Forcing Bulbs for Preseason Color, Practical Gardening

Image from, and for additional information, visit Our Best Bites, http://www.ourbestbites.com/2012/03/how-to-force-bulbs-indoors/

When I plant containers of bulbs in the fall, I am thinking about the color they will bring indoors during late winter days or as outdoor focal points early next spring. To force a bulb means that you are manipulating its environment so that it will bloom out of season. Before spring flowering bulbs can [Read More...]

Big Difference in Naturalizing and Perennializing Bulbs, Practical Gardening

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Well, autumn is upon us and it’s nearly time for planting spring bulbs. Let’s start this column with definitions that will help you get a handle on nomenclature: True bulbs contain their leaves and flowering parts inside. These include tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. Corms carry their leaf parts on the outside to support interior bud [Read More...]

Storing Tender Bulbs, Practical Gardening

Photography from http://www.flickr.com/photos/nilliske/3510306101/

Each year I would plant a few tender bulbs for their summer blooms or dramatic leaves. They are a wonderful addition to the home garden. The term tender bulb refers to bulbs, corms, tubers, and rhizomes that will be winter killed by our Zone 5 winters. These tender bulbs need to be removed from the [Read More...]

The Drama of Hydrangeas, Practical Gardening Series

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It’s hard to beat the beauty of the big late-summer blooms of hydrangeas. With multiple cultivars on the market, with impressive fall leaf color and diverse bloom sets, the options for your garden are many. Hydrangeas are a sturdy shrub and most require little care but light pruning. And since hydrangeas are terminal bloomers, flowering [Read More...]

Fall Mums in Spring, Practical Gardening Series

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Mentioning hardy mums in the spring may seem like an oxymoron. Let me explain. For years as a garden consultant I’ve heard homeowners say what bad luck they’ve had growing perennial chrysanthemums. They plant the big cushy mums every fall and rarely find that they survived the winter. Tired of failing they stop planting them [Read More...]

Rubbish with Attitude

limb yellow leaves

I find November to be a transitional month—not quite past autumn and not yet winter. Skies are often filled with heavy dark-gray clouds that suddenly open into glorious sunlight, illuminating yellow leaves. The business of outdoor activities is ending, and the bustle of holiday celebrations is waiting to begin. This is the month when nature [Read More...]

Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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Heavenly Father, in your wisdom you have called  certain women a to a life of special consecration so that in prayerful observance of a lifestyle of poverty, celibacy and obedience, they might be witnesses to us of our true citizenship in heaven.  Give them, Lord, the grace of joy and perseverance in their holy vocation. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. [Read more...]

Tuesday’s Prayer for Sisters and Nuns

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Gentle Mother, Queen of Heaven, hear our prayers for our Sisters and Nuns. That in communion with you and all the saints, the least of their acts done in charity will rebound to the profit of all. Encourage and guide them in all that they do, and protect their souls locked in human frailness. We ask all [Read More...]

A Walk through the Garden

lavender and maple

The Lavender plant and its flower represent love and devotion. Lavender flowers are also associated with purity, silence, and caution. The leaves from a Maple tree symbolize “to be reserved.” Many of our saints were filled with those qualities. What a lovely reminder of their lives, spoken in the language of flowers, as we approach the celebrations of All [Read More...]

Vibrancy and Dormancy

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I’d driven to an area where Sandhill Cranes often stop to rest during their winter migration. Not too far away was an open and dry fen dressed in its autumn blonde and gold. At its lowest point a small brook meanders past poplars, scrubby shrubs, and wild grasses. This little tributary turns into a full [Read More...]


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