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: Spindle Tree in Bloom

With so many trees in bloom in the Spring, those that flower in Summer are all the more noticeable. These are the flowers of a rare species of spindle tree, Euonymus carnosus, that began flowering the second week of June. Now it's the third week in August, and flowers are still present.

Euonymus carnosus 081516 closer 320

How many other hardy trees mount a floral performance for over a month, let alone June into August? Add dark green glossy leaves (that caterpillars ignore!) and sensational Fall color, and you have an ornamental that should be in every garden where it's hardy.


Now to the weird common name, fleshy-flowered spindle tree. Fleshy-flowered? Yuck, but perhaps that's part of the answer to the flowers' peculiar longevity.

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Golden Lotus Banana

The show has begun! Two weeks after the astonishing inflorescence of Chinese dwarf banana emerged, yolk-yellow bracts have begun to open around a huge cone that seems like the lotus bud of the gods.

Musella lasiocarpa overall 072616 320


While a lotus flower's lifespan is a mere three or four days, this inflorescence will produce hundreds of flowers over three to six months. Weirdly, they aren't at all showy compared to the inflorescence itself. Weirder still, this plant's most remarkable performance may well be completely hidden.

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: 'Morning Calm' Trumpet Vine

By August, the trumpet vines are in bloom. It's time to compare them. At the left, flower clusters at the far edge of a large standard of the native species, Campsis radicans. The deep orange blooms are showy but hardly unusual.

Campsis radicans in focus 080116 320

In the distance, two standards of a hybrid of the subtropical Asian species, Campsis grandiflora, with the native Campsis radicans. Even though they are farther away, the display is still more powerful. Truly, there's no comparison.

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Oakleaf Hydrangea in Summer

As with most roses, iris, and lilacs, the floral performance of most hydrangeas is so powerful that the foliage is secondary. This is usually just as well. The exceptions—blue-leaved rose, variegated-leaved iris, and cut-leaf lilac—are as striking as they are welcome. 

Hydrangea quercifolia Sykes Dwarf wider view 072716 320

Oakleaf hydrangea is perhaps the most dramatic—the most foliage-fabulous—of them all. Indeed, despite the spectacular flowers, oakleaf hydrangea can be grown, proudly and gorgeously, so that it never flowers.

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