IN THE COMMERCIAL CUT-FLOWER INDUSTRY, it’s not easy being green. Most cut-flowers are laden with pesticides, largely because the estimated $40-billion-a-year industry demands floral perfection, and some of its powerhouses (like roses) are especially susceptible to pests and diseases. In response, an influx of eco-conscious growers and designers are embracing the so-called Slow Flower Movement—aided by a suite of savvy writers and other advocates furthering their cause.
Gardening for Native Bees
Honey bees (Apis mellifera) may garner more of the limelight, but North America is also home to approximately 4,000 known native bee species that are just as agriculturally, horticulturally, and ecologically important.Click to read
Perennial Sunflowers are Fall Gold
Fall is for gold: golden trees, golden grasses and golden sunflowers glowing in the fading sun of the season. The many sunflowers of fall are especially glorious, and unlike the common annual sunflowers of summer, they are perennials that come back year after year. Their numerous species are also American natives that deserve a place in our gardens for reasons beyond simple beauty.
Monarda or "Unsung Beebalms"
IN MY alter ego as a superhero promoter of underdog plants, I envision myself donning a mighty green mask and chlorophyll-enriched cape to shine a dazzling spotlight on the lesser-known members of the genus Monarda.
Okay, so maybe that’s a little over-the-top, but apart from the two species that most gardeners grow—M. didyma and M. fistulosa, which together comprise nearly 100 recognized cultivars—Monarda is a truly ornamentally under-used genus.
Roses have a bad rap when it comes to pests and diseases—causing ecologically minded gardeners to avoid growing these seemingly needy, unsustainable garden beauties. But this need not be so. With the dawn of more resilient rose varieties and better rose-care products, it is easier than ever to successfully grow roses organically.
Seven Easy Butterfly Flowers
Want butterflies? A kaleidoscope of gossamer-winged beauties all a flutter in a cloud of garden flowers that you planted? The truth is, creating a butterfly garden is pretty effortless, because many truly easy garden flowers are big on the butterfly palate. And butterflies eat with their eyes, so the flowers they love are generally the vibrantly hued flowers that we love, too. Click here to read more.
Growing Tomatoes from Seed to Harvest
The tomato is the most popular warm-season crop, but it can be surprisingly tricky to tend to full productive glory. Tomatoes require at least 6 hours of full sun per day, are fertilizer and water hogs, and produce fruit most vigorously when days are warm (between 78 and 92 degrees Fahrenheit) and nights moderately warm (at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit). Vining (indeterminate) types need caging or trellising, while bush (determinant) types may or may not need staking; both benefit from seasonal pruning.
Organic Cucumber Culture
Cucumbers have their fair share of pests and diseases, but growing them organically is a not too difficult if you choose the right variety for your area and give them the right care. Experience is the best teacher. Read article
New Garden Flowers with Old-Fashioned Appeal
Classic bedding plants, like dahlias, coleus, impatiens, and petunias, have long been American garden favorites. Their seemingly timeless appeal stems in part from their consistent beauty and ease of growth--but innovation plays a part, too. Each year plant breeders introduce hundreds of new varieties of these and many other traditional garden plants, bringing fresh looks and new attributes to old favorites.
Antique Garden Books
Reading antiquated gardening books can feel like finding buried treasure. They tell of times when tools and garden plants were simpler and planting designs classic. Many deliver loads of useful, old-timey tips and techniques, making them that much more fun to read. And they tend to be beautifully illustrated—all the more reason to seek them out. Link to article
Fall Wildflowers for Pollinators
Late summer and fall are when pollinators prepare to migrate or overwinter, so it’s an essential time to ensure the garden is filled to the brim with good plants for pollinators to eat. And usually the best plants on the pollinator menu are native wildflowers. Read article