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Flowering Climbers Look Great -
01.08.2023 / 14:59

Flowering Climbers Look Great

Climbers can look really great if you do some preparation. Select an appropriate wall to train your Climbers against or use a free standing structure like this metal frame for the blue Clematis.

Easter Ham Leftovers Make Great Ham Balls - - Netherlands - state Pennsylvania
24.07.2023 / 12:33

Easter Ham Leftovers Make Great Ham Balls

Looking for a new recipe to help use up your leftover Easter ham? Move over egg salad sandwiches and ham casseroles, and let me introduce you to ham balls! If you have never heard of ham balls you are in for a treat! Ham balls are a Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy. As a native Pennsylvanian, I grew up eating these ham/pork based “meatballs” and remember requesting them (along with scalloped potatoes and baked pineapple) for many birthday dinners. They are easy to make, a great way to use leftover ham, and they freeze well (before or after baking) for a quick-to-serve meal.

Cyclamens Are a Great Valentine’s Day Gift - - Greece
24.07.2023 / 12:15

Cyclamens Are a Great Valentine’s Day Gift

Florist cyclamens (Cyclamen persicum) are a wonderful gift to give on Valentine’s Day. The name cyclamen is derived from the Greek word ”Kuklos” (meaning circle) due to the plant’s circular growth habit. Cyclamens are believed to have originated in the Middle East. In Mediterranean cultures, cyclamens are symbols of empathy and devotion and are traditionally planted in Islamic monasteries and churchyards.

K.I.S.S. Shrubs – The Lazy Gardener’s Shrubs -
24.07.2023 / 12:00

K.I.S.S. Shrubs – The Lazy Gardener’s Shrubs

While native grasses and forbs are my favorite lazy gardener plants, native shrubs rank as must-haves for an easy and attractive landscape. All native or introduced shrubs are generally carefree when they are well-chosen, thoughtfully placed, and planted correctly. Unhealthy plants have problems. Well, duh!, you might say! Any silly person could tell me that. But often, the solutions are obvious.

Great shrub: cornus sanguinea ‘winter flame’ - - Netherlands
21.07.2023 / 23:13

Great shrub: cornus sanguinea ‘winter flame’

I noticed that my friend Bob Hyland at nearby Loomis Creek Nursery is counting his twiggy blessings, too, this week—with an ode on his website to Salix ‘Swizzlestick,’ a distinctive corkscrew willow he grows as a dramatic 60-foot hedge.I’m making myself content with much less, but even a little ‘Winter Flame’ (hardy to Zone 4) warms the winter-weary soul. My young plant hasn’t reached full size of 8-10 feet, though at 4 feet it produces a show of yellow-, orange- and reddish-tinged stems that read as coral to my eye.The Dutch breeder of ‘Winter Flame,’ Andre van Nijnatten, has also developed a smaller-stature version called Cornus ‘Arctic Sun’ that is earning high pr

Great shrub: salix elaeagnos, rosemary willow -
21.07.2023 / 23:10

Great shrub: salix elaeagnos, rosemary willow

When I have garden tours, everyone asks what “that silvery-green tree by the vegetable garden” is—even many experts—because you don’t usually see it looking like a tree.And even though I know somebody changed its name, at first I answer, “Salix rosmarinifolia…I mean…” then stop myself, and get it right.The reason you won’t see this looking like a 15-foot-tall, 20-foot wide small tree is that as with other “shrubby” willows, regular rejuvenation pruning is usually practiced.“Will get leggy unless cut back hard periodically” is the kind of advice you’ll find in refer

Great shrubs: kerria japonica ‘picta’ - - state California
21.07.2023 / 23:10

Great shrubs: kerria japonica ‘picta’

My plant came home with me in the early 1990s from Western Hills Nursery in Northern California, which still sells it today (including by mail, apparently).Much smaller on all fronts than the all-green Kerria japonica, and with single (not the bawdier puffy double) flowers, K.j. ‘Picta’ is an airy thing, perhaps 4 or 5 feet tall. Because it’s a bit of a colonizer, the potential width varies greatly; mine is now 10 feet across. I dig up suckers and share them or move them to another part of the garden, if it gets too wide, and a few times over the years when it was looking thin, I simply cut the whole thing to the g

Bookends to a great gardening season - - state Michigan
21.07.2023 / 23:09

Bookends to a great gardening season

“Susan,” I hollered, “I need a hand…literally.” And so as she got him ready for his photo op, extracting him from the bromeliad he was hiding in (the one that used to outside, not inside, the kitchen door), I ran for the camera.He was hard to key out in the guidebooks, frankly (a step I always take when I meet a new frogboy). He was tiny like a spring peeper, but lacked the typical dark X pattern on his back that they have. And he was too small (and in the wrong ‘hood by many, many miles) to be anything else, or so it seemed.But finally, thanks to the University of Michigan’s Museum of Zoology

Great shrub: rosa glauca, my must-have rose -
21.07.2023 / 23:07

Great shrub: rosa glauca, my must-have rose

I first came to know Rosa glauca as its former name of Rosa rubrifolia, meaning red-leaved, because they’re tinged with red, as are the stems. Whatever the name, it has arching canes that may get to about 6 or 8 feet tall in time, forming a roughly vase-shaped shrub, and is hardy to a brutal Zone 2 (where I never wish to test it, thank you).The foliage color will be best if the plant is grown in light shade, emphasis on light, but don’t ask this (or any rose) to do in the dark or fungal problems will prevail. In early June here, small (perhaps inch and a half)

Feeling grateful for great fruiting plants -
21.07.2023 / 23:04

Feeling grateful for great fruiting plants

Yup. All the paving here is littered with “slightly used” aralia fruit. It’s raining purple drops; the stains won’t be gone until a good rain washes it all down. Hilarious. A recap of some of my favorite plants, as promised:AraliasThese prolific late-fruiting woody and herbaceous plants, some native and others not, are an annual magnet for thrushes (including robins) and their relatives, as well as waxwings here.  I grow the perennials Aralia cordata and Aralia racemosa, and Aralia spinosa (the latter a large shrub/small tree).CrabapplesI couldn’t make a garden, or a bird garden, without these prolific beauties, as you have heard me say repeatedly.  From the small gold fruit of ‘Bo

Great shrub: fragrant daphne mezereum -
21.07.2023 / 23:04

Great shrub: fragrant daphne mezereum

The flowers (from purple to white) are followed by poisonous red fruits, and this year I may try to germinate the seeds inside them, unless I can score some plants from Whitman Farms, perhaps, the only source I have tracked down (and where I have not ordered before, so no personal history to recommend it from). I only want the purple ones; fingers crossed. I never expected the Daphne to live so long, I guess, judging from where I sandwiched it between a shed and a gold-leaf Chamaecyparis obtusa ‘Crippsii.’ My previous plants gave up the ghost one after another, as Daphnes do, but this one just soldiers on, the sentry to another spring of heady scents.(1885 print from the University of Hamburg library collection.)Categoriesdeciduous

Great shrub: spike winterhazel, corylopsis spicata - - county Hill
21.07.2023 / 23:02

Great shrub: spike winterhazel, corylopsis spicata

never really minded, because what followed the sometimes-half-strength bloom were pleated, bluish-green leaves (details in in the slideshow, below) so beautiful I never tired of them.  And the plant’s structure, a slightly chaotic, outstretched tangle of delightfully crooked arms, pleased me all winter long. (That’s mine on the far left in the photo above, to show scale and shape, looking down the front path.)But then came the spring of 2010, the jubilee. As the bloggers in Southwest England at the Hegarty Webber Partnership garden design site will tell you, too, there was something going on that year with winterhazel. (I was happy for such company in that fine moment, and to “meet” them.) Their 20-something-year-old plant went positively mad, too. Synchronicity!Grow winterhazels in sun or part shade, in moist but well-drained soil, and if you’re pushing it (as I am) with the

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