Exotic Flavors
Growing some out-of-the-ordinary seasonings
by John Tullock

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 article
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The Unusual Suspects
One dozen off-the-beaten-path shrubs for your garden
by Garry Menendez

“And now for something completely different.” It’s time to play a little bit of classic comedy movie trivia. From which movie did the following line become famous: “We want a shrubbery”? If you’re my age or have ever in your life encountered the classic Monty Python skits you would know that this line is from the hilarious bridge scene as the Knights of the Round Table attempt to correctly answer the pun posed by the Knights that say “Ni!” to gain access across the guarded bridge in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.   >> read article
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Weeping Plants
by Theresa Schrum

Some of the most spectacular landscape plants you will ever have the joy of seeing are those that have been developed with a weeping growth habit. Literally, dozens and dozens of trees, shrubs and even some perennials have been introduced through the years that display this unusual physical characteristic.   >> read article
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Gardening Up High
Resplendent green rooftops provide benefits all year
by Sylvia Forbes

Tall, slender stems of grass swish in the warm summer breezes, while coreopsis and coneflowers bob their heads, as if waving. They and dozens of other plants grow in a diverse garden planted on top of a garage in the middle of St. Louis, Missouri. If a person doesn't look up when walking or driving by, they'll miss seeing it.   >> read article
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Whitewater Red Bud
Cercis canadensis
by Clara A. Curtis

Cercis canadensis ‘Whitewater’ is a “hot plant” out of North Carolina and a North American native tree too! This small, deciduous tree with beautifully variegated white and green leaves was developed by Dr. Dennis Werner at North Carolina State University. It’s a good choice to incorporate into your garden where contrasting foliage color is desired. Traditional magenta-pink flowers of the redbud emerge in the early spring on bare branches ...   >> read article
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Chinese Che Tree
Cudrania tricuspidata
by Beth Burrell

Grape-size red fruits catch the eye starting in late August on this uncommon but commendable fruit tree known as Chinese che. At first it is slow to grow, a few inches at best. Just be patient – as with many plants three years seems to be the charm ...   >> read article
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Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick
Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’
by Mike Klahr, Ph.D.

Are you interested in the unusual, or even the bizarre? If so, your curiosity (and that of your neighbors) might be piqued by the uniqueness of the contorted European filbert, a plant fondly known as Harry Lauder’s walking stick ...   >> read article
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A Spring-time Wonder
The setting for a different kind of blooming adventure.
by Jack Horan

In the spring, Forty Acre Rock near Lancaster, S.C., goes from drab to dramatic with a burst of flashy colors on a granite outcrop that's the centerpiece of a state preserve. Small wild plants called elf orpine, black-spored quillwort and pool sprite bloom to showcase a mix of red, green and white hues in shallow, water-filled pools. These rare plants put on their show from March through early May, until the pools dry up and Forty Acre Rock's colors revert to dull grays and greens of lichens and mosses.   >> read article
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