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Easy Succulent House Plants

Echeverias, with their pretty rosettes of foliage, are easy and a visual treat.

Succulent plants are riding a wave of popularity right now.  Striking, easy to care for, and available in a variety of shapes and colors, they make perfect house plants.  Some indoor gardeners amass a collection of specimen plants, while others combine different species or varieties into indoor gardens, arrangements, or even wreathes.  The […]

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Celebrate the Wintery Beauty of Florist’s Cyclamen

Even when not in bloom, cyclamen leaves continue to look lovely.

Florists’ cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum hybrids) is a great imposter.  Despite the Latin name persicum, they are not from Persia (modern-day Iran) but hailed from nearby countries, including Syria, Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Algeria, and Tunisia. Though the graceful flowers might make you think of orchids, cyclamens actually reside in the primrose family, Primulaceae.  The leaves […]

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Holly Olive and Its Virtues

Fortune’s Holly Olive is an appealing evergreen with highly fragrant spring flowers.

You might call osmanthus a great imposter, because shrubs and trees in the genus go by so many names.  At various times and places, osmanthus species have been tagged with common names like “false holly”, “tea olive”, “wild olive’ and even the scary-sounding “devilwood”. 

It takes some doing to get a handle on this group […]

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Festive Garden Fruits and Berries of Fall

Beautyberries offer one of the most brilliant and memorable shows of fall and there are many species from which to choose.

Depending on where you live, October can be a time when the last of the late summer and early fall color is fading from the garden.  The asters are almost finished, the goldenrod is going, and most of the color comes from potted mums […]

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Garden-Path Fillers: Plants for Cracks and Crevices

Sedums (Sedum spurium shown), thyme, and even a little blue rug juniper act to fill and cover the crevices in this appealing rocky garden path.

Nature abhors bare ground and will happily (and quickly) cover even the smallest bare spaces with weeds.  Keeping those weeds at bay in the cracks and crevices between pavers, stepping stones, or along rock walls can be a perpetual battle. 

It […]

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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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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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Growing Gooseberries and Currants

In Europe, people have long celebrated the unique flavors of gooseberries and their colorful relatives, currants.  Children drink Ribena and adults enjoy kir cocktails, both made with black currants.  At breakfast, many people spread red currant jelly on their toast.  Later in the day, they may enjoy a gooseberry fool, an old-fashioned dessert made with sweetened gooseberries, cream, and custard.

Fruitful European gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa, USDA […]

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The Ten Most Beautiful Edibles

Ornamental vegetables look pretty when planted in tidy, geometric arrangements.

The traditional French potager, or kitchen garden, combined both edible and ornamental elements to create beds that were both beautiful and productive. Given the array of fruit, vegetable, and herb varieties available now, just about anyone can do the same thing. 

Grow The Edibles That You Love

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Divide and Conquer Your Garden Perennials

Divide and Conquer Your Garden Perennials Featured ImageDividing perennials allows you to share them with friends or move them to new garden spaces.

In the time of Roman Emperor Julius Caesar, “divide and conquer” was a battlefield technique that defeated the Emperor’s enemies and expanded the Roman Empire.  You can expand your own empire—or at least your supply of ornamental plants—by dividing mature clumps of perennials.  […]

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