Russell Stafford

  1. Patio Peaches

    Do you want to grow your own peaches, but lack a place for a full-sized peach tree? This is not a problem, thanks to a slew of recently introduced peach tree varieties that mature at a shrubby 4- to 6-feet in height.  Ideal for containers, urban gardens, and patios, these dwarf peaches bring big possibilities …

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  2. Swallowtail Butterfly Gardening

    Gardeners tend to have a thing for swallowtail butterflies.  Likewise, swallowtails tend to have a thing for certain plants – and certain gardens. The more you incorporate their favorites into your garden, the more they will favor you with their flighty visits. Adult swallowtails of all species (including the half-dozen or so species native to …

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  3. Four Hardy Fruiting Vines for Edible Landscaping

    Hardy fruiting vines bring together two of the hottest trends in horticulture: edible landscaping and vertical gardening.  They are the perfect choice for grow-it-yourself gardeners with limited square footage and a tasty way to clothe a pergola or trellis or provide rapid aerial cover. Although many hardy fruiting vines will ramble for 30 feet or …

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  4. The Best Reblooming Shrubs for Summer

    Flowering shrubs do lots of good things in the garden, but their length of bloom often disappoints.  Exceptions do occur, with hybrid roses being the most obvious and ubiquitous example.  They’re not the only shrubs that bloom long and well, though.  Here are seven of the best of the rest.  Their individual flowers may not …

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  5. Pruning Apple Trees in Spring

    An unpruned apple tree is a snarly-branched, puny-fruited thing.  One of the best ways to keep that from happening to your apple trees is to give them an annual late-winter pruning. Fortunately, backyard apple trees don’t need the complicated pruning regimens followed by commercial orchards.  A couple hours of pruning per year can keep your …

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  6. The Best Maples for Maple Sugaring

    It’s sugaring season across much of southern Canada and the northern United States.  The sun is climbing higher, temperatures are moderating, and maple sap is starting to flow. You don’t need sugar maples to make good maple sugar, however.  Purists may blanch at the thought, but several other maple species have sweet-flavored sap that flows …

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  7. Non-Invasive, Native Evergreen Groundcovers

    It’s time for American gardeners to move beyond Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis), English ivy (Hedera helix), and periwinkle (Vinca minor).  It’s true that these ubiquitous landscape plants make excellent evergreen groundcovers, rapidly forming dense swaths of handsome foliage.  But, in addition to being tiresomely common in American gardens, they’re a nuisance outside of cultivation, invading …

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  8. Growing Tropical Fruits Indoors

    Growing tropical fruits in Toledo (or Toronto or Trenton) may seem like the stuff of fantasy. It’s perfectly doable, though, thanks to the numerous dwarf tropical fruit trees that take well to containers and flower and fruit at a young age. A warm sunny outdoor location in summer, an equally sunny indoor niche in winter, …

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  9. Best Bold House Plants: Aroids

    The aroid family (Araceae) contains some of the most beautiful and outlandish plant species in the plant kingdom.  Many make the best bold house plants for all-season color.  When things turn chill and gloomy outside, a bold-leaved, evergreen aroid is a very nice thing to have inside. They clean the air and bring tropical beauty …

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  10. Spring Bulb Design: Beautiful Pairings

    Spring-blooming bulbs are one of gardening’s cheapest and easiest thrills.  Not only do they provide loads of flowers at a minimum of cost, they also make splendid partners for other spring-blooming perennials and bulbs.  Here are some beautiful partnerships to consider as you plan (and plant) for spring. The Earliest Spring Bulbs Snowdrops (Galanthus spp.) …

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