Merry Christmas

Wed. Dec. 25, 2013

There’s no Garden Bite today.  I hope that you and your loved ones are having a joyous day.  I wish you every good thing in the coming year.  Thank you so for stopping by.

Merry Christmas wreath … [Continue reading]

Gardener’s version of The Night Before Christmas

Tue. Dec. 24, 2013

Click to listen to my radio show:  Twas the Night…

“Twas the Night before Christmas – the Gardener’s version” by Teri Knight

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

not a plant was stirring not even a sprout

The seedlings were hung by the glow of a grow light

in hopes they’d spring-up-in-summer to the gardeners delight

The poinsettias were nestled all snug in their pots

with dreams of some moisture but certainly not rot

When out in the yard there arose such a clatter, the gardener  … [Continue reading]

The American Chestnut

Mon. Dec. 23, 2013

Click to listen to my radio show:  The American Chestnut

In the 1800?s the American Chestnut was the most important tree in America.  There are reports that it could grow straight for 50 feet with no branches, it was rot resistant and lighter than oak.  The lumber of ONE tree could fill a train car!

Then in the early 1900?s a bark eating fungus arrived in America from an Asian Chestnut and by 1950 the American Chestnut was all but extinct.  Since then, plant pathologists and breeders have been working  … [Continue reading]

Garden design wrap-up

Fri. Dec. 20, 2013
   We’ve talked about using what you have, working with the soil you’ve been given, keeping it simple, planting in mass and trying not to overwhelm yourself by becoming too ambitious.
    9.  Paths should lead somewhere.  Be it a bench, an herb garden or an accent plant, take your visitors to a destination.
   10.  Use few impact plants.  These are your accent plants.  These are the only plants you can be “dotty” with!  Hot colored plants, like reds, oranges and yellows make your garden look smaller.  Cooler colors like  … [Continue reading]

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]