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

Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Mountain Cabbage Tree

A ten-foot cabbage tree can be too tall even for a plant geek, especially when growing in such a large container: too tall and too heavy. And way too awkward to wheel on its side into the truck to the greenhouse in the Fall, then back into the truck to the garden in the Spring.


Sawing through the trunk turned a ten-foot tree into a five-footer that rode upright in the truck on the way back to the garden.

Cussonia paniculata overall 061816 320

So much easier. Would the tree resprout or die? After weeks of warmth and sun in the garden, today I had the answer.

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The Best Season Ever: Climbing Hydrangea in Bloom

No garden should be without climbing hydrangea, which will happily climb up a tree, native stone, masonry walls—or, in my garden—a galvanized pipe wrapped in narrow pine boards from Home Depot. 


Thanks to this vining shrub's sensational bark, the show in Winter is seriously exciting. In early Summer, this ten-foot pillar is fluffy with foliage as well as flowers.

Hydrangea anomala ssp. petiolaris overall 061113 320 

The setting is a tight opening in a box hedge topped by an arch of variegated weeping dogwood, with a pollarded gold-leaved Scots elm at the rear to provide bright contrast. With fearless selection and diligent training over many years, horticulture can echo architecture with nearly Baroque theatricality. 

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Sicilian Honey Garlic

The dangling flowers of Sicilian honey garlic are one of Spring's eccentric charms. In my eagerness to site the bulbs close to a walkway, I didn't think about the nearby plants, such as the yellow-leaved coreopsis or the self-seeding orange poppies. Yipes. I could have intensifed the clash with the muted palette of honey garlic flowers—rose, slate green, and cream—only if I'd also planted something red.

Nectaroscordum siculum overall 060516 320

The coreopsis goes, and I'll yank new poppy seedlings. The honey garlic is worth a more thoughtful and exciting setting. 

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Blue-leaved Cow Parsnip in Bloom

When cow parsley enters its bloom cycle, progress is dramatic day by day. Just over a week ago, only the main flowerhead was fully in bud; the side heads were sheathed and still nestled amid the foliage. 

Heracleum antasiaticum from side 060316 320

Now, all heads are extended and, with the main umbel leading the way, flowers and seeds are maturing by the hundreds. 

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