Marilyn Cox

  1. Impatiens, Jewelweed

    Impatiens, Jewelweed
    The impatiens (Impatiens) genus of flowering plants is widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere and the tropics. It is made up of 850-1000 species. Some botanists believe that the large genus needs to be split into two based on the genetic make-up of individual plants. Additional common names for the plants include jewelweeds, balsams, and touch-me-nots. Jewelweed is typically applied...
  2. Hardy Hibiscus

    Hardy Hibiscus
    When most people think of hibiscus (Hibiscus), they think of the Chinese Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis). It is the most popular and well-known with its large, bright red flowers and attractiveness to hummingbirds. They are often grown as ornamental houseplants and can only be grown outdoors in USDA zones 9a through 10b. They require full sun and are often a hassle...
  3. Pruning Roses in the Winter

    Pruning Roses in the Winter
    Winter need not be the end of gardening, even if you live where snow flies.  In fact, once the ground is good and frozen, or your plants are fully dormant for the winter, it is time for pruning!  Woody plants that flower on new growth are good candidates for winter pruning.  If your plants flower on old growth, you do not want to prune until immediately after they fininsh flowering because you will cut off the flower buds.  That means, no pruning of forsythia, some hydrangeas, azaleas and other spring-blooming plants.  If you feel the need to get out your pruning shears and head out into the garden, work on your roses. Rose Pruning Basics There are some pretty basic rose pruning techniques that will serve you well, no matter which type of rose you are working with--Hybrid Tea, Floribunda or Modern Shrub Rose.  (You have to be careful with climbers in terms of winter pruning.  Some climbing roses flower on old growth.) Continue reading →
  4. Time to Order Seeds!

    Time to Order Seeds!
    It's time for the seed catalogs to start arriving!  I look forward to opening my mailbox in January, which makes me different than about 99% of the population, I know.  I look forward to the glossy pictures and gardening dreams that arrive with my seed catalogs.  (My credit card bills are ever-present.  They aren't any worse when the holidays are over.  I keep paying, they keep sending me bills!)  But, financial realities aside, if I could grow whatever I wanted this summer (and I can, with I Must Garden's repellents--nobody but me will eat the plants), here are some of my favorite new varieties from the breeders. Continue reading →
  5. Greeting Cards that Grow

    Greeting Cards that Grow
    cardRecycled paper cards filled with seeds are presents in and of themselves.  If you love to garden and get the blues during the winter, here's a gardening inspired craft to keep you busy and create works of art for your friends.  Make several of these at a time, and you will have a handy stash for any occasion.  You can make the card paper and decorate for the occasions as they come up. Continue reading →
  6. Houseplant Starts Make Great Gifts

    Houseplant Starts Make Great Gifts
    Use your green thumb to give gifts to your friends!  It is certainly easy to "snip snip" a few starts off a spider plant or sitck a trailing piece of pothos in a little bud vase.  It is nicer if you go ahead and root those starts yourself and pot them up in a cute flowerpot or plastic pot inside a nice container.  Houseplant starts from your plants make great housewarming gifts, get-well gifts, and "thinking of you" gifts.  To always have a supply of gifts on hand, start a little "houseplant farm."  If you become overrun, you can always just give them away. Continue reading →
  7. Aphids in the salad? "They're a garnish!"

    Aphids in the salad?  "They're a garnish!"
    The morning my boyfriend broke up with me (the one I thought I would marry, though obviously that didn't happen), I sat in the snow on my patio in Delaware and sobbed my eyes out, planting lettuce in a pot.  I was so upset, I couldn't see straight, and the only thing I could think to do was garden.  Unfortunately, it was early March in Delaware--not exactly a great time to be gardening.  Never mind the fact that I didn't have a yard.  When gardening calls, listen, I say. Continue reading →
  8. What *Was* I Thinking?

    What *Was* I Thinking?
    Anyone who gardens can identify with hair-brained schemes that did not go as planned!  I have one such gardening story to share.  It is about my first large-scale vegetable gardening experience. Tons of Tomatillos I had my first vegetable garden when I was about six.  I think I grew tomatoes, and not much else.  I was way more interested in flowers.  I stayed a "flower child" for years and years until I started working as the Curator of Landscape at Fort Ticonderoga in New York.  The main garden for which I was responsible was The King's Garden, a one acre, restored Marian Coffin designed garden from the 1920s.  Outside of the walled King's Garden were six original vegetable garden plots.  During my tenure, we re-planted three of the plots as demonstration gardens:  A Garrison Garden (military vegetable garden), a Children's Vegetable Garden, and a Three Sisters Garden (Native American garden).  The vegetable gardens were 50ft. by 50ft., and in my mind, were huge. I was going to need lots of plants to fill up all of that space...or so I thought. Continue reading →
  9. Squirrel Proofing your Bulbs

    Squirrel Proofing your Bulbs
    IMG_5263If the ground where you live is not completely frozen solid, you can still plant your spring bulbs.  Bulbs need a chance to set roots before the ground freezes so that they can get a running start in the spring.  One of the most aggravating thing about planting bulbs is going outside a day or two (sometimes an hour or two) later to find that the squirrels or chipmunks (or other garden-destroying rodent), has dug up all of your bulbs, taken a bite out of them and left them for dead.  There are some things you can do to squirrel-proof your bulbs for the winter so that you can enjoy a lovely spring bulb garden. Continue reading →
  10. Now is the time for All-Season Deer Repellent

    Now is the time for All-Season Deer Repellent
    Winter is almost upon us, and with it, less tender vegetation for deer to eat.  In northern climes, leftover grain from harvests will soon be covered with snow.  What does that mean for avid gardeners?  All but your most prickly, foul tasting (at least, for deer), trees and shrubs become targets for hungry pests.  If you are unlucky, like William...

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