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Climbing Roses for Garden Romance

For garden romance, nothing surpasses a climbing rose cascading over an
arbor, its arching canes laden with a torrent of voluptuous blooms.

Sadly, many climbing rose varieties do not live up to this promise. They
are – after all – roses, which are rightfully notorious for their
susceptibility to pests and diseases. Arching canes dripping with roses aren’t
nearly as romantic when they’re also dripping with fungal spores and sawfly
larvae.

On the other hand, […]

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Easy, Attractive Edibles for Any Garden

For a horticultural and culinary adventure this stay-at-home spring, try planting a few of the following relatively unknown, easy-to-grow greens, herbs, and veggies that also feature colorful leaves or fruits. Within a few weeks, you’ll have a rainbow of edibles representing a broad spectrum of the world’s cuisines.

Amaranth

Young red amaranth (Amaranthus cruentus) inflorescence closeup […]

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Favorite Fragrant Early Spring Flowering Shrubs

Some shrubs produce flowers that do more than draw the eye; they also
delight us with their delicious scent. The most obvious examples are hybrid tea
roses and common lilac (Syringa vulgaris), which owe a good deal of
their renown to the legendary bouquet of their blooms. Yet many other shrubs
offer equally alluring fragrance, often at seasons when lilac and rose are at a
lull.  Here’s a seasonal summary of a few
of […]

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How to Plant and Site Trees and Shrubs

The key to successful gardening is to go (and grow) with what you’ve
got. If your garden has acid soil and lots of shade, go with acid- and
shade-loving plants. If sunny, dry, alkaline conditions dominate, then plan and
plant accordingly. This also holds true for the garden’s aesthetic. For
example, more “naturalistic” settings (such as a woodland edge) call for more
informal, nature-evoking plantings. Beautiful and bountiful things happen when
a garden is […]

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How to Map and Plan a New Garden

The cusp of the New Year is not prime gardening season in much of the United States. But, it’s often an excellent time to map and design a new garden or planting border, even in areas that experience real winter. All that is required are bare ground, a relatively mild day, and a few common household items.

Start by considering the garden’s location, size, shape, and desired plants and […]

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Plum Yew and Japanese Holly: Better Shrubs for Shearing

Some garden settings are just made for the stylized, symmetrical look of sheared shrubs. Likewise, some shrub species take especially well to being sheared into dense, geometrical shapes

An essential ingredient of formal Japanese gardens, French parterres, English hedges, and other stylized landscape features, sheared shrubs excel at providing structure or at balancing other architectural elements (such as pillared entryways and granite walls). To fill this bill requires a […]

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Growing Tropical Fruits Indoors

Dwarf Cavendish bananas and calamondins and are super tropical fruits for indoor growing.

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 […]

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Small Spring Bulbs with Big Impact

When planting bulbs in fall, plant small. “Minor” bulbs can have a major impact in the spring garden. Individually, they may not measure up to bulbous divas such as Darwin tulips and large-cupped daffodils.  But combine a few divas with a chorus of lesser companions, and the real magic happens. Why have a quartet when you […]

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Good Garden Bittersweet and Bad

Both the bad and good bittersweet seeds are spread by birds, such as this red-breasted nuthatch.

When it comes to garden plants gone wrong, few have gone wronger than oriental
bittersweet (Celastrus orbiculatus).  Introduced from East Asia to Western
horticulture in the early eighteenth century, this twining vine was widely
planted for its ornamental clusters of yellow pea-sized fruits that open in
fall to reveal brilliant-red interiors.  Now
it’s widely reviled for its ability […]

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Chaste Tree For Bees, Butterflies, and Summer Blooms

Think of chaste tree (Vitex agnus–castus) as an equally showy but less invasive alternative to the ubiquitous butterfly bush (Buddleia davidii).  A shrub or small tree that behaves as a dieback perennial in the coldest fringes of its USDA Hardiness Zones 5b to 9 hardiness range, it bears candelabras of lavender-blue flowers from summer into fall, […]

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