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Planting Under Fir Trees

The western bleeding heart is one of several plants that will grow well beneath firs.
“What can I grow under several fir trees? Question from Karen of Portland, Oregon
Answer: Do you have Douglas firs on your property? (I love Doug firs!) Either way, I would recommend going with beautiful native understory plants from your region that can take the soil acidity, needle drop, and moist/dry conditions […]

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Planting Lavender in Wisconsin


“When is the best time to plant Lavender in southeastern Wisconsin?” Question by Janet of Elkhorn, Wisconsin.
Answer: There are several lavenders that will survive winters in USDA Hardiness Zone 5, which is your local hardiness zone. The hardiest lavender for your climate is English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). I suggest the varieties ‘Munstead’, which is quite compact, and ‘Hidcote’, a taller variety with deep lavender-blue […]

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Misbehaving Hens and Chicks?


“I planted hens and chicks (Sempervivum spp.) in the front planter against my house last year. It gets a lot of sun, and I have had portulaca flowers there too, because nothing seemed to grow there. The three hens and chicks are thriving, however they are growing strangely. They are growing vertically. They didn’t grow like that last year. Obviously there is something wrong?” –Question […]

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Can You Identify this Spring Flower?


“I found this flower growing under a tree in my yard this spring. Can you tell me what it is?” –Question from Laura in Reading, Pennsylvania
ANSWER: Hi Laura, Lucky you! You have a beautiful spotted geranium (Geranium maculatum) in your yard. This is not a weed! It’s a lovely native woodland perennial that can be found growing across eastern North America. It blooms in […]

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