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indoor bulbs

On 16, Jan 2018 | No Comments | In plants, wintergarden | By All Year Garden

Paper whites and hyacinths for the winter holidays, how great is that! A single hyacinth can fill an entire house with fragrance.

Growing bulbs indoors is just as maintenance free as growing them outdoors: plant them and forget them. Of course if they are inside the house in a pot they need regular watering and could use a plentiful dose of fertilizer to give them a good start.

The bulbs available late in the fall are already winterized (they have been stored in a cool dry place to simulate their natural vegetative cycle, so they are ready to bloom as soon as you plant them). Read more…

planting time

On 29, Dec 2017 | No Comments | In advice, plants, propagation | By All Year Garden

If you thought February is when the gardener has nothing to do but wait for spring, that would not be correct: February is planting time.

Every year in the middle of winter my otherwise serene living room turns into a wild jungle, and for two blessed months I live inside a miniature greenhouse. It’s not all fun and games, of course, and between the water and dirt spilling on the carpet on my side, and the lack of appropriate lighting and the mold promoted by the excessive humidity of the starting trays on the plants’ side, come April I look forward to moving the little sprouts outdoors, and they do too. For now, however, their presence is nothing short of bliss. Read more…

thoughts for january

Every January is filled with the promise of a bountiful harvest, and this one is no exception. I took a quick stroll through the garden, ignoring the chilly drizzle that has been visiting for the last couple of days. It has been very warm so far, even on the days that usually bring the coldest temperatures of the year.

The wet dirt is dark and shiny, and it surprises me, used as I am to see yellow clay everywhere around the yard. It seems that my efforts to amend the soil during the last few years brought about lasting change. Read more…


On 20, Dec 2017 | No Comments | In plants | By All Year Garden

Hepatica has been considered a medicinal plant in the past, but this is one of the cases where scientific proof contradicts lore: the plant belongs to the Ranunculaceae family, just like the buttercup, and contains the same toxic compounds as the latter, albeit in much smaller doses. Hepatica is poisonous in large quantities. It is occasionally used in homeopathy, but this is definitely not something safe to do at home.

They are very resilient, early and fragrant too!

The name sprung from the false belief the plant could heal liver afflictions, belief fueled by the strange similarity between some hepatica varieties’ foliage and the color of the liver itself. Read more…

the other begonia

On 12, Dec 2017 | No Comments | In plants, wintergarden | By All Year Garden

This is what I love about gardening, there is always something new and exciting to learn! I got this plant expecting it to perform like the tuberous begonias I’m used to. The latter are rightfully called the roses of the shade because of their large, full and lush flowers that last and last… I didn’t know why this particular plant didn’t bloom over the summer, so I blamed my predicament on the heavy soil or diminished sun exposure and hoped to see flowers next year in a different location.

It turns out this is not a tuberous begonia, but a rhizomatous begonia. What’s the difference? Read more…

kitchen garden marigolds

On 27, Nov 2017 | No Comments | In 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 super enthusiastic.

They are not my favorite flowers, and usually don’t fit into a color scheme that invariably drifts towards blue and purple hues, and their pungent scent is a little much for me, but I need to give credit where credit is due: this velvety blossom can hold its own with the carnations and the roses. Read more…

all about roses

Whether rose pruning is best done in the fall or spring is a matter of preference. I usually leave it for spring, for some reason I feel the plants will fare better over the winter if they keep the growth from the previous year. If you do choose to prune before winter, do so, keeping in mind that you’ll have to go back to them in spring and clean out any canes that had suffered winter damage.

For the roses which need regular pruning, which do not include most of the once blooming roses and the climbers, keep three or four canes, that are sturdy enough but steel green and not woody, and trim them down to one third of their length. Read more…

how to care for bulbs

When you plant bulbs, whether that happens in fall or spring, don’t forget to mix in a good measure of bone meal into the dirt, to help them set in and give them some food for the first year. Other than that, bulbs don’t need a lot of care.

Because they are usually sprinkled among other perennials, they benefit from the regular feedings and waterings that happen throughout the summer. Don’t cut off their unsightly yellowing leaves after their bloom is spent, they still need them to feed the roots for the following season. Read more…


On 02, Nov 2017 | No Comments | In plants | 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…

almost time for bulbs

I really need to pick and plant spring bulbs, it’s been so warm so late into the fall that I almost forgot about them. They can be planted any time before winter, as long as the ground is not frozen. I have some pretty daffodils that I planted in the middle of December as proof of that.

There are a few good gardening practice rules that ensure the success of bulbs, even though they’re pretty forgiving plants and will do well anyway. Read more…