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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Japanese Stewartia
Stewartia pseudocamellia

Are you looking for a pest-free, small- to medium-sized landscape tree with multi-season beauty? Would you like to have a variety that does not show up on every list of The 25 Most Common Trees? Does the idea of showy summer flowers on a tree appeal to you? If so, you may want to consider planting a Japanese stewartia (Stewartia pseudocamellia) ...

>> read “Japanese Stewartia”       #Hot Plants   #Trees
Space Saver Tips for Winter Vegetable Gardening

Like most gardeners in the South, you probably maintain a vegetable garden for three seasons: spring, summer and fall. But if you’re not living in Zone 9, where plants can grow all year round without much protection, you might think that keeping a winter garden is difficult at best ...

>> read “Space Saver Tips for Winter Vegetable Gardening”    
Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ Seed Catalogs

The pumpkins on the seed catalog covers were drawn so huge that Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater could have made a house for his wife from one of the pumpkin shells. The pictured giant red strawberries were so voluptuous children could hardly hold them. And the pink roses were flawless, of course, and all prize winners.

Welcome to the wonderful world of vintage seed catalogs. Before photography became a vital part of print and online catalogs, artists drew fantastic images of eggplants and green beans, dahlias and daises to entice customers into buying seeds and bulbs. Reality was sketchy. But as every good gardener today knows (as he or she thumbs through the mound of catalogs that come in the mail and online this time of year), it didn’t really matter. Seed companies were selling the dream, not unlike modern times.

>> read “Smithsonian Institution Libraries’ Seed Catalogs”    
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”    
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”    
Yellow Bells
Tecoma stans

Flowering shrubs such as Tecoma stans (esperanza, yellow bells) have a dramatic impact on a landscape, whether they are used for a colorful accent or planted along a boundary for a showy border.

>> read “Yellow Bells”       #Hot Plants
How to Make a Bentwood Fence
Add charm to gardens of any size

A bentwood fence adds charm to gardens of any size. It seems at once ancient and Old Worldly, yet vividly contemporary and in high fashion. Bentwood is best made from recycled materials – limbs pruned from trees in the yard, saplings that are out of place in the back fencerow, or even prunings left over from tree trimming after winter storms.

>> read “How to Make a Bentwood Fence”    
Containers for Every Season
Ideas to inspire

Gardens are getting smaller and gardening time is getting shorter - that has been true for several years now and will probably continue to be true. But another prevailing trend is that container gardening is strong and getting stronger, not only because of time and space, but because containers offer quick satisfaction with minimal effort. You don't have to be trained in design to create stunning focal points for your garden; you just need to follow a few simple guidelines to set yourself up for success.

>> read “Containers for Every Season”    
Alien Invaders
Battling Invasive Species

Have you checked your backyard lately? You may be harboring dangerous aliens. No, these are not creatures from outer space. The aliens I’m referring to are plants – exotic plants. Also referred to as foreign, non-indigenous, introduced or nonnative, these invasive exotics are noxious weeds according to the following definition: A noxious weed is a plant alien to a geographical area whose presence threatens natural and agricultural ecosystems. Like their science fiction counterparts, these weeds are a major threat.

>> read “Alien Invaders”    
Dealing With Drought
Keep Your Garden Going When the Rain Stops

Over the past months, most areas of the country have set records for heat and drought. While the experts debate the “whys” and “hows,” the rest of us are stuck with the bottom line — it’s harder to grow things. Extreme temperatures and lack of moisture stresses most garden and landscape plants that would normally be considered tried-and-true standards. In addition, the availability and expense of irrigation has become problematic ...

>> read “Dealing With Drought”    
A Show of Force
Forcing fabulous spring flowering bulbs is easy

Bulbs have always intrigued me. Their much-appreciated splash of color during a generally bleak time of year brightens our lives and reminds us that warmer days are ahead. Forcing bulbs is just another way of enjoying the jewels of the late winter and spring garden, but you get to schedule the show. Let’s explore the mystery of bulbs and discuss the techniques involved in forcing them into flower ...

>> read “A Show of Force”    
Air Layering
A Makeover for Overgrown Houseplants

Houseplants bring life to our homes and offices, but sometimes they outgrow their welcome. Those with woody stems, such as dracaenas, corn plants and scheffleras, can become too tall and lose their shape or threaten the ceiling. Instead of tossing them out and buying new plants or giving them to a friend with taller ceilings, try air layering. This easy propagation technique will not only rejuvenate your plants — it will reward you with new plants for your efforts ...

>> read “Air Layering”