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How to Grow Lavender from Seed

Harvest and tie lavender bundles for drying. They dry best if hung in a cool, dry place.
Lavender (Lavandula spp.) is a wonderful addition to any garden because it can be used as a culinary herb, a fragrant cut flower, a crafting material, or a natural-beauty ingredient. It even feeds bees! With lavender, the possibilities are endless. There are so many interesting species and varieties to […]

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The Best Garden Mulches and Decorative Covers

Garden stone is a longterm cover that must be applied correctly from the start.
Mulches define a garden’s character. Organic options give landscapes different looks, and all break down to help feed the soil. Others have more permanency. Either way, organic and decorative garden top dressings add beauty and distinction to plantings. Some take outdoor spaces to new visual heights, while others are simply functional in their […]

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Western Riparian Trees for Wet Soils

Trees that naturally grow by waterways or riversides make good landscape trees for wet ground.
Do you have moist ground in your yard but want trees for the site? For a gardener with wet or damp soil, finding a tree that will thrive in such conditions can be challenging. When browsing through a garden center and reading the cultural requirement for many of the plants, probably one […]

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Transformative Grasses: Anchoring Gardens and Soils

 
This hardy fountain grass is in full summer bloom, releasing pollen in the breeze. (Photo by Maureen Gilmer)
Over the past year, California has experienced drought, wildfires, floods, mudslides, and extreme cold.  The rest of the Southwest has seen the same crazy extremes and has experienced high-damage potential within a short time span.  Everyone will have some rethinking to do, whether making structural repairs or just […]

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Meet Our Black Gold Writers

All of our exciting garden blogs are written by top horticultural writers, so you can rely on their quality information and photography!Read More »

Quasi Bonsai: Manageable Bonsai Beauty

(Image by Maureen Gilmer)
The price of neglecting to water your bonsai in midsummer even for a day will have to be paid in a withered plant.  You might as well plough the field and forget the seed as commit such negligence.  –Norio Kobayashi, Japan 1951
The little-known secret of true Japanese bonsai trees is that they are watered every day.  Not a single sunrise passes without […]

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Managing the Worst House Plant Pests

Growing house plants all together in a dense tangle encourages pests to spread and multiply!
When garden plants are outdoors, pest populations are generally lower or more diffuse due to natural predators, harsher weather, and more host plants. But, once you bring plants indoors, all of that changes. Predators are gone, climate conditions are good, and the pests that enter your home have just a few plants […]

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Grow a Natural Beauty Garden: Botanicals that Soothe Your Skin


We grow gardens for food, for medicine, for cut flowers, and for pollinators. But, a new trend is arising: growing the ingredients to make plant-based skincare. If you value the ingredients that make up your meals, then it may also be time to take a look at the products that go on your skin. Soaps, lotions, and balms are easy to make at home, and […]

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Feeding Common Winter Songbirds Naturally


A flurry of wings. A shower of seeds. Bird feeders are lively places in the winter months, and their presence is important. Natural food sources are rarer because fields and forests have been replaced by buildings and lawns, so feeders help fill a food void. But, if you have a sizable yard, you may also consider planting for birds. Many cold-season plants for winter songbirds […]

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