Tough Beauty
These plants won't swoon easily
by Irvin Etienne

Tough plants. My first thought was tough plants are great for beginning gardeners. I think of tough plants as easy plants and a beginner needs some easy plants. It gives them that much-needed success allowing them to grow confident in their gardening skills. Then I thought, “Tough plants are great for all gardeners!” I’ve been in the garden for a lot of years and a lot of hours. I love a tough plant I can sort of just throw in the ground and walk away. It looks good without fuss, so I have time to spend fretting over my delicate plants and playing with my chickens.   >> read article
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A Canna Renaissance
by Garry McDonald

Working on a university campus, I can’t help but notice the changing whims of fashion. Lately, the trend among young men is khaki walking shorts, polo shirts, and white crew socks and white sneakers: exactly what we wore on campus in the early 1980s. Like clothes, plants come into and fall out of fashion. Re-discovering old garden plants is usually the result of breeding improved cultivars or someone taking a fresh look at how plants can be used in the landscape. One such plant is canna.   >> read article
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Get to the Point
by Troy B. Marden

Have you ever visited California or the American Southwest and admired the beautiful agaves, or century plants, that dot the hillsides and grace the gardens throughout the region? Their subtle colors and stunning architectural forms are welcome additions to any garden, but being from the desert where dry soil and dry air prevails means taking a few extra steps in order to grow them successfully in the damp and humid South. Proper siting, soil preparation and in colder parts of the South, winter protection, are essential to growing agaves successfully, but the rewards are worth any amount of effort.   >> read article
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Movement in the Garden
by Helen Yoest

Wind blowing, water flowing, grasses swaying and children playing – movement brings a garden to life.

It seems unimaginable for a garden to be still. Do you often find yourself looking at something moving from the corner of your eye, or do you look to a sound made by the moving wind? Movement engages you in the garden. Movement can be introduced with plants or personality; look around your garden to see how you can add more movement in your garden.
  >> read article
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Winter Wakeups
Three shrubs to beat the doldrums
by Leslie Hunter

Right now we are in the thick of it. Cold, dark and dreary days of winter are surrounding us with a blanket of plain white, brown, and gray. Depressing to a gardener that longs for shimmers of green and color, any color will do.

Typically we go to the catalogs, books, and internet to find treasures for the coming spring, but there are gems to be found in the winter garden if you plan for it. There are many shrubs, deciduous and evergreen, that fill corners of gardens throughout the year bringing yearlong interest. Here are three shrubs that keep working even when the world goes blah.   >> read article
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Pixie Perennials
by Jeanne Hilinske-Christensen

Defined as petite, pint-sized, or pixie, short-statured perennials deserve space in the landscape among their height-endowed relatives. Their small growth habit gives them the advantage of fitting into tight spots and other space-restricted areas.   >> read article
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‘Leave’ the Color
by Chris Eirschele

It does not matter how you come to embrace growing plants inside. Indoor gardening, putting plants in containers rather than in the ground, is a unique style. The hobby consumes a plant lover’s life no matter how innocently the introduction came about.   >> read article
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Green on Green
by Nan K. Chase

If it’s a crime to plant loads of color, then I plead guilty. Color just feels good. Or does it?

The last few years during my morning walks around my neighborhood, I began to notice that my eyes were continually seeking out green-on-green gardens, landscapes that relied on nothing for their beauty other than year-round evergreens and perhaps a lawn area and some especially bright green summer additions.
  >> read article
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