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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

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”    
Turf Rescue 911

When it comes to the months of the year, I have to admit that August is not among my favorites. While I am very much an outdoor person and enjoy working in my garden and managing my small farm, I do not enjoy the blistering heat and humidity that August almost always provides. Many years ago, my father was transferred to the South, and I have somehow endured the summer heat of August ever since. Thank goodness for air-conditioning! While I can step inside to cool off ...

>> read “Turf Rescue 911”    
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”    
The Self-Sufficient Gardener
Developing Transplants from Seed is Easy in a Greenhouse

When growing your own transplants, it is very important to control temperature, ventilation, light and moisture. Temperatures for warm-season crops should be between 65 and 80 F during the day, with nighttime temperatures of 60 to 65 F.

>> read “The Self-Sufficient Gardener”    
Plenty of Pecans for the Holidays

California has its almonds and Florida its citrus. But from Thanksgiving through Christmas, the southern U.S. has its own legendary horticultural crop: the pecan ...

>> read “Plenty of Pecans for the Holidays”    
Tillandsia: Plentiful and Diverse

Mention the genus Tillandsia to most gardeners, and you get a puzzled look. No, I’m not talking about the eight-legged spider (that the mere mention of its name invokes fear). I said, “Tillandsia,” not tarantula. These plants don’t bite! Even though Tillandsia, the largest genus of the bromeliad family of plants, has several species that resemble the ominous tarantula, rest assured that no harm will come to you by owning these unique plants ...

>> read “Tillandsia: Plentiful and Diverse”    
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”    
Foxgloves in the Southern Garden

The transition from the riot of color during spring’s awakening of the garden to the lazy days of summer is one of my favorite periods. Though the calendar tells us it is still spring, the flowers and the warmer temperatures inform us another spring will soon pass into the record books. It is during this transitional period that many old-fashioned favorite garden plants bloom. Irises, peonies, hollyhock and especially foxgloves make their presence known during this period.

>> read “Foxgloves in the Southern Garden”    
Simpler Than You Think
Saving and Storing Your Own Seeds

My grandfather’s shed was a mysterious place. Tools I didn’t recognize lined the walls over shelves of coffee cans filled with rusty hardware. Most interesting to me were the dozens of blue glass jars tucked carefully toward the back of each shelf, with seeds of every color and shape imaginable tightly sealed inside. Seed saving seems to have gone the way of horse-drawn plows. Many gardeners opt for ...

>> read “Simpler Than You Think”    
The Traditional Scarecrow

I was halfway through my childhood before finding the nerve to watch The Wizard of Oz without hiding at some point during the film. I suppose it was the witch (the wicked one from the west) — it would be an understatement to say that she intimidated me. The scarecrow was a much more pleasant fellow but, truth be known, he was also a bit unsettling to me ...

>> read “The Traditional Scarecrow”    
Weeping Plants

Some of the most spectacular landscape plants you will ever have the joy of seeing are those that have been developed with a weeping growth habit. Literally, dozens and dozens of trees, shrubs and even some perennials have been introduced through the years that display this unusual physical characteristic ...

>> read “Weeping Plants”    
Is it OK to prune roots?

When you prune a plant, whether you’re pruning stems or branches aboveground, or roots below ground, you’re wounding the plant. A wounded plant will attempt to seal off or compartmentalize the wounded area to prevent decay. This process forces the plant to use stored reserves (starches, etc.), and thus has a depleting effect. Pruning can also stimulate new growth, but for this new growth to occur, additional stored reserves must be used. Therefore, even though top and root pruning can be, for certain objectives and at certain times of the year, beneficial to a plant, the plant does pay a price...

>> read “Is it OK to prune roots?”    
 
 
 

New from our Bloggers:


My Mason Bee Project
Providing new homes for pollinators.

[+] Basil Becky


Buds and Blooms.
Try these in your garden.

[+] The Passionate Gardener


Spring Slowy Awakens
A few early signs of spring are now here

[+] The Bluegrass Garden