Tibetan Whitebeam Tree | A Choice for Small Outdoor Spaces

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Með Roger Griffith – eigin skrá, Í almenningi, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4148438

The Tibetan Whitebeam Tree (Sorbus thibetica ‘John Mitchell’) is a mid-sized deciduous tree derived from traditional Whitebeams originating from western China and the Himalayas.  Also known as, John Mitchell, this relatively compact tree reaches a height of 15-20 feet (with a 12-15 feet spread). Other varieties of Whitebeams can tower to 60-70 feet (and spread 50 feet wide).This variety is perfect for most informal gardens and makes a stunning focal tree, and can be grown successfully in zones 5 through 7.

This distinctive tree prefers nutrient rich, acidic, well-draining, moist soil. It benefits from full sun but can tolerate light shade. The tree produces white flowers from umbels in late spring amid green leaves with white underbellies, which produce rusty-brown inedible berries much later in the season. The berries are a favorite of wildlife, especially birds. In autumn, the leaves transform into glorious shade of gold, yellow and bronze.

Tibetan Whitebeam can be propagated by cuttings taken from softwood in summer. If pruning is needed, this should occur in early to mid-winter.

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Cape Honeysuckle | A Colorful Flowering Tropical Plant That Gardeners Love

Cape honeysuckle (Tecoma capensis)

A truly fetching beauty, cape honeysuckle (tecoma capensis) is a hardy, fast-growing ornamental evergreen shrub which is native to South Africa. Drought and salt tolerant, and relatively pest free, here in the United States, cape honeysuckle can grow hardly in sub-tropical regions such as California, Hawaii and south Florida.

Cape honeysuckle is typically grown as a flowering spreading shrub, but can easily be trained as a stunning vine which features long, tubular flowers (the most popular color is orange or red orange, but peach and yellow varieties are available) which attracts hummingbirds, bees, butterflies and birds. The flowers generally bloom all year, there is no set blooming time. Although, it is named as honeysuckle, cape honeysuckle is not a true honeysuckle.

Cape Honeysuckle can grow from 4 to 10 feet in height and width if grown as a flowering shrub.  If grown as a vine, they can grow from 20-30 feet long and will need sturdy support. Depending on your planting preference (shrub or vine), they should be planted at least 5-6 feet apart. The plants thrive in full sun but can tolerate light shade. They also require well-draining average soil with a light amendment of compost when first planted and light applications of a balanced fertilizer in spring and summer. It has moderate watering needs (water deeply once a week). It can be pruned lightly in late fall after blooming but only slightly once a year or it can be irreparably damaged.

Cape honeysuckle can be grown containers if provided with good potting soil, excellent drainage and given the correct sun exposure; full sun or part shade. New nursery bought transplants should be planted in container 2 inches taller than their current pot and another 2 inches as it grows. If grown in containers, watering needs should be closely monitored but only water if the top two inches of the soil is completely dry. They will benefit from a feeding in early spring from a slow-release fertilizer. The plants will need to be sheltered in the winter in mild regions and brought indoors to overwinter in cold climates.

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Pineapple Lily | A Pollinator to Attract Bees and Butterflies to the Garden

Pineapple Lily (Eucomis spp.)

I was introduced to the pineapple lily years ago while visiting a friend’s garden and fell in love instantly because of its uniqueness. My friend had them growing as border plants and the bi-colored flowers growing from green bracts brought out a certain visual appeal to her perennial garden.

Eucomis, also known as Pineapple Lily and King’s Flower, is a low maintenance summer-flowering bulb and is native to South Africa. It is not a true lily, of course, nor is part of the pineapple family, but it’s aptly named due to its resemblance to pineapple tops. The bulbs begin to grow in early summer and produces green vertical bracts from the base (1 ½ to 2 inches width and space). The flowers begin to bloom during late summer and the colors can range from white, pale green, violet, yellow, pink, purple and orange depending on the cultivar.

Pineapple Lily prefers full sun and well-draining soil rich with organic matter. Its watering needs are moderate and will not tolerate soggy soil. Bulbs should be planted a minimum of 12 inches apart and 4-5 inches deep. These bulbs grow very well in containers (make sure the tips are at the soils surface. If grown in cooler areas, the bulbs will need to be dug up and moved inside during the winter months.

The flowers produce a scent that lures pollinating bees, butterflies and beneficial flies. Once the flowers stop producing, purple seeds appear and are prized for their additional ornamental value. Pineapple lilies will bring a bit of tropical flair and intrigue to any perennial garden or woodland site.

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Silver Wattle | A Flowering Evergreen for the Garden



By SABENCIA Bertu Ordiales – Bertu Ordiales y Guillermo César Ruiz. Guía de los árboles d’Asturies. Ediciones Trabe. (2007), CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=77581798

Silver Wattle (Acacia dealbata)

A hardy, fasting-growing deciduous tree, silver wattle (mimosa) is native to Australia and Tasmania, but is widely cultivated in Mediterranean or tropical landscapes due to its ability to thrive in both dry and wet conditions. Silver wattle is considered an invasive species in the state of California and parts of Australia. *

Mature Silver wattle trees can grow up to 50 ft tall (40 ft spread) and they feature a high, rounded shape. It typically flowers in late winter or early spring and showcases yellow, heady fragrant flowers. Silver wattle prefers well-draining light loamy soil and full sun (it cannot tolerate any shade). Silver wattle is hardy in USDA Zones 9-10.

Silver wattle is deer resistant but can suffer from several diseases and pests such as root rot, leaf/fire blight, borers and thrips. Although ground planted or potted Silver wattle trees can resist short bouts of cold a layer of organic mulch should be added around the base and horticultural fleece wrapped around the tree. In cold climates, potted trees should be brought indoors for the winter and placed in a cool spot.

*Suggestion: Due to its invasiveness, silver wattle should be grown in a container/pot. This will help control spreading roots/sucks and with deadheading spent flowers so the tree can’t produce seeds which can be spread by birds.

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Crimson Glory Vine | A Way to Add Decorative Foliage to the Garden

The Crimson Glory Vine (vitis coignetiae) is a deciduous and vigorous climber that originates from Japan and Korea.

This ornamental grape vine can reach an impressive 30 to 60 feet, and can successfully be grown in zones 4-8. It needs sturdy support via walls, fences or even trees to showcase its stunning beauty.

This runner requires full sun for optimum growth but can tolerate light shade. It prefers rich, loamy, well-draining soil and has moderate watering needs. The vine produces tendrils and flowers in June to July, and bears small, inedible black berries. The leaves turn brilliant shades of crimson-scarlet in the fall, adding a seasonal wave of color.

Like many of its cousins, the Crimson Glory Vine can also used a ground cover if provided with full sun. The plants can be grown from layering and hardwood cuttings. It usually takes 1-2 years to establish new growth from cuttings. The vines benefit from pruning in winter while dormant, but are slow to establish new growth (it takes 1-2 years).

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Summer Kitchens and Garden Preservation

Growing up during the 70 and 80’s on a rural farm (population 234) in Northern Florida near the Georgia border provided me with invaluable experiences of growing, harvesting and preserving food.

My paternal and maternal grandmothers both had large families and providing food was truly a family affair. We would spend long hours during the summer months harvesting corn, okra, cowpeas, potatoes, peppers, plums, pears, melons, muscadine grapes, sugar cane, summer squash, beans, cucumbers and of course, tons of tomatoes.

Most of the preserving was done outside under an ancient live oak tree centered in the middle of the two homesteads and also a small, lean-to kitchen (summer kitchen) semi-attached to the house.  Handmade wooden farm tables and chairs were provided by both families along with canning jars and accessories, cooking utensils, large pots and large wrought iron cauldrons. We all participated in canning, drying and freezing the harvests and would split the caches between the families. During the fall season, we would partake of the same rituals with cool weather veggies such as collard, turnip and mustard greens, cabbage, peas and various root crops. During that time, livestock was also harvested, preserved and shared between families.

Summer kitchens were widely used during the 18th and 19th century for cooking, processing/preserving large amounts of food crops during the hot summer months. They were made from materials such as stones, wood planks and logs. The interiors usually had large cast iron wood burning stoves, fireplaces and ovens. Most were attached to the main house but many were detached. This in turn would keep the remainder of the house cool and safe from smoke scents and accidental wood stove fires.

The preservation kitchen design shown below is based from a prefab building which includes a large retractile door, ventilation units, potting station, canning equipment, energy efficient kitchen appliances, dehydration shelving units and storage cabinets and racks. The plants featured are excellent for eating fresh, pickling, jam making and drying for a family or market sales.

  • Apples
  • Beans
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Carrots
  • Corn
  • Cucumbers
  • Garlic
  • Herbs
  • Nectarines
  • Onions
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Peas
  • Plums
  • Potatoes
  • Raspberries
  • Squash
  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes

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Pandemic Victory Gardens | A Quick How-to on Gardening in the COVID-19 Era

Victory gardens were widely encouraged and sometimes government-mandated during World War I and II to help supplement food supplies for families (large amounts of food were shipped to help support troops in foreign countries).  The War commission provided people with valuable literature/pamphlets/posters to educate theme about gardening (crop types pest/disease control, fertilizing, harvesting, food preservation and raising small livestock such as chickens for meat and eggs. Nearly every available parcel of land, both large and small, were turned into urban and rural mini farms filled with various fruit vegetables and herbs.  Not only did the gardens provide and abundance of home grown produce, it also encouraged unity and increased morale. Continue reading

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Patagonian Groundsel | A Hardy Evergreen Shrub for Your Garden

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Dick Culbert https://www.flickr.com/photos/92252798@N07/8469300364/

Patagonian Groundsel Tree, also known as Patagonian Sea Myrtle (Baccharis patagonica), is a frost-hardy, fall-flowering evergreen shrub originating from South America — Chile and Argentina (Patagonia). 

Known for its versatility as a mounding hedge or a thick, matting ground cover, Baccharis has a strong, binding root system, which makes it perfect for stabilizing steep slopes. Baccharis creeping habit can also make a fetching addition to rock crevices.

Baccharis can reach a height and spread of 9 feet spread, and prefers full sun. Baccharis can be grown successfully in zones 7-10. It’s very slow-growing, but is comfortable in a variety of well-draining soils, and most notably thrives in moist coastal areas.

A low maintenance plant that benefits from hard pruning, it produces fragrant white and cream-colored flowers from showy red stems in late spring and early summer. Plants can easily be grown from seeds (surface sown in 1-2 weeks) or semi green cuttings taken in late summer. Male and female plants are needed to produce viable seeds for collection.

Gardener looking for an easy-to-care-for green addition sprinkled with color and a pleasant fragrance will find it in this cold-tolerant plant.

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Bentham’s Cornel | A Beautiful Himalayan Shrub or Tree for Your Garden

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Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Bentham’s Cornel (cornus capitata) — also called Himalayan Strawberry Tree and Evergreen Dogwood —  is an evergreen originating in western China, Nepal and the Himalayan region.

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Bog Gardens | A Beautiful, Creative Solution for Watery Spaces

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To many, a waterlogged area of a property is an inconvenience or eyesore. In most cases, poor draining soil in small areas can be corrected by amending the soil or other economical means.

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Using Shade Sails In a Garden Landscape

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Some of the best things about spring and summer are the abundance of beautiful weather, the ability to grow things, ample opportunities for outdoor barbecues, parties, and other forms of open-air entertainment, and the ability to enjoy nature is all of its glory. Continue reading

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Maidenhair Vine | An Ornamental Plant for Outdoor (and Indoor) Gardens

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By Avenue – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14980740

Maidenhair vine (Muehlenbeckia complexa) is a deciduous climbing vine native to New Zealand. It is most notably known for its versatility as a prolific ground cover and screening plant due its rampart but showy growing habits. Hardy in Zones 7-11, it can also be grown in a variety of locations, including salty and windy coastal areas. Continue reading

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Snow Gum Eucalyptus | An Australian Native Tree for the Garden

By Amanda Slater – May 29th “Tree Three_Snow Gum Blossom”, CC BY-SA 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4327216
By Sterry2607 – Transferred from de.wikipedia to Commons by Hekerui using CommonsHelper., CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org /w/index.php?curid=35857638
By Toby Hudson – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9374575

Want a tree for your garden that is easy to grow, resilient and beautifully sculptural? Look no further than Snow Gum Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus pauciflora), a hardy strain originating from several regions in Australia not to be confused with Eucalytus globulus, an invasive species spreading throughout California and other states. With its twisted branches and striking white flowers, it makes for a stunning addition to any architectural landscape.

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A Simple Sensory Garden

It has been a dream of mine for many years now as a garden designer to be commissioned to create a large scale sensory garden for a facility such as a hospital, mall, school, senior citizen centers or treatment center. Hopefully, that dream will become a reality in the near future, but in the interim, I would like to share a few important features for creating a simple sensory garden:  sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste.

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Sunn Hemp: A Garden-Boosting Ornamental Plant

Sunn Hemp Plant Garden

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.

Sunn Hemp (Crotalaria juncea) is a poplar nitrogen-boosting member of the legume family. Although notably grown in the more tropical regions of Asia, it actually originates from India. It is perfect for the home gardener or an urban farm because of it’s soil-improvement qualities (if adequate growing space is available). Wildlife areas and livestock farms also benefit from its status as as forage or fodder (if consumed in the early stages of growth; it becomes fibrous as it matures).

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Hen and Chick Poppy | A Unique Flower for the Garden

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Fast becoming a poplar addition to many perennial gardens, the Hens and Chicks Poppy (Papaver Somniferum) is a beautiful, albeit unusual, plant. In the spring, it features a single flower featuring stunning petals ranging in color from pink to dark red to purple with golden highlights in the center.

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Plants For A Low-Allergy Garden

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Flowering Plants:

Azalea – Rhododendron
Daffodil – Narcissus
Day Lily – Hemerocallis
Gladiolus – Gladiolus
Snapdragon – Antirrhinum

Small Shrubs/Bushes:

Barberry Bush – Berberis vulgaris
Big Leaf Hydrangea – Hydrangea grandiflora
Coral Bells – Heuchera
Daphne – Daphne
Hosta (Plantain Lily) – Hosta

Small Trees and Large Shrubs:

Cotoneaster – Cotoneaster dammeri
Crabapple Tree – Malus
Dogwood – Cornus florida
Hawthorn – Crataegus
Rose Of Sharon – Hibiscus syriacus

Large Trees:

Cedar – Cedrus
Crape myrtle – Lagerstroemia
Juniper – Juniperus
Magnolia – Magnolia grandiflora
Poplar – Populus

Lawn Grasses:

Buffalograss – Bouteloua dactyloides
Hybrid Bermuda –  Cynodon dactylon (L.) Pers. x Cynodon transvaalensis Burtt Davy
St Augustine – Stenotaphrum secundatum

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Container/Small Spaces Vegetable Varieties

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As gardening continues to grow in popularity, more small-space gardeners are finding alternatives to full-size vegetables. Thankfully, there are many dwarf hybrid varieties that make it easy to grow veggies of virtually any kind in small spaces.

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Grow a Fern Garden or Add Ferns to Your Outdoor Space with These Exotic Beauties

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Ferns (Pteridophytes) have long been a favored plant worldwide, and are included in  both indoor and outdoor gardens. They are natural to woodland forests around the globe. Continue reading

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Achiote Tree | An Herbal Ornamental for the Garden

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Achiote (Bixa orellana), A.K.A. the Lipstick Tree, is a small deciduous tree native to Mexico, Central and South America. Achiote can grow up to 20 to 30 feet tall if grown as a tree. However, if pruned correctly, it can retain it’s shrubbery height of 12 feet. Throughout the growing season, Achiote produces  attractive, heart-shaped leaves and an abundance of light pink flowers. It produces inedible green fruit that, when it matures, turns a brownish-rust in color and is covered with soft, spiky hairs. Continue reading

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Butterfly Bush | A Garden Option to Attract Butterflies, Bees and Other Pollinators

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Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii) – Originating from China, Butterfly Bush is a delicious, perennial shrub known for it’s long plumes. The plumes feature a cascade of tiny, nectar rich flowers that attracts and provides food only, to adult butterflies, bees, hummingbirds and and other beneficial insects. The flowers colors can range from shades of blues, violet and purple but are generally white, pink and red. Continue reading

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The Trumpet Vine | A Way to Add Beauty to Your Garden

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The Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans) is a fast growing, tenacious climbing vine native to the southeast region of the US. This hardy perennial is also known as trumpet creeper and produces large, tubular and stunningly beautiful flowers with colors ranging from orange to scarlet.  The plant’s vines are deciduous, enterprising and compact and rootlets cling almost any surface. Continue reading

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Agapanthus | An Exotic Beauty of a Flower That Brings Annual Pop to Gardens

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Agapanthus (African Lily) is a summer flowering perennial (grown from bulbous root stocks) and is native to South Africa. Agapanthus features spectacular blue, white, pink and purple flowers on top of deciduous and tender evergreen leaves which would be a stunning addition to any Mediterranean or exotic landscape. Continue reading

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The Wonders of Acacias |Ornamental Trees for the Garden

 

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5 Stunning Plants to Attract Butterflies To Your Garden

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Herb Gardening 101 | Growing Herbs in Your Garden

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As a garden enthusiast, I love growing all types of plants, but the plants that give me the most joy are herbs. It is astounding how many varieties there are and the many qualities they have and benefits they provide: i.e. culinary, medicinal and ornamental.  For that reason, I think herbs should be included in every garden. Continue reading

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Little Fingers: Children In The Garden

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Spring has finally arrived and the long awaited anticipation of heading outdoors to start gardening has come to an end. All gardeners, both old and young, are currently jump-starting what they hope to be a bountiful, fun and educational garden experience in the seasons to come. Continue reading

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The 5 Best Springtime Vegetables to Plant in Your Garden

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How To Attract Hummingbirds To Your Garden

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Greetings everyone…Spring has finally arrived and I couldn’t be happier. I still have a long wait before I can actually harden off my plants, and I am eagerly awaiting that day! Continue reading

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Corkscrew Willow Tree | An Ornamental Option for Your Garden or Landscape Design

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Brighten Up Your Outdoor Space with a White or Moonlight Garden

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Accessible Gardens | Designing a Garden for People with Disabilities and Physical Limitations

garden-1427541_960_720The National Gardening Survey reveals that three-quarters of Americans garden in one form or another. But only 36 percent of people with disabilities engage in any leisure physical activity, including gardening and walking outdoors, according to a report by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

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Corkscrew Hazel | A Beautiful, Twisted Tree for the Garden

 

By Schnobby

Photo By: Schnobby – https://commons.wikimedia.org

As a garden designer I find that creating a main and unusual focal plant in any garden enhances it charm and invites a welcoming interest. In particular, a shrub such as Corkscrew Hazel would be spectacular if included in a whimsical or fairy garden due to it’s gnarled branches.

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10 Holiday Gift Ideas for Gardening Enthusiasts

With Thanksgiving behind us and the holiday season officially upon us, here are ten inspired gift ideas for the gardener in your life. Continue reading

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Garlic O’Plenty | A Quick Guide to Garlic for the Garden

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Five Shrubs For Your Winter Garden

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(Photo by Pixabay.com)

For gardeners like me who live in a cold climate, the thought of the upcoming winter season can feel you with apprehension or dread. Winters here in New York state are brutal and long. The snow-covered landscape is barren and devoid of color. However, with prudent planing, your garden can provide an abundance visual appeal in winter for both you and wildlife. Continue reading

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Making Fragrant Potpourris

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During this year’s growing season, I have been actively drying and saving various flowers and foliage to create garden crafts for the holidays. One craft in particular that I truly love is making garden potpourri. Continue reading

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Fall Gardening | Autumn Plans for My Garden

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In my home garden, I recently finished sowing seeds and transplanting seedlings for the Fall growing season. I truly enjoy the freshness and quality of Fall’s seasonable vegetables and fruit. I am looking forward to the abundance of nutritious stocks I will be making at summer’s end, which will bring delicious flavors to warming soups and stews this winter. Continue reading

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A Dream Come True: Anna’s Garden Design

Anna's Gardening Antics & Musings

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Hello my gardening companions. As you know, gardening and design are my true passions; my purpose. So, I am super-excited to announce the launch of my new garden design site, aptly named Anna’s Garden Design. This is a dream come true for me after years of study, real-world experiences and many personal sacrifices.

Basically, I provide an online garden design service based on my clients projections of their dream garden landscapes. I offer everything from basic design consultations to a full-scale site designs. Using information provide by clients, I create virtual designs and offer specific recommendations so that homeowners and business can create their own sanctuary entirely online, without the usual hassles or expense.

I would love for you to stop by my new site, Anna’s Garden Design , and let me know what you think. As always, I thank you for your time and support. Take care!

P.S. The…

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Healthy Food From the Garden: It’s Broth-Making Time….

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Adapted from my sister blog, Anna’s Gardening Antics and Musings…

Hello my friends. I hope you are well and enjoying this beautiful and bountiful summer season as much as I am. Fall is rapidly approaching, however, so I have began planting for the season with crops such as kale, lettuce, chard, spinach, collards, turnips and root vegetables.
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My Love Affair with Tomatoes….

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As the end of summer approaches and the first frost looms not far behind, I usually began to get a bit anxious about harvesting and preserving my summer vegetables. In particular, homegrown, ripe tomatoes. I truly love tomatoes and have been known to hoard as many as possible for preserving to enjoy a taste of summer during the brutal winter months. Continue reading

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10 Plants That Repel Mosquitoes

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Summer has finally arrived and with it’s arrival the proliferation of the blood-sucking and possible disease-carrying garden foe: the mosquito. In my home garden, I typically place several types of plants to deter mosquitoes. Typically, I either plant them in masses or dry leaves such as sage or rosemary to burn during outdoor gatherings. I also crush fresh leaves from my citronella grass, lemon thyme and lemon balm plants in my hands to release the oils and rub them on my skin instead of using chemical mosquito repellents (if you have skin allergies or sensitivity, I would not recommend this method). Continue reading

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Fallen Fruit in the Garden

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(Revised from my sister blog: Anna’s Gardening Antics and Musings)

Greetings fellow gardeners! We are experiencing great weather in my area, so I am writing this post on my laptop, in a shady part of my garden. It is so beautiful outside. Nature is a beauty to behold and a true testament of God’s presence. Continue reading

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My Japanese Knotweed Garden Nightmare….

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Re-adapted from my sister blog: Anna’s Gardening Antics and Musings

Greetings my fellow gardeners. Thirteen years ago I purchased a beautiful old home with a tiny yard full of miscellaneous shrubs and unusual mystery plants.  I had lovely thoughts of creating a private haven of flowering vines, small fruits trees and edibles, similar to my late grandmother’s garden. I had very little knowledge at that time about gardening, so I read hundreds of books, watched gardening videos and took various classes for over a year. Continue reading

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Queen Anne’s Lace Jelly Recipe

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Re-adapted from my sister blog: Anna’s Gardening Antics & Musings…..

Recently, I had the honor of sampling a delicious jelly made from Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) flowers. It was absolutely wonderful: sweet with a mild, flowery taste. Continue reading

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What is Melilot? A Bee-Attracting Garden Plant

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Photo via: Flickr

Melilot (Melilotus officinalis), also known as Yellow Sweet Clover, is a non-native plant originating from Eurasia and brought to the US as fodder for animals and a cover crop to produce a bust of nitrogen to poor soil and fields. It is not considered a weed but can become invasive if not monitored properly as it can be found in all types of soil. Continue reading

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Benefits of Basil | A Fragrant Garden Herb

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Garden Quote…..

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Five Common Edible Flowers In The Home Garden

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Did you know, there are edible flowers in most home gardens? Many gardeners grow plants for visual appeal and for their fruit, but many flowers also offer the same taste as their hosts. Continue reading

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Benefits of Creating a Pollinator Garden

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