Lighting Your Seedlings

Finally! In spite of the foot of snow we received this past weekend, spring is just around the corner. For those with late frost-free dates, it’s finally time to start our seeds. Back in 2009 I posted a series of articles about seed starting. (You can find them in the category drop box at right.) However, years have passed and things have changed.

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Beyond Roses

What do you bring your flower-loving Valentine? Do you opt for the traditional dozen long-stemmed roses? If the recipient loves roses, that may well be your best option, even though it may set you back $50 or more. But if your sweetheart loves all kinds of flowers, you can do better than tradition.

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Milkweeds: Not Just for Monarchs

Monarch on milkweed

When we think of milkweeds, we typically think in terms of those plants that Monarch butterflies eat. And yes, Monarch larvae are dependent on milkweeds. The leaves contain toxic chemicals (cardenolide) that the insects feeding on them can incorporate into their own bodies, making them unpalatable to predators.

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A Pantone “Color of the Year” Garden

Right on schedule, Pantone has revealed the color of the year for 2021. In a break with tradition, there are actually two colors—a bright, buttery yellow called Illuminating, and Ultimate Gray. The minute I saw the yellow, I thought, perfect choice! It’s cheerful, and after 2020, we need all the cheering up we can get. But gray? Most of 2020 was a dismal, gray year, and the thought of facing yet another year like that is downright depressing. I don’t need to reinforce those bleak feelings.

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Clearing Up Plant Names

Six years ago, I posted an article about scientific names for plants. As I pointed out, scientific names are essential because there are often a multitude of common names for a single species, or the same common name for a multitude of species. Using the genus species clarifies exactly which plant you’re discussing.

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Horticultural Horrors

In honor of Halloween being this week, I thought I’d scare you with some photos of horticultural horrors—gardening mistakes that make the staunchest plant person cringe. Please, spare a plant, and don’t make these ghastly blunders.

These poor crabapples are attempting to survive in the parking lot of our local YMCA. Every time I walk past, I shudder. They’re doomed to a short life, as their roots have no place to go. Did the landscapers think that air and water permeate concrete and asphalt?

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It’s Not Over Yet

By the time October arrives, I’m tempted to “throw in the trowel,” especially after a summer as hot, dry,  and smoky as this one has been. I’m tired of hauling the hose to water the containers on my deck. I’m tired of pulling weeds that manage to stab my hands even inside of gloves. I’m even tired of eating chard, chard, and more chard. (Note to self: five or six plants is plenty!) I’m ready for fall, with its orange leaves,  warm days, and brisk nights, but I’m not at all ready for winter’s drab colors and bare branches.

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The Worrywart & The Rearranger

Last week I talked about The Collector—the passionate gardener who has to have one of everything, to the detriment of their landscape design. Today I want to address two more kinds of crazy plant people and the mistakes they make: The Worrywart and The Rearranger. Do either of these sound familiar?

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The Plant Collector

You’d expect an avid gardener to have a lovely garden, full of healthy, well-cared for plants, arranged in pleasing combinations. And yes, most are a delight to the senses. However, even the most dedicated gardener can make mistakes. Here are three foibles common to many a crazy plant person. Can you relate to any of these?

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A Botany Blog for Plant Nerds

Are you a plant nerd? Not just a gardener, no matter how passionate, but interested in the plants that aren’t found in a garden? Are you excited about botany? Then, I have a website for you:

In Defense of Plants

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