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


Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Fall Foliage of Climbing Milkvine

We can only hope that our gardens are, even on occasion, merely pleasing. That in itself is a victory. After that bar has been cleared, being beautiful and even transcendent is just a matter of degree, the reward of years of effort and expense. But still: Beautiful is only the intensification of pleasing. Ho hum.

Matelea obliqua overall 101116 320

Today, the milkvine in this picture brought what mere time, effort, and money could not: joyful surprise. To my knowledge, this vine's Fall foliage color hasn't been commented upon. Heck, even I didn't include it in the lengthy profile of 2012—and hadn't discovered it all the years since. Until today.

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Narrowleaf Ironweed

I grow few Fall-flowering perennials—asters and mums, say—because their foliage is so boring all Spring and Summer. But I'm jazzed all season long about two of my vernonias. This is the thread-leaved one, which comes into flower in late September after looking as fine since May as the best thread-leaved amsonia.

Vernonia lettermannii flowers 092516 320

Yes, the flowers are distinctive as well as enduring, but they're icing on a cake that's been delicious for months.

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Mulberry Mystery Solved

This season, I've been tracking a volunteer gold-leaved mulberry whose foliage is exceptionally lacy. I figured out that, although it's a good fifteen feet from the one I planted, it had to be a sprout directly from the parent. Fifteen feet away! Those surely are far-reaching roots. Is this how the species behaves, or was this far-flung root sprout a fluke?

An excursion to Boston's world-famous Arnold Arboretum was in order; its collection of trees and shrubs is unrivaled east of the Rockies.

Broussonetia kazinoki near sprout 100416 320

In the mulberry grove, I found this cut-leaved beauty. In everything but foliage color, it was a dead ringer for my gold-leaved volunteer. Was its parent tree nearby?

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The Best Season Ever: Paddle Plant

A kalanchoe or two—or three or four or five—should find its way into your collection. One, velvet leaf, will slowly grow to twenty feet, but most of the others stay compact enough to grow on a warm windowsill all Winter, and a sunny spot in the garden all Summer. Paddle plant is the second in my collection.

Kalanchoe luciae overall closer 100216 320

Pairs of blue leaves the size and thickness of pancakes ascend thick stems; if the plant never did anything else, its talent as living sculpture would still be unsurpassable. But there's more.

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