Garden Cents

  1. Protect pumpkins from squirrels

    Protect pumpkins from squirrels
    Shorter days and crisper evenings tell us that autumn is quickly approaching. One of the most nostalgic fall traditions is carving pumpkins and showing them off for all to see. As I walk and drive around different neighborhoods, it’s always fun to see how houses are decorated - from simple carved pumpkins quietly sitting on a porch step to elaborate...
  2. Mums the word

    Mums the word
    Chrysanthemums (Chrysanthemum) are sometimes called mums or chrysanths for short. Their name is derived from the Greek words for gold (chrysos) and flower (anthemon). They are mostly perennial flowering plants of which there are around thirty species. They are native to Asia and northeastern parts of Europe. They were first cultivated in China as far back as the fifteenth century...
  3. Prevent Winter Damage from Moles and Voles

    Prevent Winter Damage from Moles and Voles
    It is a common misconception that moles and voles hibernate during the winter, when in fact, they simply dig deeper tunnels to escape the cold and they continue eating ferociously throughout the winter. Deeper burrows and occasional snow cover, combined with our own tendency to go outside less often in cold weather, makes their signature tunnels, hills, and holes much...
  4. 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...
  5. 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 →
  6. 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 →
  7. 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 →

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