Fantastic Fatsias

Customers that visit my garden will invariably ask me if I have a favorite plant and my standard (and somewhat flippant) reply is:  “They are all my favorites or I wouldn’t have planted them in the first place”.  In reality, what qualifies as my favorite depends on the time of year - whether it is sun or shade, wet or dry, annual, perennial, shrub, tree, or bulb.  In other words, I have lots of “favorite” plants for lots of locations in my garden and at some time during the year each plant in my garden becomes my favorite for that brief period of time.  It just so happens that at this exact time of year my favorite plant(s) are my Fatsias.  Let me tell you all about them…

Leaves - To Leave Or Not To Leave, That Is The Question

Fall and leaves are fairly synonymous terms in my book.  It is pretty darn hard to talk about fall without blathering on about all the fabulous colors of leaves and how they set the tone and mood for the season.  The yellows of poplars, the reds of maples, the multi-colors of Sweetgums and the oranges of spiraeas all combine to give us a great deal of pleasure this time of year.  But once the leaves are off the trees and on the ground the battle begins.  What to do with the leaves has been a gardener’s dilemma forever…

My Favorite Houseplants

Reality check!  The days are getting shorter, our yards are getting wetter and while our desire to continue to work with plants may not be diminishing, the joy of working out in the garden is fading.  The obvious solution is to move inside the house… we might as well improve that time by surrounding ourselves with plants that will generate oxygen, filter our air, and generally make us happier….

The "Minor Bulbs" of Spring

For most gardeners, when we talk about spring-blooming bulbs our minds go to the fields of tulips and daffodils we can see just north of us in the Mt Vernon area in the months of March and April. Where ever your memories come from, for the most part they probably encompass drifts of the major hitters like tulips and daffodils or maybe hyacinths.  While these are wonderful flowers to plant in our yards, I am here to tell you that there are dozens of bulbs that bloom way before these standard classics that gardeners need to educate themselves about and incorporate into their gardens.  Here are just a few to sink your teeth into…

My October To-Do List

I don’t know about you guys, but I can hardly believe that it is October already.  With all this climate change I am beginning to think that maybe October will be my favorite fall month.  I read somewhere that our rains are coming later and ending earlier, even though the total rainfall is about the same.  What this means is that not as much rain gets to soak into the soil, so our summers are getting drier.  Making our soils more absorbent by continuing to apply layers of compost will help mitigate this phenomenon.  Here are some other activities for the month that will also improve our gardens…  

Berries For Fall

One of the treats of a fall garden is enjoying the sight of clusters of different colored berries on our shrubbery.  In my own backyard is a delightful Beautyberry, called ‘Profusion’, that has the most incredible purple berries later in fall.  The shrub itself is nondescript, but when the berries arrive in the fall I immediately remember why I have allocated so much space for it to grow.  The same can be said about a lot of shrubs that can be boring as hell during the growing season, but then suddenly strut their stuff in the fall and early winter.  Here are three that do the trick for me…