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Flowering & Foliage Plants

Planting the Perfect Spring Container

Every spring I tell myself that this will be the year that my container plantings will be “knock out gorgeous.” But somehow, what I see in my mind's eye doesn’t come close to the reality of what’s in front of me. They aren’t awful,  just amateurish.

Conquering Critters in the Garden

After two very successful seasons of trapping and relocating groundhogs, I thought I had finally conquered my four-footed enemy.  Since there had been no sign of him after July, I felt confident that he was gone for good... or at least one season. So, I went ahead and put in my dream spring garden.  I planted cabbage and broccoli, spinach and lettuce, bok choy and snow peas, carrots, radishes, onions, potatoes. I even added some marigold seeds to ward off uninvited insects.  Bordered with pots of pansies, it was beautiful!  I was happy.

Why You Shouldn't Celebrate An Early Spring

Driving along Highway 70 today, I saw swaths of daffodils and tulips in bloom, groves of pear trees budding out and a warm breeze gave off that soft, earthy smell that signals spring has arrived. I should have been elated that winter was on the way out, but I wasn’t. March 4th is at least two weeks too early for springtime in our part of the Midwest. 

Consider Micro-climates When Using a Climate Zone Map

We are having our typical February break from winter. The sun is shining and it’s even warm enough to trade the heavy winter coat for a light jacket. No matter what chores are looming inside, the pull is to be outdoors and in the garden. Obviously it isn’t time to plant (here in Missouri we are almost guaranteed another burst of winter soon), but it is a great time to plan. 

How Do You REALLY Say Its NameĀ ?

Wednesday afternoon I had a doctor’s appointment. Instead of the usual small talk, I found myself in the middle of an interoffice debate. The burning question of the day was “Is it pronounced POINT-SET-A or POINT- SET- TI-A?  And are they really BLUE now? I knew what my nurse Robin wanted me to say, but I just couldn’t lie; I had to tell her…our beloved Christmas flower’s name is really pronounced poyn·seh-tee-uh. It has that letter i in the last syllable. She didn’t love my answer, but at least I could tell her that the plant she was looking at was dyed, not natural.

Holiday Cacti

Several weeks ago, on an impulse,  I bought what I thought was a Christmas cactus at a local grocery store. It was a beautiful little plant – very green, healthy, a perfect shape and not terribly expensive. I was excited about having something in full bloom to add to my Christmas decor. Well, I should have paid just a bit more attention to what I was buying. My Perfect for Christmas cactus has turned out to be a perfect Thanksgiving cactus. (Too bad we won’t be home for Thanksgiving.)

Non-native and Invasive: Same or Different?

As soon as I hit the send button last week, I realized that there was more to think about in our look at native plants.  We need to discuss invasive plants vs. non-native, or introduced, plants. It seems there's confusion about which plants are safe to use in the landscape and which aren’t.