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Hardy plants for hardy souls
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    Here are three plants that are blooming for the first time in my garden. Purple dragon Purple dragon is a relative of Jack-in-the pulpit. I got my plant last year at the local rock garden society members-only plant sale. Apparently the plain green form can be “weedy” but the purplish form is not. We’ll see. […]

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    I am happy to report that our area is no longer “abnormally dry.” It is however, abnormally hot and humid. I have been moving plants in the cooler part of the day and keeping busy in the house the rest of the time. I’d thought I’d show you some highlights from August. I love them […]

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    Autumn blooms come in three categories: fall-only bloomers, “summer” annuals, and rebloomers. Because of this, September usually has more blooming plants than August. When you combine fall-bloomers, late-bloomers, and rebloomers in one bed, it hardly looks like the fall garden is waning. With thoughtful planning and cooperative weather, September can be a floriferous month. What’s […]

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    Frost is not the end, just the beginning of the end We had our first frost on Monday, 26F (~-3C). And another frost this morning, 27F (also ~-3C). We often seem to skip the light frosts altogether and go straight for the hard stuff. Buh-bye, dahlias, cannas, and cosmos. But there are plenty of plants […]

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    What’s missing from this picture are the autumn crocuses. They should be blooming now. No, I don’t mean colchicums–they’re done. (And they’re not crocuses!!) I mean bona-fide crocuses that bloom in the fall. Crocus speciosus, to be precise. I planted more than one hundred of them four years ago, and for the last three years […]

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    It’s January, and here in the northern reaches of North America we don’t expect to find flowers blooming. And yet one plant in my garden is trying to do just that: Helleborus niger, commonly called the Christmas rose. It blooms at Christmas for gardeners in Great Britain. They were the ones who named it. My […]

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    It's like Christmas, except instead of tumbling downstairs to see what "Santa" left me under the tree, I'm dashing out the door every day to see what's blooming in each garden bed. Believe me, I know where to look, and I usually spot each emerging plant when its tip first pierces the surface. Yes, it's spring! Wanna see what I got?

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    Take a stroll with me through the Secret Garden and admire the flowers I recently planted to make this garden even more beautiful. I hope it delights you as much as it delights me!

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    Two and a half years ago I acquired a couple of peonies through a members-only sale of my local chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society (NARGS). You may not realize this, but most rock gardeners get interested in alpine plants after years of gardening experience. They are all plant geeks and expert (or […]

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    There is a comfort in seeing plants bloom when you expect them to bloom. You sense the rhythm of the seasons that is one of the pleasures of gardening. But if the garden were totally predictable it would get a little boring. That's why even though my garden is supposedly full, I continue to add new plants, even if it means taking out others. Read on to see the plants that are either new to me this year or just hitting their stride this August.

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    In my mind there are two kinds of fall: "Good" Fall and "Bad" Fall. Good Fall is what we have now. The leaves on the trees are starting to turn color, temperatures have moderated so that you want to work in the garden again, the colchicums have started blooming and the many native autumn-blooming plants are at their peak, summer annuals are still going strong and some perennials are having a second flush of bloom. (Bad Fall is after the leaves drop and it's cold enough that they'd call it winter down South.) In this blog post, I'd like to share some of the best that autumn has to offer.

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    Visitors asked about two plants at my Colchicum Open Garden. The first one is readily available at garden centers or online. The second one is a little trickier to find--it helps if you know someone. But visitors were also surprised to see so much in bloom at the end of September. It helps if you know my special plants and (not so) secret techniques. Click over to my blog post and I'll share them with you!

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  • 11/15/17--17:12: The Last of the Hardiest
  • November started out marvelously with highs in the 50s(F) and one day even hit 66°(19C). The second week the switch flipped and the real November showed up with a vengeance. Most nights have been in the teens, but we also got two nights that dipped into single digits (9F=-13C)–that’s unseasonably low for November and was […]

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    Move over, hyacinths. Stand back, amaryllis. It's time for lily-of-the-valley to take center stage. Yes, lily-of-the-valley! Did you know you could force lily-of-the-valley indoors during the winter? It's not too hard at all, if you buy specially prepared roots. And the fragrance is wonderful, not to mention the pleasure of actually watching plants grow while it's snowing outside.