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The Greener View: Pestering Woodpeckers

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: For the past few years, woodpeckers have attacked my house. Sometimes they are hammering on the chimney. Other times they are drilling huge holes on the sides of the house and pulling out the insulation. I want to do something before they come back this year. Do you have any suggestions?

A: They are protected by federal law, so there are ...Read more

The Greener View: Grass Seed Mixtures

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I have a question regarding grass seed. I've heard that a bag containing various grass species is called a mixture, which would likely work best for most average lawns with various conditions, and that a blend of hybrid grasses (not true species) works best if your yard has the same growing conditions throughout. Is this correct?

A: Yes, you...Read more

The Greener View: Working With Garden Mulch

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: Spring is coming soon, and I need to replace the mulch in my flower beds. I have noticed during winter that there is no mulch left in large areas of the beds. I am sure weeds are ready to fill in if I don't add more mulch. The last mulch I used was from the local arborist. It didn't last very long. Is there a better choice that would last ...Read more

Gardening for Local Conditions

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I recently retired and moved from South Dakota to South Carolina. I have been looking at garden catalogs and drooling over all the new plants I get to try growing in my garden. I have visited a few garden centers, and I have been told that a lot of the rules that I have grown my garden with, such as using plant hardiness zones to pick plants,...Read more

The Greener View: Straighten up

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We had an ornamental pear tree planted on a berm about three years ago. It started to lean soon after planting, and the landscaper used a wooden stake and a wire to pull it back up straight. But wet soil loosened the stake, and the tree is leaning again. What are my options?

A: Let's start at the beginning. Berms are often created from the ...Read more

The Greener View: Planning a Vegetable Garden

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Have you received any garden seed catalogs yet? Developing a vegetable garden site takes time and resources -- a home vegetable garden can take three to five years to start producing well. Container gardening is a more short-term gardening option that works well with locations that have space restrictions, such as patios.

There are a few ...Read more

The Greener View: All-American Selections Vegetable Award-Winners

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Last week, we looked at the winners of the 2017 All-America Selections testing program. It has approximately 80 test gardens all over, from Alaska to Canada to California to Florida, as well as over 175 display gardens all across the continent, which are not used for judging but to show gardeners how well plants grow locally.

The judges ...Read more

The Greener View: AAS Flower Awards

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

When you are looking at plants in a garden center or in garden catalogues, it is sometimes difficult to know how well a certain plant will do in your garden. All-America Selections, or AAS, is a nonprofit organization that tests new plants. It has approximately 80 test gardens in locations all over, from Alaska to Canada to Florida to California...Read more

The Greener View: Genetically Modified Plants and Seeds

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I have been looking at the vegetable garden seed packages at the store; some are labeled as being free of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, and some are not labeled as such. Should I be looking for packages labeled one way or the other? If the package says the product is non-GMO, can it still have genetically engineered ingredients?

A...Read more

The Greener View: Tool Winners of the Green Thumb Awards

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Last week, we talked about the new plant varieties that medaled in the 2017 Green Thumb Awards, which is 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, ability to solve a ...Read more

The Greener View: Plants Winners of the Green Thumb Awards

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Six new plant varieties and five new gardening products have won for the 2017 Green Thumb Awards presented by the Direct Gardening Association (formerly called the Mailorder Gardening Association). This is the 19th year of the Green Thumb Awards. Judges include garden writers like me, although I didn't judge this year. This week, we'll look at ...Read more

The Greener View: Mail Order Gardening

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

January is National Mail Order Gardening Month. Have you gotten garden catalogs in the mail yet? If you haven't received enough, or if you need more that are specific to a type of plant you want to grow, go to the Direct Gardening Association website for a list of companies that offer catalogs of plants and gardening tools. You will get a direct...Read more

The Greener View: New Year's Garden Resolutions

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Many people will be glad 2016 is over. Research has often shown that people can relieve stress in gardens, either through enjoying an existing garden or the act of gardening. For those of us who like to work in our gardens, it is important to sometimes stop working and literally smell the roses. Right this moment, resolve to enjoy your garden ...Read more


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