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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Cover Crops in the Vegetable Garden

If you have harvested everything from your vegetable garden and decided not to plant cool-season crops, then now is the time to start a cover crop, which just means planting something to cover up the dirt. Big-time farmers plant cover crops such as clover and rye, and backyard gardeners can reap the same benefits for their dormant gardens during the winter months with a cover crop.

>> read “Cover Crops in the Vegetable Garden”    
How Dry I Am

Last year was a tough one – for people and plants. The U.S. Drought Monitor for 2010 shows that the Southern United States was in abnormally dry conditions for most of the year. And this is an area that normally averages over 50 inches of rainfall a year. In fact, it was so dry that cows were giving evaporated milk. The extreme lack of rainfall was bad enough, but coupled with record high summer temperatures for most of the eastern U.S., it was literally a killer. Especially in my garden.

>> read “How Dry I Am”    
Wild Quinine

This underused plant has everything going for it: flowers through most of the summer; an upright, beautiful habit; and tremendous fall and winter interest. Wild quinine grows 36-40 inches tall with a spread of 18-24 inches. This architectural plant mixes well with grasses. In summer, the white, flat, mounded clusters of flowers look like summer clouds floating through the garden ...

>> read “Wild Quinine”       #Hot Plants
Made in the Shade
Indicator Plants And Shade Gardening

Shade is a major design consideration in most gardens in the Southern U.S. Given the opportunity, we nestle our homes under the spreading boughs of forest giants and are forced from the outset to develop a garden that will never know the full intensity of the sun. Or, if our subdivision was a cotton field or cow pasture in a previous life, we grow our own shade – never quite believing that those small switches we plant will one day become sylvan giants and rob sunlight like a thief in the night. Shade is a good thing, though. It makes our outdoor living spaces habitable during the muggy months and permits the summer-long enjoyment of our gardens.

>> read “Made in the Shade”    
Cattleya Culture
Growing Cattleya Orchids

To many people, the beautiful Cattleya is what they think of when the word “orchid” is mentioned — and with good reason. The flowers of the cattleya orchid are large, showy and colorful. Because of their popularity for use in corsages, cattleyas are commonly known as “the corsage orchid.” Named for the English horticulturist William Cattley (1788-1835), Cattleya is among the easiest of the orchid ...

>> read “Cattleya Culture”    
Hostas
These Shade Lovers Solve Many Yard and Garden Problems

“Why would I want a large, green, basically flowerless plant? I have plenty of lawn, trees, bushes and shrubs,” my friend sputtered when I suggested hostas as her landscaping solution. Like most new gardeners, she had dreams of profuse, lovely scented blooms everywhere. Later, realizing that gardens of Eden with bounteous blooms, need full-time gardeners, she wanted easier plantings.

>> read “Hostas”    
Nandina Flirt
Nandina domestica ‘Murasaki’

Good looking and oh so easy – no wonder they call this one Flirt. New leaves emerge deep red, transition through burgundy and finally age to green. At times, all three colors are present on the same plant. Normally you would need two plants to get contrasting foliage, but this one does it all.

>> read “Nandina Flirt”       #Hot Plants
Orchids - Methods for Growing the Perfect Phalaenopsis

When beginners tell me they want to start growing orchids, the discussion usually gets around to the question, “ What is the best orchid to start with?” My answer is: “Phalaenopsis because it is so easy to grow and stays in flower a long time, and a greenhouse is not necessary for good results with this plant.”

>> read “Orchids - Methods for Growing the Perfect Phalaenopsis”    
Find Out Your Garden I.Q. Quiz
Are you gardening savvy or gardening challenged?

Are you a garden expert, a weekend gardener or just a novice? Challenge your gardening knowledge by taking this short quiz — you may be surprised to see where you rank. Answers are posted at the end. Good luck!

>> read “Find Out Your Garden I.Q. Quiz”    
Lenten Rose Container

This easy care container plant will provide year-round excitement to a shady corner of your yard. The star of the show will certainly be any one of the plants in the Helleborus Gold Collection, but this container features Cinnamon Snow, with its pink and burgundy tints. Should you want to continue with a flowering plant through the summer, you can gently remove the hellebore and place it in another container or in the ground; then add a pink, purple or white Torenia that will bloom continuously until a hard frost, when you can return your Lenten rose to the container for a seamless year-round event.

>> read “Lenten Rose Container”    
Dawn Redwood

Closely related to bald and pond cypress (Taxodium spp.), the dawn redwood is a fast-growing beauty that not only makes a dramatic horticultural statement, but is also bound to spice up the neighborhood gardening chatter. This is definitely an “Oh, wow” tree, but be sure to keep its plant tag handy because most people don’t believe dawn redwood grows anywhere other than California.

>> read “Dawn Redwood”