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: Blue-leaved Cow Parsnip in Bud

Each eighteen inches broad and three feet from stem to tip, the titanic leaves of this blue species of cow parsnip could scarcely be more striking. 

Heracleum antasiaticum overall 052716 320

But when this rare monocarp finally does thrust itself into flower, even this foliage is now backdrop. The massive crowning umbel is the mother ship, but there's a fleet of secondary umbels already in formation. Details of the show are stunning, too, not just its stupendous size.

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Gold & Raspberry: 'Whoa Nellie' Holly & 'Sicilian Sunshine' Sweet Bay for Starters

Many plants display new foliage that's gold. Here are two that I'm growing in containers. On the left, a newish cultivar of sweet bay, Sicilian Sunshine. On the right, Whoa Nelly holly.  

Laurus nobilis Sicilian Sunshine Ilex Nellie R. Stevens fingers 051516 320

Leaves of both mature to green, for a marvelous contrast with gold leaves that are still emerging. Young leaves of Sicilian Sunshine take the contrast even further: Their petioles and stems are bright raspberry. Young stems of Whoa Nellie are also raspberry, although their tips (as well as the leaves' petioles) stick with gold.


Are raspberry details common among gold-leaved plants, and I just hadn't noticed before? What color combinations are others of my gold-leaved plants displaying?

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Acanthus Foliage in Spring

In milder climates, bear's breeches is evergreen. Too bad: Those gardeners don't have the first-hand thrill of Spring's crop of emerging leaves.

Acanthus mollis Jeff Albus fingers 050116 320

The shiny, bright green foliage provides the ultimate in texture. Each leaf is a mass of crinkly pointy lobes tipped with spines that (at least to look at them) are channeling those of the fiercest English holly. But the tactile experience is another story.

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Umbrella Plant in Bloom

Spring is the peak season for astonishing plants that, literally, pop up. Here is a bloom spike of umbrella plant, about twenty inches tall and topped with a cluster of pink flowers six inches across. Each Spring it emerges from the colony's thick rhizomes weeks before the leaves and, at the height of a season where new excitements reveal themselves almost daily, can be missed entirely until—huzzah!—it's in full flower, seemingly, overnight.

Peltaphyllum peltatum 050216 320

The round leaves that follow this slender floral display are enormous. In happy colonies, they form an invincible groundcover. Who could imagine that this show should be followed by that one? Spring is an astonishing season, indeed.

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