I Must Garden Blog

Exploring a passion for gardening

  1. Cleomes, the spiderplant.

    Cleomes, the spiderplant.
    Cleomes (Cleome hassleriana) are commonly known as spiderflowers, spiderplants, spiderweeds, or beeplants. The cleome gets its “spider” names from the spidery-looking flowers with long stamen and dangling seedpods. They are annuals and when planted in a group they can look like blooming shrubs with eight inch blossoms because they grow in racemes (clusters of flowers). Under the right conditions, they...
  2. Crepe Myrtles

    Crepe Myrtles
    There are around fifty species of Crepe Myrtles (Lagerstroemia), which consist of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs. They are native to India, southern China, Australia, and other areas around Oceania, but today they are cultivate in warm climates around the world. There are tropical and sub-tropical varieties. They are mainly known for having colorful, long-lasting flowers. Temperate species have...
  3. 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...
  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. Read This: Wicked Plants

    A creepy little book from author Amy Stewart, Wicked Plants has been on the best seller list at indie and mainstream bookstores alike, since its publication date. It’s a must-read for fans of I Must Garden products, because our products are made from plants that smell wicked to animals.
  6. Read This: The Organic Lawn Care Manual

    One of the most valuable books for homeowners to hit the market recently is The Organic Lawn Care Manual, by Paul Tukey. Tukey is the editor of the regional gardening magazine “People, Places, Plants,” which has a focus on gardens in the northeast, and sustainable/organic techniques. The Organic Lawn Care Manual is a useful book for homeowners maintaining lawns, even if they are not, or do not want to, use completely organic methods.
  7. Read this: The $64 Tomato

    Read this:  The $64 Tomato
    The $64 Tomato:  How One Man Nearly Lost His Sanity, Spent a Fortune, and Endured an Existential Crisis in the Quest for the Perfect Garden William Alexander, 2006 The paperback cover of The $64 Tomato quotes a line from the New York Times Book Review of the book:  “Gardening as an Extreme Sport.”  The reviewer hit the nail right on the head.  William Alexander’s account of his first ten years with his garden at his “Big Brown House” on the hill in a small town in upstate New York provides a rollicking tale of adventures in vegetable growing.  If his plan was to inspire people to have a garden, I’m not certain that he has succeeded.  However, if his aim with the book was to make people think about their gardens, how they maintain them, and at what cost, he has met his goal. Continue reading →
  8. 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 →
  9. 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 →
  10. 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 →

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