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: Fall Foliage of Hardy Passion Vine

Some plants—the tetrapanax below, say—don't respond to the imminence of Winter. It continues to produce stunning immense leaves at full tilt until frost brings everything to a halt.


The yellow-flowered hardy passion vine, however, readily responds to climate cues of shorter days and chillier nights—and does so with style. Its unusual bat-wing foliage doesn't just drop before hard frost; first it changes color from mid-green to bright yellow.


All Summer, the contrast with the tetrapanax foliage was just of scale and texture. For a few weeks in Fall, it's also of color. Given the intensity of the scale-and-texture contrast alone, amping it up with color makes this pairing of ricepaper plant with passion vine one of the highlights of the entire garden year.

The Best Year Ever: Madeira Vine Atop the Pergola

The late-season flowers of Madeira vine are a challenge. Borne at the tips of twining stems that can lengthen many yards over the Summer, they could be almost out of sight if the vine's relentless upward growth is allowed to climb vertically. This year, I provided mostly horizontal support: A pergola.  


Stray wisps of growth hung down harmlessly, bringing the show right into view.

The Best Season Ever: Dark-flowered Clematis

The search for the darkest clematis flower is potholed with irony. There are so many species of clematis, with such showy flowers in so many colors. Plus, they can be interbred easily, and they mutate to new forms spontaneously. But my vote for darkest-to-date clematis has white flowers; its depth of hue is, instead, derived from its foliage. Of those clematis whose flowers are at least as dark as grape jelly, Romantika is still the best.


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