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: Horsebalm

With shiny large leaves and carefully arrayed plumes of yellow flowers, horsebalm is a quiet beauty.

Collinsonia canadensis in bud 092015 320

Its many common names—citronella horsebalm, heal-all, richweed, stoneroot—suggest further abilities far beyond such pleasing visuals, too. Let me rave further!

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Green Stems of Tree Caragana

Before Thanksgiving, we're all still limbering up for the aesthetic contortions needed to get through Winter. Here's one to practice as you study the picture below: "Wow, these young stems of tree caragana stems really are an exciting shade of green!"

Caragana arborescens stems fingers 112215 320

Believe me, when compared to the beige bark of the shrub's older branches in Winter, these are eye-popping. Add in the species' astonishing hardiness, self-reliance, appeal to wildlife, and potential for clever training, and Caragana arborescens should be on everyone's must-have list.

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Coiled Roots of The Potted Lotus

Fall is mild so far, but hard frosts are inevitable. I grow pots of lotus in tubs, not deep in-ground pools, so they need to be brought into protection for the Winter: The tubers of these aquatic perennials don't tolerate freezing.  


When I lifted this pot of 'Perry's Giant Sunburst' up out of the water, the entire mass of soil was a couple of inches above the rim. I tipped the root mass out of the container to see why. The plant had been only a small starter tuber in the Spring, but new tuberous rhizomes—legendary in their territorial ambitions—had formed all Summer. They had raced round and round the base of the container in their quest for deeper, wider soil.

Nelumbo nucifera Perrys Giant Sunburst root coil with hand from inside 2015 11 16

With the soil now knit together by smaller roots, the entire container's-worth was like a cork, lifted higher and higher by the root's spiraling coils. All parts of a lotus—leaves, flowers, seeds, and roots—are visual tours de force. Can any other plant mount such top-to-bottom show? 

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Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Colorful Stems of Golden European Ash

Some trees are even more interesting after their leaves have fallen. Then, striking details of bark, bud, and branching are on full display through early Spring. Some years ago, I introduced golden European ash. Fall to Spring, its leafless young stems sport chalk-yellow bark and are studded with pointy black leaf buds.

Fraxinus excelsior Aureifolia rounded stem tips overall 11 10 15 320

The tree has been so slow-growing that I didn't return my focus to its cold-weather show until this month, when I noticed a new detail: The tips of many but not all of the branches are swollen, as if they were preparing to expell an impressive spit-ball in Spring. 


Which stems were swollen, and why?

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