Classic Color Combinations

  The keys to success with patio planters and pots of all sizes are: Designing with the thriller, chiller and spiller concept in mind. The “thriller” is a plant chosen to “wow” you, to attract attention.  The “spiller” is the plant that cascades over the edge of the pot, providing a softening effect, and the…

Containers…Everything is a Container!

Just about any item can be a vessel for plants, from wash tubs to whiskey barrels to cast aside footware.  All that is required is a side wall and a drain hole, which can be fabricated if need be.  Once the imagination has run wild about what could be, it’s important to focus on fine…

Tangled Roots and Potting Soil

Getting annuals, veggies and perennials off to a good start in container gardens is crucial to their success.  This starts with choosing well branched, stocky plants and examining the roots. First, gently squeeze the pot between your hands or fingers and then tease the root mass out.  Inspect the roots.  They should be white, bright…

Snap, Crackle, Pop

Though this phrase might conjure up images of a certain breakfast cereal, it should also communicate thoughts of a durable, widely adaptable flower for the landscape – the snapdragon.  It might also bring back fond memories of gardening with your grandparents; snapdragons have been around forever and are popular across the generations.  This worthy species…

It’s The Berries

As autumn’s colorful leaves fall to the ground, our attention turns to berries as a source of color in our landscapes and for cuttings to grace our tables and entryways. Crabapples represent some of the most reliable of spring’s breathtaking flowers, but the fruit they produce also offer an array of yellow, orange and red…

Saving Seeds

Long before the advent of seed catalogs, gardeners saved seed from their prettiest, tastiest and most promising flowers and vegetables of the gardening season, discarding the seeds from the blah, the unattractive and the poor producers.  In essence, gardeners have helped mold the shape of gardening selections, making them some of the earliest purveyors of…

Fall Garden Clean Up

When cleaning up the fall garden, it’s hard to know what should be cleared away and what should stay.  Gurus of tidiness opt for removing everything now in order to start with a clean slate in the spring.  But is there such a thing as too much tidiness?  It turns out that, yes indeed, that…

The Benefits of Fallen Leaves

It’s too bad autumn’s fallen leaves are seen as a nuisance, something to be gotten rid of as soon as possible. In truth, they are a boon to landscapes, serving as mulches, benefiting soils, and boosting our compost piles. Not only are leaf piles fun to jump in and make for great leaf fights, by…

Spiny Solanums

Over the last few weeks I’ve talked about perennials and how common names can inherently hurt them.   However, this week the plant that has caught my eye and has recently become a new obsession is the porcupine tomato Solanum pyracanthos.  Unlike other plants with a misleading common name, this one delivers.  Yes this is a…

Two More Weeds

I have a soft spot for weeds.  I get asked on a weekly occurrence if a plant is a weed or a flower.  I know it is frustrating to answer a question with a question but I like to ask the client if it is growing where it belongs.  When you think about it bluegrass…