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~Written and photographed by gardening expert
The marigold that combats root knot nematodes best is the French Marigold (Tagetes patula).

The marigold that combats root knot nematodes best is the French Marigold (Tagetes patula).

A single flower crops up time and again in vegetable gardens, old and new.  Our grandparents may not have known why they were included, but they carried on this tradition “to keep bugs out”. But marigolds don’t control pests that bedevil foliage, so why did this practice become so ingrained in the home garden?  Agricultural studies have finally revealed the reasons for marigold planting in organic vegetable gardens and how they actually contribute to plant health. READ MORE

~Written and photographed by gardening expert
The coppery flowers of Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena' are very fragrant and pretty. (image by Jessie Keith)

The coppery flowers of Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ are very fragrant and pretty. (Image by Jessie Keith)

If you were to take a random survey of ten of your neighbors and asked the question: “When you hear the words ‘witch hazel’, what do you think of?”, the answer will most likely not be a plant. The answer will probably be something like, “that stuff you find at the drug store for sores or bruising.” I did ask several neighbors that question and not one mentioned the beautiful landscape shrub gardeners revere. When I would tell my neighbors that the word ‘witch hazel’ also refers to a plant, the general comment was: “Gardeners live in their own world.”
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~Written and photographed by gardening expert
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Before repotting, bathe smooth-leaved house plants in tepid water to help remove dirt or dust.

It is midwinter. You are occasionally stuck indoors, but your fingers are itching to play in the dirt. Why not channel that frustrated gardening energy into repotting some of your indoor house plants? As most house plants appreciate being bumped up into a larger pot every couple of years, this activity could be beneficial for both you and your green cohabitants.
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6 packs

It pays to save six-pack containers from store-bought plants to sow your own seeds. Just be sure to wash the packs before reuse.

The quiet of the January new year is the ideal time to start vegetable garden planning.  This is the month of contemplation when you begin to conjure up next year’s crop in all its glorious diversity.  Whether it’s just an Earth box or a huge family plot, all vegetable gardens start the same way.  Success requires early organization, the ability to assemble exactly what you need, and the ability to time it all to perfection.  In fact, it’s much like planning a holiday meal with a half dozen different dishes that all need to be ready at the same time.  You need to make lists, shop for all the ingredients, and strategize your space in the oven and stove before bringing everything to the table.
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~Written and photographed by gardening expert
Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn'

Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’ adds delightful fragrance and color to the winter garden. (photo by Leonard Foltz)

Recently a friend asked me what my garden looks like during the winter months. I replied that it is “rather bleak”. After thinking about my reply, I decided to take a closer look at my own garden and those around my neighborhood. I am glad that I did because my garden is not as bleak as I thought. This is the time of year when we are not working in our gardens and probably not even walking through them, and so it is easy to forget about some of the winter flowering plants and color they hold. READ MORE

~Written and photographed by gardening expert
poinsettia

The ivory and ruby-rose flowers of the Ruby Frost poinsettia are elegant and unique.

Today’s poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) break the mold of the simple red or ivory potted holiday plant. Nowadays, they come in lots of bicolors as well as shades of pink, peach, yellow, and chartreuse. Many even have extra-large, double, or uniquely shaped blooms. These new poinsettias are a far cry from the leggy Mexican native shrubs that first became part of the American holiday tradition in the 18th Century. READ MORE

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Is your potting soil made by a horticulture company?

Sun Gro is North America's largest producer of sphagnum peat, and the largest distributor of peat moss and peat- and bark-based growing media to professional greenhouse operators in the U.S. and Canada.

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