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Archive for Focus on Flowers

December 22, 2005


The English colonists in Virginia used Mistletoe to decorate their homes and their churches during the Christmas season. Mistletoes are evergreen parasitic plants with small leaves, yellowish flowers and waxy white berries.

December 15, 2005


Violets are old-fashioned little flowers and are botanical parents of the larger, showier pansies that bloom in warmer states like Florida in December.

December 9, 2005

Our National Flower

Of all the flowers, the rose is probably the most admired, and it is a recurring metaphor in literature

December 1, 2005

Gardens without Flowers

December is a month where the weather makes us spend more time indoors, and our garden landscapes are more static. But some mornings after a heavy frost or light snow we may stop on the way to our car to admire the patterns of white on the foliage plants.

November 17, 2005

A Garden's Language

Fall is really about delayed gratification; we know our perennials will come into flower again as the seasons unfold.

November 10, 2005

Flowers for Chefs

During the 17th century, flowers were first crystallized in sugar and also used to flavor syrups, jams, jellies, wines and liqueurs.

November 3, 2005


Common garden sage, Salvia officinalis, is a staple in the herb garden and a plant for all seasons.

October 20, 2005

Dividing Perennials

Grab a spade, and remind yourself that most gardeners learn their best lesson through trial and error.

September 15, 2005


Plants go in and out of fashion, and Coleus seems to be making a fashion comeback. Its flowers are fairly nondescript, but...

September 8, 2005

Crepe Myrtle

In warm areas of the United States, Crepe Myrtle trees blooming in high summer are a spectacular sight. The trees, which have exfoliating bark, thrive in zones 8 to 9.

September 1, 2005


Lespedeza is one of the best flowering shrubs for late summer and early fall. It has long arching stems weighed down by large sprays of purple pea flowers. It looks like a fountain of airy flowers when it blooms.

August 25, 2005


Shrubs, once they are established, are fairly care free in a garden and can provide interesting focal points. Try to plant shrubs to provide a succession of bloom from spring into fall.

August 18, 2005

Perovskia (Russian Sage)

Perovskia is an aromatic sub shrub native to Pakistan, also known by its common name Russian Sage. It can also grow four feet wide and is a commanding presence in the garden.

August 10, 2005


The shade gardener can become adept in the juxtaposition of green plants in a bed to create variety.  However, in addition to compositions with a green theme, we often yearn for perennial shade plants that flower in different colors.

August 4, 2005

Physostegia: Obedient Plant

The genus "Physostegia" native to North America is made up of only three species, but all three grow well in sun or partial shade.  The best is "P. virginiana Variegata" with variegated foliage and pink flower spires when it blooms in August.

July 28, 2005


Cannas are one of these tropical plants, and they grow from rhizomes which in cold climates must be dug up in the fall and stored for replanting the next spring. They provide an exotic effect in our summer gardens with their bright showy flowers, big leaves and varied leaf colors.

July 21, 2005

Blackeyed Susans

Lord Abercrombie, a 19th Century horticulturalist, advised gardeners to "Find out what you can grow and grow lots of it." Many perennials make it easy to have lots of them, and some even have a tendency to take over the garden if we are not vigilant.

July 14, 2005

Globe Thistle

"Echinops" commonly known as "Globe Thistle" is a perennial that has many assets and no liabilities, except that like all thistles, it is not soft to touch. It grows to about three feet with stiff silver stems holding its round blue globes aloft.

July 7, 2005


The genus "Lobelia" is made up of as many different species as there are days in the year. The large genus of annual and perennial plants contains many that are native to North America

June 30, 2005

Hens and Chickens

Some plants have fanciful common names, and one of these is a low growing member of the sedum family called "Hens-and-Chickens." It has succulent rosette big and small, arranged in a whimsical pattern like a mother hen with chicks gathered protectively around her.

June 23, 2005


Many Native American flowering plants were not cultivated in gardens, here, until they were reintroduced from Europe.

June 16, 2005


f you are intoxicated by the fragrance of lilies and long to grow lots of these sumptuous flowers, you can plant many varieties of lily bulbs to have continuous bloom from late May into August.

June 9, 2005

Moss Rose

It is sometimes a problem to find an annual that likes hot dry places, especially sites adjacent to concrete, which reflects heat. 

June 3, 2005


The much loved lavender plant is categorized as a subshrub. It has a woody base like a shrub, but also soft top growth like herbaceous perennials.

June 2, 2005

Coral Bells

<p>Perhaps you have a sunny or partially shaded area where you could plant our native "Heuchera," commonly called "Coral Bells."</p>

May 26, 2005

Money Plant

Biennial plants live only for two years, flower the second year, and then usually self sow.  A well-known biennial plant, "Honesty" has purple flowers followed by seedpods that are shaped like coins, and when the seeds are released and the inner membrane revealed, it looks silvery and translucent.

May 19, 2005


Wildflowers seem to be the introverts of the botanical world, happy in private rather than public places, avoiding regimentation.

May 12, 2005


Beautix Potter lived at "Hill Top" in the Lake District of England, near where William Wordsworth saw that host of golden daffodils, immortalized in his poetry.

May 5, 2005


Geraniums are popular plants, grown as annuals in the Midwest. Yet this plant is not really a member of the genus "geranium." It belongs to the genus "pelargonium."

April 28, 2005

Lily of the Valley

The Lily of the Valley blooms in May, and in Southern Indiana they are usually blooming at the time of the Kentucky Derby parties, and they look as fresh as a mint julep tastes.

April 21, 2005

Brunnera: Forget-Me-Nots

For-get-me-nots bloom in early spring, but there is one perennial "Brunnera" sometimes called false for-get-me-nots, which bloom in May.

April 14, 2005


Ground cover plants must live up to their name and cover bare areas and reduce weeds. In addition, their job description includes spreading well and being ornamental.

April 7, 2005

Celandine Poppy

The American wild flower celandine poppy grows well in shade gardens as well as in the woods. Its botanical name is "stylophorum diphyllum" and it has lots of bright yellow blooms in the spring and early summer.

April 1, 2005


There are some low growing plants that are woody at the base but have soft stems on top and horticulturalists refer to them as subshrubs.

March 25, 2005


Pansies are usually the first annuals that gardeners in regions with severe winters, plant in the spring. They like cool moist soil, some fertilizer and regular dead heading. Their cheerful colors, and the markings that make the blooms look as if they have faces, are hard to resist.

March 24, 2005


Ogden Nash wrote, "My garden will never make me famous, as I am a horticultural ignoramus." Fortunately there are some plants that don't require much skill, yet provide enjoyment by suddenly reappearing each spring as if by magic.

March 17, 2005

Redbud and Dogwood

A myriad of clusters of purplish buds appear on its dark limbs before it leafs out. Both the dogwood and the redbud also provide autumn interest. The redbud's heart shaped leaves turn yellow, and the dogwood displays red berries and burgundy foliage.

March 10, 2005

Begonias as House Plants

Some house plant enthusiasts adore Begonias for the variety of their colors and texture and collect as many as they can.

March 3, 2005

Flowers on Postage Stamps

Stamp collecting, like gardening is an absorbing hobby and philatelists, like gardeners, develop various specialties. Some postage stamp enthusiasts, for example, are known as topical collectors, as they collect stamps of any country or denomination that illustrate their favorite topic.

February 24, 2005

Caring For House Plants In Winter

Taking care of houseplants in winter is a delicate endeavor. Beware of drafts, too-high or too-low temperatures and arid, winter air.

February 18, 2005

Poetry of Spring

Poets William Blake and Siegfied Sassoon write about the longing for spring-something we can all relate to at this time of year.

February 17, 2005

Watering Flowering House Plants

To ensure your houseplant's health, its important to remember to water it correctly. There a few factors that contribute to your plants watering needs.

February 11, 2005

Valentine's Day Roses: Then And Now

The rose has been a recurring literary theme since the thirteenth century as a symbol of love. However, giving roses for Valentine's Day is a modern tradition.

February 10, 2005

Emily Dickinson

Emily Dickinson was an avid gardener and her poetry reflects this.

February 4, 2005

A February Flower Fix

What do you do to get your flower fix in February?

February 3, 2005

The Globalization Of Plants: From Colonization To Today

Plants were world travelers, long before tourists like you and me, were able to fly off to vacation around the world.

January 28, 2005

Thomas Church

Thomas Dolliver Church created a modern landscape design esthetic that is seen all over California.

January 21, 2005


One of the most famous gardeners in the world is the garden at Sissinghurst Castle in Kent, created by Vita Sackville-West and her husband Harold Nicholson.

January 14, 2005

Beatrix Farrand

Beatrix Farrand was a great American landscape designer. Two of her most famous gardens are found at Princeton and Yale Universities.

January 7, 2005

Gertrude Jekyll

Chances are you have come across the name Gertrude Jekyll in books on flowers. She has influenced gardeners for generations, on both sides of the Atlantic.

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