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Gardeners and their Gardens

Plant Ephemerals Now For Early Spring Beauty

The first of the spring blooming bulb catalogues landed in my mailbox yesterday. That means it’s time to start seriously planning for those early bursts of color. Ten years ago that simply meant deciding which new variety of tulip to buy and whether to plant single or double cupped daffodils. Now my choices aren’t quite so clear cut; the best selections have to not only add beauty, but also nurture early appearing pollinators.

The August Garden

To say my garden looks sad right now is actually giving it a compliment it doesn’t deserve. Too much rain this spring followed by unrelenting heat has left wide swaths of brown leaves and dying flowers.  As anxious as I am to bring back my garden to its full glory, the garden center offerings this time of year are few and far between and, if truth be told, I am getting tired of planting pots of mums for fall color.  Luckily, there are other ways to bring vibrant color back to the garden. Embassy Landscape Group’s designers suggest that adding tropicals to your landscape can keep your garden view striking throughout the coming months. 

Celebrating Insects

My four-year-old granddaughter sat for a good half hour the other morning completely mesmerized by a caterpillar climbing up a branch. She squealed in delight each time it inched its way up the branch, forming an arch, then straightening out.  She declared that green was her favorite color and asked if she could keep it “forever.”    

I have to admit it --  I wasn’t quite so entranced with the giant tomato hornworm crawling up my heirloom tomato plant, but her fascination and pure joy did strike a chord with me. We all need to be a bit more appreciative of the insect populations that surround us, not just the monarch butterflies and golden honeybees, but all insects -- even the tomato hornworms in our lives. The stark reality is without insects, the planet will cease to exist as we know it. 

Bringing Patches of Prairie to the City

Living in the heart of our city, I had wondered what the reaction was going to be when we killed the grass and replaced it with a prairie. Many of the homes in this older, established neighborhood (including hers) sport traditional landscapes with perfectly balanced foundation plantings, precisely edged sidewalks and lush, well-manicured lawns. 

Bringing Butterflies Home

Keeping a healthy, robust butterfly garden throughout the fall is an essential tool in not only maintaining our current butterfly population, but also to hopefully increase it. Here are just a few suggestions Embassy designers suggest to their clients.

Eight Terrific Plants for a Water-wise Garden

 

If you’re like me, there are always holes to fill in the garden  --  a bare spot here that needs to be filled or a suffering plant that needs to be put out of its misery and replaced. In the past, I tended to pop in annuals for their cheerful bursts of color. This year, after seeing the impacts of a region coping with a long-term drought, my goals for my garden have changed. Instead of being seduced by  water-guzzling beauties, I am going to search for plants that give me water-wise beauty and sustainability.

The Summer Garden

In the best of times, keeping a summer garden fresh and appealing is a challenge. This year, with half of the lower forty-eight states experiencing unusual heat patterns and moderate to severe drought, the challenges are even greater.  There are, however, environmentally friendly ways to keep your garden blooming throughout the dog days of summer.