Garden Design principles 2

Thu. Dec. 19, 2013

bench garden

The above garden has plenty of room for more designing but isn’t that the fun of it!?!  After all, the garden, I’ve found, is never really done as you can see below…

Shade garden planted

Andrew Sankey’s Garden Design Principles continue:

5.  Use the whole plot.  Keep in mind the entire area including your lawns, the kids sandbox, birdbaths, etc.

6.  Don’t be afraid to change.  Your plants OR your design.  Sometimes that’s part of the fun!

7.  Don’t be dotty!  In other words, plant in mass.  At least 3  … [Continue reading]

Garden Design Principles

Wed. Dec. 18, 2013

Garden Design can give the novice a nervous tick!  No worries, I have the 10 garden design principles from Andrew Sankey, a cottage gardener, historian and humorist  from England, with an eye for simplicity.  If you ever get a chance to listen to him speak – GO!

Andrew Sankey, English gardener, historian and humorist


Garden Design Principle:

  1.  Don’t fight nature.  Work with the soil you have.  Yes, add peat moss and compost to fluff your soil but don’t expect it to change the entire structure.
  2. Retain the main features. 
 … [Continue reading]

2014 AAS winners

Tue. Dec. 17, 2013

Yesterday I talked about what the AAS designation on plants means.  Today I want to share more of those All America Selections for 2014 with you.  For blooms that last from summer to frost, there’s a new penstemon with outstanding color.  It’s called ‘Arabesque Red’.

Plant ‘Arabesque Red’ in full sun in the flower bed or in containers.  It will grow up to 24 inches. To encourage continuous bloom, remove the spent flowers  It’s hardy to Zones 6.  This lovely attracts butterflies and hummingbirds as well as people! 

A flower  … [Continue reading]

AAS – what is it?

Mon. Dec. 16, 2013

All America Selections was started in 1932 by a man named Ray Hastings.  He encouraged all seed companies to set up trial grounds, cooperatively test new varieties and agree to develop marketing efforts for new vegetables and flowers. He recommended a national network of trial grounds throughout North American climates where flower and vegetable varieties would be grown and assessed by skilled impartial judges.  Today, home gardeners can feel confident when selecting these varieties knowing that they’ve been thoroughly tested.

There are some fabulous choices for 2014.  This is just  … [Continue reading]

Potbound plants

Fri. Dec. 13, 2013

Potbound roots of a tree, courtesy of U of MN Ext.

Professor Gillman, who’s written several books and one I’ve recommended to you in the past, says that SOME trees and shrubs come with nearly 3 inches of soil on top of the uppermost roots.  That’s a problem.  You want to plant your purchase with the uppermost root at the soil level.   I’ve linked the article for you, “What to do about potbound plants”.  Within the article is also the technique to box cutting.

Watch the video from this  … [Continue reading]

National Poinsettia Day

Thu. Dec. 12, 2013

Happy National Poinsettia Day to you!  Your card’s in the mail…


First up – choose a good looking specimen!  That means nice dark green leaves throughout, no yellowing or wilting leaves.  Turn the plant around to see that it’s full all the way around.  Once you make your choice, make sure it’s wrapped well before taking it outside.  Poinsettias don’t like real cold temps, after all, they’re a native of Mexico.

Once home, unwrap your Poinsettia and make sure there are drain holes in the foil it’s in.  It’s  … [Continue reading]

Celestial Gardening

Wed. Dec. 11, 2013

Celestial gardening sounds a bit mystical.  It is.  It’s also working, according to some experts. Biodynamics, it’s more scientific name, uses the movements of the moon and stars to guide planting and cultivation.

Think that’s a stretch?  Consider how the moon creates ocean tides.  Suddenly it’s not so “out there”.  Well, celestially speaking it is!  😉

Biodynamic gardeners plant by the lunar calendar, they also use raised beds believing that this enlivens the soil.  Herbs such as chamomile, yarrow and valerian, are added in small quantities at specific places in  … [Continue reading]

What’s new for 2014

Tue. Dec. 10, 2013

Oh so MANY new plants!  Here’s just a small preview!  Burpee has a lot to offer.  Here’s a very pretty little sunflower called ‘Ms Mars’ that looks amazing each step of the way.

sunflower 'ms mars' 1 sunflower 'ms mars' 2

sunflower 'ms mars' 3 sunflower 'ms mars' fully opened

If you like cherry tomatoes, this new determinate may be just the ticket.  It’s called ‘Baby Boomer’ hybrid.  Burpee calls this “wildly prolific” delivering 300 sweet cherry tomatoes up till frost.  This compact plant would be perfect for a container.  It grows to just 25 inches tall and wide, however, they DO recommend caging it.  I  … [Continue reading]

Evergreens of another color

Mon. Dec. 9, 2013

With all that white, we do appreciate some color in our landscape.  Evergreens generally come to mind first.  But this evergreen is yellow.    It’s an Eastern Hemlock called ‘Golden Duchess’ from Monrovia.  It’s a dwarf plant growing just 3 to 4 feet tall with a possible spread of 5 feet.  It’s arching branches give it dramatic effect.  It’s great in a woodland setting or rock garden.  It prefers morning sun and afternoon shade.

Eastern Hemlock 'Golden Duchess'










Eastern Hemlock ‘Golden duchess’

Another 4 footer is  … [Continue reading]

All squashed up!

Fri. Dec. 6, 2013

Winter squash are incredibly decorative with their fluted, ruffled ,and ribbed rinds and, what seems like, random body shapes.  Their colors are amazing too from oranges to greens, to blues and nearly pink.  But wait, there’s more… They’re tasty too!Squash 'Queensland Blue'

Squash ‘Queensland Blue’
Squash 'Eastern Rise' and 'Sweet Dumpling'
Squash ‘Eastern Rise’ and ‘Sweet Dumpling’
'Sweet Dumpling' squash stuffed with quinoa
Sweet Dumpling Squash stuffed with Quinoa recipe!
 For more information on the Sublime Squash from the article in Organic Gardening magazine