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: 'Jolly Tiger' Fig in Fruit

Like Heinz pickles, variegation comes in many flavors: When leaves are speckled, striped, bordered, splashed, sectored, or tipped in a color or colors other than green, they are variegated. But roots that are multicolored aren't described as variegated; they are just multicolored. Bark with many colors isn't called variegated either. It is usually catagorized as exfoliating, because multiple colors are often revealed as portions of surface layers fall away. And, while the patterning of multicolored flowers does have descriptors (picotee, radial, broken, e.g.), the flowers still aren't described as variegated.


Fruit is colorful almost by definition but, as with flowers, roots, and bark, there isn't a "fruitish" term for being colorful. Fruit is just...colorful. The word seems far too faint a qualifier for the intricately-hued fruit of the variegated fig. Its surface is striped pole-to-pole, like longitudinal lines of a figgy globe.

Ficus carica Jolly Tiger fruit 093015 320

Variegated it is, then. Does the coloring of the fruit's interior continue the striping, or does it march to its own drummer? Are variegated figs variegated through and through?


The Best Season Ever: 'Whoa Nellie' Holly & Friends

This past Spring, I finally sprang for the gold-leaved cultivar of Nelly Stevens holly, 'Whoa Nellie'. Its new leaves are a stunning contrast to the glossy dark green of the mature ones. 

Ilex Whoa Nellie 092019 320

The way to have even more colorful foliage is, of course, to stimulate the shrub to grow: Another leaf is formed every inch or so of each new stem. My young starter plant was barely tall enough to pinch, so encourage-ment of new growth was, instead, a matter of potting-up.


Over the Summer, it became colorfully clear that, as I had hastily reworked countless potted plants that Spring, stray tubers had found their way into the mound of potting soil. 'Whoa Nellie' started the Summer as a soloist, but she's finishing the season as an ensemble player. 


The Best Season Ever: Fire Vine

Easy from seed, quick to establish, and heavy with flowers even at the height of Summer's heat, fire vine is one of my new favorites.   

Ipomoea lobata flowers closer 071015 320

As long as it can keep climbing higher, it can keep growing—and forming more flowers. And what flowers! Spikes of inch-long blooms in a sequence of fiery color, from near white at the bottom to smoldering red at the top. Now, if I can just provide support that will be as high as fire vine could ever need.  Ten feet high turned out to be just the beginning.


Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: 'Concordia' Oak's Second Flush of Gold Foliage

The foliage of 'Concordia' oak fairly glows from Spring to early Summer.  And my young tree also responded to a quick trim-back in late Winter by sending out new shoots that were three and four feet long by August.  So much fresh energy and promise!


But by then, the Spring's gold foliage had turned green, and those new extensions were looking wild and ugly: Their foliage had developed a nasty case of mildew.  Time for a "pity prune"—cutting off the yucky stem and letting the plant wait out the rest of the growing reason in dignity if not style.


The tree, though, had another idea: a second flush of glowing gold foliage that was also mildew-free.

Quercus robur Concordia new stems from the side 091115 320


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