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On Gardening: Make room, literally, for this expansive tropical shrub

Gardening / Gardening News /

Giant heart-shaped leaves and a cluster of a hundred salmon coral flowers in a pagoda-shaped panicle make the Starshine clerodendrum among the most exotic shrubs for the tropical garden. I first saw this variety a few years ago at the Universtiy of Georgia Plant Trials in Athens, Ga. I knew if I was seeing it there it had dynamite potential in ...Read more

On Gardening: Beebalm species are a magnet for flying creatures

Gardening / Gardening News /

If you are into bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, then by all means put the monarda or beebalm species at the top of your must-plant list. I find it amusing that in more than 20 years of garden writing, I've never touted a beebalm. I've always loved the scarlet beebalm, Monarda didyma, especially when hummingbirds come into feed. When examined...Read more

On Gardening: Gingers bring a taste of Tahiti to late summer

Gardening / Gardening News /

As the dog days of summer make many of us cast a wishful eye toward the Arctic for relief and our gardens look a little tired, gingers start to really put on a show. Though it was in the Caribbean that I first developed a passion for them, they have since become an integral part in all of my personal gardens. They are doing that now at the ...Read more

On Gardening: Panama Red hibiscus puts on a maple-like show in summer

Gardening / Gardening News /

No plant can stir up a conversation this time of the year quite like the false roselle or African rosemallow. The reason it stirs up the conversation is that a huge percentage of the visitors think it is a Japanese maple. Indeed the selling point of the plant is the incredible foliage.

Those gardeners who do grow it probably don't refer to it ...Read more

On Gardening: Little Ruby has a growing reputation in the plant world

Gardening / Gardening News /

Chalk up another award for Little Ruby. In a period when we write about, or tout, some new coleus on what seems a weekly basis, there is one little alternanthera out there hitting it out of the park.

Little Ruby is a variety of Alternanthera dentata developed in South America and becoming one of the hottest trends in garden color. If the ...Read more

On Gardening: Hardy verbena varieties are blooming all-stars

Gardening / Gardening News /

If you love garden fragrance and non-stop bee and butterfly activity, then the sweet almond verbena or tree verbena is a must for your landscape. Those traits, coupled with drought tolerance and ease of growing, were just some of the reasons it was chosen as the Florida Plant of the Year in 2008.

Botanically speaking it known as Aloysia ...Read more

On Gardening: New amaranths should make this butterfly magnet a staple

Gardening / Gardening News /

The Rio Grande globe amaranth should be coming to a garden center near you, thanks to a new series called Qis Gomphrena. It is tough-as-nails, beautiful and attracts butterflies and pollinators.

You would think that a common name like Rio Grande globe amaranth and even flashy named varieties like Strawberry Fields would make it a staple at ...Read more

From garden to menu

Gardening / Gardening News /

Once upon a time, it was unusual to have chefs who shopped at farmers markets, who established relationships with growers and whose menus often read more like pages from the Seed Savers catalog than what's for dinner. Now having a "market-driven" menu is common, even expected, especially in Los Angeles, where there are neighborhood farmers ...Read more

On Gardening: Campfire coleus offers rare rusty-orange hue

Gardening / Gardening News /

The search for the perfect rusty orange coleus may have ended with a hot new selection called Campfire. It is rare when a plant debuts at the Spring Plant Trials in California and then becomes the hot commodity at the garden center the same season, but such is the case with Campfire.

Campfire certainly has an appropriate name as it takes on ...Read more

On Gardening: Frog fruit has a silly name but makes a serious groundcover

Gardening / Gardening News /

As I looked at the small groundcover from a distance, it appeared to be alive. In reality it was being hit upon by more small butterflies than I had ever seen at one time. I was looking at a large patch of native frog fruit.

I know what you are thinking. Frog fruit sounds like something Kermit might have for a snack or perhaps gracing the top...Read more

On Gardening: Fennel puts on quite a show in the ground or in food

Gardening / Gardening News /

If there was ever a trap crop for the garden, it has to be fennel. If you are not familiar with the term "trap crop," it is normally one that catches or entices insects, diverting them from the one crop that is making the money. Calling fennel a trap crop however is a little tongue-in-cheek.

On the other hand, I challenge you to grow it and see...Read more

On Gardening: Golden thryallis a must for the long, hot summer ahead

Gardening / Gardening News /

You would think a shrub or summer annual that blooms all summer and is drought-tolerant and deer-resistant would be award-winning across the country. At least golden thryallis is a Texas Superstar winner and one you will want to grow too.

It certainly needs to go far beyond Texas to any area of the country that gets stifling hot over the long, ...Read more

L.A./N.Y. couple feels at home with new house and garden

Gardening / Gardening News /

PITTSBURGH: How do you grow a neighborhood with few vacant lots? Gardens and new residents are a good start.

"New Growth" is the theme of a recent local home tour., and most of the seven houses open for the tour have changed hands within the last several years. Among the newcomers are Geoffrey and Erin Smith, who bought their century-old ...Read more

On Gardening: Empress of China dogwood performs like a native Southerner

Gardening / Gardening News /

There is nothing quite like the mid-June bloom of the dogwoods in the Deep South. As strange as that sounds, consider dogwoods partnered with hydrangeas, and dogwoods blooming in sequence with mimosas and crape myrtles. Thanks to the incredible Empress of China dogwood, it is all possible.

Empress of China is known botanically as Cornus ...Read more

On Gardening: Hail, the hibiscus! Queen of tropical flowers

Gardening / Gardening News /

The first time I traveled to the Caribbean I was stunned at all of the beauty. It wasn't just the crystal clear water but that it seemed hibiscuses were blooming everywhere. Now when I go to a garden center and see one for sale, or perhaps see some innovative gardener using them in the landscape or containers, I have visual memories of the ...Read more

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