HOSTAS ARE SO FAMILIAR, you probably think as I did that you know plenty about them. Yet in a conversation the other afternoon with Tony Avent, founder of Plant Delights Nursery in North Carolina and a longtime hosta breeder, it was one hosta “aha” after another. Ever wonder, for instance, why some blue hostas turn dull by high summer, or certain yellow and variegated varieties fade worse than others? Or did you know that ‘Halcyon’ (a blue hosta) has produced all the “sports” or mutations above, and more? In a story and a podcast, get to know our most beloved shade-garden standby more intimately than ever before. [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.
USUALLY ON MEMORIAL DAY or thereabouts, I teach a series of container-garden workshops in my garden with my longtime friend Bob Hyland, a garden designer and former public-garden administrator and nursery owner who always dubbed our duet “Contained Exuberance.” Want to take your pot designs up a notch this year, without getting overwhelmed? Read (and listen) on: [read more…]
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…]
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…]