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African Violet Care 101


It is that time of year when I start feeling desperate for flowers. Christmas, with all the decorations and lights, is past, and there are three whole months until April, with its early daffodils and crocus. So what is a perfect, ever-blooming houseplant, to brighten things up at this time of year?  The answer is African violets, and they are easier to grow than […]

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Holiday Cactus From Fall to Spring

Spring holiday cactus varieties come in many colorful shades including orange.
Every year, holiday-house-plant lovers enjoy the sensational fall and winter blooms of crab or Thanksgiving (Schlumbergera truncata) cactus and winter or holiday cactus (Schlumbergera x buckleyi), but it does not have to end there. There are other Schlumbergera that bloom at different times of the year, particularly in the mid to late spring, making them outstanding […]

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Unique Poinsettias for the Holidays

These days, poinsettias come in all shades of red, white, and pink. Some are even apricot and salmon hues.
‘Jingle Bells’, ‘Winter Rose Red’, ‘Whitestar’, ‘Cortez Burgundy’, etc., are just some of the names you might find on an exciting new poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) plant this year. There is probably no flower more associated with a holiday in the United States than the poinsettia is for […]

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Putting Perennials To Bed In The Fall


Depending on where you live in the country, September, October, and November are the main months for putting garden beds to rest.  You may still have some warm days in these months, but once the nights and then days become chilly, it’s time to get to work. And, if you do it right, it is quite a bit of work, but more work now […]

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Planting Spring Bulbs Late: Rules and Tips

You can tell the health of daffodil bulbs by squeezing them. Healthy bulbs are firm. Planting these bulbs a little late is not a problem.
If your spring-blooming bulbs are sitting around somewhere, like mine, or you have not even bought them yet, you will be glad to know that it is not too late. Bulbs can be planted as late as November or December, as […]

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Nonstop Fuchsias For Fall Gardens and Hummingbirds


With summer winding down here in the Pacific Northwest, as I walk through my garden it is the fuchsias I notice. They have bloomed nonstop all summer, and on this September day, their blooms continue. Not only have they not stopped blooming, but they will flower through to October and beyond until we have had frost. It is just what the migrating hummingbirds need […]

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Cooling Garden Water Features

I snapped this photo of a hummingbird enjoying my cooling water fountain. (Image by Mike Darcy)
The sight and sound of water in a garden can lift it to a new level. When I am in a garden and hear or see water, it can, almost instantly, create a calming, serene atmosphere. Whether it is a simple birdbath, a splashing fountain, a flowing stream, or a […]

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Summer Garden Tasks for a Happy Garden


July, 2021 –If ever there was a time that showed the benefits of adding compost to the soil, this past week was it. With temperatures in the Portland, Oregon area setting records for all-time highs, plants suffered just as people, pets, and wildlife did. We generally experience mild summer weather, but one afternoon this week our outdoor temperature was 114 […]

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Growing Gorgeous Gladiolus


There is nothing more beautiful in the summer than sword lilies (Gladiolus hybrid) in a vase or the garden. Their stately stalks of glowing, fragrant flowers come in an array of colors that just can’t be beat! Most gardeners grow them for cut flowers, but glads can also be carefully worked into summer flower borders for floral impact. There are also compact types suitable […]

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Nine Water-Saving Garden Tips to Fight Drought

A combination of protective row covers, mulch, and drip hoses will dramatically reduce water loss.
Hot weather drains garden plants dry and reduces productivity, especially when rain is scarce. More and more gardeners have had to change the way they grow because heat and drought limit the season. Rather than getting discouraged, they have learned smarter gardening techniques and how to stretch resources. Approaching the garden […]

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