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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

11 Plants that Love the Cold

As the Director of the Allen Centennial Garden, a public garden on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I’m always on the lookout for plants that extend the season of interest for our visitors. Plants that are hardy, easy to grow and dependable rank high on this list of some of our favorites.

>> read “11 Plants that Love the Cold”       #Colorful   #Feature   #Winter
Poinsettias — How a Christmas Tradition was Born

It has long been a custom in Mexico to place flowers around church mangers on Christmas Eve. Folklore tells the tale of a poor young child who could not afford flowers. An angel appeared to him and told him to pick some weeds by the side of the road, and place them on the manger. When he did, the weeds turned into beautiful red flowers that the Mexicans called Flor de la Noche Buena, or the Flower of the Holy Night.

>> read “Poinsettias — How a Christmas Tradition was Born”       #Holiday: Christmas   #History   #Red
Create a Space-Saving Herb Garden for your Wall

I really enjoy cooking with fresh herbs, but buying the packaged variety at the grocery store can really add up. So, this winter I’m growing my own indoors. We created a space-saving herb garden to hang on our kitchen wall. The design keeps herbs handy without taking up limited shelf or counter space.

>> read “Create a Space-Saving Herb Garden for your Wall”       #Containers   #Herbs   #How to
A Room With a View
Creating a garden space that is attractive and useful

“Outdoor room” has become quite a buzz phrase. But what does it really mean? You won’t find it in the dictionary, because there is no true definition. An internet search, however, will bring you all sorts of interesting results. An outdoor room is really any exterior space that is furnished or outfitted around a specific function. It’s a room with a purpose and a view!

>> read “A Room With a View”       #Decorating   #Design   #Landscaping
Soup-er Farmer’s Market Feast

In my mind, there is no better time to be in the kitchen than right now. The cooler temperatures cry out for warm, hearty meals that bring everyone together.

Normally I’m the only one in our house who will eat squash. But, there is something about this creamy, slightly spicy, butternut squash soup that makes it pass the test. Paired with a second season greens salad and a loaf of fresh bread – all purchased at the farmers market – it’s perfect for a fall lunch or dinner.

>> read “Soup-er Farmer’s Market Feast”       #Fall   #Recipes   #Holiday: Thanksgiving   #Vegetables
Antique Roses Never Went Out of Fashion

What is an antique rose? Sometimes antique roses are called heirloom, heritage, vintage or old garden roses. Whatever your preference of terminology, they are a wonderful class of roses whose date of introduction precedes 1867. They are extremely fragrant, grow without chemicals, and are adaptable in a wide variety of growing conditions. They can create a mood of romance, or nostalgia, stirring up sentimental memories of your grandmother’s yard with sprawling roses on the fence or trellis.

>> read “Antique Roses Never Went Out of Fashion”       #Fragrant   #Roses
Gardening for the Birds

It is a sad fact — habitat for birds and other wildlife is becoming more fragmented and wildlife populations are suffering due to the harm we as humans cause by moving our home and business developments farther and farther out from city centers. Ultimately, we are throwing the balance of nature out of whack. If we turn this alarming trend around and work toward becoming more ecologically responsible land stewards, would our personal actions help to restore the balance of nature? I want to be optimistic and say yes.

>> read “Gardening for the Birds”    
Now You Don’t
Creative ways to hide air conditioners and equipment

Over the past 30 years I have been snapping images of the ways gardeners hide the necessary evils – pool equipment, meters, propane tanks, air conditioners, and electric boxes. Solutions fall into three basic groups – plants, enclosures, and walls/screens. I hope some of these ideas will work for you.

>> read “Now You Don’t”       #Design   #Hardscaping
It’s All About the Berries

If you have ever seen a beautyberry in fruit, you are not likely to forget it. The brilliant, iridescent purple berries that cluster along the stems of Callicarpa dichotoma and C. japonica in late summer and fall will stop you in your tracks.

>> read “It’s All About the Berries”       #Fall   #Fruit   #Shrubs
The Tall and Skinny
Gardening with columnar and fastigiate evergreens

It is no secret that plants come in many shapes, sizes, and growth habits. For those of us who are fortunate enough to know the joys of gardening, we get to take advantage of this great variety when creating our own personal Eden. Two nearly identical groups of plants that are both fun to work with and practical, are columnar and fastigiate evergreens.

>> read “The Tall and Skinny”       #Landscaping   #Trees
Tickseed
Coreopsis

Interest in native plants, such as Coreopsis, continues to surge as gardeners realize their benefits. Breeders respond with a dizzying array of new cultivars, but which one is right for you? A research report issued in December 2015 by Mt. Cuba Center can help you decide. They trialed 67 different varieties of perennial coreopsis over a three-year period, and after speaking with George Coombs, research horticulturist at Mt. Cuba Center, it’s clear that only the toughest survived.

>> read “Tickseed”       #Flowers   #Hot Plants   #Natives   #Yellow
Spider Mites

The thought of spider mites can bring chills to an avid gardener, rekindling memories of the damage inflicted to a favorite plant by tiny creatures you can hardly see. Of all the pests in the urban landscape, spider mites are probably the most difficult to manage.

>> read “Spider Mites”       #Insects   #Pests
 
 
 

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