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Specimen Trees and Shrubs with Elegantly Twisted Branches

‘Scarlet Curls’ Contorted willow is beautiful outdoors, and its branches look fine in flower arrangements.

Some trees are just twisted – literally. Rather than growing in the usual linear pattern, their stems crazily zig and zag, each segment veering in a different direction from the previous one. If you’re in the lumber industry, this is not a desirable characteristic. On the other hand, if you’re looking […]

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Growing Fragrant Eucalyptus Indoors

What do American gardeners have in common with the cute and cuddly Australian koala?  Both animals and humans appreciate the aromatic leaves of the eucalyptus or gum tree (Eucalyptus spp.).  Eucalyptus trees are primarily Australian natives, so Koalas have no trouble finding their tasty leaves that comprise their entire diet. But, Americans, especially those in cold winter climates, have to look farther afield to find eucalyptus […]

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Bayberry for Landscapes and Candle Making

Bayberries are tough, shore-side shrubs with the most fragrant, waxy berries. Bayberry for Landscapes and Candle Making (Image by Jessie Keith)

When we visit Cape Henlopen, Delaware along the Atlantic coast in fall, I always enjoy plucking a few waxy bayberries to rub between my fingers on the way to the beach. Their warm, familiar scent quickly fills the air. My children like the aroma, too, […]

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What Light Do Indoor Succulents Need?

“I’m new to the succulent world. Now that winter is fast approaching, I’m wanting to learn about indoor lighting for the succulents. Any helpful information would be so appreciated. Thank you so much!” Maria of Young Harris, Georgia

Answer: Truly, it depends on the succulent. Most grow best in natural sunlight, while others perform better in bright, indirect sunlight. As a rule, most spined cacti prefer […]

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Black Plants for Goth Gardens

What better way to celebrate the Halloween season than to design and plant a Goth Garden? Admit it: you need one.

Of course, you’ll also need plants that look the part. Spiky or bizarrely shaped or ghostly hued plants are obviously essential (a contorted beech – Fagus sylvatica ‘Tortuosa’ – would fit to a twisted tee). Most of all, though, you’ll want some black flowers – […]

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Pretty Pink House Plants for Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Pink Stripe Spiderwort is one of the easiest Pink House Plants for Breast Cancer Awareness.

The color pink represents warmth and hope, like the rosy pink clouds of a summer sunset.  It is also the color chosen to symbolize breast cancer research, awareness, and support. Some gardeners may be planting Pink Ribbon spring bulbs or Pink Invincibelle III hydrangeas to commemorate October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. […]

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Native Viburnums: Great Shrubs for Fall

Possumhaw has fruits that turn from pink to blue-black in fall. (Image by Proven Winners)

In spring they give us clusters of fragrant white flowers. In summer, their lush foliage and appealing habits take center stage, but fall is when native viburnums really perform. Their leaves turn glowing colors, and fruits of red, orange, yellow, or black, make a decorative statement before they are picked off […]

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Sustaining a Fall and Winter Butterfly Garden

Optimize your garden as a fall migrating butterfly refueling station for monarchs.

Your summer garden has been a haven for butterflies. Painted ladies and orange sulphurs have flocked to your purple coneflowers and white cosmos, and monarch and swallowtail caterpillars have munched on the showy milkweeds, Dutchman’s pipevine, and bronze fennel. Then there were the giant swallowtails, which discovered the golden hop tree (Ptelea trifoliata ‘Aurea’, […]

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Woolly Bears in the Garden: Lore and Ecology

The banded woolly bear caterpillar is only about 1.5 to 2 inches long, but it carries a lot of weight on its small form. Since colonial times, folk wisdom has claimed that even before the caterpillar is old enough to metamorphose into a tiger moth, it has the power to predict winter weather. That is a big responsibility. The gentle caterpillars are also loved by […]

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Bright Fall Flowers for Hummingbirds

Mexican bush sage is one of the best bright fall flowers for hummingbirds.

Bright tubular flowers are nectar-filled beacons of hope for hummingbirds making their fall journey south. North American hummingbirds begin their great migration in late summer–some starting as far north as New Brunswick, Canada. It’s a long journey; an adult ruby-throated hummingbird can travel up to 20 miles and consume twice its weight in […]

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