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Even the best garden planning can be second-rate if you don’t choose the right plant assortment. Garden centers with their vast collections of plant colors, sizes and shapes can be intimidating places for inexperienced buyers, so work from a list and ensure you’re buying only healthy plants.
Rizanino (Riz) Reyes, a horticulturist, gives a rose bush some last-minute pruning before putting it in the ground. Avoid plants that need to be pruned for anything beyond minor cosmetic touches.
A new home owner's pre-built Sunshine GardenHouse made from a kit that he added to his yard, to greatly extend the growing season in the cool coastal climate of Whidbey Island, in Langley, Wash. It’s being used for everything from seed starting and growing tomatoes and sweet corn to relaxing…
A Variegated slug on a property at a private residence in Langley, Wash. Slugs are ravenous plant eaters that leave behind slimy trails of destruction. Remove any debris that gives them a place to hide during the day, to prevent their pattern of coming out to feed at night.
This April 27, 2012 photo shows a snail on the property of a private residence in New Market, Va. Snails are more adapted to dry climates than slugs, because of their ability to find relief from the heat by withdrawing into their shells. Making your yard less hospitable to destructive snails…
In this June 19, 2013 photo, raspberries grow on the patio of a home near Langley, Wash. Raspberries are an easy-to-grow choice for containers. They can be placed near high traffic areas around the property, making for convenient and wholesome snacks.
A butterfly bush in New Market, Va. The butterfly bush is a pollinator-attracting, low-maintenance shrub that once established can tolerate weather extremes and gardener neglect. It is considered invasive in certain areas, though, so keep it from spreading by removing the spent flower heads …
Arborist chips, a back to nature mulch in Langley, Wash. Like many other organic materials, the chips help maintain soil moisture, prevent weeds from sprouting and keeps soil temperatures relatively constant around plants. They can rob soil of nitrogen, however, and fertilizer should be adde…
Several flats of potted, walk-on plants are laid out alongside the flagstones of a pathway in Langley, Wash. The plants are divided into several pieces before being placed in the ground, where they grow quickly into a single, weed-choking mat that adds color and contrast to the stones.
Vinca minor (periwinkle or creeping myrtle), a commonly used groundcover, that prefers rich, moist soil but can tolerate poor, dry conditions and sunny exposures. This bed is growing alongside a house foundation near Langley, Wash. Beware its aggressiveness, however, and restrict its use to …
A mobile phone displaying Burpee Home Gardens online-based software for horticulture. Burpee Home Gardens has introduced two mobile Web tools, not apps, that make smartphones into just another a gardening tool. One provides online tutoring via a continuing series of texts or email notes whil…
A garden where the gardener found a creative way to showcase a flower bed using a bed frame. There are no how-to lists or shortcuts but a touch of whimsey often is a component of Slow Gardening. It's emphasizing the process over the product.
The front entry of this home has more eye appeal after the lawn was reclaimed using shrubs, trees, flowering perennials and a walkway rather than turf grass, in Langley, Wash. A heavy mulch cover helps minimize weeds.
The lawn remains the centerpiece in this yard but was greatly downsized and shaped by a landscaped perimeter consisting of furniture, statuary and a variety of perennials, in Langley, Wash. Less mowing, less watering and fewer chemicals was the result. It attracts more wildlife, too.
Ingredients for tomato sauce at a field trial nursery in Ventura, Calif. Almost 70 percent of all home canners are growing herbs -- second only to tomatoes -- with about one-third drying or freezing them for later use. Herbs are popular for flavoring sauces, soups, meats, vinegars, oils, but…
Chives growing in a kitchen garden near Langley, Washington. Home canners are growing and preserving herbs at an increasing rate each year, with basil as the most popular followed by chives, cilantro and dill. All are great for adding flavor to foods without using much, if any, salt.
A "Crooked Coop" in Clinton, Wash. that is reminiscent of a fairy tale house of Dr. Seuss. Designer chicken coops are becoming a new kind of yard art and many poultry raisers are being upfront about it -- using the outbuildings as extensions of their homes. A chicken coop can be anything fro…
A moveable chicken coop sold by Williams-Sonoma is built on wheels which makes it easy to maneuver around a lawn providing fresh grass for the small, foraging flock, in Langley, Wash. It's a good way to fertilize, too.
Primroses and daffodils sprucing up a simple window box on an outbuilding display at a recent Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle. Window boxes make practical raised bed gardens — easy to reach from inside or out. It only takes a few shallow-rooted plants to provide window dressing f…
A Bloody Mary with garden supplied swizzle sticks. Botanicals can be used to ferment, distill, mix and decorate alcoholic beverages. Many plants, best if grown organically, like spearmint (mint julep), olives (martini), carrots and celery (Bloody Mary) can be used as garnishes in cocktails.
Rainscaping features can be expensive and complicated or simple and cheap, like this rain barrel capturing water from a downspout on a rural home in northern Belgium. The gardener simply dips a spray can into the surplus when she wants to water her plants.
Parents new to gardening often ask how they can get their children interested in the activity. Industry reps usually suggest growing plants that have multiple uses, flavors or fragrances, such as pumpkins, strawberries, sunflowers, radishes and marigolds, along with others.
Many vegetables get woodier, less succulent and lose some of their sweetness as they grow more mature. Some, however, like new potatoes, radishes, baby carrots, zucchini, miniature cucumbers, spring peas, turnips and beets offer up their best flavors while young.
Don't be in a rush to repair or replace snow-or ice-covered trees, as most will spring back after a thaw, like these weighted-down trees that did not suffer any lasting damage.
A Rosa rugosa (beach rose) flourishes in sandy, salt spray-laden soil on Whidbey Island near Coupeville, Washington.
Cool wave pansies tolerate several light frosts and go dormant after a hard frost. Their colors intensify in the cold and they bloom even in the snow, and recover in early spring.
Gasoline-powered equipment that is likely to be stored a month or more needs some looking after if it's to be ready when the weather warms again. Preventive maintenance also extends its service life.
This resident placed a bouquet of fresh cut flowers next to a rural mailbox near Langley, Wash. The flowers were cut from the garden in the background.
The dew-fresh bouquets sold at this roadside stand will last as long as a week when placed in water.
Planting seeds is a cheap way to fill flowerbeds and herbal containers while prices continue to climb.
A red clover is shown in a yard in New Market, Va. With rounded, purple-red flowers and variegated leaves, they are healthy to eat in salads, as cooked greens, made into flour or blended as a tea. This long-blooming plant pops up most everywhere and is rich in protein.
A cottage garden at Fordhook Farm in Doylestown, Pa. Hand weeding is one of the most demanding chores in gardening, but it doesn't have to be that way.
In mid-January, EarthBox began shipping half-sized "Junior" self-watering gardening containers that are designed to produce greens and herbs outside on fire escapes, patios and deck railings or inside from kitchen windowsills.
Tulip bulbs are used for an ornamental purpose in a private garden near Alkmaar, The Netherlands.
The Hortus Bulborum, a museum garden in Limmen Village, The Netherlands, is the only museum garden in the world where you can find over 3,700 different tulips, hyacinth, daffodil and other bulb cultivars in bloom. Some of the tulips date from 1595.
Bleeding heart is a perennial that can brighten up a shady spot as long as it is grown in well drained but moist ground. The heart-shaped blooms appear in spring and periodically through mid-summer in cool locations.
Virginia bluebell is a shade-tolerant perennial that can be found growing wild in woodlands across North America. They show pink as buds, maturing into their namesake blue blooms at maturity.
Plant mass groups of flowers like these petunias that have similar watering and fertilizer needs. It will save a great deal of time and effort plus add visual impact.
Day lilies along a rural road near New Market, Va. If you want to ease your garden chores, then choose low-maintenance plants like day lilies that, once established, can be left to fend pretty much for themselves.
This potted plant has been elevated using a stand to survive exposure to the outdoors in winter. Elevate them so they can drain and won't freeze on the ground, which might make them crack or crumble during freeze-thaw cycles.
A living wall at the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, N.C. Living walls can be created in many different styles like this floral tapestry, which was inspired by a stained glass window done by Louis Comfort Tiffany. The design is made up entirely of flowers and colorful foliage.
This photo shows close cropping in raised beds, a cheap and easy way to boost yields from small plots. Spacing between plants can be tightened when using traditional row designs or vegetables can be massed in square or diamond patterns.
This June 28, 2010 photo courtesy of Dean Fosdick shows potato grow bags in New Market, Va. Potato tubs or grow bags eliminate any digging to plant or digging to harvest. New fabrics let air in and water out which allows the plants to thrive even in the warmest weather. Simply turn the bags …
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