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The newest web article for State-by-State Gardening was written by:

Ruth Mason McElvain

Ruth Mason McElvain, retired English teacher, blogger, gardener and writer, lives in upstate SC, blissfully repatriated to her native South after 40 years in California.

 

 

No Fuss…No Till
by Beth Botts

A growing number of experts say annual tilling is unnecessary—maybe even harmful. Here’s why. Garden wisdom has long held that preparing a vegetable garden means yearly tilling: digging to mix up the top 6 or 8 inches of soil and incorporate new organic matter such as compost to increase its fertility.   >> read article
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Variegated Plants
Exclamation Points in the Garden
by Julie Foster

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 article
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The New Faces of Urban Spaces
Raise Chickens, Rabbits and Goats
by Cindy Shapton

The food movement in this country has prompted many to rethink where our food comes from. Economic times have brought people around to giving “growing their own” some serious thought; after all, many remember our parents or grandparents stepping into the backyard and gathering eggs for breakfast or a mess of green beans for dinner or fresh milk from the family cow or goat.   >> read article
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Floral Arranging American Style
by Charlotte Kidd

Is it a bit cheeky to think I can create bouquets like White House Chief of Floral Design Laura Dowling after hearing her speak once? Foolish, perhaps. Fun, certainly.   >> read article
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Air Layering
A Makeover for Overgrown Houseplants
by Martin Stone, Ph.D

Houseplants bring life to our homes and offices, but sometimes they outgrow their welcome. Those with woody stems, such as dracaenas, corn plants and scheffleras, can become too tall and lose their shape or threaten the ceiling. Instead of tossing them out and buying new plants or giving them to a friend with taller ceilings, try air layering. This easy propagation technique will not only rejuvenate your plants — it will reward you with new plants for your efforts ...   >> read article
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Welcome the Birds
by Jeff Rugg

Have you ever wondered why you see more birds in local forest preserves than in your yard? Why some birds are seen in the suburbs but not in the city? Have you ever tried to attract hummingbirds or orioles by putting out special bird feeders, only to have them ignored? What can you do to attract more birds to your yard ...   >> read article
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‘Vanderwolf’s Pyramid’ Limber Pine
Pinus flexilis ‘Vanderwolf’s Pyramid’
by June Hutson

Pinus flexilis ‘Vanderwolf’s Pyramid’, a Plant of Merit selection for 2013, is a needled evergreen. The species is native to Southwestern Canada through the Western U.S. to Mexico and is found primarily in the Rocky Mountains at elevations of 5,000 to 12,000 feet. The species name refers to the flexible branchlets and twigs ...   >> read article
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Site-Sensitive Natives
by Deb Terrill

Just because it’s a native doesn’t mean it will be happy wherever you plant it. There are a lot of terrific reasons to grow native plants, but the most-cited reasons are not necessarily the best. There is little doubt that natives are hot. From two-minute TV segments to print media and even garden club lectures, you can’t avoid the message: “Grow native plants because they are easier, need less water and care and are better for the environment.” But is it true ...   >> read article
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