garden


It’s Hard to Say Goodbye

It’s hard to penalize a plant that is flourishing in our gardens, but there comes a time when we decide there must be a parting of the ways. This old companion is no longer a friend….




Favorite Things – Part 2

After I compiled my list of “favorite things,” I realized that I had omitted several plants that I could not live without. All this is occurring during my annual garden appraisal. These plants demand little from me, an aspect I increasingly appreciate as I age. Long ago, in the midst…



Favorite Things

Periodic reassessment of the garden is a necessary gardening task. Gardens change over time – and so do gardeners. Our tastes become more varied, plants fizzle out….


The Wonders of Crapemyrtle

July is the month when my attention turns to crapemyrtles. These sun-loving trees manage to put forth a stream of long-lasting blooms, no matter how hot and humid the weather is. There is a lot of misunderstanding about the crapemyrtle…



Stop Digging

“Your garden’s so pretty! How do you do that?” my neighbor gushed. She: stylishly dressed, walking her dog; me: wet and muddy squatting down with my hands in the soil. I was about to explain that I enjoy tending my garden and that, with a little effort…


Echinacea Worth Meeting

Let me introduce my latest fascination — Echinacea x hybrida ‘Red Ombre.’ I know what you’re thinking: What could possibly be special about an Echinacea? Readers of this column may recall that I like to meet new plants by first learning their botanical name, so let’s start with the genus Echinacea…





Responsible Gardening

A packet of seeds, meant to catch my eye, arrived in the mail. A seed company in a faraway state, trying to get my business, wants me to look at their catalog. Its strategy backfired. I’m not happy with the little gift; in fact, I’m rather huffy about it. The colorful packet featured a watercolor image of several different unidentifiable….


What Makes a Great Plant?

As any gardener will tell you, there are lots of good plants out there but few truly great plants. This got me thinking: What makes a plant great? Bob Solberg, hybridizer extraordinaire of hostas and owner of Green Hill Hostas in Franklinton, wrote an article on great hostas…







What on Earth Did I Order?

In the delirium of winter, I tend to go on an ordering spree of plants that will arrive the following April. It’s a good time to order because the nurseries haven’t yet run out of the hot new plants; the winter garden looks relatively bare; and there’s nothing much to do in January…




Beware of the Floozies

Sex is rampant in my garden, and I’m getting sick of it. This is the time of year that the hellebores wave around their promiscuity as the plants flaunt their swollen seedpods. Soon you begin to realize that there are probably more seeds on one hellebore than there are people in the Triangle. After a couple of years of hellebores taking up residence in the garden, you begin to fear that they will overtake the world.



Echinacea

I wish I could grow echinacea as I’m a great admirer of this native prairie plant. It’s a great accent plant in the perennial border, and there’s a spartan quality about it that appeals to me.





Garden Shopping Made Easier

I am happily shopping for plants. To my husband’s chagrin, our kitchen table is littered with lists, dog-eared catalogs and old annotated seed packets. But I may just sweep the mess aside in favor of my new discovery. The North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service has a new online tool…






The Wonders and Perils of Daphne

Sometimes I think that daphnes take all the fun out of gardening. There can hardly be a gardener alive who hasn’t lusted in his or her heart for a Daphne odora in the middle of winter. The luscious blooms coupled with a delicious scent manage to enchant us during the month of January.


The Maturing Garden

Generally, from a gardening standpoint, I enjoy the month of January. Typically, I peruse the garden catalogues that arrive this time of year, daydreaming about the possibilities my garden might produce. However, reading the garden catalogues recently has not given me a great deal of enjoyment for the simple reason that my garden, like me, is maturing.


A Garden Needs a Soul

It’s a new year, 2021, and it’s time to plan for the garden. Spring is almost here! I have written about this topic before but it bears repeating as I see gardeners twisting themselves in knots, trying to follow the rules of good landscaping: A garden needs to reflect the personality of its owner.



Soil for Christmas

We have a tradition in our house. My husband asks what I want for Christmas. I reply, “a load of well-rotted manure for my garden beds.” He rolls his eyes. Gardeners know it’s all about the soil. Sure, the plants are pretty, the rock walls sublime…