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Flowering & Foliage Plants

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. 

Beyond Butterfly Milkweed

I spend A LOT of time at a nearby native plant nursery. (Let’s just say that they love to see my car pull up! ) it’s not just a great place to buy plants, but it’s also a great place to learn about natives from the experts. The staff are knowledgeable, enthusiastic and remarkably patient with those of us who are learning. I didn’t realize how patient they were until I overheard this exchange. 

The Mid-Summer Garden

My flower gardens were at their peak. They had plenty of spring rain to push lush growth and the warmth of consistent sunny days is producing bloom after bloom. My hibiscus blossoms were as big as dinner plates, my bright red pentas  the delight of the local hummingbirds and butterflies  flocked to my zinnias. It was the fleeting time of year gardeners celebrate.

Garden Greats -- If You're A Bumblebee!

One of the most exciting things I discovered in my ramblings is that the message to protect our pollinators is not only being heard, but it is also being put into practice. In every town we visited in every one of the five states, gardens filled with native flowers were flourishing.  And to top it off, bumblebees were slowly perusing the blossom buffets in four of the five states. (Unfortunately, one of our stops was Wyoming where bumblebees have already disappeared. I was encouraged though, to see that an effort is being made to draw them back; the Wyoming gardens were filled with bumblebee delicacies.)

 

Home Grown Bouquets

In all of the research I have been doing over the last few weeks, I keep coming back to the same conclusion: the key to a successful urban cutting garden is thoughtful planning before planting. I know that in most cases we talk about careful planning, but for this project the decisions we make before we begin, guide how we proceed.