Although spring is still a couple of months away, it's not too soon to begin planning this season's gardening projects. Spend some time browsing the Plant Profiles in our Plant Encyclopedia and our Resources and Articles to inspire some great ideas. Please tell your friends about us and be good and grow. Jack
Our newest plant profile is of a pretty little deciduous shrub called mapleleaf viburnum (Viburnum acerifolium). It is native to eastern North America from southern Ontario and Quebec, south to northern Florida, and west to Wisconsin and eastern Texas where it inhabits the shady understory of hardwood forests. Read more » about the mapleleaf viburnum, used in informal hedges, woodland and wildlife gardens where it is hardy in USDA Zones 4 - 8.
The genus Viburnum, Sambucus and a few others have been re-assigned to the Adoxaceae family. We're currently updating our other Viburnum species profile as well.
There's an old rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) bush in my yard down in North Florida. It doesn't seem bothered by frequent hard freezes and produces its largest flushes of flowers at this time of year. Click to download a large version (800x600) because rosemary looks as good on your desktop as it does in the garden. Read more »
Unlike many of its relative species, Japanese (Lonicera japonica) and Chinese (Lonicera maackii) honeysuckles, the winter honeysuckle (Lonicera fragrantissima ) is not an aggressive grower. This shrubby species is well-behaved, non-invasive, fragrant and is blooming now in Steve's North Florida garden. There are hedges of it in my condo complex up in Northern Kentucky but it's not likely to bloom here until around early March. Until then, download a large version (800x600) to enjoy on your desktop. Read more »
It's a weed and it's all over every one's lawn - but many will admit that the dandelion's (Taraxacum officinale) fluffy seed puffball is beautiful and fun to blow apart. Medicinally this plant, when made into tea, in a short time, will make you pee! Here are a few more interesting species that have medicinal properties:
This herb has been grown for centuries and used by herbalist to cure ills and heal wounds. Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is also reported to "renew youth, strengthen the brain, relieve languishing nature and prevent baldness". I'm going to plant some because I feel a need to languish less. More herbs that may not renew youth but they do taste good:
Another newer offering that can beat the heat are the brilliantly colored calibrachoa hybrids, sometimes called seashore petunias (Calibrachoa X hybrida). These are perfect for hanging containers in sunny situations. More sun loving species:
The Hawaiian Islands are home to an array of native plant species that has attracted the attention of botanists, naturalists, horticulturists and world travelers ever since Europeans first visited the islands near the end of the 18th century. Read more »
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Although perhaps not as easy to grow as the foliage plants, there are some flowering species that do well indoors. A favorite is the 'Happy Pot' gerber daisy (Gerbera jamesonii) in the picture. These are compact plants, with flowers held on short strong stems. All you need is a bright spot near a window and some bloom booster fertilizer to have gerbers in your home all winter! >Read more on the gorgeous gerbers and then check out the links to these other indoor bloomers:.
Most of the year my friend's African violets (Saintpaulia spp.) sit on a dusty windowsill lonely and unnoticed until January when they burst into bloom. She doesn't take that great of care of them yet they never fail to cover themselves in masses of flowers in shades of violet, blue, pink and white.
Fill you yard with birds by planting species that provide food and shelter. Bird feeders are nice but having year round sources of natural seeds and fruits is better. Sometimes you don't even have to plant, look for species already present and encourage their growth. On my property are a number of blue huckleberry (Gaylussacia frondosa) bushes that also go by the more entertainingly name dangleberry and downy dangleberry. I wish I was back home because my downy dangleberries need trimming. Create a bird friendly environment in your yard by planting woody species that provide food and shelter - here are a few to consider:
The spiderflower (Cleome hassleriana) is a tall (to about 5 feet) branching plant that is tolerant of hot weather and is virtually pest-free. Improved cultivars like 'Violet Queen' are shorter and more compact and grow well in pots and containers.
The Texas scarlet sage (Salvia coccinea) is a heat and drought tolerant annual that is often planted in wildflower meadows and butterfly gardens. Despite the common name, Texas scarlet sage also has white and pink flower forms. Regardless of color, hummingbirds and butterflies love to visit this sage for dinner. Here's some links to more easy to grow flowers for hot sunny gardens:
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