Caring For Your Poinsettia Year Round
by Mike McQueen

People have different opinions about the poinsettia. Some consider it a holiday plant to be enjoyed during the month of December, then discarded with the Christmas tree. Others like to nurture their plants, coaxing them into bloom season after season.

There's no guarantee that your poinsettia will bloom again next December, even with year-round care. But if you would like to try, here are a few tips.   >> read article
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Press On
How to bring nature indoors by pressing botanicals
by Cindy Shapton

Pressing botanicals is just one more way for plant lovers to get their fix while feeding the artist within. Just pick a basketful of your favorite flowers, herbs, leaves, seedpods, or whatnot to place between papers in a press and forget about it until the process is finished.   >> read article
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After the Tulips
Fill in the gaps after the spring blooms have faded
by Gloria Day

The glory of the spring was upon us. The first crocus had bloomed, winter aconite made a carpet, the hyacinth crowns were showing, the tips of the daffodils and tulips were emerging and suddenly everything burst into color. Like the finale of a fireworks display, there was much excitement in the garden. Ah, spring.

But a few weeks later, the flowers faded, petals fell to the ground, the stems were bare and there was only leftover foliage to watch wither away. Not so exciting.   >> read article
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From Drab to Fab: Half-Hardy Salvias for Summer Fun
by Caleb Melchior

My first garden experiences with tropical sages were a bit drab. Six-packs of mealycup sage (Salvia farinacea) from the grocery store bloomed through the summer with flowers the color of new Levis. The next year, to be fancy, I grew the seed strain ‘Strata’. Its flowers were closer to the color of dirty overalls. Then, of course, there was red Texas sage (Salvia coccinea) and its variety ‘Lady in Red’ — far more elegant in name than in physical reality — plus its bizarre faded pink variant ‘Coral Nymph’.

Yes, they were reliable. They needed little attention, they tolerated heat and drought, and stayed colorful throughout the summer. But they didn’t do anything that a plastic cactus wouldn’t.

  >> read article
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Floriferous Floribunda Roses
by Linda Kimmel

Floribunda roses are the result of crossing hybrid tea and polyantha roses. Some believe that nurseryman Peter Lambert, from Trier, Germany, first experimented with crossing hybrid tea roses with polyantha roses as early as 1903. But the first successful cross of this combination that was marketed to the public was made by Dines Poulsen, a Danish hybridizer, who studied and worked several years with Lambert. Poulsen dubbed this new variety of rose a “hybrid polyantha” or “Poulsen roses.” Poulsen’s goals were to create roses that would survive harsh winters, have good disease resistance, and would display the form, beauty and color range of the hybrid tea class along with the repeat bloom profusion of the polyantha roses.   >> read article
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Peony Power
by Tony Mistretta

Peonies are one of the best perennial choices for a Midwest garden. The reason is simple: Peonies are hardy and extremely reliable. Once established these beauties are durable and low maintenance. Another admirable aspect of peonies is that, unlike some other perennials, the do not ramble. They come back reliably year after year with little care and produce huge flowers — even enough blooms for cut-flower bouquets.   >> read article
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Mission Impossible
by Leslie Hunter

In an ideal world, all planting beds would have well-drained, rich soils and the perfect amount of sun and water. I was in heaven when I moved from red Georgia clay to rich, humusy Iowa soil, but even that has problems to contend with.   >> read article
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Those “Other” Magnolias
by Scott Beuerlein

There are three reasons people don’t plant magnolias anymore: 1) Everybody assumes “magnolia” means only the saucer magnolias (Magnolia x soulangeana) they remember from their youth, which, 2) ate all of Grandma’s front yard, and 3) had its flowers blasted every third year by a frost. Now, listen to me carefully: These reasons are dumb.   >> read article
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