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: 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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Wire Vine in Winter

In milder climates, it's easier to tell if a plant is dead in the winter. With only a modest challenge to remain green during a season that is merely chilly, not arctic, if the plant is brown, it's usually a goner. For plants in climates with more intense winters, this basic Green : Alive / Brown : Dead thinking must sometimes be tossed. Plants stay alive on their own terms, leaving the conceptual catch-up to us.

Muehlenbeckia axillaris Nancy Taylor overall 012117 320

This is a large colony of wire vine—most often seen as a container annual, or a rampant but beautiful groundcover in Zones 8 and 9—that has been thriving for many years here in southern New England. The foliage of the upper reaches is green, while that of the lower is brown. For this plant in this site in this Zone 7a climate, its reality is Green : High / Brown : Low / Either Color, High or Low : Just Fine. What gives?

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