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

The Best Season Ever: 'Firecracker' Lysimachia in Flower

Gardeners whose beds are all tidied by April (my realistic target date is mid-July) will want to show off their colony of 'Firecracker' lysimachia in Spring, when its emerging foliage is as deep a burgundy as that of any smoke bush.

Lysimachia ciliata Firecracker Chamaecyparis obtusa Fernspray Gold 071216 320

By Summer, the burgundy has softened—OK, faded—and the stems can have grown so tall that they could lean or even flop. But by then, the butter-yellow flowers have appeared, and are happy to chat with other yellows you have thoughtfully planted nearby. My choice is 'Fernspray Gold' hinoki cypress, whose horizontal branches and feathery yellow foliage put steadying arms around many a willowy 'Firecracker' stem.

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The Best Season Ever: 'Sander's White' Rambler Rose in Bloom

I love pruning, and pruning roses in particular. I grow a number of climbers and ramblers, so the pruning pairs with another love: training plants into espaliers and pillars. Canes of 'Sander's White' are profuse, and can lengthen to eighteen feet. So, there's plenty of both activities.

Rosa wichuraiana Sanders White flowers 070516 320

Although the training is an end in itself, a rose in bloom is still the biggest reward. Flowers of 'Sander's White' are pure white, with countless petals forming tight rosettes. They are borne in sprays—potentially hundreds on a mature shrub—in a single voluptuous show that is all the more welcome for happening in early July, a few weeks later than the typical rose season of May and June. Hooray!

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Golden Lotus Banana About to Bloom

In temperate gardens, bananas are usually grown for their huge foliage, quick growth, and delight in the most oppressive heat and humidity. A few bananas are also easy to overwinter; one or two can even be grown in-ground as far north as Long Island. Below, the only one grown for flowers or, as the crazy structure that bears the flowers is known, an inflorescence.

Musella lasiocarpa Hedera canariensis Gloire de Marengo Cussonia paniculata Nelumbo TBD 070616 320

For a banana, the three-foot leaves may be modest, but the floral action is extraordinary: The common name "golden lotus" is right on target, and its show is about to begin.

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American Elderberry

Out at the streetfront of my property, large plants grow more-or-less on their own. Here, the native elderberry remains a monster year after year, a striking contrast to the weak and, eventually, failing performance of the many European ones I tried.

Sambucus canadensis Maxima overall 061816 320

The "Maxima' cultivar is even more vigorous than the straight species, but in this location, it can't get into trouble. More really is more.

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