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…]
annuals & perennials
What's an annual? Well, anything you use seasonally for "color" or drama, whether it's technically an annual or not. Find my favorites here, along with the perennials I rely on in my 25-year-old garden.
A WOODEN WINDOW BOX lined with plastic and filled with sundews and pitcher plants will attract more attention than one full of geraniums, writes Peter D’Amato in “The Savage Garden,” the fascinating bible of carnivorous plants that’s just out in an updated 15th-anniversary edition. Ready to try a mini-bog in a pot or the ground, or a hanging basket of tropical pitcher plants in your house–and also perhaps win a copy of the book? [read more…]
MY MOTHER KEEPS SPOUTING some crap about how my catnip is really called Nepeta cataria. See the words “pet” and “cat” in there?—I’m telling you, she talks in word puzzles, though she’s no Will Shortz. She blathers on that it’s “a perennial that self-sows” (what?). She says you can “start it from seed yourself pretty easily indoors.” Nonsense! Catnip is best grown this way: Make like a chicken, and sit on it. Catnip requires daily periods of incubation, as I’m demonstrating above, and when treated this way will not require any other pinching, and will not spread around. I am a cat, so I should know. My other Master Catnip Gardener tips: [read more…]
IT WOULD BE HARD not to notice them, because they’re everywhere. Succulents, including many Sedum and Sempervivum and other less-familiar faces, seem to be trying to tell me something this season, as in: “We’re all the rage.” At garden shows and nurseries, and even in my own garden where a few pieces fell out of a pot and planted themselves as if to say, “I belong right here, Margaret,” I feel as if 2013 is the Year of the Succulent. I’m paying heed by starting a succulent wall planting; using them in pots, and more. Some inspiration, and a progress report: [read more…]