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Dave's Garden Articles: By Gwen Bruno

Friday, August 15, 2014

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Garden Visitor: The Blue Jay
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Few song birds command attention quite like the blue jay. With its handsome blue-gray feathers and striking markings, this fearless, noisy marauder catches both the eye and the ear.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

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Cup Plant: A Prairie Giant
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

With leaves that serve as a tiny well, the cup plant offers a summertime oasis to all sorts of birds and insects. This imposing native of the Midwestern tallgrass prairies makes a bold statement wherever it grows.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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Garden Visitor: The Red-Winged Blackbird
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

With his distinctive markings, the male red-winged blackbird is instantly recognizable. He calls attention to himself, not only by showing off his bright epaulets, but through his ostentatious behavior and constant song.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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Monarda: Fireworks in the Garden
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

With leaves redolent of mint and long-blooming flowers in jewel-like shades, monarda refreshes the senses throughout the high days of summer. Resembling tiny explosions of color, the nectar-rich blossoms are irresistible to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

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Garden Visitor: The Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

The rose-breasted grosbeak is one of the most handsome birds to visit backyard feeders. Unusually tame and unafraid of humans, these birds can be coaxed into eating sunflower seeds from your hand.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

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Scabiosa for Summer-Long Bloom
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

An old-fashioned favorite, perennial scabiosa adds color and charm to the garden in early summer and beyond. As an added bonus, the lightly fragrant, nectar-rich flowers attract hummingbirds and beneficial insects like bees and butterflies.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

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Lily of the Valley, Symbol of May
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Birth flower for May babies, lily of the valley has long been a welcome sign of spring in many cultures. It’s also said to bring luck in love, making it a popular wedding flower.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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Garden Visitor: The House Finch
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

With his rosy red breast and happy song, the house finch is a welcome sight at many backyard feeders. This native of the Western US is now common across the entire continent.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

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Garden Magic: Alchemilla
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Some perennials have a reputation for lovely flowers, others for handsome foliage. Alchemilla earns its keep by delivering on both counts.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

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Garden Visitor: The House Wren
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Its nondescript appearance belies the house wren's special talent -- each spring, this tiny brown bird delivers serenades worthy of an opera star.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

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Heavenly Hyacinth
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Originally a rather humble spring bulb, hyacinth’s history can be traced back to the time of the ancient Greeks. Markedly improved in form, size and color, today’s hybridized hyacinth has fortunately retained a heavenly scent. As few as three of these classic beauties can perfume a spring garden or walkway for weeks.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

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Know Your Narcissus
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Few flowers better signify the triumph of spring over winter than the narcissus, or daffodil. Perky, hardy and often delightfully fragrant, these flowers are a cheerful reminder that warmer weather is on the way.

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

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Shamrock, Symbol of Ireland
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

The association of Ireland and the shamrock is an ancient one. It may have begun when a 5th century Christian missionary named Patrick visited the island to spread the gospel.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

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Garden Visitor: The Dark-Eyed Junco
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Cold weather brings its own delights for bird watchers. Now is the perfect time to observe the handsome little dark-eyed junco, whose contrasting colors sparkle against the winter backdrop.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

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Sansevieria, the Beginner's Houseplant
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Want to add some green to a room, but afraid you have a brown thumb? If so, the sansevieria is for you. Few other houseplants are as adaptable or as willing to endure neglect.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

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Garden Visitor: The Chipping Sparrow
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Chipping sparrows are among the most commonly seen and heard North American songbirds. They take their name from the sharp chip sound they make as they call to their flockmates. During the winter, as many as 25 to 50 chipping sparrows may forage together as a group.

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Monday, January 6, 2014

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Amaryllis on the Rocks: Growing Hippeastrum in Water
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

I recently decided to try growing an amaryllis (Hippeastrum) in water. I was so happy with my first attempt that I began preparing a new bulb every two to three weeks. With nothing more than a glass container, a bulb and a few stones, big beautiful blooms can be yours with a minimum of muss and fuss.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

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White House Christmas Trees
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Millions of holiday trees are cut and sold every year in the U.S. But only one magnificent evergreen is chosen to adorn the Blue Room in the president's Washington, D.C., residence. What began as a festive decoration intended for the enjoyment of the First Family has today become a symbol of the season for Americans across the country.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

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Garden Visitor: The Northern Mockingbird
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

That the northern mockingbird is the state bird of Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas attests to its popularity. Although its coloring is fairly nondescript, the boisterous song of this avian entertainer is anything but ordinary.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

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A December Almanac
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

For gardeners in warmer zones, the month of December offers an opportunity to grow cool season annuals and vegetables. Those in more northern areas must content themselves with end-of-the-year chores as they make sure their borders and beds are ready for winter. Indoor gardeners everywhere enjoy amaryllis and other bulbs prepared for forcing, as well as holiday houseplant favorites such as poinsettia, Norfolk Island pine and Christmas cactus.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

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Over the River and Through the Wood: A Thanksgiving Tradition
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Many of America's Thanksgiving holiday traditions are rooted in colonial and post-colonial New England. The state of New York was the first to officially declare an annual Thanksgiving celebration, and by the mid-19th century, other states had begun adopting the practice.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

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Garden Visitor: The White-Breasted Nuthatch
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Bird watchers are far more likely to spy the white-breasted nuthatch hanging upside-down than perching right-side up. That’s because it travels head-first down tree trunks, stopping periodically to investigate crevices in the bark.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

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The History of the Bayberry Candle
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

One of the most important autumn tasks of the colonial American housewife was candle dipping. Probably few candles were as pleasant to work with as those made from bayberry wax.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

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Garden Visitor: The Northern Flicker
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Next to the friendly downy woodpecker, the most common woodpecker visitor in American back yards is the northern flicker. These percussionists of the bird world are best known for their loud drumming.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

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An October Almanac
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Crisp October's shorter days and cooler nights elicit a last hurrah from many flowers, shrubs and trees. But what a hurrah! This month offers up some of the year’s most lovely weather, and gives us a brief opportunity to enjoy the sight of brilliant red, orange and gold leaves standing against bright blue skies.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

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Osage Orange, an American Original
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

At one time, the osage orange tree grew solely in one distinct area of North America -- the Red River Valley of southern Oklahoma and northern Texas. Named for the Osage tribes of that region, the tree’s range has extended far beyond its original home within the span of only a few hundred years.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

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Garden Visitor: The Indigo Bunting
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

With its deep blue plumage and melodic voice, the indigo bunting is among the most dazzling of North American songbirds. Whether singing high in the treetops or foraging close to the ground, this bird always catches the ear and eye.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

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Garden Visitor: The American Goldfinch
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

The cheerful yellow plumage and happy song of the American goldfinch brighten a garden on even the grayest of days. These songbirds are faithful visitors to any backyard feeder dispensing nyjer seed.

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Friday, August 16, 2013

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Bountiful, Beautiful Boltonia
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Beginning at end of August, boltonia erupts into an airy cloud of tiny daisy-like flowers that continue to bloom throughout September. This tough, care-free American native grows naturally throughout the eastern and midwestern U.S. along roadsides, stream banks and meadows.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

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Pachysandra, the Shade Gardener's Friend
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Reliable, adaptable and superbly hardy, pachysandra qualifies as one of the best shade perennials ever. Properly cared for in a site to its liking, pachysandra transforms into a living tapestry that remains green or semi-evergreen all year long.

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Monday, July 8, 2013

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Garden Visitor: The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

A glint of green, a flash of red. The ruby-throated hummingbird is a perpetual motion machine, gathering nectar from morning ‘til night. The “humming” sound this bird makes comes not from its throat but from the vibration of its wings.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

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The Tulip Tree: Historic American Hardwood
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Every American hardwood tree offers its own special charms. We love the maple for its brilliant colors; the oak, its bounteous acorns; the birch, its delicate grace. But few species can match the massive tulip tree for sheer magnificence.

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Thursday, June 13, 2013

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Garden Visitor: The American Robin
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

The American robin is one of the most common, and commonly recognized, songbirds. Residents in northern parts of the country cherish the springtime return of these busy birds as a herald of longer days and warmer weather.

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Tuesday, May 7, 2013

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Japanese Painted Ferns Brighten the Shady Landscape
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Want to inject some drama and color into a ho-hum shade garden? Look no further than the Japanese painted fern. They brighten any dark area with flashes of silver, harmonizing beautifully with other shade lovers such as hosta, bleeding heart, heuchera and brunnera. This low-maintenance perennial works equally well as a specimen or as a ground cover.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

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A May Almanac
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

May is the month we’ve been dreaming about all winter. Once it’s finally here, our gardens spring to life, seemingly overnight. And although there are a hundred and one tasks awaiting us, we should take time in the coming weeks to simply revel in the beauty of “this sweet and merry month of May.”

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Saturday, April 13, 2013

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Sweet, Sweet Woodruff
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Sweet woodruff, or Galium odoratum (formerly classified as Asperula odorata), is a low-maintenance perennial long cultivated in shady gardens. The “sweet” part of this delicate-looking beauty’s name refers to the refreshing hay-like scent of its leaves and flowers.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

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Garden Visitor: The Waxwing
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Waxwings range across most of the U.S., but because they are nomadic, you must remain observant in order to catch their visit. Unlike other birds that dependably migrate from one region to another, the waxwing instead travels spontaneously in search of its favorite food, berries.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

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An April Almanac
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

An April breeze can carry the scent of newly-opened flowers one day, and fill the sky with stormy clouds the next. No matter -- we all know that “April showers bring May flowers,” and that warm and sunny days lie just ahead.

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Friday, March 1, 2013

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A March Almanac
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

March is associated with changeable, often blustery weather, leading to the folk wisdom repeated by every school child: “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.”

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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

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The Asparagus Fern
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

With its lush cascade of delicate, feathery foliage, the asparagus fern makes an appealing houseplant. Despite the plant's many positive attributes, gardeners should observe some precautions in its use.

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