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

Aspidistra elatior 'Snow Peaks'

New foliage of 'Snow Peaks' aspidistra is, appropriately, a chilly and pure greenish-white. Each emerging leaf is furled so tightly it's no thicker than a pencil.

An established clump could produce several dozen new leaves each Spring. It's an incredible show—and all the more so because nurseries and references never seem to mention it.

Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: 'Claude Barr' Prickly Pear Cactus

A cactus in bloom: So much excitement! In vivid coloring, bounty of pollen and nectar, and sheer size, the flower's pull is nearly gravitational. Thank goodness: In the desert, plants are few and far between. You'd better put on a high-wattage performance if you want your flowers to be noticed by pollinators.


A more serious drama is being played out at ground level: Death and life; death that leads to life; sacrifice of the individual for the community; step-by-step progress to the larger goal.


Yes, this flower's goal is to engage in sex—and with who-knows-what animals and insects, too. What a loud party it is. But this is a prickly pear cactus, and a creeping and even cascading one at that. It's the prostrate pads that really move the colony forward. 

Variegated Siberian Meadowsweet


Here's foliage that's not for the faint-hearted. It's large, and the coloring is both unusual and irregular: Metallic blue, green, and white, with flecks of rosy pink. The plant that sports these leaves is as big as any mop-top hydrangea. And yes, it flowers, too. 

Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Colorful New Stems of 'Winter Beauty' Honeysuckle

Naming any plant 'Winter Beauty' suggests that its beauty is in short supply in Spring, Summer, and Fall. I had drunk that Kool-Aid myself and, so, didn't pay attention to my own 'Winter Beauty' honeysuckle after its cool-weather flowering was through. Until today.


The new stems are purple, and not shy about it. True, 'Winter-into-Summer Beauty' doesn't sing like 'Winter Beauty', and this shrub's fragrant early-season flowers are still the reason to grow it. But neither I nor any of my sources had mentioned even in passing that its new stems are a show in themselves. I guess we had all drunk the Kool-Aid.

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