YOU NEVER KNOW who you’ll bump into at the public-radio station in tiny Sharon, Connecticut. The latest: Dr. Kim Tripp, a botanist who directed the gardens and science at the New York Botanical Garden when I was editorial director at Martha Stewart. She is an expert in woody plants who, as I did, chose to start over at midlife. We spent time together last week talking exceptional trees for the home garden, and also heard her second-act story—how at age 50 she took student loans and went to medical school, becoming an osteopathic physician who now practices across the street from Robin Hood Radio’s studios, where our conversation on my latest show took place. [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.
I GET ASKED TWO QUESTIONS a lot when people visit my garden: “Where did you get that plant?” and, “Where do you put all those big pots of tender things in winter?” (such as the giant Rex begonia vine, above). The answers to both questions lead back to one old friend in particular, Dennis Schrader, whose wholesale nursery on Long Island is where many of the favorite “investment plants” I try to carry over year to year put down their first roots, and whose expert overwintering advice I got on the latest edition of my radio show. Plus: Win Dennis’s classic book, “Hot Plants for Cool Climates.” [read more…]
‘WHERE ARE THE MONARCH BUTTERFLIES this year?’ one of many recent emails on the topic asked me. Headlines about monarch decline seem to confirm gardeners’ observations: Populations of the once-familiar orange-and-black creatures are not what they were. What’s going on, and how bad is it? Is there anything we can do? I invited conservation biologist Dr. Karen Oberhauser, a University of Minnesota professor and leading force in its Monarch Lab, who has studied Danaus plexippus for almost 30 years, to my latest radio show to explain. [read more…]
SEATTLE-BASED GARDEN FRIENDS brought me lily bulbs years ago, ones they said were their favorites, but of a type I didn’t know. They were martagon lilies, and when I saw my first flowers the next spring, they quickly became my favorite, too, with their Turk’s cap-style blooms and a natural-looking demeanor—no stiffness, and lots of grace. My gift had come from a nursery near my friends’ garden, which has a great assortment of martagons. I’ve asked that expert grower to give us the 101 on them (quick hint: lime desired!), and lily-growing and dividing in general. [read more…]