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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Sneeze-free Gardening
Avoiding allergy problems in the landscape

Let’s face it – it is almost impossible to avoid plants that cause allergies. For one thing, pollen can travel many miles in the wind. It is also unreasonable to expect our neighbors not to use certain plants in their landscapes just because we are allergic to them. However, with a little care it is possible to avoid heavy exposure to the pollens of allergenic plants and be able to enjoy our gardens most of the year.

>> read “Sneeze-free Gardening”    
How To Design a Historic Landscape

Romanticized in film and novels, the traditional plantation garden is often envisioned as a spacious ornamental landscape with sweeping lawn vistas and long allees of oak trees leading to an elegant manor. While this landscape may have been true in some cases, landscape historians report that this image is “gone with the wind,” as many plantations were really working farms and offered little time for maintaining vast ornamental gardens.

>> read “How To Design a Historic Landscape”    
Cattleya Culture
Growing Cattleya Orchids

To many people, the beautiful Cattleya is what they think of when the word “orchid” is mentioned — and with good reason. The flowers of the cattleya orchid are large, showy and colorful. Because of their popularity for use in corsages, cattleyas are commonly known as “the corsage orchid.” Named for the English horticulturist William Cattley (1788-1835), Cattleya is among the easiest of the orchid ...

>> read “Cattleya Culture”    
Problem or Opportunity

Many gardeners tend to view landscaping problems first as a challenge, and then as an opportunity. The thought of transforming an uninviting eyesore into a functional and beautiful garden area causes a rush of excitement. Being able to also trade high maintenance for low maintenance puts many gardeners in a state of euphoria. Yes, gardeners tend to be “glass-half-full” kind of folks.

>> read “Problem or Opportunity”    
From Jungle to Jingle
How the Poinsettia Became a Christmas Icon

As the Christmas season draws ever nearer, homes around the world take on the decorative trappings of the season. The symbolism associated with Christmas is deep, rich and ever-changing. Icons of the season – for example the Christmas tree – have been adapted from more primitive cultures. Probably neither a Druid chieftain nor Martin Luther would recognize the modern Christmas tree ...

>> read “From Jungle to Jingle”    
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”    
Delta Jazz Crapemyrtle
Lagerstroemia hybrid

I feel like the FDA pulling the plug on a prescription drug trial before all the results are in, but I am atypically confident that Delta Jazz crapemyrtle is a unique hot plant for Arkansas. Our University of Arkansas Plant Evaluation program started evaluating this plant ...

>> read “Delta Jazz Crapemyrtle”       #Hot Plants
Bringing Home the Birds
Keep your feathered friends flocking to your yard

Soon, the pallet of the landscape will be transforming from subtle browns and tans and exploding into splashes of hot pink, white, yellow and purple. The sweet-smelling crabapple blossoms will shower papery petals in a gentle breeze, blanketing the landscape. The rustling chatter and singing of wildlife will fill the once still air. Soon, spring will be here!

>> read “Bringing Home the Birds”    
Mudcrete
Tips on Building an Attractive Retaining Wall

The only sunny, level piece of ground on our lot is in the front yard, next to the driveway. Despite my well-reasoned and insightful explanation of why my new greenhouse should go there, my wife vetoed the idea. So, the only other location ...

>> read “Mudcrete”    
Christmas from Nature

Decorating from nature doesn’t require lists of instructions or rules; in fact, some of the simplest materials and compositions yield beautiful results. Children often make simple ornaments in school from natural objects such as walnut shells or dried seedpods.

>> read “Christmas from Nature”    
Defining Outdoor Spaces
Garden Rooms Exhibit Creativity

The idea that the landscape around our homes is a static, never-changing adornment seems to be giving way as more and more people embrace the notion of garden building. Some treat the terms landscape and garden synonymously, but they are quite different. You can have a perfectly fine landscape and never step foot outside or do a bit of the work yourself. But to have a garden is a different thing. Building a garden requires a personal commitment of time and effort, and it becomes your own living work of art, reflecting your interests, tastes and personality.

>> read “Defining Outdoor Spaces”    
Edible Chrysanthemum
They're yellow and they're tasty. Try the Chrysanthemum

Every family in the Gu's village where I spent my childhood had a row of edible chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum nankingense) along the north side of their house and very close to the wall. Starting in early summer we pick the tender tips, about 1 inch long, and use them in stir-fry or soup. It has a very refreshing taste. This continues until early or midfall, depending on whether we want flowers. Picking encourages more growing tips (and flowers later on) and keeps the plant short and rounded. It flowers in late fall if picking stops around early fall. In late fall, tons of tiny, 1/2 inch golden yellow flowers cover and fill the plant. [Edible chrysanthemum brings sunshine to the landscape in late fall.] Edible chrysanthemum is the most shade-tolerant and pruning-tolerant chrysanthemum that I have ever seen. It not only flowers on the outside, but also the inside of the plant canopy, probably because of its shade tolerance.

>> read “Edible Chrysanthemum”       #Hot Plants
 
 
 

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