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Dave's Garden Articles: By Sally G. Miller

Friday, May 31, 2013

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Mexican Petunia: A Welcome New Perennial for the East Coast, Well Known Thug Elsewhere
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

It's getting pretty hard for me to make my plant swap buddies say "Wow," but I did it last fall. The Ruellia in my sunny flowerbed blew their socks off. They'd never seen Mexican petunia in any local garden center. I got lucky, and caught the first wave of this perennial to hit our shores. With the plant now re-emerging in my garden, it's time to post my Ruellia user review. While I'm still happy with this plant, your mileage may vary... (cue the impending-doom music)

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Friday, May 17, 2013

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Delightful, Spring Blooming, Fragrant Mockorange (Philadelphus)
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

"DURING recent years, there have crept into the trade a bewildering number of Philadelphus species and varieties." So wrote Donald Wyman, in 1936. in the an Arnold Arboretum (Harvard University) newsletter. He goes on to state that the 1931 "Plant Buyer's Index " lists 68 different mock-oranges. From your grandmother's garden to the new nursery down the street: what's tried and true, and what's new, in the delightful mockorange.

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Thursday, May 2, 2013

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Prune Spring Flowering Shrubs as Soon as the Blossoms Fall
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Stop and smell the lilac - then prune it. Lilac, azalea, forsythia, and other spring flowering shrubs must be pruned right after the flowering period is over. Improper pruning will rob you of blooms. Good pruning habits will keep your spring flowering shrubs in top condition for years.

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

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See the Forest AND the Trees Courtesy of Your National Parks System
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

America's National Park Service system showcases our country's best features, from Acadia, Maine to Zion Canyon, Utah. Celebrate natural and manmade wonders of the United States during National Park Week every April.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

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Spring Bulb Blooms May Be Finished but the Gardening Isn't
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Spring flowering bulbs really get your attention while in bloom. Many homeowners debate how best to care for them afterwards, to keep them blooming and multiplying for years to come. Maximize the return on your investment in spring bulbs by knowing what to do for them when the petals fall.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

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Explaining Vegetable Families: Cucumbers, Squash, Pumpkins and Melons are "Cucurbits"
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Dozens of kinds of vegetables grow in home gardens. But nearly all of those crops have their "roots" in just a few plant families. The cucurbit family includes all of the squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, and melons in your garden. Understand the special needs and attributes of Cucurbitaceae when planning and tending your garden.

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Monday, March 25, 2013

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Invasive Plant Research Yields Some Good News
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Invasives are here to stay; that much is painfully obvious. For years we've heard about acres of wild lands lost to invasives, about the inevitable occupation of native "niches' by foreign species. What does the current research say? You may be surprised by these news items related to invasive plant species.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

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Think Twice about Leatherleaf Mahonia
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

When one gets excited about plants*, its easy to be impulsive. Unfortunately, if you don't think twice before planting certain specimens, you may have second thoughts afterward. Leatherleaf mahonia (Mahonia bealei), also known as Beale's barberry, is a second thought kind of plant.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

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Lucky Bean Plant: A New Curiosity is Really a Flowering Tropical Tree
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

It had to be fake. A plastic giant bean, split as if germinated, with a green stem stuck between the halves. It couldn't be real.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

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How many Weeds will a Warrior war when a Warrior will war Weeds?
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Lawn Rangers on crabgrass patrol? No, Weed Warriors attack exotic green invaders in American parklands and beyond.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

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Explaining Vegetable Families: Tomatoes, Eggplants, Potatoes and Peppers Are All Nightshades
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Potatoes and peppers would seem to be strange bedfellows in the vegetable garden. Surprise! They're actually kissing cousins. Along with tomatoes and eggplants, they are the vegetable representatives of the family Solanaceae, the nightshades. Understand the special needs and attributes of the nightshade family when planning and tending your garden.

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Friday, February 22, 2013

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Explaining Vegetable Families: Legumes (Peas and Beans)
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Dozens of kinds of vegetables grow in home gardens. But nearly all of those crops have their "roots" in just a few plant families. Look at vegetable gardening with a family focus. Understand the special needs and attributes of vegetable families when planning and tending your garden. In this article: tips and tidbits about beans, peas, and other legume family members.

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Monday, February 18, 2013

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There's a National Grapefruit Month?
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

There's an honorary day, week or month for everything, including grapefruit! February is National Grapefruit Month, so let's discuss grapefruit from the gardener's perspective.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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Explaining Vegetable Families: Alliums (Onions, Garlic, and More)
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Dozens of kinds of vegetables grow in home gardens. But nearly all of those crops have their "roots" in just a few plant families. Look at vegetable gardening with a family focus. Understand the special needs and attributes of vegetable families when planning and tending your garden. In this article: tips and tidbits about onions, garlic, and other members of their family, Alliaceae.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

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Explaining Vegetable Families: Growing Brassicas (Cole Crops)
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Dozens of kinds of vegetables grow in home gardens. But nearly all of those crops have their "roots" in just a few plant families. Look at vegetable gardening with a family focus. Understand the special needs and attributes of vegetable families when planning and tending your garden. In this article: tips and tidbits about cabbage, broccoli, and the numerous members of their family, Brassicaceae.

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

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Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let Me Sow: Plant Seeds Outside Now for Natural Cold Stratification
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Play with your seeds even in the face of frigid forecasts. Some seeds like it cold. The seeds of certain plant species must endure cold and wet in order to grow. Skilled gardeners know how to plant seeds before the snow flies. This method allows the economical growing of perennials, wildflowers, shrubs, and trees from seed.

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

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How to care for Christmas gift plants after the holidays
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

The cookie tin is bare, the gifts are opened...Christmas is on the wane. Did you get a Poinsettia, Amaryllis, or other gift plant from someone special? Proper care tips will keep your Christmas gift plants, and Christmas memories, alive and well.

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

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Managing bugs in your compost - the good, the bad, and the merely ugly
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Composting inevitably involves a few bugs. At times it can involve huge swarms of bugs. Understand the role of bugs in the compost, embrace the good and minimize the bad.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

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Hectic holiday plans and chilly weather - gardeners retreat indoors for quick December to-dos
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

December means not much to do in the garden and not much time to do it anyway, with the holidays diverting your attention. Get your gardening fix with these indoor tasks for December.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

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Adding warmth your landscape - fire pits from basic to bold
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Spring was a mad rush, summer was a long, hot slog. The yard work had no end in sight. But when chilly days arrive and all the plants are put to bed, we just want to enjoy the garden a bit longer. Bring on the fire! Adding a firepit extends and enhances the usefulness and beauty of your outdoor living spaces.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

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Fall foliage is not just for trees: "Red" shrubs
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Fall foliage: it is NOT all about trees. Fiery color at eye level, in well chosen shrubbery, brings another element of wow to your autumn landscape.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

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The elusive hickory syrup
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Truly elusive, or surprisingly easy? What's the truth behind hickory syrup, and just what IS hickory syrup anyway? A lucky break gave me a head start on this topic, and now I can tell you about a recent food sensation -- hickory syrup.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

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Fantastic beneficial fungi are essential to healthy garden soil
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Fungus and mildew: those words cause most gardeners to cringe. But good guys far outnumber bad guys in the soil fungus world. Autumn is the time of the big fall chores, mulching and fall leaf composting, and a good time to talk about beneficial soil fungus.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

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Fall foliage is not just for trees -- "Yellow" shrubs
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

With all due respect to the legions of leaf peepers, there are specimens other than trees which can highlight your landscape with fall foliage color. Consider an ornamental deciduous shrub with sunny yellow leaves to brighten your autumn garden.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

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The classic Adirondack chair: a hundred-plus years of perfect relaxation on a hot summer day.
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

North of the Catskills and west of Vermont, in northeastern New York State, lie the Adirondack Mountains. Their rugged forests and sparkling lakes have a special wilderness beauty. This was a popular vacation spot and health retreat in the early nineteenth century. Home region of Lake Placid and the headwaters of the Hudson River, this are was also the birthplace of an American classic, the Adirondack chair.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

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Using DG for a native plant ID: Late-flowering Boneset (Eupatorium serotinum)
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

"For Gardeners...By Gardeners" In this case of a mystery volunteer wildflower, Dave's Garden sure was here "for me," and a part of Dave's Garden is now "by me." Figuring out the real name of my Eupatorium serotinum, (late-flowering boneset or late-flowering thoroughwort), gave me a personal lesson in botany and the chance to add some missing details to the storehouse of information that is Dave's PlantFiles.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

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Verticillium wilt: how to diagnose it, what to do about it
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Verticillium wilt: It's the V in "VFN" tomato plants, as in "resistant to Verticillium wilt." But other vegetables are attacked by this fungal disease, as are numerous varied trees, shrubs and perennials. What's a gardener to do?

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Monday, August 6, 2012

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Rain barrel accessories make water saving safe and convenient
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Getting rainwater into a barrel is not too tricky. The challenges lie in avoiding drainage problems and getting the water out of the barrel to your garden. Hence rain barrel accessories.. Use the links in the article to see a variety of available products. Start shopping, or consider the choices before fabricating your own perfect rain barrel accessory.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

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Give Peach a chance?
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Do I dare to cultivate that baby peach that has sprung from our discarded peach pits in the backyard? Just what is involved in growing ANY peach tree?

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

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Organic, free insect pest control for the home garden: try handpicking
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Organic and virtually no cost: can insect pest control get any better than this? Home gardeners really should consider handpicking of insects as a great first offense in the battle with six-legged enemies.

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

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Designer rain barrels: more pretty than practical
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

"Saving the world, one barrel of rainwater at a time!" This is the mission of those selling trendy, fancy custom rain barrels. But the steep cost of the pretty manufactured barrels is shocking. I've estimated the dollar value of potential rainwater savings and compared it to the cost of a commercial rain barrel.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012

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Collecting foxglove seeds
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Common foxgloves have spectacular blooms and are fairly easy to grow. The flowers are finished all too soon, though. In early summer you may be looking at ugly dried spears of ripening pods. Instead of bidding "adieu" (farewell), say "au revoir " (till I see you again) to your Digitalis. Gather seeds, and guarantee a new crop of these lovelies next spring.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

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South African Foxglove, an easy exotic annual (Ceratotheca triloba)
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Don't look for this flower in your big gardening book, or the mass marketed catalogs that go to every house on the block. It just isn't there. South African Foxglove is waiting in the wings of the mainstream annual marketplace. I'd like to introduce it as a unique new annual for your border.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

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Did your peony bloom for Memorial Day?
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Herbaceous peonies are incredibly long lived and faithfully blooming perennial beauties, in the right situation. These same plants are long lived, but only sporadically blooming in other gardens. Understand the peony's needs and you can guarantee Memorial Day blooming peonies, or simply peonies that flower well every year.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

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Origins of terra cotta, and using clay pots in today's garden
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Terra cotta flower pots are garden classics. But what is terra cotta, exactly? The words "terra cotta" are Italian, but does all terra cotta come from Italy? Are terra cotta flower pots still the best choice for all plants, or for any plant? Inquiring minds hardly know where to stop.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

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Your first herbs: Basil, chives, parsley
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

If you can grow anything, in pots or in the ground, you can grow the beginner herbs: basil, parsley, and chives.

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Monday, May 14, 2012

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Common comfrey (Symphytum officinale) has uncommon qualities
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Herbal healers have eaten, poulticed, decocted, or drunk common comfrey for millenia. Now organic gardeners appreciate comfrey in a completely different way, in the garden.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

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Alstroemeria: Exotic Peruvian lilies make themselves at home in your garden
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Alstroemeria, also called Peruvian lilies, are a staple in florist bouquets but not nearly as common in our gardens. With their free-flowering ways and fairly easy care, aren't these beauties worth a try?

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Friday, April 13, 2012

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Eastern Redbud (Cercis canadensis) cultivars offer lovely choices beyond "red buds"
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Eastern Redbud is a well known and well loved tree. Hybridizers have taken this favorite into another realm. The offerings in Eastern Redbud, other than "red buds," are varied, and addicting.

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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

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Dividing ornamental grasses
By Sally G. Miller (sallyg)

Overgrown masses of grasses? When spring is about sprung your ornamental grasses might need to be tidied up and divided. Spring is an excellent time to divide any ornamental grass. In fact, warm season grasses can only be divided in spring. This is the season to wrench up those masses of grasses, separate them, and replant fresh, vigorous, tidy smaller clumps- and this will show you how.

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