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...]

Irises in the Garden, Practical Gardening Series

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Irises have been a favorite perennial since childhood. They began my gardening and were there when I retired from working the grounds at St. Francis Retreat Center. Over the years I have come to love the wide assortment of Iris germanica. From the earliest blooming dwarfs  to the big boys late in the season. Bearded [Read More...]

Powdery Mildew on my Veggies?! Practical Gardening Series

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Powdery mildew is a general name for a few different species of fungi that infect several ornamental plants, such as zinnias, Monarda, lilacs, and roses. It also affects vegetables and fruits, including beans, grapes, cucumbers, beets, melons, and squash to name a few. It can affect the flavor and reduce yields of some fruits and [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...]

Father’s Hands

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The love of greenhousing began when I was very young. I remember being carried on my mother’s hip along a cobble-stoned path that ran the length of the greenhouses—my family had an acre under glass. We walked through the warm and humid houses, past benches of colorful flowers. I would breathe an air unpolluted by cigarette [Read More...]

Blooms of Mary’s Sword

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I remember as a child the sweet fragrance and stunning colors of the species Iris germanica, commonly known as bearded iris or Mary’s Sword. I can still recall my first encounter with them. Walking home from kindergarten, I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk, inhaled a wave of fragrance, and, sniffing the air, followed my [Read More...]

A Walk through the Garden

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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...]

A Walk Through the Garden

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Well now…autumn came right quick! [Read more...]

10 Steps for Saving Seeds; Practical Gardening Series

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Collecting and saving seeds from one season to the next is simple and allows you to keep growing the plants you love best. Here are a few tips and techniques to guide you. 1. First of all you’ll need to have planted open-pollinated varieties. They’ll come back true to the cultivar whereas hybrids won’t. Hybrid [Read More...]

A Walk through the Garden

Golden Bleeding Heart resting on Striptease Hosta

We’ve had a lot of rain in the past 24 hours…not much to see in the gardens but a lot of leaf debris. The storms last nights were intense! Lightening strikes and strong winds broke a lot of trees. My Jonagold apple tree took a beating…the canopy collapsed under the storm (kind of hard to [Read More...]


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