Storing Tender Bulbs, Practical Gardening

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…]

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Cuke Frog and Snapping Dragons

Just some pictures from the gardens…                                                                         All images property of Margaret Rose Realy, Obl OSB. All rights reserved. [Read more…]

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August To-dos, Practical Gardening

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…]

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Off with Their Heads! Deadheading for Reblooming, Practical Gardening

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…]

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Embroider the Earth with Prayer

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…]

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Hope Filled Art of Pruning

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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7 Easy Steps to Bringing Flowers Indoors, Practical Gardening

From spring forsythia branches to fall garden mums I bring the beauty and fragrance of my garden into the house. Some arrangements are minimalistic and modern while others are full and robust, looking very much like a 16th century Dutch painting. Either way, they grace my desk, home altar, or table—sometimes I take them to a [Read More…]

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Filling those Bare Spots, Practical Gardening

The gardening season is well underway. It’s the time of year when bare spots show up in the garden. Not only bare spots where the bulbs and poppies use to be, but you may have an area of winter-killed perennials or maybe the transplanted seedlings you started never took. There are several ways of filling [Read More…]

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Water Wise, Practical Gardening

The heat of summer, especially in July and August, increases the challenges of maintaining a garden. You will need to pay attention to your plants’ need for watering. If you have mulched your garden, pull it away from the plant and check the soil for dampness before you water.  Push your finger into the ground [Read More…]

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10 Fun and Easy Practical Gardening Tips

Over the years I’ve collected a number of these tips from friends, magazines, online, or at conferences. Here are a few: Turn a wooden long-handled tool into a measuring stick. Using a permanent marker or a wood burner, write inch and foot marks on the handle. When you need to space plants a certain distance you’ll [Read More…]

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