I’M OFTEN ASKED by frustrated gardeners how I managed to get my big old hellebore plants to grow so lustily—as if they are finicky, or difficult. To me they seem easy, but since reader questions persist, I decided to ask the guy with 6 acres of mature plants and decades of hellebore-breeding experience, Barry Glick of Sunshine Farm and Gardens. In my latest radio-show (transcript highlights are on the jump if you prefer to read, not listen) we also covered when to divide woodland wildflowers, and some deer-resistant recommendations for the shade garden, too. [read more…]
Even in my cold Zone 5B climate, I aim for a 365-day garden. Selecting the right plants is a key. The ornamental plant archive includes reliable, beloved garden subjects that I grow here, many with multiple seasons of appeal, from annuals and groundcovers all the way up to shrubs, vines and trees.
A CONVERSATION WITH AN OLD FRIEND sent me searching deep in one overgrown border last month here for my forgotten plants of Primula veris—the common cowslip—which isn’t so common in nurseries after all, it seems, my friend was saying. I promptly moved the big clumps, still vigorous despite having found themselves swamped lately, from back-of-bed obscurity to front-and-center, and have enjoyed weeks of cheery bloom. [read more…]
I CAN’T WAIT FOR THEM to announce themselves noisily, though readers have been writing in, expressing varying degrees of cicada anxiety. Brood II of the periodical 17-year cicadas—the brood that returns on that uncanny schedule specifically to parts of the East, from Georgia to Connecticut, are already being sighted where soil temperatures have warmed to the preferred 64 degrees. As with all things, I’m most fascinated by these insects’ role in the bigger ecological picture—besides the sheer magical aspect of witnessing their incredible orgy. Some cicada facts I’ve learned: [read more…]
WHAT NATIVE AMERICAN SHRUB smells like cloves right now, with a profusion of golden flowers, and handsome lobed foliage (which will turn nice warm colors in fall)? Another clue: It would have fruit, too, if you had both a male and a female plant. It’s the clove currant, which I know as Ribes odoratum, and woody plant expert Michael Dirr calls it “a rare gem in the shrub world.” [read more…]
AS PROMISED: On this week’s public-radio show (available anytime as a podcast, too), I answered some of your recent Urgent Garden Questions. The topics ranged from how deep to build a raised bed for vegetables, to a whole range of crabapple inquiries: What’s the best crabapple variety for jelly, the crabapple with longest-lasting fruit, and more. All the details–plus the links to the show if you prefer to listen, not read. [read more…]