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This is Hellebores

Add a burst of color to your part-sun to full shade flower garden with Hellebores (also known as Christmas Rose and Lenten Rose). Blooming in late winter and early spring, this evergreen perennial is even known to emerge through the snow. It has pendulous, papery-textured flowers that display unusual colors starting as early as winter. Blooms are long-lasting which makes them good for cutting as well as for use in floral arrangements. One reason Hellebores last so long is that their rounded petals aren’t really petals at all. They’re sepals, which by definition are sturdy, petal-like parts that surround the true petals. Hellebores can withstand poor soil, drought, heat, humidity, and cold. They are disease-resistant, pest-resistant, and will grow in most types of soil. They are also resistant to deer and rabbits.

The genus is native to much of Europe from western Great Britain, Spain and Portugal, eastward across the Mediterranean region and central Europe into Romania and Ukraine as well as along the north coast of Turkey. Popular Hellebore varieties include the Helleborus x hybridus, Helleborus


Baby’s-breath are well known to most gardeners for their ‘filler’ effect in the border or use as a cut-flower, but this diverse genus also contains some very desirable alpine species. This article will discuss the more traditional baby’s-breath but also introduce you to some of the less well-known yet exquisite miniature species.

The vast majority of gardeners are familiar with baby’s-breath or Gypsophila. It is certainly one of the most popular cut-flowers as ‘fillers’ in arrangements, but this genus of about 100 species, has great diversity in size, form and uses in the garden. The name Gypsophila comes from the Greek gypsos (gypsum) and philos (loving), referring to the chalk- or lime-loving nature of most species. In the wild, they are only found in Eurasia, southeast Europe in particular.

In the garden, we grow both large and small alpine species. Among the larger species are G. paniculata, the perennial baby’s-breath (zone 4), G. pacifica (zone 4) and G. elegans, the annual baby’s-breath. All are popular as fillers in the garden, especially if planted in areas where spring bulbs are left to

Learn more about Container Gardening

Container gardening offers many advantages that people can tend to overlook: containers can be less work because they can be placed closer to a water source; they offer a smaller soil area to have to weed; they can be placed at a height that can minimize bending for watering and tending; movable containers can “follow the sun” if you have changing exposure; they can provide a garden plot even in high-rise apartments or homes with no space for a traditional garden; and just about any plant—flower or vegetable—can be grown in a container.

Selecting a Container

Virtually anything that will hold soil and water is a candidate for container growing. From a bag of soil with holes punched for planting and drainage to wooden tubs, old riding boots, milk cans, hanging baskets and fancy ornamental pots. You can choose the size, shape and cost to fit your needs and desires.

The deeper the pot the less watering it will need. Pots with a small soil volume will dry out faster and require more frequent watering. Unlike plants in the ground, plants in pots or hanging baskets

Garden Blue Flag Iris

Many gardeners think blue flag iris, I. versicolor, are only useful for water gardens but as long as the soil remains evenly moist, they make admirable plants for the standard garden. With over 20 selections to choose from, this iris demands a second look.

For gardeners interested in water features, one of the premier native plants is the blue flag iris, Iris versicolor. However, this plant is not restricted for use only in water gardens. If the soil remains evenly moist, blue flags will grow quite happily in a regular garden setting, thus they can be utilized in the border or in wildflower gardens. They prefer organic-rich, acidic soil and full sun. They are very hardy plants, surviving into zone 3, even 2 if there is adequate winter mulch. In height, they can vary from 30 cm to over 100cm.

In the wild, blue flags grow from Minnesota east to New England, south to Virginia and north into eastern Canada, from Manitoba east to Newfoundland. Flowers are mostly in various shades of violet-blue, from mid tones to dark velvety shades. However, with such a large distributional range, other more interesting colour forms often


At 45 letters, “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis” is considered to be the longest word in the dictionary. It’s the name for a disease of the lungs, caused by the inhalation of silica dust. “Phytoremediation” comes nowhere close to this length, but is still a mouthful. It comes from the Greek word “phyto” meaning “plant” and the Latin word “remedium” which means “restoring balance.”

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on July 28,2010. Your comments are welcome, but please be aware that authors of previously published articles may not be able to respond to your questions.)

What, precisely, is phytoremediation?

Enough etymology. Simply put, phytoremediation is the use of plants to clean up environmental pollution in soil and water. Contaminants include metals, pesticides, fertilizers, and–our biggest worry at the moment-crude oil. These plants also help to prevent weather and groundwater from transporting pollution away from a polluted site to other areas.

How does it work?

Certain plants have the amazing ability to break down pollutants or contain and stabilize them by acting as filters or traps. In most cases, this involves the root system of the plant. Roots in these plants provide a very large surface area to absorb and accumulate not only nutrients essential

What is that Dracaenas ??

Dracaenas are Agave relatives and are a large group of plants that include some of the more popular house plants as well as some of the most striking xeric and massive trees used in outdoor landscaping. This article is an introduction to this interesting group of plants.

Dracaena is a large genus of primarily African monocot plants of which there are well over 100 accepted species, most which will not be covered in this article and are virtually unknown in cultivation. However, some are commonly grown landscape trees in some areas of the world, and others are easily among the most popular of all the house plants. Currently most plant sites list Dracaenas in the family Asparagaceae, along with a lot of other similar plants, such as Cordylines, Beaucarneas and Dasylirions (etc.). But they have been bumped about a bit, from the family Liliaceae and Agavaceae to Ruscaceae (which is where they are in the Davesgarden Plantfiles at the time this article was written, but should probably be moved). It sometimes gets old when your plants are continually being reclassified and lumped in different ways. Still, the plants themselves could not care less. It will be difficult

What is that Selaginella ??

Every once in a while the gardener discovers, quite by accident, one plant or another that becomes an all-time favorite. Such is my experience with arborvitae fern (Selaginella braunii). My introduction to this plant happened a few years back when I visited the garden of a neighbor. I was smitten from the beginning.

On the day of my visit, my neighbor showed me a beautiful mass of plants growing in a container. She called it Selaginella.That was easy for me to remember because my neighbor’s name is Sally, and my sister-in-law’s name is Gennella. Put the two together, and you have sallygennella, which is close enough to help me remember the generic name.

Selaginella braunii (Arborvitae Fern)

Even though this plant has arborvitae fern as its common name, it is not a fern at all, but is a prehistoric fern relative called club moss or spike moss. Since it is a vascular plant that produces spores, it is often mistaken for a fern. Scaly foliage resembles that of arborvitae or cedar. Fronds of finely dissected foliage look delicate, but quite the opposite is true. Arborvitae fern is a tough, hard-working plant that

Vegetable Garden in season autumn

Autumn is here. What could be better than starting a fall vegetable garden?

The leaves are just starting to turn colors, the heat has finally started letting up, and many plants and bugs are starting to die down (especially those pesky weeds pests). The grills are being fired up even more now that there’s a slight, comfortable chill in the air, and people are starting to come out of their air conditioned homes in the cooler evenings to enjoy the weather.

In some growing zones, September is too late to start any kind of planting other than what winters over. But, in zones 5 and up, now is the perfect time to start those cool-weather plants that grow quickly.

Read on for a list of the best vegetables to get growing in a fall garden and a few tips and tricks to help get the most out of your plants.

Which Plants Are Good for Fall Gardening?

Leafy greens are perfect for a fall garden. They are already quick-growing plants, but they grow even better in the cooler weather that comes with the autumn season. All of these listed can

Grow of Fleabanes

The genus Erigeron, commonly called fleabanes, is quite large. Appearing much like asters, they bloom earlier in the season, helping to extend the ‘daisy’ season. They are also ideal for the butterfly garden. If you are not already growing some, hopefully this article will entice you to start!

Fleabanes…where does one start to describe this vast group of plants? For the moment, there are well over 200 species of Erigeron, many of them native to North America. I say ‘for the moment’ as plant taxonomists have been very busy lately reclassifying the North American Asteraceae and no doubt, more than a few Erigeron may end up on the chopping block! As an example, I don’t know if there are even any true Asters left in North America. But I digress. Fleabanes on the whole, are relatively small-stature plants that appear very similar to asters, however, they mostly bloom early in the season while most asters are late summer to fall-bloomers. The flowers are most commonly white, pink or purple shaded but rarely, may be yellow. They include annual, biennial and perennial species. Some can be troublesome weeds while others have very diminutive, non-showy blossoms. But there are


Boxwood has a use in almost any garden. It can be sheared into neat geometic shapes for a formal garden setting, or left to grow into it’s natural shape for a more casual look. As far as height, you will find anything from 2′ to 15′. There are cultivars with variegated foliage for a different look. It is as well suited for a hedge as it is for a specimen planting. Come with me as I take a closer look at this very popular shrub.

Just a bit of background first. Boxwood, or Buxus is a genus of about 70 species. They are native to parts of Europe, Asia, Africa, Madagascar, South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. Only the European and some Asian species are frost-tolerant; the remainder are tropical and sub-tropical. These shrubs are slow-growing and evergreen.

I purchased a group of Buxus ‘Green Velvet’ to plant spaced around my pool fence. My requirements were that it be hardy in my zone (6a) and not over 2′ or so high. This is what my landscaper recommended. The photo at the left is one as it was delivered from the nursery.

This is a Mugo Pines ?

Mugo pines are among the most popular dwarf conifers for growing in both cold and milder climates. This article will introduce you to the variety that exists in this plant and the proper long-time care so your plants will stay compact and healthy.

Most gardeners are familiar with mugo pines. They are certainly among the top-selling pines in the landscape industry. Their overall small size makes them useful for smaller garden, which are becoming the norm these days. They are used as foundation plants next to homes and buildings, as evergreens for the rock garden, as landscape shrubs for slopes and roadside medians and the list goes on. Few conifers are as versatile as mugo pine. Carefree, they only ask for full sun and a well-drained soil. They do not seem fussy about soil pH although if too alkaline, the plants may go a little yellow. They can tolerate windy sites and salt spray, making them ideal for coastal gardens. They also exhibit considerable drought tolerance. Hardiness is not a problem; they can be grown in zones 2 to 8. Generally they do not require extra fertilizing but if your plants seem a bit

Tools For Gardening ??

A gardener is only as efficient as his or her tools, and new gardeners may not know what each garden tool is actually meant to be used for in the garden.

It’s easy for someone who’s new to gardening to feel a bit overwhelmed when looking at the different tools and various items available for sale. With some of the tools, it’s hard to determine what exactly they’re meant to do, as they resemble medieval torture devices. Others seem pretty easy to understand, but you may not understand the exact use. Think of the dozens of sizes of gardening tools that resemble scissors. Is just one size good enough to handle all jobs? Let’s learn about some of the most common (and not so common) gardening tools to get you more confident when it comes time to outfit your garden shed.

Aeration Sandals

You may have seen these in the store and wondered their purpose. They look like green cleats that attach to your shoes. The purpose of this is to aerate your lawn, and these can also be used in your garden beds. The spikes help to loosen

Wild Geranium

The flower grew wild, and bloomed from early spring through all of summer. It was a pretty little thing, and most of the time it was a lavender or pink color. On one of my first trips up the side of the mountain to collect it, I threw a fit because Aunt Bett was gathering the root before the pretty little flower showed its first bloom. My fits were long and loud, and they lasted several hours.

My great Aunt Bett told me we were going to gather a root to treat Uncle Sinc’s ailments. Uncle Sinc was not truly my uncle, nor was he in any way related to my family, but my great grandfather had granted him a land lease many years before my time, and it was right at the mouth of our holler. He was a tall, skinny stooped old man when I was young, and seemed to never say much to anybody, and nothing to me. I saw him every day of the year, bent over diggin at something in his garden. He had a pig pen, with no pig in it, and a barn that held no cows

8 Plants in Winter

1. Camelia

With its glossy green foliage and its large, beautiful flowers, the camellia is indeed a showstopper. Some varieties bloom in the winter when the plant is not in active growth. The flowers vary from a clean white to various shades of inks, reds and burgundies. Flower size can span from a few inches to as much as 7 inches in diameter.

2. Christmas Rose

Nicknamed the Christmas rose, the hellebore is an evergreen perennial with shiny dark leaves that grows to about a foot in height. In winter, its flower stalk boasts a lovely single 2 – 4-inch white or white and pink flower.

These plants prefer partial shade and do well when planted under deciduous trees.

3. Calendula

This daisy-like plant will charm you throughout the winter with its cheery blooms of orange and yellow. As a branching plant that prefers sun, calendula grows 1 – 2 feet in height and to about 1.5 feet wide. Calendulas are striking in a border or in a container garden.

4. Cyclamen

The pretty cyclamen, with its white, pink and red flowers, has become a popular wintertime gift for flower

Berries Of The Vaccinium

Every berry in the Vaccinium group is edible, and most of them are exquisitely tasty as well as extra-good for you. (Please be completely sure before you eat anything you find that you didn’t plant. ) Here’s an overview of cranberries, lingonberries, blueberries, huckleberries and more.

Vaccinium berries can be found in nearly all zones. All require acidic soil, either naturally acidic or amended to be acidic. Although most common, commercially available berries (like cranberries and blueberries) are pretty much understood to be one of just a few varieties, lots of locally grown, wild, blue-purple-or-red berries may have different regional names like whortleberries, blaeberries, bilberries, or even razzleberries and may be known as ‘blueberries’ although they may not be blue.

Who knew the huckleberry of Mark Twain’s famous character, Huckleberry Finn, was a actual berry? Not I. The huckleberry is a common name for various small berries in this group.

From the ‘Ōhelo berry (native to Hawaii, USDA zones 10-11) to the lingonberry (native to Scandanavia, Canada, Finland and other cold places), berries in the Vaccinium family are so acidic themselves that they aren’t hard to preserve. You don’t need to add pectin to jell if you’re making jelly; these

Rose Flowers Colors

For as long as writers have been putting words on paper, they have been writing about roses. Roses have been used as symbols of love and war, birth and death, and many more concepts.

Fossil evidence indicates that roses have existed for some 35 million years in nature, and there are 150 species of the genus Rosa. Historians believe that cultivation of the rose began in China 5,000 years ago and then spread westward.

We know that roses were used in ancient celebrations and as a source for perfume by ancient civilizations. During the 17th century, roses were so valued that they were used as legal tender in some parts of the world.

Prized for the beauty of their blooms, their rich colors and their lovely scent, roses long have been a popular flower to give and to receive.

However, did you know that you convey certain messages just with the color of rose you choose? Roses are rich in symbolism. Here is a guide to the meanings of different rose colors.

Red Roses

As the most popular rose color, the color red reveals a message of love, respect, admiration or devotion.

Star of Bethlehem

“For those who have troubles, for those who are unhappy, for those who have received bad news, a loss, or an accident, the Snowdrop gives them comfort.” – Author Unknown.

Early this spring, I was walking in my gardens and I happened to see something white growing very close to my house behind a cluster of daylilies, coralbells, sedum and a newly planted rosebush. I have nothing that has a white bloom and could not imagine what it was. The daylilies and coralbells nearly covered it, and the rose was getting ready to bloom. I looked more closely and was surprised to find a cluster of Star of Bethlehem.

You know when you sniff the scent of something that reminds you of your childhood, and you are instantly taken back in time? Or when you glance at a piece of lace and you think suddenly of Aunt Lucy and the lacy handkerchief she was never without? Star of Bethlehem did that very thing to me. I remembered Aunt Bett.

I knew that the little plant with the sweet white flowers grew from a bulb, so a bird didn’t bring it. I also knew the

Feed Your Pets With These Garden Plants

Fresh vegetables are an important part of our human diet, but they also are essential for the health of our animals. They provide essential vitamins and minerals and protect their cells from disease. By growing some of your own plants for your pets, you cut down significantly on your pet food costs, and your animals will gain the health benefits of fresh veggies. An added bonus is that most pet-friendly plants are easy to grow.

Here are 14 garden plants that you can safely grow to feed your furry friends.

All Animals

1. Wheat and Barley Grass

These all-purpose grasses are easy to grow and maintain, and they are an excellent source of antioxidant nutrients, vitamins A, B-complex, C, E, K, minerals, amino acids, and even a bit if calcium. But the best part? Most animals love them. Cats will nibble grass right out of a container in a sunny windowsill, or you can feed it in clumps to your rabbits.


Although they love meat, dogs are omnivores, so a dog’s healthy, balanced diet will always have vegetables make up about a third of the meal. Dogs and also be fed

Fall Garden Cleanup?, Here Its Tips

As gardeners, we never want the gardening season to come to an end. But, in most of North America, we must welcome the coming cold months by preparing our gardens for winter. Follow the tips below for a few good basic steps in preparing your beloved garden for the coming chill:

* Dig up tender bulbs for storage until next year

* As perennials quit blooming or die back, trim the dead foliage. You can compost the healthy trimmings to continue the cycle of nature.

* But, some perennials, if left alone, look great as winter interest and/or provide winter food for wildlife.

* Clean away any and all diseased plants and dropped leaves.  It will make next year’s gardening that much easier.

*  If you live in an area with cold winters but not much snow as protection, mulching in the fall will protect your plant investments.

* Vegetable gardens are best completely cleared up to prevent any disease or pest overwintering.

* Move your indoor foliage plants back inside before even the first light frost.

* And, don’t forget your gardening tools.  A thorough cleaning and sharpening now will save valuable time next spring.


The Namesake of the Genus

These plants are the ones that gave the genus Philodendron the name, as they are the ones that are the “tree lovers”. From delicate vines to tropical jungle lianas, these expert climbers come in all sizes, many varied leaf shapes and a kaleidoscope of colors. Often they will start out with small leaves and, as they grow up a tree, develop leaves of increasing size until they arrive at the tree canopy. There, in the brighter light, they will thicken up and begin blooming. However, most people who have these plants indoors never see the mature sized plants. What they do see is a plant that is prone to roam, growing in every direction in search of a tree to climb!

The thumbnail picture at right shows an example of a plant known as Philodendron superbum, here seen growing up a Queen palm trunk in south Florida. Note how short the internodes are on this specimen. When juvenile, this plant exhibits longer internodes, but upon attaining maturity, the internodes shorten appreciably and the plant may bloom with slender inflorescences.

One of the commonest and most well-known of the climbers is