Gardening Blogs

Welcome to the Almanac’s blog on gardening and gardens! Whether you’re a beginning gardener or a green-thumb, we’ve got lots of advice and inspiration to help you in your backyard. Look through this page for a variety of topics, including gardening with vegetables, herbs, fruit, flowers, containers, houseplants, and more!

December 15, 2016

Winter solstice occurs at almost midnight on December 21, marking the official start of winter. It is the shortest day and longest night of the year. Now the days will start to get longer and as the old adage says,”When the days lengthen the cold strengthens.” Even so, I appreciate seeing a brighter western horizon when I get out of work at 5pm. The sun has begun its climb toward summer and each day brings us one day closer to spring. Nearly every ancient culture had myths surrounding the... more

December 12, 2016

What weather is in store for us? Our ancestors lived close to the land and by observing the natural world they learned to predict what the seasons would bring. Clouds, birds, animals, and plants all provided clues. Proverbs, sayings, folk predictions, and superstitions were passed down through generations of hunters, farmers, and fishermen who relied upon this weather lore to predict storms and the severity of the coming winter. The study of weather proverbs is known as paroemieology. Most... more

December 6, 2016

Where does the poinsettia come from? Where was this traditional Christmas plant discovered? Are poinsettias poisonous? Learn more! No plant symbolizes Christmas quite like the poinsettia. More than 2 million of them will be sold this year, making it the largest potted flower crop grown in the US. There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias available in shades of red, pink, white,and yellow—solids, streaked, marbled, and multicolored. It makes it hard to pick just one! Some have even... more

November 30, 2016

Amaryllises are beautiful Christmas bulbs that are easy to care for. Find out how to buy the best amaryllis bulbs, how to plant the them, how to care for amaryllis, and how to make sure they bloom again next winter! No one gets more excited about amaryllis than a first-time grower. These big bulbs are easy to bring into bloom, and even a novice can expect success. Buying Amaryllis: Types of Bulbs When shopping for amaryllis bulbs, you can buy the boxed kits which contain not only a fat bulb... more

November 21, 2016

It’s time to deck the halls! Your garden is a ready source of interesting greenery, berries, dried flower heads, and seedpods. Mixed with freshly cut, fragrant evergreens, these natural items will enhance any wreath, swag, garland, or arrangement. If you don’t think it is worth the effort, check prices online and you’ll find that the green in Christmas refers to the color of money! It is time for nature’s green to make a comeback. Take a holiday from spending and head out to the garden to see... more

November 13, 2016

Half the enjoyment of a garden is being able to walk through the landscape and get close to nature. Consider a garden path or walkway as a design element. In the late fall, once most of the foliage has died back, it is easier to see what has been going on behind the scenes. Often called the season of simplicity, this is a good time of year to assess the structure of your landscape. Reduced to its fundamentals, new sight lines are open to view, and focal points—or, the lack of them—stand out.... more

November 6, 2016

There are lots of “gourdgeous” gourds available for decorating this time of year and I get many questions about growing and curing them. Types of Gourds There are three groups of gourds: Cucurbita pepo are the cute, colorful little ornamental gourds that make good decorations. They are closely related to pumpkins, summer squashes, and some winter squashes such as acorn and delicata. Lagenaria siceraria is a name that means drinking vessel since that is one of the many uses of these large,... more

November 4, 2016

There are many ways to preserve the tastes of summer to enjoy all year long but have you ever tried brewing? Simple wine, beer, mead, ale, flavored liqueurs, cordials, shrubs, and brandies can be made using the fruits—and also the vegetables, herbs, and flowers—of your labors. Home brewing has a long history; some anthropologists believe that beer is as old as civilization itself. They think that the change from a hunter-gatherer society to an agricultural one was due to the growing of grain... more

November 1, 2016

As the gardening season slows down, do you still have spring-flowering bulbs that you never planted? Don’t despair! Try potting them up to force into cheerful bloom this winter in the house.  It is easy enough to do and you will be glad you did it when they start blossoming while there is still snow on the ground. Temperature, moisture, sufficient cold period, and protection from rodents are the most important considerations. Some bulb varieties, like early single tulips, are easy to force.... more

October 20, 2016

Fall is here and most perennial gardens are looking a little tired. Time to get your garden cleaned up and ready for winter. Clean Up Debris As with the vegetable garden, any diseased or bug infested plant material needs to go—far away. Don’t put it in the compost pile. Debris from things like rusty hollyhocks, peonies with powdery mildew, leaf-spotted delphiniums, and other fungal-infected flowers should be removed from the garden. Leaves from a peony infected with powdery mildew should... more

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