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Perennials for Dry Shade

Japanese anemones are excellent shade perennials with late-season blooms.

Here in the Midwest, we have had unusually dry weather from August to October in the past few years.  Last year we had no rain, except for one sprinkle, for ten weeks.  My water bills exceeded $200, with the water company […]

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Early Summer Garden Tasks for a Happy Garden


By the time the month of June arrives, I like to think that I have many of my early-season garden tasks completed. However, this is rarely the case because in a garden, there is always something to do and a project that has not been completed. And, this has been quite a spring.
The spring of 2020 has been nothing like […]

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Fragrant Garden Flowers to Soothe the Senses

Fragrant Garden Flowers: Lilac (top left), clove pinks (bottom left), honeysuckle (bottom right).

Close your eyes and step into the garden. What do you smell? If you plant for aroma, you can be guided through your garden blindfolded and know what plants are there. Honeysuckle, hyacinths, lavender, and roses are […]

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Diverse, Beautiful Garden Hostas

Diverse, beautiful garden Hostas come in all colors and sizes.
The plant kingdom never ceases to amaze me with the diversity that it offers. Even plants in the same genus can have very unique traits in leaf color and texture, growth habits, environmental preferences, winter hardiness, heat tolerance, and flowers. A good example of a diverse genus is Hosta, commonly called the plantain lily.
Many garden plants, […]

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Cottage Gardens for American Gardeners

An old cottage garden border contains peonies and oriental poppies, among other old-fashioned flowers.
I am a person who looks at all the new perennials available in local nurseries each spring and always find new ones I cannot live without.  When I get home, I look for a spot in my already full flowerbeds and stick my new purchases in. With intention, my carefree, fragrant, flower-filled […]

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Spring Garden Tasks for a Happy Garden


Amidst these very troubling and upsetting times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I appreciate my garden even more. It is a refuge where I can go and clear my mind of all the chaos around me and feel some calmness. I can see the hummingbirds going for a meal in the flowers of Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium), and then fly […]

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The ABCs of Hanging Basket Creation and Care

Dark Eyes Fuchsia is a stellar variety with glowing flowers that attract hummingbirds.
Spring is finally here, and many of us have been bitten by the Flower Bug. We are looking forward to beautiful pots on the deck and hanging baskets on the front porch full of gorgeous flowers. It is fun to make up your own hanging baskets, using last year’s baskets or new ones. […]

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Design an All-Season Butterfly Garden

Coneflowers and black-eyed-Susans are two essential summer-flowering perennials for butterflies.
A well-designed butterfly garden should have flowers all season and contain plants that feed the caterpillars of butterflies as well as the adults. You’ll know if you’ve done well when monarchs (Danaus plexippus), painted ladies (Vanessa cardui), swallowtails (Papilio spp.), and other butterflies visit your garden frequently and even stay to grow and pupate.
There are two […]

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Growing And Enjoying Old-Fashioned Lilacs

The French heirloom double lilac ‘Montaigne’ is a very fine bloomer. (Image by Jessie Keith)
Nothing is more fragrant than classic lilacs in spring.  I am a lilac nut and have 21 different varieties growing in my yard. When they are blooming, it is hard to stay indoors, unless, of course, you pick a few to enjoy in a vase.
Lilacs (Syringa vulgaris, USDA Hardiness Zones 3-7) […]

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Ornamental Spreaders, Cascaders, and Creepers for the Garden

Creeping thyme has the benefit of being both culinary and a wonderful ornamental creeper for bees.

Tired of weeding the cracks in sidewalks and the places around stepping stones?  Plant creepers.  These ground-hugging perennials are small but mighty, working proactively to keep untidy grass and weeds from taking over. Creepers […]

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