Here it is October in the Pacific Northwest, and cool moist weather is upon us after a hot and dry summer. The recent rains and cool temperatures are a welcome relief to many plants (as well as to myself). Many summer annuals are still performing, and the hardy fuchsias and dahlias will continue to flower heavily up until frost. This is also the time […]
Branches laden with bright purple berry clusters can be a very pleasant surprise to those unaware of the virtues of beautyberry (Callicarpa spp.). These berries provide a bright spot of color, especially in the autumn garden when the color performance of many shrubs is over.
There are more than a dozen species of Callicarpa, however only a few are readily available to at plant nurseries. […]
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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
“If weather promises to be uncompromisingly unpredictable in years to come, choose tomato varieties that will be resilient to unexpected weather.”
It’s early August and most of my 15 tomato vines—beefsteaks, paste, and salad types—still have green fruit. Two lean-to-ripen cherry tomatoes are the only yielders, so far.
For loads of the Mid-Atlantic gardeners, it’s the same story. The summer of 2018’s tomatoes are a month […]
Gravel can make architectural plants stand out like sculpture. (Image by Maureen Gilmer)
Nowhere are water-needy lawns disappearing as fast as in arid southern California and the American Southwest. This is the proving ground for a lot of alternatives to traditional turfgrass. A big problem is always the front yard, where your property value is rooted in curb appeal. What you do there will have a […]
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, […]
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 […]
Spring pruning makes shrub roses tidier and prettier.
Pruning shrub roses in spring…exactly what does it mean when a rose is called a ‘shrub rose’? In Taylor’s Dictionary for Gardeners a shrub is defined as “A woody plant that is shorter than a tree and usually has several stems that branch from the base”. This definition would certainly fit many rose types, like floribunda (shrub rose crosses between polyantha and hybrid teas roses.), grandiflora […]
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