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The Greener View: Green Thumb Award-Winners

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Four new plant varieties and two new gardening products have won the 2018 Green Thumb Awards presented by the Direct Gardening Association (formerly called the Mailorder Gardening Association). This is the 20th year of the Green Thumb Awards. Judges include garden writers like me, although I didn't judge this year. This week we look at the ...Read more

Winter Garden Tasks

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

The North American landscape is almost entirely dormant. But just because the landscape is dormant doesn't mean gardeners have to be. Now is a good time to visit your local botanical garden greenhouse. It is warm and full of beautiful green plants.

Many gardeners also love bird feeding and bird-watching. Now is a good time to build a birdhouse....Read more

The Greener View: 2018 Gardening Resolutions

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

I used to have a New Year's resolution of not eating a whole watermelon in one sitting. That was back when watermelons weighed 25 to 30 pounds, but now many stores sell the little round baby watermelons. I have reversed my resolution so that now I resolve to eat a whole watermelon in one sitting at least once this summer.

Are you glad 2017 is ...Read more

The Greener View: Gardening Gift Books

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Winter is just beginning, and most of us are just starting to dream about next summer's garden. To help you or the gardener on your gift list plan your summer garden, I know of a few books that you can read by the fireplace that will warm your green thumb.

Many areas of the country go through droughts from time to time. Most of our landscape ...Read more

The Greener View: Winter Weather

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Even though recent snowstorms reached the Gulf states, there are heavy snowstorms and ice storms each winter. It is amazing how far south ice storms can reach. Only a few areas of our country are immune to them. The southern edge of the Snowbelt can get freezing rain several times a year, while the Gulf Coast can get one once every few years.

...Read more

The Greener View: Christmas Gift Ideas

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Do you have a small fishbowl sitting around the house with a poor, dejected goldfish or betta swimming lazily in circles? The bowl is probably in need of cleaning, and chances are no one wants to do it. Well, now you can make that little fishbowl do some good. Back to the Roots wants to help every family experience the magic of growing their own...Read more

The Greener View: Winter Plant Greenhouses

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We live in an apartment and are five stories up. We have a balcony with several potted shrubs in large pots. We don't have room for them indoors. The weather started getting cold and windy, so we moved the pots against the wall. We built a plastic wall on the outside of the pots to stop the wind and help trap some of the apartment heat. It ...Read more

The Greener View: Was the Purchase Worth the Value?

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I just bought some end-of-the-year shrubs from a local nursery and was shocked at what I found. I am mad and want to return the plants, but I am wondering what you think. When I lifted the plants out of the pot, a lot of soil fell off the roots. About 2 inches' worth fell off all around the sides, and there are several inches of soil left in ...Read more

The Greener View: Dahlia Tubers

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I bought a variety of summer flowering bulbs this last season and planted them, with beautiful results. I truly enjoy the beauty of these flowers, but do I have to dig them up every year? If so, how do you care for the tubers, and how far do you cut these gems back after you dig them up?

A: This entire set of instructions can be used to ...Read more

The Greener View: Chill Hours and Degree Days

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: What is the difference between chill hours and degree days for plants? I see them listed in some catalogs and don't know whether I need to be concerned about them when choosing plants.

A: Plants that grow in cold winter climates need to stay dormant for the whole winter and not wake up -- so to speak -- too soon in the spring. Perennials, ...Read more

The Greener View: Weeping Willow Is Weeping

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I have a 4-inch diameter Wisconsin weeping willow that has three baseball-size swellings on the trunk about 4 inches from the ground. Are these harmless deformities, or something I should be concerned about?

A: Many shrubs and trees, especially those in the rose family but also almond, apricot, cherry, cypress, euonymus, hibiscus, lilac, ...Read more

The Greener View: Cattails and Mulberries

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: I have a question about vegetation in ponds. I live in a golfing community that has several ponds in which I fish daily for bass. The largest of these ponds has cattails growing at an alarming rate, about 3 feet per month along the edge. Will these annoying cattails eventually consume the whole pond and take oxygen out of the water, thus ...Read more

The Greener View: Dealing With Yellow Grass

Gardening / Jeff Rugg /

Q: We had large, soft maple trees taken out this summer; the large trunks were ground down. We took out the chips before having new dirt hauled in to fill up the holes. We sowed grass seed over the whole lawn during the second week in September. It was basically all perennial rye with some blue grass. We kept it watered, and we got a fairly good...Read more

 

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