NEW Trips to Take!

Myrtle's easy when the conditions are right.


NEW Plants to Try!

Louis tries to capture the exact words to describe the fleeting but deep pleasures to be found in these Summer-into-Autumn incredibles.


New Gardening to Do!

Allergic to bees? You can still have an exciting garden, full of flowers and color and wildlife.


A Gardening Journal

Good Together: 'Amethyst Falls' Wisteria and Variegated Japanese Tree Angelica

Immense variegated pinnate leaves and dense pine-cone-sized clusters of lavender flowers: At first glance, this could be the ultimate plant. In reality, this is a duet of 'Amethyst Falls' wisteria—demure and much later-flowering than the Asian forms—and just a portion of one of the gigantic palm-like leaves of the 'Aureovariegata' form of tree angelica.

Wisteria frutescens Amethyst Falls Aralia elata Aureovariegata 061015 320

If the display were all from one plant, it would be the category killer, the ne plus ultra. All that would be needed would be to find such a creature, afford to buy it, and then plant it and nurture it. But the effect requires two plants, each reasonably available and easy to grow. Nonetheless, it's more of an achievement. 


Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Beech Hedge in the Mail

Seeds shipped from abroad? Potted plants shipped transcontinentally? No problem. Below, though, something remarkable: two sheaves of bare-root and very young American beech saplings. Even so, they were shipped by regular mail from the Midwest; apparently, there wasn't a rush.

Fagus grandifolia sheaves of 25 061615 320

Dunked in a bucket of water for a day and kept moist and in the shade thereafter, in a week they are leafing out. The contrast between their laissez-faire toughness when dormant and their quick "wake up" seems miraculous. And scary: Now that they are becoming active, they are completely vulnerable. If I don't get them potted or in the ground ASAP, they'll die.  


Good Together: Giant Potato Creeper, Golden Arundo, Vermont Gold Spruce

Is there any plant so extraordinary that it must be only a soloist, an island unto itself? With container plants, the container itself can be the temptation towards solitary display: With its roots so confined—so, literally, contained—the plant isn't directly connected to the ground, let alone the garden. 

Arundo donax Golden Chain 060415 320

This rare form of giant reed has yellow stripes, not white, and could hardly be flashier or more distinctive. It's tender for me, so I grow it in a large container. Far from helping to isolate it, the container keeps this reed portable. I can place it amid different hardy plants each season—and, as here, bring in yet another high-wattage container plant that harmonizes with everyone. 


Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Plow Breaker In Bloom

Time to trumpet, even to crow: My plow breaker is in bloom! Spiny leafless flower spikes began emerging in early May, and are tipped with whorls of astonishingly bright vermilion flowers that seem to drip down from calyces the color of orange sherbert. 

Erythrina zeyheri spikes overall 052515 320

This South African species is hardy in-ground only in Zone 8 and warmer—and then only when the Winter is dry or the drainage is fantastic. Here in chilly, muddy-in-Winter New England, plow breaker is strictly a container specimen. 


But, to review: This plant is flowering to beat the band. For this excitement, I'll lug this species' container around no matter how large it will need to become. 


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