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The Best Shrubs for Container Gardens

There are lots of reasons to grow shrubs in containers.  You may have a small garden or no garden at all.  The only sunny spot on your property may be covered with concrete, or your soil may be so poor that even poison ivy fails to thrive.  Then again, your “garden” space may be a porch, terrace or balcony.  Perhaps you have acres of space but want distinctive […]

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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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Late-Winter Garden Flowers for Bees

Amur Adonis is a very early bee flower with very showy flowers.

The late-winter blooms of glistening snowdrops, golden witch hazel or the earliest crocuses are all bee-pollinated. Most of the first American woodland wildflowers are also pollinated by native bees. These pretty flowers are vital early forage for bee populations everywhere, which is why they should […]

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Garden Journaling: How To Plan Your Dream Garden

A journal is one of the best tools for achieving the garden of your
dreams. Your recorded observations of what’s happening today will give you a clearer
vision of what to do tomorrow – and many years beyond.

Starting Your Garden Journal

A note pad, smartphone, and/or computer are all you need to build your journal. Use them to record the dates and details of significant garden happenings, such as the following […]

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Growing and Taming Jerusalem Artichoke

Jerusalem artichoke is a unique sunflower with delicious, nutty, edible tubers.

Gardeners who have grown Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) have a love-hate relationship with it. The tall, fall-blooming sunflower puts on a big show but spreads aggressively by root and rhizome and sends up 8-10-foot stems that tend to fall over at bloom time. Its delicious edible tubers make up for any bad traits. They have a nutty, […]

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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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Beautiful Culinary Sage

In late spring to early summer, sage produces purplish or violet flowers (far right).

For better or worse, we live in the age of multitasking, when the ability to do at least two things at once has become a common goal. As we multitask through our days, we gardeners can’t help but ask our plants to do […]

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Gorgeous Garden Grasses of Fall

Back in the 1970s and ‘80s, pioneering garden designers like Wolfgang Oehme, James van Sweden and Piet Oudolf sparked an interest in garden grasses. That spark turned into a wildfire of bold, ornamental garden grasses, and now they can be found in public and private gardens all over the world. 

These stars of the informal gardens […]

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Perennials with Brilliant Fall Foliage Color

Of course, colorful trees produce the biggest show of fall, but it doesn’t have to end there. Lots of non-woody plants change color and pack just as big of a punch in a smaller package. Here are plants that you need if you want to electrify your waning garden with impressive shocks of perennial leaf color.

Perennials […]

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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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