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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A Painted ‘Forest’
Try this cool idea this winter for long-lasting color
by Ellen Zachos

When we moved into our new condo, there was a dead mountain ash tree in the backyard. I’d just come back from a visit to Chicago and I’d seen how the parks department there had painted dead trees, turning them into art. Inspired, I painted my own dead tree, and used it to hang wind chimes, lamps, and houseplants summering outdoors. The bright purple was a great accent color in the garden.   >> read article
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Various Vinegars
Make your own herbal vinegars to add zip to your recipes
by Rebecca Stoner Kirts

Here it is winter and I am yearning for the taste of my favorite fresh herbs. I prepared for this moment by making a variety of herbal vinegars in the early fall. It is a great easy way to add a gourmet zip to so many recipes – from salads to meats. Additionally, herbal vinegars can be used for cosmetic uses, medical purposes, plus household uses. Who would have thought you could have herbal vinegars on hand to beat the heat, as well as to battle illnesses and insects.   >> read article
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It’s All the Buzz: Basic Beekeeping
Ever considered keeping bees in your garden?
by Charlotte Ekker Wiggins

Spurred by worldwide honeybee declines, more gardeners are learning how to keep honeybees. Overuse of pesticides, diseases and disappearing habitat have all contributed to honeybees’ record losses since 2006, when historically-stable U.S. honeybee populations first plummeted.   >> read article
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How to Make Potpourri
Gather herbs and flowers now for potpourri all year
by Denise Schreiber

The original French term for potpourri meant “rotten pot,” referring to the moist method of pickling flowers and leaves. More common now is the dry method using flowers and leaves that are picked just as they reach maturity full of fragrance and color. It also incorporates seeds, spices, dried leaves and flowers, berries, dried fruit slices, barks, seedheads and cones to add a variety of textures to the mixture. The best potpourris have a subtle, natural scent that comes from the combination of all natural ingredients. Different ingredients contribute aroma, texture, color and bulk. Many herbs contribute fragrance as well as color and texture.   >> read article
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Using the Olla to Beat the Summer Heat
by Brandee Gruener

Keeping the vegetable garden hydrated during the heat of the summer is a challenge in the South, where the sun beats down for weeks, the rain barrels run dry and even heat-loving crops wilt under summer’s fiery breath. Water restrictions have even become commonplace in many parts of the region, making watering the garden even more difficult.

Water-efficient systems such as drip-line irrigation can make a big difference. But Durham, N.C., gardener Scott Belan found a cheaper and simpler solution by building an olla out of a humble clay pot. This watering solution satisfied Belan’s personal philosophy in gardening: Look to the cultures and climates that make the most sense for your surroundings.   >> read article
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Sorry, We’re Closed
by Rachel Williams

Gardening is harder than it looks … just when we think we know what we’re doing, our beds are attacked by outside forces. How to prevent ultimate defeat? Rather, how to be at war with nature, when you’re trying to be in harmony? Be your garden’s ally – provide adequate reinforcements by instituting an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan using some of these methods. As with insects, our ecosystem is delicate. Please think through your actions carefully – you wouldn’t want to go get your legs waxed and end up leaving with a bald head.   >> read article
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How to Build a Living Fence
by Jean McWeeney

Fences can fill a number of needs in the garden: They can enclose a space and define it, they can keep the dogs in or the neighbor’s cats out, they often tell the gardener where to stop planting. But they can also become part of the planting and design scheme itself. That is, they can support plants and allow their form to be seen in their best light. Of course, the typical cottage garden picket fence does a great job – but construction is not always easy or cheap. There is an alternative though – a wood and wire fence.   >> read article
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