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Bold, Sculptural Potted Succulents

These upright basketweave pots are texturally different, attractive, and add to the interest of the golden-edged ‘Laurentii’ snake plant and Aloe elegans they hold.
Some succulents have a real presence and panache. The best can fill a large pot, creating unmatched indoor or outdoor living sculptures. Most are long-lived and effortless to grow if provided a few cultural basics. These are the succulents to choose for […]

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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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The Cult of Extreme Heat: Raising the Hottest Peppers


Hot peppers have a cult following. Those that eat, hybridize, and grow the hottest peppers in the world are all part of the wicked hot-pepper culture where Scoville Units below 1,000,000 are too cool to be cool. Breeders and growers choose only the most dangerously scorching Capsicum fruits on the planet. Each year, newer, hotter peppers appear in the pursuit of extreme heat.
Hot peppers […]

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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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Heavenly Non-Invasive Honeysuckles for Pollinators

Many native honeysuckles are adapted for hummingbird pollination.
 
I love the honeysuckles (Lonicera japonica) of old. Their fragrance is unmatched, and their nectar-filled flowers sweet to taste. But sadly, the rampant, rambling wild vines are Asian in origin and unfriendly to North American landscapes. They take over; smothering native landscapes in a sweetly-scented blanket of blooms. There is, however, an upside. There are loads of native, […]

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How to Weed Gardens: Tips, Tools, and Timing


Weed competition drags gardens down in every way. Ignore your garden for just a couple of weeks, and weeds can take over in a flash–turning once tidy, pretty beds into a tangled mess of green interlopers with no room to spare. If you use the right tools, techniques, and timing necessary to stop a weed takeover, it will save you trouble and reward you […]

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Five Ways to Maximize Small-Space Vegetable Gardens

Large pots and vertical gardens allow one to grow more in a small space.
Vegetable gardening is on the rise. Gardeners of all experience levels and backgrounds are growing their own food, whether they live in urban environments or spacious suburbs and countrysides. Those living where space is limited have extra challenges, which means that they must garden differently to produce enough food to enjoy all […]

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Spring Salad Pots For Quick, Easy, Fresh Eating

Last year I experimented with salad pots with great results. This shows some of the pots just after planting. They contain mixed lettuce, bok choi, and beets. Another pot contained six large Romaine lettuce plants.
My first spring salad pots were grown in large, inexpensive plastic containers that I bought from the garden center. I filled them with some Black Gold Natural & Organic Potting Mix and […]

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10 Tips for Seed Starting on a Budget

Reused plastic cups make good seedling pots as long as you poke holes in the bottom.
Are you low on cash but want a summer garden? No worries. Seed starting can be very inexpensive if you know where to shop, when to plant, and how to succeed with as few resources as possible. Fancy seed-starting flats are not needed, reuse instead. Pricy grow lights can be […]

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Best New Herbs and Vegetables for 2021

The large-fruited ‘Orange Accordion’ is uniquely beautiful and delicious. (Image thanks to Baker Creek Seeds)
2020 was quite a year–with more downs than ups for most of us. One bright spot was the big boost in gardening nationwide. New gardeners arose from every corner of the country, trying their hand at raising their own vegetables, flowers, herbs, and house plants. It’s equally bright that this year […]

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