SUMMER, NOT FALL, is the best time to order flower bulbs for fall planting (and garlic bulbs, too) to get the best selection, often at an early buyer’s discount price. I focus on animal-proof (or at least resistant) varieties here, like the “rodent-proof” Crocus tommasinianus, above, that as you can see really lived up to their promise of fending off predators. What a gorgeous display! All kidding aside, some bulbs I recommend: [read more…]
Flower bulbs can be layered into perennial gardens and under deciduous trees and shrubs to create extra interest in the same space. I recommend animal-resistant bulbs, in particular, from Allium to Narcissus, Eranthis and more, so deer and rodents don't steal my show.
TOO THIRSTY, HUNGRY FOR NUTRIENTS, not allowed to “ripen” last year long enough, overcrowded–these are just a few of the reasons that Narcissus (and other bulbs) may be putting on a less-than-spectacular performance this spring, like the clump above with lots of leaves but only a single bloom. This quick FAQ gives all the reasons (or find out what to do about poorly flowering bulbs along with all kinds of other bulb answers on my bigger Flower-Bulb FAQs page).
IFELL IN LOVE AGAIN, AND I WANT IT TO LAST. The latest object of my affection: a variegated elephant ears called Colocasia esculenta ‘Mojito’ that I adopted this spring at a local garden center, despite the fact that he was no cheap date. I fear the coming winter may be the end of us, though—he’s Zone 7B, and I’m a mere 5B. How can we keep our love—and this spectacular plant—alive? I sought counsel from the most experienced person I could think of, in the hopes of doing just that. [read more…]
IWAS GIVEN A POT OF EUCOMIS BICOLOR, the so-called pineapple lily (guess how it got that name), by a friend who was moving and couldn’t take it along. Why had I forgotten how easy this wacky-looking South African character, whose genus name means well-haired because of the tuft of brachts topping the flowerhead, is for overwintering in the basement here? From its moptop to the purple-mottled stems and freckled leaves to its long-lasting, trouble-free performance, there’s nothing about Eucomis bicolor that I don’t like—except that I don’t have more. [read more…]
SHADE IS A TRICKSTER, CAPTURING AND RELINQUISHING territory as years pass and woody plants grow—or are damaged or lost. Twenty-five years into gardening on one site, some former “shade gardens” here now bake, and even more spots that were sunny—well, you get the changeable, unpredictable picture. Thankfully, for the latter areas, I have old clumps of lower-light plants to divide, including those in this new slideshow of my top 54 shade subjects. I included some woodland-garden shrubs and trees for those seeking to manufacture some shade of their own—or wanting to add more understory structure to what nature has provided. [read more…]