NEW Trips to Take!

Myrtle's easy when the conditions are right.


NEW Plants to Try!

Louis tries to capture the exact words to describe the fleeting but deep pleasures to be found in these Summer-into-Autumn incredibles.


New Gardening to Do!

Allergic to bees? You can still have an exciting garden, full of flowers and color and wildlife.


A Gardening Journal

The Best Season Ever: Umbrella Leaf

By mid-Summer, Spring's eager growth can seem like hubris at best. By July, the first weeks of drought and dog-day heat will have scorched those fragile leaves and flowers. Those plants will, wisely, have packed it in until next Spring. 


But what if, just now and then, you could extend moist and sheltering conditions right through to Fall? Here's one perennial that's worth the work: It peaks in Spring—but then again in late Summer. 

'Snow Peaks' Aspidistra

New foliage of 'Snow Peaks' aspidistra is, appropriately, a chilly and pure greenish-white. Each emerging leaf is furled so tightly it's no thicker than a pencil.

An established clump could produce several dozen new leaves each Spring. It's an incredible show—and all the more so because nurseries and references never seem to mention it.

Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: 'Claude Barr' Prickly Pear Cactus

A cactus in bloom: So much excitement! In vivid coloring, bounty of pollen and nectar, and sheer size, the flower's pull is nearly gravitational. Thank goodness: In the desert, plants are few and far between. You'd better put on a high-wattage performance if you want your flowers to be noticed by pollinators.


A more serious drama is being played out at ground level: Death and life; death that leads to life; sacrifice of the individual for the community; step-by-step progress to the larger goal.


Yes, this flower's goal is to engage in sex—and with who-knows-what animals and insects, too. What a loud party it is. But this is a prickly pear cactus, and a creeping and even cascading one at that. It's the prostrate pads that really move the colony forward. 

Variegated Siberian Meadowsweet


Here's foliage that's not for the faint-hearted. It's large, and the coloring is both unusual and irregular: Metallic blue, green, and white, with flecks of rosy pink. The plant that sports these leaves is as big as any mop-top hydrangea. And yes, it flowers, too. 

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