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…

Autumn Hues of Yellow and Gold

The yellows and golds of autumn bring brightness and warmth to the landscape.  Sitting beneath my ash trees in the fall, the air is awash with a golden glow as the trees appear to be lit from within.  It’s truly magical. Sometimes I think we’re so fixated on the reds of autumn we fail to…

Fall Seed Starting—Enlist the Help of a Board!

Now is the time to plant your fall vegetable crops.  Seeds of lettuce, spinach, carrots, peas, beets, kale, and radishes are some of the options.  With daytime temperatures in the 80’s, however, it can be tough keeping the seeds evenly moist so they can germinate.  A simple and low-cost way to remedy this is with…

A Turtlehead Tutorial

Turtlehead, Chelone spp., is one of the great flowers of the late summer garden.  Flowers are either pink or white and are shaped like, you guessed it, a turtle’s head. Turtlehead is a great pollinator plant, adding a tapestry of color and flight to the garden. The plant must have an impish streak too because…

Stupendous Liatris

You may be aware of the spiked gayfeather that graces florist bouquets, but this is just the beginning of all Liatris has to offer.  People unfamiliar with the plant are often surprised to find out it is a native.  Nothing beats the intense purple color of flower spikes that manage to hold themselves up without…

High Temperatures Affect Tomato Production

With the week’s high temperatures, watch for tomato fruit set to be delayed.  This is because pollen dies when temperatures reach 85 degrees F. or higher.  Dead pollen means flowers don’t get pollinated and unfertilized flowers will fall to the ground, resulting in reduced production. Gardeners often want to know if hand pollination will help…

National Pollinator Week: Soldier Beetles

What a happy combination—soldier beetles and butter daisies! The soldier beetle, Chauliognathus spp., is a ½ inch long insect that gets its name from its wing covers, which resemble a uniform. It may remind you of the lighting bug, and rightly so, since they are related. Both the larvae and adults of soldier beetles feed…