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Wonderful Winter-Blooming Shrubs for the Garden

Winter jasmine has beautiful fragrant flowers and a pleasing cascading habit.

January showers bring winter flowers. No – really. Plant the right shrubs, and you can have midwinter bloom whenever the weather turns mild, provided you’re in USDA Hardiness Zone 5b or warmer. Boston, Rochester, Columbus, Detroit – wherever. And, all feed early bees and other essential pollinators.

Witch Hazels

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Terrific Trailing Begonias, Indoors or Outdoors

Shrimp begonia hybrids have lovely leaves and blooms.

If the dark days of December have you pining for flowers, foliage, and fragrance, might we suggest some trailing begonias? These fibrous-rooted members of the Begonia tribe include dozens of evergreen species and varieties that burst into aromatic bloom during midwinter. Bless their hearts.

Brazilian Heart Begonia

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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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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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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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Jurassic Perennials

The large leaves of Prairie dock (Silphium terebinthaceum) add a bold look to a native perennial planting.

Most garden perennials are bit players, chiming in with their month or two of bloom before fading from the scene. That’s why every perennial border can use a few plants that provide spring-to-fall presence. Among the best such plants are the giant-leaved perennials profiled below. Their lush, bold foliage […]

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Growing Hops at Home

Growing Hops at Home

If you’re into brewing your own beer, perhaps it’s time to start growing its components, too. Hops – the cone-like fruits that give most brews their signature flavors and aromas – are a cinch to cultivate if you have lots of vertical garden habitat such as a pergola or large trellis. A close relative of “weed” (it’s a member of the Cannabis […]

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Vining Vegetables for Vertical Gardening

Vining Vegetables for Vertical Gardening

Don’t have as much space for growing vegetables? Then maybe it’s time to go the way of Jack with his beanstalk. Numerous veggies are vines perfectly suited for training up a trellis, thereby taking advantage of upright, aerial space. Vertical veggies also hold their fruits clear of the ground, reducing their susceptibility to rot. Three-dimensional gardening offers multiple advantages.

There are a […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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