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Purple coneflowers

Captivating coneflowers

Coneflowers (Echinacea spp.) make a beautiful addition to any garden and are relatively easy to establish and grow.  Even better, most coneflowers are excellent pollinator plants as well as providers of food for goldfinches and other seed-eating birds after the blooms have faded....
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The gardeners guide book.

Reflecting on winter garden challenges

‘The Gardener’s Guide to Prairie Plants’ by Neil Diboll and Hilary Cox just came out and I already want the authors to start working on volume two just to expand from the 148 grasses, sedges, and flowers of the North American tallgrass prairie covered in this guide.  The bulk of this book is a...
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A blue poppy flower.

Know your garden and choose plants wisely

Looking through garden plant images often leads me to reminiscence about the plants no longer in my garden and what each death has taught me. Many plant species have died at my hands after being planted in unsuitable conditions because my desire to have them overrode some very real limitations in...
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A crocus 'Yellow Mammoth', winter aconite, netted iris, grape hyacinth and scilla flower.

Spring is just around the corner

It’s amaing how the little things can give us such joy, like seeing the first bee of the season, or a Carolina wren tearing out last year’s nest in order to rebuild it anew. But as a gardener, seeing the first blooms of the year completes that’s sense of renewal for me. My go-tos for early bloom...
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Tree removal is easier when trees are dormant

Sometimes a tree becomes a hazard This is the time of year I prefer to take down any trees that have died or become a hazard in the garden. I say “prefer” because sometimes you don’t have the luxury of waiting. I experienced this last year when a large tree lodged over as a result of heavy rains...
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Expect a higher price with a "new" label

Nothing in a nursery catalog catches my attention more than the word “new.” This term is usually applied to a plant that is new to the U.S. market, either as a new release from breeders, a wild plant recently brought into cultivation, or a plant already established on the overseas markets. And,...
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Anticipating the spring planting season

The itch to garden I’m not there yet, but I know I’ll start getting the planting bug once the garden catalogs start arriving in the mail. I have developed several criteria a plant must have before I even consider acquiring it for my garden though. Cold hardiness Heat tolerance Somewhat...
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plants in winter

Providing winter hospitality to wildlife

Providing winter hospitality to both vertebrate (birds mammals, lizards, etc.) and invertebrate (insects, spiders, worms, etc) wildlife is an important consideration when tidying the garden at the end of the season. It really is a balancing act on how much fall cleanup to do. On the one hand,...
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Bermudagrass: You either love it or hate it

Unlike the other plants in my garden, turf grass has always struggled to get my attention. Compared to my knowledge of food crops and herbaceous perennials, I know next to nothing about turf grasses…and I would prefer to keep it that way. Some would find that hard to believe, but it’s true....
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Choose your garden tools to fit your needs

Evidently every day this summer I deemed too hot to work in the garden was just another day for the weeds to celebrate and use their heat-miser advantage over me to grow and multiply. As a result, I am now spending most of my gardening time attempting to catch up on weeding in an effort to go into...
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