The winter garden is not dead and desolate, as some may imagine it to be. The fruits of summer and fall still linger, providing vital food to wildlife in the deepest depths of winter. More often than not, these plants also offer seasonal interest for homeowners and gardeners as well, making them win-win additions to our landscape.
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.
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.
Magical Miniature Daffodils
There’s something about miniature anything that draws kids, and every year my ‘Minnow’, ‘Hawara’, and ‘Baby Moon’ just cry out to be picked by my children. They make the prettiest fairy bouquets and are easy-as-pie to grow, so this bulb-planting season I plan to expand upon my mini daffy plantings. Read article
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
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.
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
10 Terrific Flowers for Honey Bees
The decline in honey bees (Apis mellifera) has heightened the popularity of honey bee plants. Many favorite flowers for honey bees, like sweetclover, thistle, alfalfa and dandelion, are Eurasian plants too weedy for flower beds. Thankfully, there are some beautiful summer garden flowers, many being North American natives, which are also great nectar and pollen plants favored by these Old World native bees. Regional natives are also superb forage plants for regional bees.