Don’t get us wrong. We love mulches of all sorts. But one kind of mulch we’ve seen too much of is beauty bark. You know what we’re talking about. That chipped or shredded bark often bought in bags, sometimes sold in bulk, that’s used to cover bare ground around trees, in various landscape beds, and
The drought, widespread and persistent, continues across great swaths of the United States. The effects of climate change and heavy demands on water use have seen formerly reliable supplies dwindle. Cities and counties across the nation, from Williams, Arizona (natch) to Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, from the St. Johns River district in north central Florida to
Artichokes, once the domain of cool, coastal climates and inland areas of moderate temperatures, are moving into gardens where they’ve never be seen before. Even Utah (PDF) is growing artichokes. It may be that warmer, longer summer seasons are encouraging gardeners in zones previously not suitable to growing artichokes to try their luck. But there
Our far-flung correspondents have been sighting bare root trees coming into nurseries and big-box stores. It’s still a little early for planting in many parts of the country, especially considering the brutal nature of winter 2015 back east. But places in the prairie states and west, especially the Pacific Northwest, enjoying warm winters? Why not
Not a year goes by, not a holiday season approaches, that we wish that we had started some flower bulbs in containers for indoor growing so that we might give the gift of color to our nearby friends and relatives. And not a year goes by that we realize we didn’t plan far enough ahead.
Sunlight: Full sunMaturity: 60-75 days from seed to flowerHeight: 18 to 24 inchesSpacing: 6 to 12 inches apart in all directions If you’re looking for a fast and low-maintenance way to add a riot of color to your garden beds, growing zinnias are the answer for blooms that last all summer. Larger varieties can be used to brighten up annual or
Your friendly Planet Natural Blogger, in anticipation of the season that may have already arrived, has been going through Jim Fox’s excellent 2013 book How To Buy the Right Plants, Tools & Garden Supplies (Timber Press), particularly the chapters on choosing healthy nursery plants. Seems with recent life complications — we all have them, from health
Rain water collection and storage systems capture a gift from the sky. They’ve been used for centuries where and when rains are absent. Today, in the face of persistent drought and depleted aquifers, rainwater harvesting makes more sense than ever. No matter how it’s collected or what it’s used for, utilizing rainwater lessens the pressure
It’s not hard to deduce what grasscycling means. It’s something about grass and recycling. What’s unspoken — the where and how that grass is recycled — is what makes the practice so beneficial. Generally, grass-cycling is the practice of not bagging or raking up your lawn clippings as you mow. The benefits are obvious. You’re
“Gather the rose of love whilst yet is time.” – Edmund Spenser Everyone loves the beauty and scent of roses! As Shakespeare wrote, “The rose looks fair, but fairer we it deem For that sweet odour which doth in it live.” Roses are one of the most popular plants in flower gardens and landscapes. From
Moss is most often seen as a problem, not a solution. It’s been called “one of the most persistent and annoying weeds” that occurs in home lawns.” Moss is a weed? I guess you can see it that way if it’s taking over from turf beneath trees or in other shaded and usually moist areas.
Rain gardens catch and channel the environment’s natural precipitation, delivering it where it will most benefit our plants. At the same time they protect the environment by keeping polluted runoff out of municipal storm sewers. They allow water to percolate into the soil where its needed, avoiding erosion. A well-designed rain garden is sustainable, requiring little
Maintaining rich green landscapes, especially during the dry months of summer, can be a challenge. Good organic practice is at the heart of keeping things green and thriving. It requires planning, good soil with proper amendments, and careful mowing and pruning. Here’s a collection of suggestions for keeping your landscaping green all growing season long.
For some of you mild climate types, it’s already too late. For us here in high altitude Santa Fe, where the first sign of budding is just ahead, it’s last call. For those of you in more temperate, colder climates… now’s the time to do your spring pruning. Actually, technically, what we mean is late-winter
April is the time in many places to get your rose bushes prepared for the growing season. The spring pruning and feeding of roses is rewarded with vigorous new growth and blossoms. Even if you live in an area where roses are showing signs of green growth and budding — and that happened early in
Your friendly Planet Natural Blogger is on the record saying that, depending how severe your winters, the best place to store any extra spring-blooming bulbs you might have is in the ground. Bulbs generally don’t store well inside and even those you carefully pack in containers of sawdust or peat moss and kept in the
Your old and wizened Planet Natural Blogger was fortunate to grow up in a Midwestern city where the peonies always bloomed just in time for Memorial Day. Grandma and grandpa were growing peonies in abundance on the sunny side of the house and all around their vegetable garden. We’d collect big bundles of the beautiful
Advances in over-winter storage of commercial lily bulbs have allowed gardeners to buy and plant lilies in the spring. But autumn is still the best time to get them in the ground. Deeply planted and well-mulched, lily bulbs planted in fall will take all but the coldest days of the season to establish themselves before taking
We love the ever-green, natural plants associated with the holidays: the firs and pine trees celebrated in song, the poinsettia, mistletoe (actually a parasite that attaches itself to trees from which it draws water and nutrition). But our favorite, despite the fact that no presents go under it, is holly. We had a large holly
A friend who grew up on an acreage tells us how his favorite apple tree — he doesn’t remember what kind — produced clusters of small, undersized apples. Some of the fruit developed brown spots, probably apple scab from the way he describes it. His story made us wonder: why was this his favorite apple