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Landscape Your Home With Fruiting Edibles!

Edible landscaping can be a kick – especially if you take full advantage of the dizzying diversity of fruiting trees and shrubs. While old-time (and often pest-prone) favorites, such as apples and pears, certainly have their place, so too do scores of lesser-known but equally rewarding fruit-bearing species, including those portrayed below. They’ll bring excitement and new flavors to your garden – as well as […]

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Plants with Heart-Shaped Leaves and Flowers

Hearts are on sleeves–and everywhere else–in February.  Valentine’s Day, arriving at mid-month, is a high point, celebrating love in its many forms.  But Valentine’s hearts are not the only ones in the spotlight. The American Heart Association has designated February as “American Heart Month” to raise awareness of heart health nationwide. Clearly, warm hearts rule in mid-winter.

It is a perfect time to give a loved one, […]

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Five Stellar US Native Shrubs for Pollinators and Wildlife

These shrubs are tough, beautiful through multiple seasons, and excellent for wildlife.

Some shrubs look beautiful in their natural form. Those on this list are elegantly beautiful in the wild or a garden. They offer aesthetic value and benefit our yard’s ecosystems.

These five shrubs are givers, providing season-long beauty as well as food for multiple pollinators and wildlife at different times of the year. They’ve […]

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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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Versatile Bay Laurel for Homes and Gardens

Versatile Bay Laurel for Homes and Gardens

Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis) is a historic Mediterranean evergreen that plays multiple roles in the garden. Where hardy, in USDA Hardiness Zones 8-10, it serves as a fine specimen tree or tall hedge. In colder climates, it makes an attractive house plant and summer patio specimen. And, wherever it’s planted it serves as an essential culinary herb. Dried, bottled […]

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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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Bayberry for Landscapes and Candle Making

Bayberries are tough, shore-side shrubs with the most fragrant, waxy berries. Bayberry for Landscapes and Candle Making (Image by Jessie Keith)

When we visit Cape Henlopen, Delaware along the Atlantic coast in fall, I always enjoy plucking a few waxy bayberries to rub between my fingers on the way to the beach. Their warm, familiar scent quickly fills the air. My children like the aroma, too, […]

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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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Native Viburnums: Great Shrubs for Fall

Possumhaw has fruits that turn from pink to blue-black in fall. (Image by Proven Winners)

In spring they give us clusters of fragrant white flowers. In summer, their lush foliage and appealing habits take center stage, but fall is when native viburnums really perform. Their leaves turn glowing colors, and fruits of red, orange, yellow, or black, make a decorative statement before they are picked off […]

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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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