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Overwintering Tropical Plants Such As Canna Lilies, Colocasia and Alocasia

Category: 'Dear Ruth' Column, Flower Gardens, How-To Projects, Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener", Tools & Techniques

This year I purchased three popular tropical plants for outdoor containers: canna lilies, Colocasia and Alocasia (aka Elephant ears).  I was happy with all three, though the canna lily was the star performer for me. I love plants that come back each year, even if it means digging them up in the fall and storing them away for the winter.  These plants can be left in the ground if…
This year I purchased three popular tropical plants for outdoor containers: canna lilies, Colocasia and Alocasia (aka Elephant ears).  I was happy with all three, though the canna lily was the star performer for me. I love plants that come back each year, even if it means digging them…

vaccinating a dog

Chelsea Willis of Sweet Delilah Farm on Sauvie Island Oregon Gets Her Hands in the Dirt

Category: Flower Gardens, Presenting "The Curious Gardener", Strong Women Building A Gentle World

Growing up in Colorado Chelsea Willis’ mother would tell her “get your hands in the dirt. It grounds you.”  Chelsea recognized the wisdom of these words at a young age, and never forgot them. After completing a degree in somatic psychology, a discipline that focuses on processing trauma through movement (body-based therapy rather than talk therapy), Chelsea moved to Oregon and began working with teens who had been incarcerated and were transitioning to semi-independent living. She was also doing some…
Growing up in Colorado Chelsea Willis’ mother would tell her “get your hands in the dirt. It grounds you.”  Chelsea recognized the wisdom of these words at a young age, and never forgot them. After completing a degree in somatic psychology, a discipline that focuses on processing trauma through movement (body-based therapy rather than talk therapy), Chelsea moved to Oregon…

vaccinating a dog

Dividing Perennials and Potting Them Up for Plant Sales and Plant Swaps

Category: Flower Gardens, Garden Planning, How-To Projects, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

You volunteered to participate in your local plant sale fund raiser or plant swap, and now it's time to make good on your promise! Many plant sales that were scheduled for spring were postponed until fall, which gardeners know is one of the best times to plant! So go into your garden and dig up some perennials or bulbs, divide them, and pot them up. You can even propagate some houseplants if you leave enough time. The night before you…
You volunteered to participate in your local plant sale fund raiser or plant swap, and now it's time to make good on your promise! Many plant sales that were scheduled for spring were postponed until fall, which gardeners know is one of the best times to plant! So go into your garden and dig up some perennials or bulbs, divide…

vaccinating a dog

Lisianthus, Zinnia, Cleome and Cosmos– Annuals that just want to Please!

Category: Flower Gardens, Garden Planning, Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

Reprinted from a story first published in July, 2019. You can't beat an annual plant for its desire to please the gardener. It has one season to live and it puts all of its energy into producing flowers. If you plant a seed, either indoors or directly in the garden, some annuals will germinate and grow to maturity, producing a flower in as little as 8 weeks. Cut that flower and it takes it as a mandate to produce more…
Reprinted from a story first published in July, 2019. You can't beat an annual plant for its desire to please the gardener. It has one season to live and it puts all of its energy into producing flowers. If you plant a seed, either indoors or directly in the garden, some annuals will germinate and grow to maturity, producing a…

vaccinating a dog

Growing Tall Perennials in your garden

Category: 'Dear Ruth' Column, Flower Gardens, Garden Planning, Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

Really tall plants are show stoppers in the garden, providing a single grace note against a contrasting background or softening a hardscape element behind it. The last time I visited the Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield in Hyde Park, I took pictures of some impressive tall perennials, such as plume poppy, that grow in front of the walls inside the garden.  English walled gardens are famous for using tall plants as a backdrop in this way. …
Really tall plants are show stoppers in the garden, providing a single grace note against a contrasting background or softening a hardscape element behind it. The last time I visited the Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield in Hyde Park, I took pictures of some impressive tall perennials, such as plume poppy, that grow in front of the walls inside the…

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Drought Tolerant and Heat Tolerant Perennials

Category: Flower Gardens, Garden Planning, Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

It's been hot and dry here in southern New England this summer, and even hotter in many other parts of the country. I asked horticulturist Ruth Clausen for a list of her favorite heat and drought tolerant perennials. I was delighted to see many of the plants in my garden on her list, and I want to keep adding more of them with the goal of creating a water-wise garden! By drought tolerant we mean they can withstand dry conditions…
It's been hot and dry here in southern New England this summer, and even hotter in many other parts of the country. I asked horticulturist Ruth Clausen for a list of her favorite heat and drought tolerant perennials. I was delighted to see many of the plants in my garden on her list, and I want to keep adding more…

vaccinating a dog

How To Divide Irises

Category: Flower Gardens, How-To Projects, Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

Bearded iris (Iris x germanica) is the most commonly grown iris. Its fleshy roots are called rhizomes. The flowers are distinguished by a caterpillar-like fuzzy "beard" that runs down the center of each cascading petal or 'fall'. The "beard" aids in pollination, providing a landing spot for bumble bees and other insects, and supposedly directing them towards the pollen. Iris rhizomes should be divided every 3 or 4 years to maximize vigor and bloom. Two years ago my irises bloomed…
Bearded iris (Iris x germanica) is the most commonly grown iris. Its fleshy roots are called rhizomes. The flowers are distinguished by a caterpillar-like fuzzy "beard" that runs down the center of each cascading petal or 'fall'. The "beard" aids in pollination, providing a landing spot for bumble bees and other insects, and supposedly directing them towards the pollen. Iris…

vaccinating a dog

My June Garden: Growing Canna, Pruning Lilac, Fertilizing Trees & Shrubs

Category: Flower Gardens, Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener", Spring Projects, Tools & Techniques

Part of the fun of gardening for me is that there are always new things to learn. Recently, I learned something new about fertilizing trees and shrubs, about growing canna outdoors in containers, and about pruning lilacs. Where did I get my information? I asked Ruth Clausen the horticulturist and author, and John Hoyt a local arborist who works in my garden! Pruning Old-fashioned Lilacs-- John Hoyt recommends that pruning be done when it’s a little cooler (early morning or…
Part of the fun of gardening for me is that there are always new things to learn. Recently, I learned something new about fertilizing trees and shrubs, about growing canna outdoors in containers, and about pruning lilacs. Where did I get my information? I asked Ruth Clausen the horticulturist and author, and John Hoyt a local arborist who works in…

vaccinating a dog

Growing Flowering Vines

Category: Flower Gardens, How-To Projects, Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener", Spring Projects

There's something romantic and old-fashioned about flowering vines, the way they amble over garden fences and climb up trellises. If you're thinking of planting an ornamental vine in your garden this year, know what some of the different types are by reading on. The basic types of vines are those that cling to a support with aerial roots, those that twine or grow tendrils that wrap around a support, and those that need our help attaching to a support. [caption…
There's something romantic and old-fashioned about flowering vines, the way they amble over garden fences and climb up trellises. If you're thinking of planting an ornamental vine in your garden this year, know what some of the different types are by reading on. The basic types of vines are those that cling to a support with aerial roots, those that…

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Hellebores, Early Spring Bloomers in your Garden

Category: Flower Gardens, Garden Planning, Plant Ideas & Info, Spring Projects, Tools & Techniques

Helleborus orientalis is also called Lenten Rose. In horticulture circles it’s well known that you can’t rely on common names to reveal the true identity of a plant.  The name Lenten Rose sends a mixed signal because it is not in the rose family, but it does bloom during the Lenten season.  In our part of the country that makes it an early spring bloomer!…
Helleborus orientalis is also called Lenten Rose. In horticulture circles it’s well known that you can’t rely on common names to reveal the true identity of a plant.  The name Lenten Rose sends a mixed signal because it is not in the rose family, but…

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