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Rosemary Is For Winter and Gifting

Fill pretty, recycled jars with freshly-dried rosemary for holiday gifts for foodies (and pet lovers too, see below).
When I first came to the Southern California desert, I was shocked at how well traditional rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis, USDA Hardiness Zones 8-10) shrubs survived through 120ᵒ F summer days. When provided good drainage and some water, these plants thrive in dry, mild-winter locations and reach mammoth […]

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Beyond Poinsettias: Fresh Holiday House Plants

Florist’s gloxinia has fallen out of vogue but has spectacular flowers in winter.
Red, green, and white–these are the common holiday colors. Poinsettias, amaryllis, paperwhites, and cyclamen–these are the common holiday plants in these colors. Why not shake it up? You can have these colors and enjoy them anew with more adventurous seasonal house plants.
Plant vendors sell all kinds of other indoor plants fit for the […]

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Native Evergreen Ferns for Perennially Beautiful Shade Gardens

 
 
Christmas fern is one of the toughest and easiest of the eastern evergreen ferns for shade gardens.

Ferns give shade gardens a wistful, woodland look. Most die back after a hard frost, but a few remain evergreen for continued color though winter. Species range from resilient North American ferns to […]

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Herb Crafting: Three Herbs to Grow and Ways to Use Them


You don’t need a huge garden to make an abundance of herb crafts to benefit your home, garden, and artistic inclinations. Starting with just a few common and versatile herbs is an easy way to get your hands dirty and feel the magic of plants. I’ve chosen three herbs that are perfect for herb crafting because you can turn them into all sorts of […]

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Southwestern Sustainable Farmscaping: Planting for Home Livestock

 
The right plants can provide needed cover for livestock, repel insects, and serve as forage.
Everywhere across the American Southwest, folks are raising chickens, milking goats, horses, and grazing their own cattle. The rural way of life is evolving towards animal care and organic gardening. Dependence on livestock is creeping into the suburbs, too, where clean, efficient animal keeping is bumping up against the traditional backyard. […]

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Grow an Apothecary Garden: Flowers and Herbs for Healing

Apothecary or physic gardens contain medicinal plants used to treat all kinds of infirmities. (Image taken at The Met Cloisters by Jessie Keith)
During the Medieval period in Europe, monasteries almost always contained an apothecary garden or “physic garden” that grew medicinal plants used to treat all kinds of infirmities. This age-old tradition of cultivating a garden specifically with healing in mind is easy to replicate […]

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10 Essential Indian Herbs and Spices for Gardens

Chiles, ginger, lemongrass, curry leaf, and other traditional herbs and spices can be grown at home. (Citrus can even be grown at home.)
American gardeners can grow many Indian herbs and spices. Sure, the classic spice blends of India contain tropical ingredients (cardamom, star anise, nutmeg, cinnamon, etc.) that most American gardeners cannot grow, but it does not end there. A long list of distinctly Indian […]

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The Cutest, Tastiest Miniature Vegetables

Miniature vegetables and fruits, such as tomato ‘Patio Choice Yellow’ are truly patio perfect. (Image by AAS Winners)
 
Why grow small vegetables? Because they are cute, great for children, and delicious garden novelties fit for small-space yards, patios, or balconies. Many are perfect for crudités, snacking, and look impressive in their diminutive cuteness.
Tiny vegetables do not always grow on compact plants, so I have chosen those […]

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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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DIY Seed Starting: Seed Packets (Part 1 of 6)

Read the back of your seed packet to find details essential to successful germination.
Starting seed indoors is the best way to get your garden off to an early start. It also provides for earlier and longer harvest by extending the growing season. Not all plants are suitable to start indoors–these include large-seeded or fast-growing vegetables that produce quickly, such as beets, radishes, squash, and melons […]

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