Instead of a Rose Bouquet, Give a Rose Garden
When we were first married, my husband would either send or bring me a beautiful bouquet of long stemmed red roses for Valentine’s Day. As much as I loved them, I always felt just a little guilty to have them. We didn’t have a whole lot of money back then,the flowers were expensive and I knew that they wouldn’t last long. Throughout the years, his gifts changed from roses to cards and chocolate. I love chocolate, but this year I am strongly hinting that we go back to long stemmed roses. Instead of a bouquet though, I would love to have a rose garden installed right next to our bedroom window. Imagine waking each day to watch dew glistening on the rose petals and drifting off to sleep every night wrapped in the sweet, subtle fragrance of roses. Lovely.
Perfect Winter Pots
Creating winter planters can seem like a daunting task to those of us who are not design gifted by nature. Luckily, there are some basic principles that can help the most non-creative of us put together a spectacular outdoor display that ushers in the holidays and with just a few minor adjustments now and then can bring cheer to the long winter months.
Need Joy In Your Autumn Landscape? Add Shrubs
I took an objective look at my front yard this week and determined it was sadly lacking in fall color. My four yellow mums in pots flanking the doorway just didn’t bring me quite enough joy. (Yes, I admit it – I have been doing a Marie Kondo purge) What I really want are huge bursts of riotous color and texture before a long Midwestern winter with its ice, snow and freezing temperatures sets in.
If Not Mums, Then What?
After last week's blog, a very good question came up. A client asked, "If I decide to become a native plant purist and avoid mums, then what should I plant instead?
Do Mums Belong in a Pollinator Garden?
I popped into our local big box store yesterday to pick up a few bags of rock I needed to finish one of my backyard pathways. As I pulled into the parking lot, a huge sign greeted me, reminding me that planting fall blooming flowers helps keep our native pollinators fed. Since my garden is severely lacking in masses of blooms to feed my winged visitors right now, I decided to see what they had to offer.
At first glance, I was thrilled; the garden center was absolutely bursting with blooms — dozens of colors and shapes and varieties —of chrysanthemums. Benches and benches full of them – and very few other nectar rich choices for the mum-reluctant gardener.
What Are Those Bugs on the Milkweed?
Yesterday morning my three-year-old companion came running into the kitchen. Grabbing me by the arm, she pulled me towards the garden, yelling at the top of her lungs, “Gramma, you’ve got bugs…too many bugs.” I could tell from her expression that this was serious business and I would be expected to take care of all the bugs instantly. Not quite sure what to expect, I grabbed a trowel in one hand and a broom in the other and followed her lead – which brought us to a beautiful patch of milkweed pods ready to burst open and spread their seed.
Creating A Real Pollinator Garden
I came home from the Perennial Plant Association’s National Symposium determined to tear out every single one of my garden beds and start completely over. In my mind, as I judged them against the images and designs I had seen, there was no question – mine were shameful and had to go! Thankfully, my husband pulled the shovel out of my hands and talked me down from the cliff. My reaction to an educational seminar may seem just a bit extreme, but if you ever have the opportunity to hear Claudia West, landscape architect and co-author of one of my favorite books Planting In A Post-Wild World speak, I guarantee you will understand.
Patience is the Key to a Successful Butterfly Garden
One of my favorite things to do this summer is to quietly sit on my deck, watching dozens of butterflies floating through the yard enjoying the nectar buffet I’ve planted. This is the first year that I’ve had a steady stream of visitors and it feels like the time, effort and money I’ve put into the pollinator garden the last few years are finally paying off.