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Garden Perennials that Gently Self Sow

Butterfly weed is a lovely native that will sow itself very gently and weave into the garden.

Some perennials persist in the garden not only as over-wintering plants, but also via self-sown seedlings. With their penchant for popping up spontaneously here and there, they’re a great fit for cottage gardens, wildflower borders, and other informal plantings. Additionally, they obviate the need for deadheading!

Unwelcome Self Sowers

Admittedly, a […]

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Best New Tomatoes of 2022

‘Black Strawberry’ (top left, image from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), ‘Alice’s Dream (right, Image from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds), ‘Bodacious’ (bottom left, Image from Burpee)

What a great year for new tomatoes! The breeders have been busy. 2022 has so many new tomato introductions that I had trouble fixing on my favorites. The final picks were chosen for beauty, top trial ratings, disease resistance, and MOST […]

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Easy Vegetables to Grow from Seed

Home vegetable gardening is riding a wave of popularity that is probably unprecedented since the Victory Gardens of World War II.  Salad greens are sprouting on rooftops and potatoes in patio containers.  Home-grown tomatoes seem to be popping up in every other suburban yard.  Explosions of summer zucchini are detonating in community gardens and front roadside “hell strips”.

If you want to get in on that […]

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Persimmons and Paw Paws: Fall Fruits of the Forest

So you want to plant a fruit tree? Something that will fill that blank space in the back yard while supplying your family (and impressing your neighbors) with a bumper crop of juicy, scrumptious munchies? Great idea! Of course, you could always opt for a perfunctory apple or peach (which could all too easily develop into a horticultural and aesthetic nightmare). On the other hand, […]

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Perennials with Decorative Fall Seedheads

Some fall seedheads bring life to changing, late-season gardens, whether by adding structure and texture to beds or bringing beauty to dry arrangements. Many also do double duty by providing fatty, nutritious food for wildlife. Our favorites even continue to look attractive into the colder months.

Part of enjoying fall seedheads is knowing which should not be cut back. Fastidious gardeners need to hold back […]

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10 Common Garden Flowers that Feed Birds

Coneflower seeds are a favorite of goldfinches.

Birds–chirping, whistling, and singing—are integral contributors to the daily symphony of garden sounds.  Their presence is also a sign of a healthy ecosystem.  Attract them by using the right combination of flowering plants and focusing on a succession of blooms and seeds. The end result will be a beautiful landscape and a smorgasbord for birds.

The majority of bird-friendly blooms […]

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Best Native American Shrubs for Feeding Birds

Gindfinches are primarily seed-eaters, but they sometimes enjoy seedy berries as well, as this young goldfinch is doing.

The best forage plants for wild birds are appealing natives that provide nutritious fruits, seeds, and nectar. Our top picks offer even more bird food because they attract favorite insect and caterpillar bites. Planting just a few of these shrubs in your yard will supplement bird-feeding efforts […]

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Homegrown Mints for Cooling Libations: Mojitos and Juleps

Mojitos have become a favorite tart, herbal summer drink!

Parched summer palates demand refreshments that are icy cold, wet, and flavorful.  For sophisticated adult palates, the mojito, a classic Cuban cocktail, and the julep, beloved in the American South, check all the right summer boxes. Mint, muddled or crushed with sugar prior to the addition of liquid ingredients, adds distinctive flavor notes to these drinks.

But, which mint […]

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Effortless Everlasting Cut Flowers for Crafting

Glistening straw flowers come in many bright colors.

True everlasting flowers hold their shape and color for a long time after drying. Most are grown as annuals, but a few are also perennials that will return yearly. Crafty gardeners should grow some of these each year for arrangements and crafting. They are so bright in the garden and beyond.

I first took an interest in everlastings […]

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Easy Okras for Hot Summer Gardens

Red, burgundy, and purple okra varieties are extra pretty in the garden.

Okra is a southern staple crop for several reasons. The tasty podded vegetable thrives in heat and even drought, and it is so easy to grow. Newer varieties are more tender, prolific, and lack painful spines. As an added bonus, you can let the pods mature and become woody at the end of the […]

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