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Growing Carrion Flower: Nature’s Flycatcher


Just imagine if you could grow a drought-tolerant plant that may actually reduce fly populations. One group of South African succulents, carrion flowers (Stapelia spp.), does just that. Unique carrion flowers have evolved very exotic starfish-like blossoms that kill the most ubiquitous insect in Africa: the fly. But death does not come until these insects have first pollinated the blooms. Prey are always prevalent […]

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Create a Succulent Seascape Rock Garden


Well-chosen and placed succulents in picturesque rock gardens can have an underwater, seafloor appeal. The design key is selecting various dryland treasures with anemone-, coral-, and urchin-like forms and textures in shades of blue green, silver, gold and red. When arranged against a setting of bold rocks, lined with a ripple of pebbles and seashells, the effect is cool and inviting.
I created such a garden […]

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A Vertical Vegetable Garden in the City


Salem, Oregon gardener Harry Olson has taken vertical gardening to new heights, (literally).  Harry’s home is on a small city lot and because of space constraints and shade issues from neighboring trees, Harry has, out of necessity, created a vertical garden.  This has challenged him to creatively experiment and find innovative ways to maintain a productive edible garden.  Many of his methods could easily […]

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Five Delicious Lemon Scented Herbs

Low-growing variegated lemon thyme makes a lovely and tasty addition to herb or container gardens.
If I had to pick my favorite scent in the garden, it would be difficult to select just one, and it might depend on what scent I was smelling at the moment. There are many plants in my garden that have a pleasant scent I enjoy. Common Heliotrope comes to mind, […]

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Little Aloe World: Discover Dwarf Aloes

Dense and colorful, Aloe juvenna (foreground) makes a great rockery subject or potted specimen.
While we ogle big fancy aloes blooming in frost-free gardens, their sensitivity to cold winters limits their cultivation elsewhere. The plants in the same genus as Aloe vera, the popular Arabian species used for skin care, rarely survive the winters of sub-tropical zones. For everyone who cannot grow succulents outdoors year round, […]

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Wine Grape Growing for All Gardeners

There are wine grapes for practically any growing situation!
If you have a sunny patio arbor or pergola, then you have enough room to grow wine grapes. Most wine lovers will recognize the names of standard grape varieties, like ‘Pinot Noir’ and ‘Chardonnay’, but new wine grapes, like ‘Itasca’ and Pixie® Cabernet Franc, are continually being introduced, with desirable traits like cold hardiness and compactness. New […]

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Bold Waterwise Container Plantings

Pots of fine-textured Cape rushes define each tier of The Huntington’s California Garden. (Image care of The Huntington)
Do you need a big accent container plant for patio or garden that asks for little water? In California, designs resulting from water cutbacks are changing the way we look at potted plants. Now they are a bigger part of the landscape, nestled in the planting or set at crucial spots to please the eye. These […]

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Growing Miniature Roses

Pots of miniature roses brighten up a nursery display.
Miniature roses are perfect for small-space gardeners that love the look of classic roses. They come in all colors, and newer varieties are disease resistant and bloom continuously through summer.
There is a cloud of mystery concerning the exact origin of the miniature rose. It is most likely a descendant of the Chinese rose, Rosa chinensis var. minima, and for some unknown reason it made its […]

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Succulent Container Gardening: Potted Xeriscaping

A colorful Aeonium is accented by cascading string of pearls (Senecio rowleyanus). (Robin Plaskoff Horton)
Succulents—a broad group of arid plants that store water in their leaves or stems—are perfect for busy, forgetful, or novice gardeners because they are easy to grow and don’t require much water or maintenance. Some are hardy and others tender, and they come in a myriad of dazzling choices for tough, beautiful container gardens.
So Many Succulents!
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Sanseveria Reconsidered

Pots of Sanseveria planted into pots with annual color bring zest to shade gardens.
Extreme South African drought consumed everything except curious green, sword-like plants rising from barren ground beneath giraffe-pruned trees. They survived because they are succulents. While browsers struggled to find food, they did not touch the swords, which contained unpalatable toxins.
This is Sanseveria trifasciata, the old fashioned mother-in-law’s-tongue or sword plant. Its resilience shows why it is a no-brainer house plant; […]

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