Fall Blooming Pansies, Practical Gardening

Purple Pansy, wikimedia

In the Midwest, we’re all pretty familiar with fall mums, Russian sage, and flowering kale as the main staples of the late-season garden. These plants are tolerant of cold nights and less sunlight. But why not add pansies to your selection? Until recently the general public was unaware that the pansy is not heat tolerant, [Read More...]

Transplanting Perennials and Hardwoods, Practical Gardening

Photo by pippalou at morguefile.com

October is a lovely time of year for dividing and transplanting in your gardens. The urgency of spring gives way to a slower pace of planning. There are many reasons to divide perennials: to keep them healthy and free of diseases, to have more plants, keep them contained to an area, to open up space. [Read More...]

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...]

Cuke Frog and Snapping Dragons

Zucchini Blossom

Just some pictures from the gardens…                                                                               [Read more...]

August To-dos, Practical Gardening

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Our warmest month in southern Michigan is usually August. The heat—though we seem to be short on that this year—combined with the shortening daylight hours pushes plants to maturity. Vegetables are coming on strong for the harvest, perennials are setting seed, trees and shrubs are hardening up for the winter to come. It’s that time [Read More...]

Off with Their Heads! Deadheading for Reblooming, Practical Gardening

salvia

Like most gardeners I like a lot of flowers all season.  If you’re not a fan of annuals, you probably search for the few perennials that bloom all summer. You can also extend the bloom period of perennials by deadheading. Deadheading is the maintenance practice of removing spent flowers. By deadheading you keep the plants [Read More...]

Embroider the Earth with Prayer

redbud 2

I stooped at the waist to pull a few weeds. A twinge in my back caused me to stagger a bit so I lowered to kneeling and moved closer the flowers—a familiar intimacy. The rose next to me was Tuscany, a maroon heirloom rose, its richly perfumed center was fluffy with gold pollen. The base [Read More...]

Hope Filled Art of Pruning

Travis Tree

I love to prune. It’s like art to me, a hope filled art. Each cut is intended to produce either a directional growth, to form and shape hardwoods for beauty, or to enhance the bearing of fruit. Sometimes with ornamental trees a whole section of limb that rubs against another will need to be removed, allowing [Read More...]


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