The Wreath

December 15 is National Wreaths Across America Day.  Wreaths, being the circular arrangement of plant twigs, leaves and fruits that they are, have been ubiquitous with Christmas.  Historically, however, the wreath has long been representative of Mother Earth and the sun. With no beginning and no ending, the circle itself is symbolic of infinity.  Today,…

Is That Your Natural Color?

A first it may look fun.  Who wouldn’t be attracted to brilliant hues of green, blue, yellows?  Glitter?  You can never not have enough glitter during the holidays!  But what happens once the season is over?  What do you do with that poor hot pink cactus?  How do you keep the lime-green poinsettia alive? You…

USDA Hardiness Zones

As a gardener it is a good chance that you know what hardiness zone you live in.  You know that you need to choose perennials, trees & shrubs that are hardy to your zone or a zone colder.  You also know that plants that are in a warmer zone will not overwinter where you are….

Powdery Mildew

Powdery mildew is an obligate parasite.  Huh?  In short, powdery mildew doesn’t want to kill your plants – but it sometimes happens, by accident of course.  We most often see this disease on plants outdoors where there is poor air circulation.  You probably have seen peony bushes around town or even your own that ended…

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…

Sunset Bells

Sometimes I struggle grasping the diversity of the Gesneriaceae family.  With over 130 genera and an untold (well not untold but greatly disputed) number of species I am always amazed by this family of plants.  One thing that I do find fascinating is: there are no native Gesneriads to the United States and Canada and…

Streptocarpus

If you have ever grown an African violet you are may want to try your hand at growing Cape Primrose AKA Streptocarpus (strep-to-car’pus).  Streptocarpus are in the Gesneriaceae family which includes the florist gloxinia, lipstick plant, guppy plant, flame violet, African violet, and many more.  Recent genetic studies have determined that both the African violet…

Winterize Garden Tools

Garden tools are important – they make the job easier, and they’re not inexpensive.  If you’ve been gardening for a while, or even just taking care of the lawn and a few perennials, you’ve probably accumulated a collection of several important pieces.  A few minutes of care will pay dividends.   No matter the tool…

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…