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Featured Articles!

The Basics of Bulb Planting

Gardeners are an optimistic lot, always planning for the future and dreaming about what is yet to come. Nowhere is this optimism more apparent than when we plant bulbs. In our mind’s eye, we see glorious displays of tulips and drifts of golden daffodils splashed across our gardens like so much spilled paint.

>> read “The Basics of Bulb Planting”    
Common Ninebark

You may call it common or Eastern ninebark (Physocarpus opulifolius), but this native shrub has become anything but common. Ninebark has been to finishing school with several fabulous new cultivars introduced. Bright, colorful foliage – burgundy, copper, gold and variegated – have replaced the standard medium green leaves of the old-fashioned ninebark. The species has been tamed, a lot more compact and less vigorous.

>> read “Common Ninebark”       #Hot Plants   #Natives   #Ornamentals   #Shrubs
‘Appalachian Red’ Redbud

The eastern redbud has long been a staple for Virginia gardeners and when the delicate flowers fill the forest edges, warmer weather is just a whisper away. While our native redbud’s popularity remains strong, there has been a host of newcomers hitting the streets in the last few years. One of my personal favorites is Cercis canadensis ‘Appalachian Red’ or the Appalachian red redbud.

>> read “‘Appalachian Red’ Redbud”       #Hot Plants
Christmastime 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. Years ago as a third-grade room mother, I helped children construct Christmas arrangements for their mothers using cut greenery, stalks of seeds ...

>> read “Christmastime from Nature”    
Recipes for Winter Vegetables

Common belief seems to be that winter vegetables are those that grow in the cool days of late fall into winter or that begin their growth spurt in the still cold days of winter and come to harvest in early spring. Many of the vegetables in the cabbage family often show up on lists of winter vegetables, as do lettuce, spinach, kale and a number of leafy greens ...

>> read “Recipes for Winter Vegetables”    
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”    
Variegated Plants
Exclamation Points in the Garden

When I designed the perennial border in the garden of our first home, it was a process of trial and error. All the books I studied told me I should first create an evergreen “backbone” to provide year-round interest, and plant so that something of interest was blooming each season.

>> read “Variegated Plants”    
Learning Garden Lingo
Unraveling the colorful language of gardening

Are you occasionally perplexed by a term used in a gardening book or magazine article? You are not alone if — as a newcomer to America’s most popular pastime — you are sometimes confused with terminology such as “friable loam.” Gardening is like many other hobbies, with unique and often colorful lingo ...

>> read “Learning Garden Lingo”    
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”    
Outside Influence
How to Bring a Touch of the Garden to Your Holiday Decor

As a garden and exterior designer, I can’t help but incorporate natural and outdoor elements when decorating for the holidays. And hey, if you think about it, the holiday season is the perfect time to bring the outdoors in. I mean, at what other time of year do we traditionally cut down real trees and put them in our living rooms?!

>> read “Outside Influence”    
Japanese apricot ‘Peggy Clarke’
Prunus mume

There’s not much out in the garden that can beat the winter blues like Prunus mume ’Peggy Clarke’, also known as the Japanese flowering apricot tree. When it’s too cold for much else to bloom, this small tree bravely sends out its blossoms on bare limbs in mid to late winter, providing the kind of showy display that most plants set aside for spring. It’s an amazing sight in the dead of winter.

>> read “Japanese apricot ‘Peggy Clarke’”       #Hot Plants
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”    
 
 
 

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