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about sun exposure

Even though the three basic sun exposures are full sun, part sun and shade, the latter comes in so many variations, all with their own little quirks, that it deserves a full chapter all to itself. Read more…

harvesting rain water

Harvesting the rain doesn’t stop at installing rain barrels, it involves the entire garden and its principal goal is to keep the water from running off the plot onto paved areas, only to eventually end up in the storm drains.
Careful planning can create places for the rain water to slow down enough to percolate into the soil, as well as ways to move it through the landscape and places for it to settle in. Read more…

caring for indoor plants

Plants that grow in a pot on the window sill like pretty much the same things as the ones cultivated in the garden: a good amount of natural light, sufficient water and a little bit of help in the form of fertilizer every now and then. That being said, indoor plants have their own set of needs that have to be addressed in order to keep them healthy and, fingers crossed, blooming, and they are as follows. Read more…

beautiful and strange

I woke up to a fog so thick I couldn’t see the house across the street. Fall granted us a little delay, but when it arrived, it did so in style. I braved the ghostly mist, cool and soft like, well, fog, and went about my morning schedule, greatly entertained by nature’s dramatic decor. Read more…

lunaria annua

On 24, Oct 2016 | No Comments | In plants, shade | By All Year Garden

Speaking of plants for shade, this one kind of is, if you want to call shade the sunlight dappled through a rare tree canopy. Honesty is a biennial plant, but much like the long lasting hollyhocks, it reseeds enough to maintain its presence in the same spot for many years.
I never planted this flower in full sun, so I don’t know how it would behave there, but it performs reliably in part shade and on the north side of the garden. This one is white, but the plant comes in white and purple, like most wild flowers do. Read more…

fall bloomers

On 18, Oct 2016 | No Comments | In plants, wintergarden | By All Year Garden

I’m always in awe of the energy that propels fall bloomers to spring forth flowers, often weeks or days before the first frost. There are so few of them, and understandably so.

I’m not talking about the frost tender plants from warmer zones that act as annuals in cold climates, those whose winters were supposed to be mild but had to surrender their natural growing cycles to the whim of the heartless northern gardener.

Read more…

october weather

The weather is fickle, leaning on the side of bright and sunny right now. It rained hard yesterday, and the sky was so dark it looked like dusk in the middle of the afternoon. Sunshine, rain, sunshine again.

The temperatures rose and fell with the moisture levels, trying to stabilize into a more seasonally appropriate range. The days are too short already, passing by faster than the leaves carried by the wind, and in the middle of a somewhat uncoordinated schedule I almost missed the spring bulb planting. Read more…

marigolds

On 03, Oct 2016 | No Comments | In edibles, plants | By All Year Garden

Isn’t this beautiful? Few annuals are easier to grow than marigolds, a quality that makes them so ubiquitous one tends to overlook their genuine charm.

All a marigold needs is sunshine, everything else it will do for itself. Of course, because I planted mine in the vegetable patch, they were blessed with an extra helping of fertilizer and water and that made them extra enthusiastic. Read more…

pumpkins, squashes and gourds

On 27, Sep 2016 | No Comments | In edibles, plants | By All Year Garden

What would fall be without pumpkins, squashes and gourds? This year I learned, to my surprise, that if you leave the squashes on the vine too long, they’ll turn into gourds too.

I don’t have a lot of room for vegetables, and squashes are notoriously sprawling plants, but I still plant a few nests every year, because I like their flowers. Read more…

polianthes tuberosa

On 20, Sep 2016 | No Comments | In plants, scents | By All Year Garden

Aah, the queen of fragrance, Polianthes tuberosa, a joy to gardeners and perfumers alike, probably the most fragrant flower ever. Its heady perfume is sultry and intense, a single flower stem can saturate a room with fragrance.

Tuberosa is a hot climate bulb, and much like show chrysanthemums and long stem roses it is easier to get it as a cut flower than to enjoy it in your garden. Growing these in a pot on the balcony is an extra special indulgence for a northern gardener. Read more…