Gardening Responsibly:  Pest and Insect Control

Gardening Responsibly: Pest and Insect Control

Posted on Aug 16, 2019 | by Kerry Kelley

Gardening certainly has evolved in recent years. Once upon a time, who cared about needing an arsenal of plant pharmaceuticals and fertilizers in the shed, how much water we used to keep those beds full of annuals pretty, or where our seeds or tomato plants came from? These days, it's not so easy. Before we indulge our planting passion, there are many ethical dilemmas we must overcome, regarding the use of chemicals, fertilizers, and even which plants we choose. A few state and local governments have made some of those choices for us, but there are still questions that seem to have different answers, depending on who's answering. Over the course of this series, we'll look at some of issues we're wrestling with, and what we can choose to do.


July 2019--Underused Perennials and Shrubs

July 2019--Underused Perennials and Shrubs

Posted on Jul 09, 2019 | by Kerry Kelley

One of our readers asked us to recommend some plants that were less commonly used, so I thought about my time in retail garden centers and the great plants that really needed a push to leave the bench. It wasn't a lack of showy flowers, or a wimpy constitution that made them invisible--they just didn't have the name recognition that prompts confidence. Folks seem a little afraid of something "new." If they haven't seen it planted all over the neighborhood, they tend to be unsure as to how well it will do for them. Here in Maryland, our sunny gardens seem full of black-eyed Susans (well, it IS our state flower), May Night salvias, purple coneflowers, Knockout roses, hydrangeas, Miscanthus (maiden grass), and dwarf fountain grass. The usual culprits for foundation plantings are azaleas, Manhattan euonymous, and Japanese hollies. And there's nothing wrong with any of those--by and large, they're sturdy and relatively low-maintenance. But now and again, isn't it nice to be just a little different? If you're going to put in the time and effort, it's worth making a unique space that sets you just a bit apart. So be not afraid, and use these recommendations as you see fit:


Buzzing and Humming

Buzzing and Humming

Posted on Jun 15, 2019 | by Kerry Kelley

Buzz Off, Skeeters! Is this how it seems you need to spend your summer, wrapped in protective netting whenever you go outdoors? Are you constantly slapping at those bothersome mosquitoes buzzing 'round your head? If not, thank your genetics, and consider yourself lucky. As for me, I had just about given up trying to spend a pleasant evening out of doors, and hiking in my favorite bird-watching spots was out of the question. These days, it's not just itching and irritation we have to worry about. While not common, with West Nile, Zika, and even malaria and dengue fever transmitted by mosquitoes in the US, those bites can be downright dangerous. So what are we outdoorsy types to do besides swaddle ourselves with netting, or cover ourselves with (EPA-approved, but still) chemicals?


More Thrilling Than Spikes!

More Thrilling Than Spikes!

Posted on May 31, 2019 | by KK

More Thrilling than Spikes! An update to our May 2019 Newsletter, which featured alternatives to spike plants Cordylines: Here I’m talking about Cordyline fruticosa, commonly known as “Ti” plant, not Cordyline australis, which still looks like a spike (but at least is being bred now in pinks and yellows). Ti plant boasts large, wide, pointed glossy leaves, often striped, in shades and mixtures of pink, burgundy, purple to almost black, orange, peach, yellow, cream and/or green. They can eventually grow to 10 feet, but 3-4 feet is more likely in a season for a containerized plant. For smaller containers, start with a plant in a 6 inch pot. They do not branch, so stems will grow straight up.


Beyond the Spike: Sensational Thrillers for your Containers

Beyond the Spike: Sensational Thrillers for your Containers

Posted on May 15, 2019 | by Kerry Kelley

Ok, I admit it. I have a love-hate relationship with the spike. Yes, sometimes it's just the thing you need to perfect that design. They're easy to grow, easy to find, and blend well with almost everything. But ugh, it's like building one more Starbucks on the block--yes, it's good, but ubiquitous. If you've ever looked at your spike plant with less than fervent adoration, perhaps these plants might stir you.


Garden Smarter, Not Harder!  Tools of the Trade

Garden Smarter, Not Harder! Tools of the Trade

Posted on May 08, 2019 | by Kerry Kelley

Years ago, as I was pulling weeds and breaking up clumps of soil with my hands, an experienced gardener friend of mine was continually admonishing me, "use your tool!" She had developed rheumatoid arthritis, and knew the value of working ergonomically and safely. As my joints are now starting to show the strain of garden wear and tear, I wish I'd listened way back then! The right tool can make all the difference, saving you time, effort, and possibly pain.


Unique Plants for Summer Containers

Unique Plants for Summer Containers

Posted on Apr 23, 2019 | by Kerry Kelley

Depending on your location, you may be just arranging some cool weather annuals in your spring containers, or you may be already looking toward changing those out for a permanent summer planting. Either way, once you know you're frost free it will be time to trot off to the nursery and decide what will fill your racks and baskets this year. We'd like to suggest something different for those of you bored with the same old, same old. So if you're feeling just a little adventurous, read on!


April 2019 Newsletter: Unique Spring Hayrack Plantings

April 2019 Newsletter: Unique Spring Hayrack Plantings

Posted on Apr 15, 2019 | by Kerry Kelley

As the weather is breaking in many parts of the country and we’re outside more, those window hayracks and baskets we planted last fall (or maybe even early summer) are a jarring reminder of the season we’ve hopefully left behind. Anxious for a spring pick-me-up, we trot off to the garden center to gather our usual early spring plants: pansies and probably some ivy for the trailing effect. But hold it a minute--why go for the same thing Mrs. Jones down the street is planting? I


Vegetable Gardening - in small or large spaces

Vegetable Gardening - in small or large spaces

Posted on Mar 20, 2019 | by J Kirkpatrick

Start planning now for spring... For those who enjoy home grown vegetables, now is the time to start. Even if you live in an apartment or condo there are wonderful options.  Creating a garden is a lot easier than you think. With a little careful planning you can enjoy an easy-care garden that provides you with armloads of delicious homegrown vegetables from spring till fall - regardless of your space.





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