (except for the winter when we had so much snow that the container was soon buried and I didn’t see it again until the Spring thaw!) Collecting the materials is easy—I utilized my yard, roadside ditches and a windbreak to put together enough stems.  Altogether I collected…

The First Thanksgiving: A feast of native and local foods

Turkey, dressing (or stuffing, depending on where you put it or what you call it), potatoes, fresh bread rolls and pumpkin pie are the traditional fare for the celebration these days, but they are a far cry from what the original feast shared by the pilgrims and American Indians would have featured.

Pumpkins-on-a-Stick

Nothing says Thanksgiving like pumpkins, but have you ever grown pumpkins-on-a-stick?  “Pumpkin” is a bit of misnomer because these are actually eggplant.  The flavor of this eggplant is quite bitter and is used in Asian dishes, but this doesn’t preclude using it for arrangements. The color of pumpkins-on-a-stick is outstanding and they make a great…

False Christmas Cactus

Growing up my mom always called her Christmas cactus a Thanksgiving cactus because it would be in full flower by the end of November.  Being the good son, I never questioned Mom or try to correct her.  Twenty something years and a few advance degrees later, Mom was right.  The popular plant that’s now arriving…

Seedling Trees-An Economical Way to Purchase Trees

If you’re a fan of trees like I am, it can be frustrating to purchase the number and variety of trees you’re dreaming of without busting the budget.  Look no further than many of the state tree seedling programs to fill the gap.  Granted, you may have to buy bundles of 25 to 50 at…

Plant Protection

Are your trees ready for winter?  Last week I talked about the importance of winter watering but I want to touch on woody plant protection.  Most of our herbaceous perennials die back to the ground and don’t need protection from small mammals.  However, those plants that have a persistent above ground structure, tree and shrubs,…

Winter is Coming: Prepare your Fruit Trees and Shrubs

While the end of the garden season has basically flown past us with a flash of frost and freeze, there are still some things you need to do to prepare your garden for winter. Fruit trees and shrubs are no different, as there are some things you should do or prepare to do before the…

Now You Have a Good Reason For Not Tidying the Garden!

My friend, Master Gardener Cheryl Gresham, wrote last week about pollinators, cautioning gardeners about the importance of not being as tidy when we ready the garden for winter. I’m going to expand on Cheryl’s idea. Of the native bees, about 30% continue their life cycle in the hollow stems of plants.  Female bees lay their…

Winter Water

When we think of droughts we often think of soaring heat, lack of rainfall and summer.  We never stop and think that a drought can happen anytime of the year in any season.  Winter droughts do as much damage, maybe even more, as summer droughts.  This is because we tend to not think about our…