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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

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”    
Creating Successful Hanging Baskets
A great return for a little investment

Bright, colorful hanging baskets are like exclamation points in your garden story. They can draw your attention to other areas in the landscape; connect the garden to the house; or add a bright spot to an otherwise dark area of the porch or patio. As yards get smaller and gardening time is lost to busy schedules, a hanging basket may be the fastest and easiest way to bring color into your landscape. Successful three-season baskets are possible by paying attention to the core components: correct soil mix, adequate fertilizer, proper watering and good plant choices.

>> read “Creating Successful Hanging Baskets”    
Invasives in the Trade
The threat in your own yard

Plant exploration has been an alluring and exciting facet of the horticultural world for millennia. Centuries ago, exotic plants moved along the Silk Road between Europe and Asia. During the age of sailing, individuals paid a king’s ransom for rare specimens for their glass houses and royal estates. During the Victorian era, the up-and-coming ...

>> read “Invasives in the Trade”    
Chrysanthemum ‘Cathy’s Rust’

When it comes to mums, I have a love/hate relationship. I’m not a fan of the potted varieties you buy in the fall that are perfect, round meatballs of a plant. That being said, I absolutely love the old-fashioned garden mums that have been passed along for generations.

>> read “Chrysanthemum ‘Cathy’s Rust’”       #Hot Plants
Fragrant Gardens
Captured by the Spell of the Smell

I was walking on a Caribbean beach one evening heading toward a favorite spot for jerked chicken when I was captured by the fragrance of a large, blooming shrub. Now if I were relegated to growing only one plant for the rest of my life, it would be that plant, the night-blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum).

>> read “Fragrant Gardens”    
A Walk in the Wild

Andrea Rubinstein moved to Louisiana from the San Francisco Bay area in 2004. Her new Lafayette home came with several mature camellias and azaleas scattered throughout the yard, a yaupon holly hedge hiding the front porch and a white rail fence along the sidewalk. “There wasn’t much more to the landscaping when I moved into the house,” says Andrea ...

>> read “A Walk in the Wild”    
A Spring-time Wonder
The setting for a different kind of blooming adventure.

In the spring, Forty Acre Rock near Lancaster, S.C., goes from drab to dramatic with a burst of flashy colors on a granite outcrop that's the centerpiece of a state preserve. Small wild plants called elf orpine, black-spored quillwort and pool sprite bloom to showcase a mix of red, green and white hues in shallow, water-filled pools. These rare plants put on their show from March through early May, until the pools dry up and Forty Acre Rock's colors revert to dull grays and greens of lichens and mosses.

>> read “A Spring-time Wonder”    
Recipes for Winter Vegetables

Common belief seems to be that winter vegetables are those that grow in the cool days of late fall into winter or that begin their growth spurt in the still cold days of winter and come to harvest in early spring. Many of the vegetables in the cabbage family often show up on lists of winter vegetables, as do lettuce, spinach, kale and a number of leafy greens ...

>> read “Recipes for Winter Vegetables”    
Savory Okra Pickles

For this recipe, you need six very clean wide-mouth pint jars, sterilized as directed by manufacturer, 6 lids and 6 bands separated into a shallow pot of boiling hot water ...

>> read “Savory Okra Pickles”       #Recipes
Outdoor Benches

Placing a bench in the garden is not a simple matter of carrying it from the delivery truck to the patio. To really incorporate it into the overall garden landscape, there are a few basic considerations.

First, you should determine whether or not you really intend to sit on the bench. Are you showcasing it for garden tours, or do you want the bench to serve as your own private retreat? Do you see it as place to exhibit containers, or a spot to write a letter to a friend? Answering these questions will help you determine appropriate size, design and materials.

>> read “Outdoor Benches”    
Barking Up the Right Tree

Bark may not be the first thing that comes to mind when choosing a tree. Even those of us who are quick to celebrate the practical significance that trees play in our lives often neglect to consider the simple beauty of their bark.

>> read “Barking Up the Right Tree”    
Joe-Pye Weed

Joe-Pye weed is one of my favorite perennials, even if the name is somewhat unfortunate and confusing! First of all, Joe-Pye weed is not a weed at all but rather a North American native perennial.

>> read “Joe-Pye Weed”       #Hot Plants