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

Paraguay Nightshade & Friends

No garden should be without ornamental potatoes. No, not the ones with fancy tubers: They're ornamental on your plate, not in the garden. Rather, ones with showy foliage, flowers, or fruits—or scary-wonderful thorns.

Here's another of the floriferous species: Paraguay nightshade. Purple-indigo flowers tip almost every stem in active growth, and if you grow the shrub year to year, you can train it into a standard or even a small tree.

Lycianthes rantonnetii Royal Robe blossom 091316 320 

Mine is in a pot, and this year it wound up amid most intriguing neighbors.

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The Best Season Ever: Cardinal Climber

Each year I add another vine or two from the morning glory genus to the gardens' Spring-to-frost display. There are so many choices that look nothing like this genus's heart-leaved namesake. What they do have in common is boundless vigor and floriferousness, plus a complete lack of acrophobia.

Ipomoea x multifida tip of the tower 090616 320 

This is cardinal climber (Ipomoea x multifida), a hybrid of two red-flowered species, cypress vine (Ipomoea quamoclit) and red morning glory (Ipomoea coccinea). It has raced to the top of a tuteur that I had made "only" fourteen feet tall. Silly me!

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Colorful Fruit of Variegated Weeping Korean Dogwood

In strong sun, the foliage of the arch of variegated weeping Korean dogwood is startlingly bright, especially with much of the box hedge at the front in shade. Even from across the street, the arch fairly glows.

Cornus kousa Kristin Lipkas Variegated Weeper long shot 091616 320

In late Summer, the creamy white highlights the trees' red fruits with far greater effect than the plain green foliage could. The combination of fruits and foliage makes the arch worth a close-in view, too.

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Now 'til Frost in the Garden of a Lifetime: High Season for Moonvine

The growth capacity of annual vines can be just this side of scary. Giant woolly morning glory, Argyreia nervosa, can climb thirty feet in a Summer—and that's just during New England's comparatively brief and cool one. In its native India? Maybe twice as high. Madeira vine, Boussingaultia basseloides, is another tree-smothering terror where hardy, but is merely exuberant here.


Moonvine, Ipomoea alba, aspires to similar heights, racing twelve feet high in August, then waving around for even higher conquests.

Ipomoea alba top of tower with bloom 090616 320

But then came the possibility of a visit from Hurricane Hermine: Time for the white guy-lines in the picture. My fourteen-foot tripods could handle thunderstorms, but not gales that might tumble the patio furniture. Ah, the suspense before the storm's arrival.

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