What’s The One Thing (almost) Nobody’s Planting Right Now That Almost EVERYBODY Should Be?

There are many possible answers to this question, and we could gather an assortment, yet no one might mention it. But the best response is so obvious to a few people that it’s really hard to believe it can be an impossible secret to everyone else!

Don’t you hate those kind of secrets? Read more

When Buying Spring Bulbs, You’ll Kick Yourself If You Don’t Consider the Value of This Special Program

A supermarket display offering spring-planted bulbs and perennials for sale in little boxes.

There’s nothing wrong with shopping the store displays, although many of the most serious gardeners shun them in favor of better sources. There is a much better source to recommend, but first I want to point out that there’s not necessarily anything wrong with this selection. I’m happy to have people in any community planting gladiolas, ismenes, dahlias, zephyranthes, and I don’t want to dissuade shoppers from planting such easy and adaptable perennial flowers as columbine and globe thistle (which is a rare color: blue, xeric, and good for pollinators).

Quality is part of the reason, because the quality you get from these boxes is sufficient and adequate but not the highest. In the Green Industry it’s often true you get what you pay for, and I do willingly when I know the difference is worth it. There’s one source, however, that will deliver even far more than that (superior quality, that is) . . .

When you purchase bulbs this spring, I want you to go here. This link allows you to support non-profit organizations ranging from public gardens and historical societies to schools, scout troops, museums, and orchestras while you purchase some of the very best bulbs in the marketplace from a very extensive selection.

Note: There are some irregularities to the listings, so search with care. For instance, the Morton Arboretum is listed under “The”. So are “The Garden Conservancy” and several others worth finding and supporting.

Bloomin’ Bucks

is a fund-raising program designed to earn selected non-profit organizations a percentage of every order received through this portal! The 387 organizations currently participating thank you for your support! So go ahead and splurge here; it’s helping a good cause. And then when the order comes, the quality is another thing you’ll really appreciate!

Get Affirmative and Transformational Results When You Consider the Social and Psychological Side of Gardening

a tray of seedlings showing sprouts just about an inch high

Here are two stories about fitting in, standing out, and being yourself, one from Scotland and one from Wales. Both stories align with this adage from Bernard Baruch that I hope you know already:

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”

Then there’s this query from author and speaker Ian Wallace:

“Why are you trying so hard to fit in when you were born to stand out?”

Coming from Scotland, Tom Smart makes some really fine points about gardening and the pleasure of being outdoors. He describes a recent conversation with a person who complained about cutting his lawn Read more

The Gardening Mistakes Often Made By People Who Think They’re Doing It Right

note: The purpose of links is to indicate further information is available on related topics. Feel free to donate if you’d like to support this web site.

a color photograph of a garden journal with a pen beside it

The only thing we have learned from experience is that we learn nothing from experience.

Chinua Achebe

Problem #1: Most of us start doing things without a way of keeping it organized.

Thomas Jefferson kept a garden journal and so should you . . . or a folder or a 3-ring binder or something!

Ever had this experience? Where did I plant the . . . Read more

Discover the Dahlias and Design of Helena Ely

a black-and-white photograph of Helena Ely from around 1900

In 1880, Helena Rutherfurd married Alfred Ely II, a partner in the New York law firm of Agar, Ely & Fulton. Although they lived in Manhattan, the couple also owned a 350-acre country estate in northwest New Jersey. At Meadowburn Farm, Helena cultivated six acres around the house, and from her experiences arose three books on gardening. The first, A Woman’s Hardy Garden (1903), was reprinted 16 times before going out of print during the Great Depression. Her approach differed from the formal and Italianate styles that had become the dominant concepts in design back then, and came closer to that of William Robinson, who had published his once-controversial ideas in the decades before. According to The Cultural Landscape Foundation, Ely’s book “helped popularize the design of perennial gardens” [versus displays based on annuals] and marked a shift in culture Read more

Crocuses, Clivias, and the Forgotten Legacy of Johanna Daemen

A book on house plants, published in 1929, has a large, stylized Clivia on the cover.
A book on house plants, published in 1929, has a large, stylized Clivia on the cover designed by Johanna Daemen.

Few Americans have heard of the Dutch graphic designer, illustrator, artist, lyricist, and writer Johanna Maria Hendrika Daemen (1891-1944), and it’s a pity. She began her varied career as a teenager, and since it’s Women’s History Month you’ll be pleased to discover much of it would involve publications aimed at women in the marketplace. Read more

WARNING: Winter Bouquet Surprise From the mid-1880s

a painting of white hellebores and ferns with a sprig of holly
Still Life with Hellebores (around 1885-7)
Charles Porter

This scene was painted in New York City not long after Porter had spent three years in France. As any gardener can tell you, these are hellebores that are shown, and the sprig of holly adds to a wintry theme. The maidenhair fern must have been a house plant; the other kind is probably leatherleaf fern, Rumohra adiantiformis, also grown indoors, though it could be Autumn fern, an outdoor type which is evergreen.

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