Showing posts from September, 2009

Spring Bulb Spotlight

Fall is the time to plant the tulips, daffodils, grape hyacinths and other bulbs that bloom in the spring. The good news is that flower bulbs are among the easiest plants for any gardener to grow. They are perfect for beginners and prized by expert gardeners, lending themselves to a simple planting by a lamppost, or a massive naturalized planting on a hillside.    Visit to view easy-to-follow how-to videos and have some fun learning about flower bulbs.       The newest video is on naturalizing, the technique of planting flowers that will multiply and come back year after year. Other videos feature basic planting techniques, tools and tricks of the trade and more. Hosts are the director of the Netherlands Flower Bulb Information Center (NFBIC), master gardener Sally Ferguson and garden expert and Emmy-winning TV host Bob Yedowitz in a series called Gardening on the Go.

Rustic Benches

Here’s a great example of rustic log benches in Red Butte Gardens in Utah. Half-sawn logs are surprisingly comfortable but, of course, you need to get the logs. In less urbanized areas, you can generally find a commercial sawmill, or a woodworker with a portable sawmill, to cut the logs for you. The beefy uprights of these benches are sunk into the ground, but in a more humid climate, you’d want to take additional precautions to prevent premature rotting. Some feel that placing gravel in the post-hole promotes better drainage than filling the hole with concrete, but both work. I prefer the gravel because it’s less labor-intensive and doesn’t leave concrete “stumps” in the ground, should the bench be removed. You may also want to treat the post-end that will go into the ground with a non-toxic preservative. The easiest way to fasten the seat and back to the uprights is probably with log bolts. Dan has used plastic-covered cable threaded through copper pipe to suspend our h

Native Plant for Fall Color

American Spikenard (Aralia racemosa) is an easy-to-grow native plant that sports colorful berries beginning in late summer and continuing into fall.  The berries, beloved by birds, start out a light green, progress to a pinkish tone, and when mature, are deep purple. All three colors can appear simultaneously on the large panicles. This month, the Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop over at  Gardening Gone Wild ( )  features The Garden in Fall and the variety of ways to introduce fall color – flowers, foliage, and fruit.   After only three years, my plant is about four feet tall and five feet wide. It had a huge growth spurt this year, no doubt triggered by our ceaseless rain. It might have gotten taller, but the central leader was cut clean through by stem borer, something I’ve never experienced before. The plant, in fact has outgrown its space (I had understood it would grow to only three to four feet in each direction), and will