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Archive for Focus on Flowers

September 16, 2021

Shovel and rake

Autumn Checklist

It is easy to get a renewed sense of enthusiasm for gardening when the hottest weather has passed.

September 9, 2021


Always Cheerful Coreopsis

Our native perennial coreopsis is a stalwart in many American gardens.

September 2, 2021

Amaryllis in greenhouse at botanical garden

Rebuilding Amaryllis

Amaryllis bulbs can be rebuilt so that they can bloom well the following winter indoors.

August 26, 2021

Deer munching on some flowers

What's Left?

My current garden is a shadow of its former self...thanks to the urban deer population. However, a few stalwart plants persist.

August 19, 2021

Globe amaranth drying


Globe amaranth dries beautifully for winter bouquets.

August 12, 2021

Achillea (yarrow)

The Plant Named for Achilles

Yarrow, “soldier’s woundwart,” “milfoil”—Achillea has many names and many uses.

August 5, 2021

Cracked clay soil

Dry Gardens

During our hot Midwestern summers, it is good for pots to get some afternoon shade. Also, pots dry out more quickly, so it is best to plant annuals in the ground.

July 29, 2021

raindrops on leaf

Surviving Heat

In very hot weather, remember to water your potted plants twice a day as the soil in pots dries out quickly.

July 21, 2021

Mailbox garden

A Mailbox Garden

Choose just a few plants that will need minimum attention, and plant something vigorous around the base of the post to soften it.

July 15, 2021

Backyard pond

Types of Gardens

If I were to start over, and knowing what I now know, I would start with a plan and a clearer idea of the type of garden I wanted.

July 8, 2021

White Snakeroot

White Snakeroot

It was not until the 1920s that it was recognized that cattle that grazed on white snakeroot caused humans to die if they drank the cow’s milk.

July 1, 2021


Harmful Plants

The garden is full of plants that are poisonous. Most are not lethal, but a few are, so it is wise to err on the side of caution.

June 24, 2021

Purple Loosestrife

Beautiful But Noxious: Purple Loosestrife

Purple Loosestrife clogs wetlands and waterways, choking out other plants and eliminating food sources for native wildlife. The plant is classified as a federal noxious weed.

June 17, 2021

Hibiscus moscheutos

Native Perennials

Native plants are important to preserve native wildlife and the ecology of our landscape, but some natives will suit our particular climate and garden space better than others.

June 10, 2021

Plant swap

Pass-Along Plants

Some of the best plants in my garden were given to me by other gardeners or came from plant swaps held by garden clubs.

June 3, 2021

Calamintha Nepeta

Lesser Calamint

Dainty and durable and deer resistant—just my kind of plant!

May 27, 2021


Cut Flower Favorite: Alstroemeria

There are bound to be some times of the year when there are no flowers in our gardens, and that is when we just have to buy some! A good reliable flower to buy is the South American native alstroemeria.

May 20, 2021

Brunfelsia in bloom

Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

Brunfelsia is a long-blooming shrub from subtropical Australia, and it triggers lots of memories for me.

May 13, 2021

Angel's Trumpets

Angel's Trumpets

The spectacular blooms known as Angel’s Trumpets grow on plants that are vase-shaped shrubs or small trees.

May 6, 2021

Flowering tobacco

Flowering Tobacco

Flowering Tobacco--for minimum effort, a gardener gets maximum results!

April 29, 2021

Colorful pinwheel

Thinking About Color

It's is a good idea to think about color before you buy a bunch of news plants in springtime.

April 22, 2021

Cold-tolerant annuals

Righting Wrongs

Springtime = Transplant, delete, cut back.

April 15, 2021

Pieris japonica

Lily-of-the-Valley Bush

All Pieris shrubs are evergreen and are related to rhododendrons and mountain laurels.

April 8, 2021

Calycanthus floridus

Calycanthus floridus

Calycanthus is a fine sweet shrub that also goes by the name of Carolina allspice.

April 1, 2021

Black chokeberries

Native Aronia

Our native red and black chokeberry shrubs provide four seasons of interest and are drought tolerant once they are established in gardens

March 25, 2021

Spicebush swallowtail caterpillar

Native Spicebush

Lindera is a host plant for the promethean moth and the spicebush swallowtail butterfly.

March 18, 2021

Various shrubbery

Siting Shrubs

Shrubs are easy-care and long-lived stalwarts in our landscapes in all seasons of the year.

March 11, 2021

Avoiding chaotic garden beds

Avoiding Chaos

How do we avoid a messy medley of too many plants creating chaos in the garden? I can tell you from personal experience that it isn’t easy!

March 4, 2021

CPB inspection of imported roses


Now, only about 20% of our cut flowers are grown in California, Washington State, and Oregon, where most used to be grown for domestic sale.

February 25, 2021

harvested flowers in buckets

Harvesting Flowers

Where do our cut flowers come from? Often, South America. Workers in greenhouses cut each stem individually and immediately place each flower in a bucket of water...

February 18, 2021

Flowers at market

Flower Longevity

Refrigerated trucks and unheated holds of planes are cold, helping cut flowers from abroad to stay fresh during their journey to the U.S.

February 11, 2021

Red roses with bow

Valentines Flowers

Over one-hundred million roses are purchased in the United States for Valentine’s Day each year, and nearly all are red and long stemmed.

February 4, 2021

Snow-covered trees

Winter Landscapes

What we see from our windows all through the cold days of winter is our garden’s architectural structure formed by the trees and shrubs that are the long-term residents of our gardens year round.

January 28, 2021

Azaleas, henry mitchell

Henry Mitchell Says...

For twenty years Henry Mitchell’s column “Earthman” was a weekly feature in The Washington Post.

January 21, 2021

Purple African violet bloom

African Violet Propagation

African violets are quite happy growing in pots in many of our homes and are easily propagated.

January 14, 2021

Map of the Gardens at Duke University

The Duke Gardens

Visitors are not charged to see the 55 acres of gorgeous organic plantings in the heart of this major research university.

January 7, 2021

Emily Dickinson house, view from the garden.

Emily's Garden

Emily Dickinson was a renowned poet, but during her lifetime she was known more for her gardening skills.

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