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Tales from a Plant Addict

Fun (& a few serious) facts, tips and tricks for every gardener, new and old.

Planting Trees

Last week's column discussed choosing trees suited for particular parts of your landscape. In Extension, we like to say "Choose the right plant for the right place". Once you've chosen the right site and the right kind of tree for that site, now just buy one and plant it, right? Not quite. When looking at trees for sale, buy the best quality you can. This may mean buying a smaller tree,...

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Choosing Trees for the Landscape

One of my favorite sayings about trees is: "The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now." While I understood the truth of this statement when I originally heard it, it didn't really have personal significance to me until I became a homeowner ten years ago this month. Adding to this new meaning was the fact that we were new homeowners of a new house with n...

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Bletilla striata-- Chinese Ground Orchid

Every gardener I know, including myself, seems to want what they don't have. In my garden, shade is in short supply. Even though it's been ten years since we moved into an absolutely empty landscape, my trees are a long way from providing significant shade to my gardens. I now have two gardens where there is partial shade for at least a portion of the day, and whatever direct sun they get is in...

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One sure sign to me that Spring has taken hold and there's no turning back is lilacs beginning to bloom. Though lilacs are a very common sight around the U.S., they are native to Europe and Asia. There are about twenty different species of lilac, or Syringa , plus many different hybrids of these species. They are closely related to another common landscape shrub, Ligustrum , the...

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Recycling & Repurposing in the Garden

In his book The $64 Tomato, William Alexander chronicles his quest for the perfect garden at the expense of his sanity and much of his money. Garden centers and catalogs all want to sell you the latest and greatest garden gadgets that promise you the perfect garden. But if one of your reasons to garden, particularly to vegetable garden, is to save money on food costs, buying special garden gadg...

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Creeping Charlie

Creeping Charlie holds a special place in my heart, as it is one of the first plants besides a dandelion that I learned was a "weed". For my dad, I think this plant is more than a weed, it is instead an evil enemy he has waged war with for more than my 40 years on earth. For as long as I can remember, my dad has fought a relentless battle against this green enemy. I spent many an hour a...

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If you are looking for something to brighten up a shady spot in your landscape, consider Caladiums . Their brightly colored leaves streaked in shades of green, white, red and pink in various stripes and spotted patterns attract a lot of attention. It's another one of those plants that has the dangerous potential of being one I'd like to collect because of the astounding number of differ...

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