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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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Green Screens: Planting for Privacy

Gardeners can create layers of screening plants to create privacy, enclosures, and drama within the garden.
Using plants as screening is the prettiest way to block an unsightly view, demarcate space, channel traffic, or form the walls of an intimate outdoor room. A green screen can be anything from a single eye-stopping specimen to a uniform hedge, to a mixture of evergreen and flowering shrubs, to […]

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The Best Fruits for Container Gardening

Strawberries are one of the very best fruits for container gardening.
You don’t need a lot of space to grow your own fresh fruit. Flowers, vegetables, and herbs are what we most commonly think of to grow in pots, but there are plenty of fruits you can grow in containers as well! The best fruits for container gardening make nice specimen plants for porch and patio […]

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How to Amend Clay Soils


One of the garden necessities that should never be overlooked is having the right soil for the right plant, which often means having good, fertile loam. For our plants to perform at their very best, it is our job to give them the best soil we can, but clay soils can make this a challenge. The best time to thoroughly amend the soil for […]

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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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How to Water House Plants


Watering house plants…it sounds simple, doesn’t it? But, if it were simple, there would be fewer black thumbs out there. Proper watering is at the heart of good plant care, and if you don’t know how to water a plant, then its little green future may be in peril. It is surprisingly easy to drown a plant with aqueous attention.
There isn’t a one-fits-all watering […]

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Favorite Oregon Grapes for Landscape and Garden

A well-established Oregon grape looks spectacular in full fruit.

It was not too many years ago that gardeners often thought of Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium, syn. Berberis aquifolium) as primarily a woodland plant that did not belong in the ornamental garden. This Pacific Northwest native, which is the state flower […]

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Blazing Garden Plants For Autumn Glory

As the season grows cooler, the old flower heads of tall sedums darken. (Image by Jessie Keith)

In the fall, many plants begin to wither and fade away quietly from the garden.  Some pass so gently into dormancy that we often don’t notice their departures. Happily, there are other high-spirited […]

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Sweetgum for Fall Sunset Color Out West



“Red oaks are supposed to turn red in the fall, not brown.” People always ask why their eastern tree colors turn dull and crispy by Thanksgiving in California. “Are you sure you planted the same species I requested?”
I’ve repeated this mistake way too many times to newcomers to […]

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