Last winter, I had planned to host a “Midwinter Tea Party & Seed Swap” at my home, but circumstances changed, and I had to simplify my arrangements. Instead, the Mid-Atlantic Gardening Forum found themselves invited to gather at a local restaurant for a “Chinese Tea Party & Seed Swap,” and it was a great success! I hope the tips and suggestions from our event will inspire you to put together a similar gathering in your area.
We all know potatoes (and maybe carrots) belong in stew (especially rabbit stew). But many of us are confounded when facing any of the “other” common root vegetables, such as turnips, parsnips, or rutabaga. If you’ve only eaten these vegetables mashed, then you haven’t really eaten them. They are superb roasted, and they are the foundation for fabulous winter soups and stews.
Winter is turning to Spring, and you still have a stash of empty milk jugs you were saving for “winter sowing?” Put them to use! It’s not too late to grow plants with the winter sowing method. In fact, in temperate zones, spring is the perfect time to sow annuals. With the great germination and survival rates of this method, you’ll have gobs of seedlings to plant out for an explosion of color in your summer garden.
Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Pittsburgh teamed up with renowned artist Dale Chihuly to create a spectacular fantasy of glass exhibited among the conservatory's lush plantings. The popularity of the exhibit resulted in an extended run until February 24, 2008. Here's why you should go...
Many people know the story of how Benjamin Franklin wanted the wild turkey and not the bald eagle to be the US national symbol. But it may surprise you to learn this “reclusive” woodland bird may soon be moving in on your suburban back yard…
One taste of a crisp, tree-ripened apple can make you dream of planting an orchard of your own someday. A home orchard doesn’t need as much space as you might think, but it does require some planning, especially if your space is limited. Many fruit trees need another variety for cross-pollination. Even self-fruitful varieties will bear bigger crops with another tree nearby. Proper spacing helps with pollination as well as with fitting in more trees. You may be surprised at the fruit-producing potential of your small yard!
In your zeal to grow the hottest pepper on the block, how many varieties of chiles did you plant this year? If you’re harvesting five alarm peppers by the basketful, with no idea of how you can possibly use so many of these blazing beauties, you need to learn to make hot sauce! Our homemade habanero hot sauce turned out so well it’s been splashed (gingerly) onto everything from tortilla chips to scrambled eggs.
Maybe you blanched at the price of fresh herbs in the produce section this spring, or you were seduced by a bright pot of basil at your local nursery, and you thought, “Hey! This year, I will grow my own herbs!” Now you’ve got leggy basil plants blooming in a big pot, and you’re eyeing the dried herbs in your spice cabinet. It’s not too late! You can still get the most out of your herbs this summer!
Whether you grow more vegetables than you can eat and just need a little goat cheese to accompany your heirloom tomatoes or whether you’re desperate for fresh produce by the bushel, your local farmers’ market could have just what you need!
Open any high-end garden catalog, and you’ll find whimsical mushrooms, crafted from stone, ceramic, poly-resin, cork, you name it. I love their look, but I’m not willing to pay the price, so my young daughter and I made some from polymer clay.
Petunias have long been a mainstay of window boxes and flower borders. Somewhere along the line, many gardeners began seeing them as boring and mundane. More exotic flowers demanded our attention. But with their reliable sturdiness and the new hybrid varieties now available, petunias deserve another look…
Weeding can be an endless chore, and sometimes it just gets away from you. Bad weather and other circumstances might keep you out of the garden, but somehow weeds always seem to flourish. How can you reclaim your garden? Step one: the seed stops here!
What do you want in a strawberry? Some search for sweetness, while others want “real” strawberry flavor. The perfect strawberry would be sugary sweet, bursting with flavor, juicy, red, enormous, and perfectly shaped. ‘Mara des Bois’ isn’t big, but otherwise it’s as close to perfection as I’ve ever found.
Fall planting is the busy gardening season for the world’s largest display of spring blooming bulbs. But what goes on behind the scenes the rest of the year, when the gardens are not open to the public? Let’s peek behind the scenes at the Keukenhof and continue our conversation with one of the expert Dutch gardeners who helps maintain this spectacular garden.
Whether or not Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this morning, you know spring is not quite right around the corner. But you’ve been ordering seeds and trading seeds and planning your garden all winter, and you’re eager to start sowing – what to do? Winter sowing is the answer!
Groundhog’s Day marks the start of my winter sowing season, and this year columbines are again at the top of my list. A “must” in any cottage garden, columbines also make a wonderful companion plant for tall bearded irises. And they’re a snap to winter sow!
After a cold and flu season that seemed to just drag on longer and worse than usual, I was sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. I needed a “garden fix!” But the recent weather had been so cold and grey, and barely a green shoot could be found anywhere in my winter-dormant garden. What to do?
As the weather turns chilly, tropical gardeners keep posting photos of beautiful blooms and arching greenery. Zone envy rears its head. If only I could grow gingers, and plumerias, and citrus trees, and… and bananas! Living in temperate zone 6, I saw no way for that to happen without a major move. Then I read a Midwestern DGer’s account of growing dozens of banana plants in his yard, digging them each fall and storing them beneath his house . Visions of tropical splendor started dancing in my head!
When its brilliant holiday blooms have faded, should you toss that big brown amaryllis bulb into the compost pile? No! Amaryllis, botanically known as Hippeastrum, are as easy to care for as any house plant. When they're not blooming, the strap-like leaves make an attractive, architectural backdrop for other plants. With a little fertilizer and summer sun, your amaryllis will bloom again, bigger and better than ever!
The Twelve Days of Christmas have come and gone. For those who had a cut tree for the holidays, it’s time to haul it to the curb. It seems like there should be something more that could be done with a tree that was once so lovely… Yes! You can make a peanut butter and suet feeder for your feathered friends!
Cinnamon is a scent I associate with winter, and with family holiday celebrations. Whether you sprinkle it on oatmeal or Christmas cookies, or whether you enjoy its aroma in potpourri and scented candles, there’s a spicy warmth to cinnamon that makes you feel comforted down to your toes. I’ve also learned that cinnamon and applesauce can be combined to make wonderful scented ornaments…
With all the sales and “free turkey!” promotions, it probably didn’t take much to convince you to have turkey as the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving dinner. Domestic turkeys have become such a common holiday purchase that we don’t stop to consider that they weren’t always so easy to obtain…
How many expanding garden projects start with the thought, “well, as long as I’m digging, I may as well…” Before you know it, a new little “corner garden” has taken over half your back yard. When it comes to planting spring-blooming daffodils, however, you can get twice the flower power without any more actual digging by planting smaller companion bulbs at the same time.
From a huge, brown bulb to a tall, stunning flower – it's a magical process that might seem a little intimidating if you've never tried it. Amaryllis bulbs are easy to grow. With these top ten planting tips, you’ll have glorious blooms to chase away the most stubborn winter blahs!
Tired of mosquitoes and weeds and summer garden chores? A summer-bright craft project could be just the boost you need. Make these surprisingly easy butterfly pendants, using colorful layers of polymer clay.
The tranquil sound of trickling water, the colorful shimmer of wet rocks, the cool green of reeds… A bubbler bog could be the perfect water feature for your garden! Read on for inspiration and step by step photos.
I was browsing online last winter, thinking of ordering some new water lilies, when a selection of lotuses caught my eye. I’d never envisioned growing these exotic beauties in my own garden, because I never imagined I could put them in containers or leave them outside over the winter. But here were phrases like “bowl lotus” and “hardy in zones 4-11.” Oh boy!
Alpine Strawberries are no bigger than the end of your finger but are packed with the sweet intensity of strawberry candy. They make a wonderful edging for a bed, especially along a pathway where they can be easily picked and enjoyed. Since they’re easily grown from seed, you can plant flats of them without breaking the bank.