Three Favorite Perennials for Goldfinches

Goldfinches are one of my favorite birds. They are bright and cheery, even in their more somber winter plumage. They have a lilting song that is easy to recognize. And they are entertaining to watch while eating, as they display an acrobatic… Read More

The Sidewalk Border: A Herbaceous Report Card

About seven years ago I dug up an L shaped length of turf, with the longer section along the front sidewalk and the shorter one along the property line with the neighbors. The result was a border in almost full sun, 4-5′… Read More

Sending for Reinforcements: New Plants for Spring and Favorite Catalogs

Yesterday the letter carrier brought tidings of great joy: two of my favorite gardening catalogs, Prairie Nursery and Forestfarm. Their arrival, along with several others of their kind, means that it is time to put in my orders for spring. And so  here’s… Read More

Wildflower Wednesday: Merrybells

Wildflower Wednesday is hosted on the fourth Wednesday of every month by Gail at Clay and Limestone.  Sadly, I have no blooming wildflowers to write about at this time. However, in anticipation of the coming spring (only 59 days to go!), I… Read More

The Echinacea Cultivar Control Board: A Modest Proposal

I’m very fond of purple coneflowers and other members of the genus Echinacea. However, there is something disconcerting about the multitude of occasionally bizarre Echinacea cultivars being put out by plant breeders. I mean, what was the thinking behind Echinacea ‘Double Decker’?… Read More

I Got the Orange Blues

I am not at all systematic about color. I mean, I do think about which plant combinations look good. But I have never had a color scheme for any of my flower beds as a whole. Not that I felt the lack… Read More

2012, the Year of Unnerving Weather

Extreme weather dominates my thoughts about gardening for this past year. It started with extreme winter mildness. This may sound like a contradiction in terms, but it was unnerving for those of us accustomed to harsh Chicago winters. January was about 8… Read More

Doing the Charleston

Charleston was one of the first major towns in the American colonies. The historic district is full of well-preserved buildings from the early 19th and 18th Centuries. In fact, it seems every building in that part of town had a plaque attesting… Read More

Book Review: The Well-Tended Perennial Garden, by Tracy DiSabato-Aust

If perennial flowers are the backbone of your garden, as they are of mine, you may occasionally feel the need for an orthopedist. Keeping perennial flowers blooming, attractive, upright, adequately contained, and the right size and shape is an ongoing challenge. Experience… Read More

Tardy Wildflower Wednesday: Celandine Poppy

Gail over at Clay and Limestone hosts Wildflower Wednesday on the fourth Wednesday of the month. I’ve been travelling and forgot about this, but I’m not too embarrassed to bring up the rear with a tardy post. I don’t know about you,… Read More