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: Lion's Ears & Savitzii Parlor Maple

I have many score of "conservatory" specimens—tender plants that I grow individually in containers, and which I overwinter year by year—so that I can enjoy long-term explorations with horticulture that isn't otherwise hardy here. Just-for-the-season container plantings are the opportunity for speculatory and even manic combinations that might last barely one season, let alone thrive year after year. No matter: whether a success or failure, the gig is up by hard frost.

Abutilon Savitzii Leonotis leonuris lower 101516 320

Here's one: a huge container of delicate variegated abutilons and kick-ass South African shrubs known as lion's ears. Just for the Summer, the lion was able to lay down with the lamb.

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Fall Foliage of Golden European Ash

While this tree's performance in Spring and Summer is solid; its performance in Winter—bare branches sheathed in butter-yellow bark are tipped with striking ebony buds—is sensational. Fall extends that butter yellow to the foliage, too.

Fraxinus excelsior Aureafolia yellow stems foliage 101516 320

Season after season, this tree doesn't know the meaning of bad hair day. It deserves a prime location in congenial gardens anywhere.

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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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