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Pruning Apple Trees in Spring

Well-pruned apple trees look better and produce fruit more reliably in fall.
An unpruned apple tree is a snarly-branched, puny-fruited thing.  One of the best ways to keep that from happening to your apple trees is to give them an annual late-winter pruning.
Fortunately, backyard apple trees don’t need the complicated pruning regimens followed by commercial orchards.  A couple of hours of pruning per year can keep your trees looking good and producing reliably […]

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The Best Maples for Maple Sugaring

The best time to tap sugar maples is in late winter.
It’s sugaring season across much of southern Canada and the northern United States.  The sun is climbing higher, temperatures are moderating, and maple sap is starting to flow.
You don’t need sugar maples to make good maple sugar, however.  Purists may blanch at the thought, but several other maple species have sweet-flavored sap that flows on mild winter days and that boils down into […]

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Non-Invasive, Native Evergreen Groundcovers

Many native evergreen groundcovers, such as moss phlox (white flowers), are non-invasive natives. (Image by Jessie Keith)
It’s time for American gardeners to move beyond Japanese spurge (Pachysandra terminalis), English ivy (Hedera helix), and periwinkle (Vinca minor).  It’s true that these ubiquitous landscape plants make excellent evergreen groundcovers, rapidly forming dense swaths of handsome foliage.  But, in addition to being tiresomely common in American gardens, they’re a nuisance outside of cultivation, invading natural areas […]

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Best Bold House Plants: Aroids

Monstera is a bold tropical aroid that will shine indoors in low light.
The aroid family (Araceae) contains some of the most beautiful and outlandish plant species in the plant kingdom.  Many make the best bold house plants for all-season color.  When things turn chill and gloomy outside, a bold-leaved, evergreen aroid is a very nice thing to have inside. They clean the air and bring tropical beauty to homes.
Growing Aroids
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Spring Bulb Design: Beautiful Pairings

Tulips, daffodils and smaller bulbs pair well as long as their heights and bloom times are complementary. (Image by Jessie Keith)
Spring-blooming bulbs are one of gardening’s cheapest and easiest thrills.  Not only do they provide loads of flowers at a minimum of cost they also make splendid partners for other spring-blooming perennials and bulbs.  Here are some beautiful partnerships to consider as you plan (and plant) for spring.
The Earliest Spring Bulbs
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The Best Trees for Bees

Redbuds are one of the best small landscape trees for feeding bees!

Are you looking to give your local bees a much-needed boost?  Then why not give them a tree!  Plant any of the trees described below in fall or spring, and they’ll provide a banquet of nectar- and pollen-rich blooms that will have your neighborhood honeybees, bumblebees, and other hymenopterans buzzing with appreciation.  Their attractive foliage […]

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10 City Trees for Urban Landscapes and Street Sides

Littleleaf lindens (Tilia cordata)  are common street trees for urban areas.
It’s not easy being a tree.  This goes doubly for trees in urban landscapes.  Air pollution, compacted soil, and road salt are just a few of the extra challenges that come with an in-town lifestyle.  Worse still, much of that tainted soil and air is occupied by buildings, streets, sidewalks, power lines, and other structures that leave little space for branches and roots.
Amazingly, […]

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3 Steps to Growing Great Roses (With No Fuss)

Strike it Rich® is a glorious grandiflora with exceptional disease resistance. (Photo by Jessie Keith)
Got rose problems? Over 20 common pests and diseases plague roses, threatening the beauty of many a rose-filled yard and garden. But, rose growers can take heart. You can have the beauty of roses without the burden of doing constant battle with pests and diseases.  It all comes down to choosing resistant varieties and giving them the right care. […]

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“Cannatainers” or Cannas for Container Gardening

Canna ‘Striata’ graces the center of an impressive patio pot. (Image by Mike Darcy)
Cannas emerge from dormancy and hit the horticultural market in late winter and spring, so now is the time to get the show started. Numerous varieties are available from on line and local nurseries, either as potted plants or as bare-root rhizomes (the technical name for the thickened underground stems that give rise to all that splendiferous summer growth).
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Growing Cherry Trees

Sour cherry trees laden with fruit.
Nothing tastes better than firm, succulent cherries right off the tree – especially if they come from your own back yard!  Thanks to a new generation of hybrid and dwarf cherry trees, home-grown cherries are literally within the reach of more gardeners – in more climatic zones – than ever before.
As with everything gardening, choosing the right varieties and giving them the right conditions and care are the […]

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