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Archive for Focus on Flowers

December 31, 2020

'Dainty Bess' climbing rose

Flowers in Verse

Here are few poems written, most of them, very long ago.

December 24, 2020

Holiday cactus

Holiday Cactus

There has been so much hybridizing, that the differences between a Thanksgiving and a Christmas cactus have become blurred, so it seems reasonable to refer to them all as Holiday Cactuses nowadays.

December 17, 2020

Holiday arrangement

Holiday Decorations Reinvented

This may be the perfect year to simplify our holiday decorations. Rather than buying new items, dig around in your closets and see what you can reinvent.

December 10, 2020

gift certificates

Gifts for Gardeners

If you have gardeners on your holiday gift list, you can easily accommodate them from the comfort of your own home. Gift certificates to nurseries in the hometown of your recipients, or from catalogues, are always well received.

December 3, 2020

Clivia houseplant

Clivia Care

Most clivia plants produce orange flowers, but you can impress a gardener by ordering a clivia for them as a holiday gift that produces yellow blooms, as yellow is quite rare and treasured by knowledgeable gardeners.

November 26, 2020

planning and accessing squirrel

Assessing & Planning

As we look back on the gardening season, we can assess what worked and what didn’t – our successes and challenges in the garden.

November 19, 2020

Autumn yard rake

Fall Clean-Up

In the fall, I leave a few cone flowers and sunflowers for the birds, otherwise I cut spent flowers right to the ground and clean up the debris. I want the beds clear before the spring daffodils and other bulbs bloom.

November 12, 2020

Layering bulbs

Planting Bulbs

My garden is very crowded, and so in the fall, I am always wondering where I can plant more spring bulbs without cutting into the existing ones.

November 5, 2020

Dried Echinops

Collecting Seeds

It is easy and fun to save seeds from this year’s annuals.

October 29, 2020

white-tailed deer

Less Appetizing

I used to believe that some plants—like peonies, for example—were immune to deer. Not anymore. I have seen deer eat just about every plant...

October 15, 2020

Actaea simplex ‘Brunette’

Black Bugbane

Not a pretty name for such an attractive plant.

October 15, 2020

Scabiosa caucasica

Pincushion Flower

A plant that attracts butterflies to our garden is the pincushion flower. The botanical name is Scabiosa, and these plants usually have blue, white, or pink flowers. As their common name suggests, the shape of the flower resembles a pincushion as the central florets form a rounded shape.

October 8, 2020


A Surprising Uninvited Guest in Gardens

One often sees Veronia, a.k.a. ironweed, on roadsides and in fields and ditches. The wind disperses the seeds, which explains why it is a surprise when it appears in our gardens like an uninvited guest.

October 1, 2020

Garden tools

Cut Them Back

We should cut back most perennials in the fall. They don’t look good once it gets cold, so it is best to cut them to the ground and they will come back well next spring.

September 24, 2020

Tall native plants: Joe-Pye Weed, Goldenrod, etc.

Tall Natives

Joe-Pye weed looks great next to a splash of sunshine yellow from goldenrod or helianthus.

September 17, 2020

Japanese Anemones

Late Summer Color

As summer transitions into fall, we usually rely on mums and asters to give us color as the growing season wanes. But here are some other reliable bloomers.

September 10, 2020

Surprise lily

Lycoris Does, Indeed, Surprise Us!

Surprise lilies bloom from late summer into early September, and their cool pink flowers do indeed surprise us when their pale lily-type blooms suddenly appear on their long bare stalks.

September 3, 2020

Goldenrod blooms


Goldenrod is a perennial that is native to Europe and Asia, but it has naturalized throughout Northern America to the extent that it seems as if it has always been here.

August 27, 2020

Sunflower in a field of sunflowers

Helianthus annuus

“Heli” means sun and “anthus” means flower.

August 20, 2020


No Deadheading

Many annuals need to be deadheaded to keep blooming all season. While snipping off the spent blossoms can hardly be described as hard work, it is easier not to have to remember to do this chore. For that reason, many of us try to buy annuals that do not need deadheading in order to re-bloom all season long and right into fall.

August 13, 2020

Painting of a scene from A Midsommer Night's Dream by Edwin Henry Landseer.

Shakespeare's Plants

William Shakespeare included so many botanical references in his plays that there are about 175 mentions of flowers, fruits, grains, grasses, seeds, weeds, trees, spices, herbs, and vegetables in his works.

August 6, 2020

hot & dry-xeroscaped yard

Hot & Dry

I don’t have a watering system, so I get tired of watering when there are long periods of hot, dry summer weather. Here in the Midwest when it is over 90F, potted plants need watering twice a day and beds on slopes do too. It is a chore that makes me wish I had more drought tolerant plantings.

May 7, 2020

hot & dry-xeroscaped yard

White In May

White blooms combine so well with other flowers and help make their companions pop!

April 30, 2020

Hollow stems in a jar of water.

Hollow Stems: Preparing Them For Arrangement

Flowers from bulbs are easy to arrange informally in a vase.

April 23, 2020

Backyard Wildlife Habitat

Gardening Trends

More and more gardeners are seeking information about sustainability.

April 16, 2020

White blooms of the invasive Bishop's weed.

Perennial Challenges

A novice gardener once told me that she was only going to plant perennials, as they did not need any care. If only that was true!

April 9, 2020

White Easter Lily.

Easter Lily

These trumpet lilies are fragrant, and the pure white blooms are lovely in flower arrangements.

April 2, 2020

Allum, purple blossoms

Planning Ahead for Summer Alliums

Allium ‘Millennium’ can be planted in the spring and reliably bloom in the heat of summer.

March 26, 2020

Daffodils caught in a surprise snow.


Remember the danger of sudden spring frosts and wait to set out your tender annuals.

March 19, 2020

Outdoor thermometer

Air Temps

Do not take risks by setting out your annual plants too soon.

March 12, 2020


Outwitting the Weather

Frost dates are very important.

March 5, 2020

Red clay soil

Clay is Okay

Many of us with clay soil complain loudly about it, and it’s true that gardens with clay soil can be hard to dig. Nonetheless, it has its virtues.

February 27, 2020

Pink-peachy colored coral bells plant

A New Generation of Coral Bells

Photos of this new generation of Heucheras are irresistible. I plan to order as many as I can afford for spring planting!

February 20, 2020

Deadheading a plant.

Deadheading: It Keeps the Color Coming

The whole garden looks better if plants are deadheaded, so it is a good thing.

February 13, 2020

Roses in Words

Roses in Words

In February, it is appropriate to think about roses.

February 6, 2020

The purple bloom of Iris reticulate in early spring.

Tiny but Tough

The earliest iris to bloom is the petite Iris reticulata.

January 30, 2020

Painting of the Elgin Botanic Garden (ca. 1810)

David Hosack

Hosack realized the need for a public garden as a research facility for medical scientists and their students.

January 23, 2020

Hand full of flower seeds.

Easy Does It

Quite a number of flowering annuals can be started by sowing their seeds directly into the garden.

January 16, 2020

Photo of native Dutchman's breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) in flower.

Spring Ephemerals

Before long, some of the earliest flowers to bloom will be stirring in our gardens.

January 9, 2020

Doll in snowshoes wearing a bikini.

Interesting Quotes

Here are some interesting things said by some interesting people. Plus, my personal advice to you in January.

January 2, 2020

The parterre at Blickling with hardy perennials, remade in 1932 by Norah Lindsay.

Norah Lindsay

Lindsay was the Grande Dame of gardening in a time when ladies did not have professional careers.

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