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Gesneriads for Bountiful Indoor Blooms

Streptocarpus ‘Polka Dot Purple’ is one of many colorful cultivars available.

Showy, funnel-shaped flowers; attractive, rounded, or lance-shaped leaves; and an overall velvety to fuzzy texture characterize members of the family Gesneriaceae, home to many popular flowering house plants including gloxinias (Sinningia speciosa), African violets (Saintpaulia spp.), and others. Collectively known as gesneriads, they have a dubious reputation for being fussy in cultivation. In fact, many […]

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How To Force Spring Bulbs In Water

Flower bulbs, water, and a vase (or two) are all you need to bring a splash of spring to your windowsill this winter. It’s as simple as plant-growing gets. The water provides moisture for the bulbs’ roots. The vase provides a container for the water and support for the bulbs’ stems and leaves. And the bulbs take it from there. Everything’s inside these miraculous little […]

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Well-Mannered Groundcovers for Shade

Foamflower is a highly desirable native flowering groundcover for shade.

Back when one-size-fits-all gardening was a thing, ground covers for shade were seemingly as easy as one-two-three: creeping myrtle (Vinca minor), English ivy (Hedera helix), and Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis). That is before they all began invading wildlands. All were neatly arrayed under an equally ubiquitous Norway maple or Bradford pear– both equally invasive and troublesome.

It […]

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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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What Perennials and Shrubs To Plant in Fall

Summer perennials and potted shrubs are great to plant in fall!

“Perennials (both woody and herbaceous) are shifting energy from their tops to their roots, preparing for their fall underground growth spurt.” -Russell Stafford

Gardeners tend to do the bulk of their planting and planning in spring when the horticultural hormones are running high. For many plants and purposes, however, fall is the perfect time to get […]

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Native Hellstrip Gardens

The Highline in New York City is filled with some of the toughest natives for urban hellstrips, such as purple leadplant, native grasses, and coneflowers.

Where there’s a sidewalk, there’s often also a hellstrip – that narrow planting space between the walk and the street. Flanked by baking pavement and blessed with soil composed of compacted sand, construction rubble, and the like, it’s not the most […]

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The Patriotic Perennial Garden: Planting in Red, White, and Blue

Native perennials in red, white, and blue!

What could be more American than a planting of native perennials that flowers red-white-and-blue in summer? If you have a sunny to lightly shaded garden spot with reasonably decent soil, you could celebrate next Independence Day with your own floral fireworks, courtesy of the following perennials. All are native to eastern North America, and hardy to USDA Zone 5. […]

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Surefire Perennials for Shadier Gardens

Bowman’s root is an underused perennial that tolerates both sun and some shade.

Where have all the flowers gone? If your shade garden has you asking this question around late June, you might consider adding a few of the following perennials to your plantings. They’ll answer the “where have they gone” question with an emphatic “They’re still here!”.

Of course, even the most shade-tolerant perennial may […]

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Garden Perennials That Don’t Stop Blooming

As flowering plants, most perennials are a mixed blessing. To their credit, they produce some of the garden’s signature blooms, on plants that return reliably year after year. What would spring be without primroses and trilliums, or summer without bee-balm and black-eyed Susans, or fall without asters and Japanese anemones?

Seasonality of bloom does have its downside, however. Many perennials are as fleeting as they are […]

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Sweet Spring-Garden Primroses

Cowslips are easy-care European native wildflowers that lend a cottage-garden look to spring beds.

Primroses (known botanically as Primula) have a reputation for being garden prima donnas. Often, this characterization is deserved. Many Primula are fussy garden dwellers at best, hailing from specialized habitats such as alpine crevices and glacial screes. Don’t let this fact keep you from the numerous easily cultivated and highly rewarding members […]

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