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The Greener View: Cut Flowers Are Not Just for Valentine's Day

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Could your home use a little color and some brightening up? Freshly cut flowers give you lots of possibilities. You don't need any gardening experience, a green thumb or creative talent to get great looks with flowers; just go buy some. Of course, you can always stop by your favorite florist to get some do-it-yourself ideas or help with ...Read more

On Gardening: Sundiascia, snapdragon kin, striking in both the landscape and containers

Gardening / Gardening News /

Snapdragon relatives like diascia and nemesia, still seem to be unfamiliar names to the gardeners I speak to even though they have been around for 15 or more years. It seems gardeners are willing to grow snaps but still aren't sure about the smaller cousins. The sundiascia series however should give everyone a swift kick to get it in the ground....Read more

The Greener View: F1 Hybrids

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I see that some seeds in my vegetable catalogs are listed as F1 hybrids. They are usually more expensive than other seeds and other hybrids. Is it worth the money to get F1 hybrids? Is there an F2 or F3 hybrid?

A: It might be worth the money if the desired traits you need in that kind of plant are why the F1 hybrid was created. It is time ...Read more

The Greener View: Green Thumb Tool Awards

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Last week we talked about the five new plant varieties that have won the 2016 Green Thumb Awards presented by the Direct Gardening Association (formerly called the Mailorder Gardening Association). This week we look at the tools category. The winning products are judged on their uniqueness, technological innovation, their ability to solve a ...Read more

On Gardening: Plum yew is perfect for the landscape or containers

Gardening / Gardening News /

Your first thought of shrubs for your home is probably the staples like hollies or viburnums and showy bloomers like azaleas or camellias. Those are great choices, but I want you to consider using some conifers like the spreading plum yew.

While many conifers are tall trees like pines or bald cypresses, shorter conifers like the spreading plum ...Read more

2016 Green Thumb Awards

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

2016 Green Thumb AwardsFive new plant varieties and five new gardening products have won 2016 Green Thumb Awards presented by the Direct Gardening Association (formerly called the Mailorder Gardening Association). This is the 18th year of the Green Thumb Awards. Judges include garden writers like me, although I didn't judge this year. This week ...Read more

On Gardening: Heirloom bulb Crocosmia adds vibrant summer color

Gardening / Gardening News /

Now is the time to shop for those summer blooming bulbs like the Crocosmia or Monbretia. Often we as garden writers are guilty of writing about what is currently in bloom. In the case of summer blooming bulbs this would mean you probably won't be able to buy them for several months. We all have trouble enough with the grocery list much less a ...Read more

The Greener View: All-America Selections 2016 Award Winners

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

When you are looking at garden catalogs and plants in the garden center it is sometimes difficult to know how well the plant is going to do in your garden. The All-America Selections testing program is an independent, nonprofit organization that tests new plants. They have more than 60 test gardens from Alaska and Canada to California and ...Read more

On Gardening: Wondering what to put in place of your Christmas tree? Try a palm

Gardening / Gardening News /

Not only is it a chore but it is also kind of depressing to take down the Christmas tree. I remember my favorite restaurant in Mississippi would fight off the dilemma by leaving the tree up all year. In February, it is a Valentine tree, followed by an Easter egg tree and on through various celebrations. It is also obvious to you now, that it is ...Read more

Bringing Your Garden Back to Life

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Wow, can you believe this El Nino winter? Even though the weather is not bitterly cold for most of us, the North American landscape is almost entirely dormant. But just because the landscape is dormant, doesn't mean gardeners have to be.

Are you getting seed catalogs in the mail? If you haven't received enough gardening catalogs, or need more ...Read more

On Gardening: Bloodgood Japanese maple has stood the test of time

Gardening / Gardening News /

Today I got a spring in my step as I visited the garden center and saw it was loaded with new roses, as well as the first trees and shrubs for the new year. Among the new varieties I saw were some old-timers, too, like the Bloodgood Japanese maple. Just six weeks ago it was one of the most stunning trees in our garden -- a testament to its ...Read more

The Greener View: Gardening Resolutions

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

As we end one year and begin the next, we often think about self-improvement projects. Scientists who have studied how well people keep New Year's resolutions find that we do better if we involve other people. We can go beyond the telling a friend that we are going make some changes, and move into real volunteering where strangers are affected. ...Read more

On Gardening: In the right conditions, Southern sugar maple is golden

Gardening / Gardening News /

There is gold in those leaves particularly if you grow the tree many call the Southern sugar maple. This tree is native from Texas to Florida and as far north as Missouri and Illinois. In other words, many of us and grow it and relish in all of its fall glory. There is a catch to the story.

Botanically speaking it is somewhat of a taxonomic ...Read more

The Greener View: Plants on Vacation

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We're going on vacation for a couple of weeks this winter. How long can we leave houseplants without watering? Most of the plants are watered every three to four days, but some go for a week. Should we harden them off by not watering as much for a while before we leave, so they are used to less water? If we turn the furnace down to the low ...Read more

On Gardening: Give your cool season landscape an award-winning jolt of color

Gardening / Gardening News /

Jolt Pink dianthus was selected as an All-America Bedding Plant Award winner for 2015, and many are finding this heat-tolerant selection to also be an excellent pansy partner. It is rated for hardiness Zones 7 to 11, which fits our Savannah, Ga., area perfectly. Those of you in cooler zones will use it as an absolutely wonderful annual that will...Read more

The Greener View: More Gardening Gift Ideas

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Are you still looking for gift ideas for your gardener or nature lover? Here are a few suggestions.

"How Plants Work" by Linda Chalker-Scott is a concise science book written for gardeners to help them understand the chemistry behind many plant processes. It can be technical at times, but it is still very readable. I believe the more you know ...Read more

On Gardening: Poinsettias offer exceptional holiday beauty

Gardening / Gardening News /

When the holidays arrive, the plant that is on the top of everyone's list besides the Christmas tree is the poinsettia. It was 190 years ago in 1825 that the first Ambassador to Mexico, Joel Roberts Poinsett, introduced the plant to the United States.

The colorful parts of a poinsettia are actually modified leaves known as bracts. The true ...Read more

The Greener View: Making the Most of Your Garden

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

What is the key to getting the biggest yield from your vegetable garden? Planning. It is easy to buy a few plants in the spring to get a few tomatoes and peppers for fresh eating, but how do you get enough vegetables to keep the garden productive from spring through fall, getting the most from each crop? If you are a Community Supported ...Read more

On Gardening: Create family memories by planting a living Christmas tree

Gardening / Gardening News /

Christmas is a special time for making memories. Most memories don't come from gifts, although those slippers that look like giant stuffed roosters from the farm certainly make a lasting impression.

Christmas trees on the other hand have a way of making a lasting memory just like the special ornaments that adorn them. Other than using a camera,...Read more

The Greener View: Holiday Gift Ideas

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

The gift-giving season is upon us, and you may have a gardener or nature lover on your list. What are the new gardening tools that your gardener can't do without? I am glad you asked. Let's start with some books.

Raising chickens in your backyard is becoming a very popular thing to do. "The Chicken Health Handbook" was originally published in ...Read more