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Your USDA Hardiness Zone

Featured Articles!

Versatile Winter Squash: Stuffed or Gratin

A cold winter evening is just the right kind of weather to fire up the oven and bake the fruits of fall and winter, savory winter squash (and that includes pumpkins). The aroma that drifts through the house will make even the pickiest eater hungry. Best of all, because they store so well, you can usually purchase all types through the winter months.

>> read “Versatile Winter Squash: Stuffed or Gratin”       #Recipes   #Vegetables   #Winter
The Harmonious Garden

Step into your garden, close your eyes and listen. What do you hear? Does your garden sound as pretty as it looks? Along with texture, color and fragrance, sounds help create a unique environment in your garden. Enhancing and manipulating these sounds make you the backyard conductor of your own garden orchestra. Composing a garden symphony is easy, just start with what you already have and build on it. So grab your wand (trowel) and begin.

>> read “The Harmonious Garden”       #Advice   #Decorating   #Misc
Contained Expression
How to make a bold statement with architectural planters

The practice of container gardening has been around for hundreds, even thousands of years, with containers traditionally being used to house rare and exotic plant specimens, to allow tropical or cold-sensitive plants to be moved indoors for the winter, or to display arrangements of brightly colored, botanical overachievers. In any case, the plants they contained tended to be the emphasis rather than the containers themselves. In today’s modern gardening world, however, there are all kinds of different and exciting options when it comes to containers. Modern materials combine with bright colors and new, inventive designs to give us garden containers that can truly make a statement on their own, regardless of what is planted in them. This rising trend of using bold, architectural planters is the perfect way to express yourself and to add a stimulating new dimension to your garden and outdoor living spaces.

>> read “Contained Expression”       #Advice   #Containers   #Design
Exotic Flavors
Growing some out-of-the-ordinary seasonings

If, like many of us, you have been trying to eat more locally produced food lately, no doubt you have already learned how to keep the produce bin stocked with beans, tomatoes, lettuce and corn by growing them at home or visiting the local farmers’ market. Nothing beats local produce for flavor and nutrition, and eating close to home helps conserve the fuel that would have been used to transport the food across the country. But what about those wonderful, exotic flavors like ginger? They will always have to come from far away, right?

>> read “Exotic Flavors”       #Edibles   #Fruit   #Herbs   #Unusual
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
How to Force Bulbs

Are you looking for a way to brighten up the long winter days? Forcing spring bulbs is simple and fun and brings some color to the gray of winter.

>> read “How to Force Bulbs”       #Bulbs   #Flowers   #How to   #Winter
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
 
 
 

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