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Stuck on my stucco walls

12 hours agoHobbies / Gardening : Digging

I’m in love with the new walls. They’re not even painted yet (the stucco has to cure for a few weeks first), and I love them. I love their sturdy form and embracing curves. Swoop! The culvert-pipe yucca is being moved, by the way. Man, it’s heavy. Show More Summary

Hairy Spiderwort - A 2011 GWA Treasure!

Back in the late summer of 2011, I attended the Garden Writers Association Annual Symposium, held in Indianapolis that year. As with all GWA symposiums, plants and design are front and center for most of the tours and this was no exception. Show More Summary

Foliage watch by Elizabeth Licata

Leaf tourists had better get moving. My unscientific observations, based on a weekend trip south of Buffalo, indicate that peak—at least around here—seems days, rather than weeks away. We were surrounded by red and gold during the drive down and back from Ellicottville, New York, which is ski central during the winter and foliage central […]

A tiger in the salvia

3 days agoHobbies / Gardening : Digging

A butterfly as big as my hand fluttered along the streetside border, which is ablaze with the hot-pink flowers of autumn sage (Salvia greggii). The yellow-and-black stripes are the distinctive markings of the eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly. Show More Summary

The Grafted Tomato Experiment + A $50 Giveaway!

Earlier this year, Jung Seed Company contacted me about growing one of their grafted tomatoes. I'd first heard about grafted tomatoes just prior to and during the Garden Bloggers Fling in Seattle in 2011. I was somewhat fascinated with...Show More Summary

Walls going up and paths going down

5 days agoHobbies / Gardening : Digging

As with all landscaping projects, the stucco wall construction is taking longer than I expected, partly for the happy reason that we’ve had some rain, so no complaints about that. I am delighted with the work so far. The cinderblock walls have been mortared in place on concrete footers, and they’re being wrapped with wire mesh. Show More Summary

When Wildlife Gardens Look Like Gardens by Susan Harris

Many of you wildlife gardeners will recognize the name Pat Sutton. She’s the Cape May, NJ-based naturalist who’s developed quite a following among people interested in gardening for wildlife, a group whose numbers she adds to with every class or tour she leads. I attended Pat’s Tour of Private Monarch Butterfly Gardens last weekend, one […]

Potfuls of Coleus by Susan Harris

Like Ivette, I ignore the ubiquitous Thriller-Filler-Spiller advice for container plantings – because the more species in a single pot, the harder it is to keep the thing looking good. Ditto getting it to look good in the first place. For me, containers look best simplified, like the 3 pots here on my back patio […]


6 days agoHobbies / Gardening : Greenbow

We had such a rough winter last year. It did some damage to these cedar trees. Early this late winter/early spring I got to looking at this trio of cedars They had big holes, some floppy limbs. The one on the far left had to come out. Show More Summary

Oxblood lily ribbon of red and ruellia reticence

The oxblood lilies (Rhodophiala bifida) atop the retaining wall in the back garden are in full, crimson bloom, and that red ribbon makes me so happy when I step out to view it in the warm afternoon light. This cluster is growing amid the spiny arms of soap aloe (Aloe maculata). Show More Summary

I’m the Thriller Filler Spiller Killer! by Ivette Soler

  I hate rules. I mean really, I do. I always have. My brain won’t accept them. If someone tells me that THIS is the way to do a thing, I will try and find another way to do it. It may come from my years as an actor, and theatre training – we are […]

Squirrel Damage – To Bluebird House

Q: What happened to my bluebird house? Was it squirrels or raccoons? A: I think either a gray squirrel or a flying squirrel did the damage. I lean toward flying squirrel because I took down a damaged bluebird box one time and a flying squirrel bounced out of it and scurried up the tree. Scared […]

Tomatoes – Growing in Cinderblocks

Q: This is amazing! Check out these tomatoes growing in cinderblocks. A: Looks like the gardener put small plants into the compost-filled holes in the cinderblock and the plants grew roots down into the soil underneath. Nice job!

Sweetgum – Deeply Lobed Leaves

Q: This is located in a residential yard in Southern Alabama. It is not a sweetgum tree. No “balls” underneath and the leaves are similar, but not exact. We have sweetgum trees here and the leaves do not look the same. A: This is indeed a sweetgum. The leaf shape is very intriguing. If it […]

A Monarch Ecloses (feat. video)

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. Rabindranath Tagore A little over two weeks ago, I was walking through the garden and happened to notice that a large-sized monarch caterpillar was munching on the butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa). Show More Summary

Fall blooms in front, construction in back

Kicking summer to the curb always feels satisfying in central Texas, especially when fall’s arrival is not just a date on the calendar but marked by cooler, drier air and rain. Between Wednesday night and Friday morning of last week, my garden received at least 8 inches of rain, maybe more. Show More Summary

Muscadine/Scuppernong – Fruit Disease Identification

Q: I have black spots on my scuppernongs. What disease could it be? A: Several diseases cause spots on muscadine grapes. I don’t know which one you have but this guide has excellent pictures. Muscadine Diseases

A fall manifesto: enjoy the mess by Elizabeth Licata

Twice a year, at the beginning and end of the growing season, gardeners are exhorted to do various tasks that will—in spring—prepare the garden for the plantings to come, and—in fall—shut down the garden to protect it from the depredations of winter. Some of these jobs are necessary, but many—especially those having to do with […]

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