Controlling Animal Pests in the Flower Garden

Although insect pests and plant diseases are generally easy to control in the flower garden, animal pests are not. For one, much of our wildlife is protected by law and can’t be indiscriminately eliminated. You may have variable success with repellents, depending on your location or timing. If the animals are not very hungry or population pressures are not too […]

Have your water and garden

Lately, it seems like every time you turn on the local weather forecast, the meteorologist is talking about drought conditions. If you are in a severely affected area, or under water restrictions, this doesn’t mean you have to give up gardening. By following some drought-wise garden water tips, you can have your water, and your garden, too. You may have […]

Growing Pansies

Pansies are annual garden flowers (blooms for only one year, then dies) that are usually the first you find for sale in stores in spring.  Pansies have been around for many years and are popular, being easy to grow and so colorful during the cooler days of spring and fall. In cool northern climates, pansies will bloom well into summer […]

LET’S PARTY: A 12-MONTH PARTY OF FLOWERS

Whether you are planning a birthday party or a formal dinner for business associates, flowers can play an important role in the decorations. But you don’t have to settle for run-of-the-mill, one-color arrangements of carnations and daisies. Why not key the floral decor to the season or holidays and special events in the month? Did you know that just as […]

Fabulous Fir Trees to Plant

Even if you’re not a gardener, you may know the fir tree from the popular balsam firs sold as cut trees over the holidays.  This tree and other related fir trees make beautiful landscape plants, providing a habitat for birds as well. The firs (Abies) are in the Pine family and are called conifers since they produce cones similar to pine trees.  Since […]

Easy House Plants – Umbrella Plant

The umbrella plant may be seen as octopus tree—both names from the spreading leaves with large leaflets in an umbrella spoke pattern.  It often goes just by the genus name of Schefflera (said as scheff-Lair-ah), named after the nineteenth-century German botanist J.C. Scheffler.  Don’t confuse it with the grass-like umbrella sedge, a water plant. Schefflera is not too fussy about […]

Growing Guide for Peonies

Few perennials can offer what the peony does–beautiful, prolific flowers in early summer and good foliage afterwards. Once established, peonies will flower for many years with minimum care. Moreover, they’re incredibly hardy and can easily withstand cold northern winters. The basic types of peonies are herbaceous (Paeonia officinalis), which grow to heights of two to four feet; fern-leaved (Paeonia tenufolia), […]

Native Shrubs in Your Landscape

TRY NATIVE SHRUBS IN YOUR LANDSCAPE Shrubs serve many functions in our landscapes. They provide color in the form of flowers and fruits. They act as “walls” between the “rooms” of our landscapes and are often pruned into hedges for that purpose. Their fruits feed our birds, and their well-branched habits provide nesting sites. Shrubs also can add winter color […]

Halloween Horticulture

What would Halloween be without pumpkins for jack-o-lanterns and decorations? Although this is the plant most often associated with Halloween today, it may surprise you to know that in the past, other fruits and vegetables had strong connections to this holiday. In England and Ireland, Halloween lanterns were originally carved out of turnips and large beets. Faces of demons were […]

Home Grown Teas

While using herbs for brewing teas has been increasing in popularity and is easy if you follow a few simple steps, there are also some precautions. Chamomile, sage, catnip, lemon verbena, comfrey, scented geranium, and any mints–peppermint, orange mint, and spearmint, for example–are all ideal for tea. Rose hips, while not an herb, can also be used. A few herbs […]