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


Flower Buds of the Scots Elm

The winter flowerbuds of my dwarf weeping elm are all the more exciting for being so close at hand: the tree's entire canopy is still just three feet top to bottom. No such luck with the golden Scots elm. Free-range, it could reach one hundred feet—but even when pollarded, as below, new stems can lengthen to ten feet their very first season. Plus, they grow upward from the six-foot trunk, not outward or downward.

Ulmus glabra Aurea overall in elevation 022017 320

Short of a jet pack, any buds and flowers would be out of reach—and out of view—as completely as if they'd been at the top of the free-ranger. What to do?

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Lively in the Vase

In August, a vase of voluptuous flowering "cuts" from the garden may stay fresh for only days. In January, most choices are either dried-in-place or woody or evergreen. In a vase, they could last many weeks.

Salix chaenomeloides rooted wands 021417 320

For New Year's Day, I put stems of giant pussy willow and southern magnolia in a large vase, then left them alone to cool their heels clear into mid-February. By yesterday, both were still lively—and the willow stems livelier than ever.

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Stinking Hellebore in the Snow

Winter in New England makes wise gardeners thrilled with details that might scarcely be noticed in warm weather. Here's a hellebore bent down beneath heavy snow—and it is so worth noticing. Not least, it's alive! Even more startling, being snow-buried doesn't appear to be causing it any distress. If this plant could talk, it would say, "I'm doin' great, and—since I know it's on your mind to ask—I just love this weather."

Helleborus foetidus under the snow 020117 320

The snow makes the red petioles—like slenderest stems of rhubarb—even more visible; they are tipped by ferny palmate leaves. The lighter-green leafy growth at the tips of the stems is unlobed and—can it be, in early February?—hiding fat round flower buds: this plant really is comfy in the cold.

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The Best Season Ever: Meyer Lemon in Bloom

Meyer lemons are irresistible fruit: their fragrant sweetness makes typical lemons seem coarse. Plus, their thin skins make them tricky to ship, especially outside their peak November to March season—and, therefore, all the more desirable.

Citrus x meyeri flowers fingers 012017 320

So why not grow your own? The trees are compact—shrubby, really—and will flower and fruit prolifically even as youngsters. If you need to overwinter your Meyer lemon indoors, you'll want to get right in the action with hand pollination. It's easy with a kid's paintbrush.

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