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On Gardening: Whether in the wild or your sunroom no plant thrills like an orchid

Gardening / Gardening News /

Hunting orchids reminds me a lot of hunting arrowheads. You have to find a couple and your eyes get trained to the goal or objective. I have treasured these moments as I climbed through rain forest or cloud forest on the Dutch island of Saba and in the National Park on the French island of Guadeloupe and the majestic El Yunque National Forest in...Read more

The Greener View: Picking the Perfect Peony

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: My wife loves peonies, and I want to surprise her with some for Mother's Day. But I know nothing about them and don't want to ask her too much, otherwise I might spoil the surprise. What do I need to know to pick the best ones?

A: Peonies come in a wide variety of colors and sizes, and they live for a very long time. You may need to ask her ...Read more

The Greener View: Dealing with Tree Cavities

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We have a can of spray foam that says it can be used to fill cavities in tree trunks. There's a hole in one of our trees where a branch was removed -- it's about waist-high. The hole extends up and down inside the trunk. It seems to be about half the diameter of the trunk, which is about 2-feet thick. Will spray foam protect our tree? I have ...Read more

On Gardening: Louisiana irises offer gracefulness and elegance for gardens everywhere

Gardening / Gardening News /

Recently the Coastal Georgia Botanical Gardens in Savannah, Ga., has been building bridges, though they might look short, in reality they stretch all the way to Louisiana.

Thanks to almost a thousand rhizomes courtesy of a leading Louisiana iris nursery, we are now showing thousands of visitors, and a region of the country, the incredible ...Read more

Growing Tomatoes

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Last year, all of the cauliflower heads in my garden were a yellowish-white color. I didn't realize they weren't going to turn pure white until it came time to harvest them. I planted more heads this year, and I want to know how to blanch them. What I have read so far is confusing. Some are self-blanching and some are not. What do you suggest...Read more

On Gardening: African Sunset offers a most rare color for the garden

Gardening / Gardening News /

Petunias have always been among my favorite summer flowers and when African Sunset made its debut as an All-America Selections Bedding Plant Award Winner in 2014 I couldn't wait to give them a try. Despite my affection for these flowers, not since the Sanguna Atomic Blue petunia came out has another variety captured my attention in such a way.

...Read more

Pruning Clematis Vines

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I know spring is here, but my clematis vines are overgrown and I need to trim them. I think they are supposed to be pruned during the winter when they are dormant. Can I still prune them now while they're starting to grow? There is not much growth yet.

A: It is probably a good thing that you didn't prune them during the winter when they were...Read more

On Gardening: Let bold and big begonias dazzle in your summer landscape

Gardening / Gardening News /

I remember the day we all walked into Benary seed's plant trials in California and saw the BIG begonia for the first time. We knew immediately this plant was something special. My thoughts were centered mostly on whether I could capture a photographic image that would tell the story.

I pretty much failed that day for a couple of reasons. First ...Read more

The Greener View: Arbor Day Tree Planting

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I am going to be planting several trees for Arbor Day. They are not too big. Their trunks will be about 2 inches thick and about 4 feet tall. Some will be in large plastic pots, and I think the roots of some others will be wrapped in burlap. The area that I'll plant the trees is wet in the spring, but dries up in the summer. I have been told ...Read more

On Gardening: Rosalinda simply stunning in the spring landscape

Gardening / Gardening News /

If you are looking for a special wow factor for the spring landscape and you live in zone 8 or warmer then you have to put the Rosalinda Indian hawthorne at the top of the list. If you are thinking Indian hawthornes are ho-hum plants then you haven't seen Rosalinda and particularly the tree form, they will literally take your breath away.

I ...Read more

On Gardening: Geraniums are impressive in mixed containers

Gardening / Gardening News /

There seems to be a huge revival of geranium use in my area and perhaps yours, too, depending on when spring arrives near you. In other words, our area just may be ahead of northern zones.

You have to admit there is a lot to love about the geranium. Their flower stalks give a most impressive show, great for landscape and designer-like ...Read more

The Greener View: Lovely Easter Lilies

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Easter is coming soon. That means Peeps, chocolate bunnies and Easter lilies are flooding the stores. My love of Peeps is well known. Have you tried the sour watermelon flavor? It's a pink marshmallow covered in green sugar. But my favorites are the ones dipped in chocolate. What can I say? At least they're seedless.

Even if you do not ...Read more

On Gardening: Spring magic occurs with the arrival of native phlox

Gardening / Gardening News /

This time of the year something magical begins to happen over the eastern two-thirds of the United States and that is the spring arrival of phlox. It will be happening from Texas north to Quebec, Canada and then to the east coast.

If you think about it geographically that is quite extraordinary that the woodland phlox or wild blue phlox, Phlox ...Read more

The Greener View: Perfecting Tree Planting

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: A few years ago we bought several fruit trees from a local hardware store. We bought a variety of apple, cherry, pear and peach trees, plus a lemon and an orange tree for indoors. We did not expect to see much fruit growing for the first couple of years, so we were happy to see a few pieces of fruit.

Finally, more fruit appeared last summer....Read more

On Gardening: Have a ball growing this little sedum from Mexico

Gardening / Gardening News /

If you are designing mixed containers this year for the porch patio or deck, then by all means consider the little sedum or stonecrop from Mexico. The botanical name is Sedum mexicanum and couple dazzling color along with a tough-as-nails performance for the long growing season ahead. Actually in zones 7-11you will be getting a rock solid ...Read more

The Greener View: Spring Garden Do's and Don'ts

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

The weather forecasters said there would be two different storms and lots of snow this March, but spring arrived in large dusty blows instead. March is the official start of spring, but spring doesn't start for me until the local native trees' leaves start falling out, and that is still a few weeks away. Not to fear: There are still plenty of ...Read more

On Gardening: Butterfly Pentas, an award winning name

Gardening / Gardening News /

Gardeners everywhere it seems are planning their flower display for the warm season landscape. I, too, have been pouring over availability lists seeing what will be available in our market this spring. One group of plants, pentas to be exact, caught my eye. It wasn't just pentas but it was the varieties that will be offered that caught my ...Read more

On Gardening: A camellia by any other name is still the 'Queen of Shrubs'

Gardening / Gardening News /

If names like japonica, sasanqua, reticulata and even hiemalis are unfamiliar to you then there is a chance you are missing some of the truly great shrubs for the landscape. On the other hand I know there are some of you gardening aficionados who will immediately recognize these are camellia species.

As a young horticulturist, I found group ...Read more

The Greener View: Garden Railroading

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Gardening and building model railroads have been popular hobbies for ages. But a recent trend combines these two hobbies: garden railroading.

Garden railroading can be as simple as a railroad track looping around a flower bed, or as complex as a full model of a rail yard. Knowing proper terminology is important for any hobby, so let's start ...Read more

On Gardening: Begonia Bossa Nova's brilliant blooms, perfect for hanging baskets

Gardening / Gardening News /

Gardeners looking for the perfect hanging-basket plant this spring and summer will be thrilled with a new begonia series with parentage that goes back to the Bolivian Andes Mountains where the first ones were discovered in the 1800s.

Botanically speaking, they are known as Begonia boliviensis with the common name Bolivian begonia. They have ...Read more

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