Everyday Gardeners

Plant. Grow. Live.

March 2011

Perhaps I can force myself to stop watching the bald eagle cam (http://www.raptorresource.org/falcon_cams/) in Decorah, Iowa, long enough to show you what I found in my front yard when I woke up yesterday. Mind you, this pair of eagles is tending to three good-sized eggs, which are due to start hatching any day now, but here’s what I found:

My witch hazel (Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’), which has been blooming its head off for almost a month now, was covered with a couple of inches of heavy, late-season snow. Despite some recent disparaging remarks posted recently at a popular garden blog proclaiming witch hazels as not garden-worthy, I find their coppery tassels and spicy scent intoxicating at this time of year. It reminds me of the aroma of witch hazel at the old-school barbershop in Broad Ripple, Indiana, where my brothers and I dreaded boyhood haircuts. The essential oil, distilled from the leaves and bark, is a mild astringent used in skin care products. The natived shrub remin ded European colonists of the English “wych hazels,” whose branches were used as diving rods to locate underground water and minerals.

Poet Robert Frost—about the time of World War I—described a New England hired hand’s complaint about a young college boy:

“He said he couldn’t make the boy believe

He could find water with a hazel prong—

Which showed how much good school had ever

done him.”

It’s Wednesday…that means time to show off some fantastic photos from the BHG Share My Gallery.

First off, jpman adorable outdoor room from reader jpm!


Next, a gorgeous summer garden scene from reader englek1582889

Summer Garden


And third, a simple but elegant container from reader bridget473



Last week I was in Southern California surrounded by hundreds of blooming camellias at Descanso Gardens and the Huntington Botanical Gardens. Here are just a dozen of them. Which is your favorite?

Camellia japonica 'Commander Mulroy'

Camellia japonica 'Haku-Tsuru'

Camellia japonica 'Lady Clare'

Camellia japonica 'Little Susie'

Camellia japonica 'Margaret Davis'

Camellia japonica 'Margaret Walker'

Camellia japonica 'May Ingram'

Camellia japonica 'Royal Velvet'

Camellia japonica 'Silver Chalice'

Camellia japonica 'Yours Truly'

Camellia X 'Fire Chief'

Camellia X 'Senritsu-Ko'

Looking for a quick way to add a little curb appeal to your yard? Try a parking-strip garden!

The little stretch of lawn between the street and the sidewalk may be a great place to add color (and it’s one less area you have to mow).

First off, check for local restrictions before planting; some communities don’t allow parking-strip gardens without permission from the municipality. Others may have restrictions on how tall/wide plants in a parking strip can grow.

To keep your parking strip usable for guests who may park on the street in front of your home, consider running mulch or flagstone pathways through your garden to give them a way to walk through.

Need inspiration? Check out this stunning example, which features:

  • Supertunia Vista Bubblegum petunias
  • Snow Princess sweet alyssum
  • ‘Redbor’ kale
  • ‘Perfume Deep Purple’ nicotiana
  • Variegated iris
  • Chives


blog1Last week, for the third time in a row, I had the opportunity to judge the trial gardens at Costa Farms, near Homestead, Florida. At first blush, it seems an easy thing to do—just wander through bed after bed of beautiful flowers on a sunny Florida morning. But, in reality, it’s hard work, evaluating each plant on four important criteria: growth uniformity, foliage appeal, flower power/size, and consumer appeal. Fellow judges included Heather Will-Browne from Disney and Dr. Alan Armitage from the University of Georgia. Here are a few of my favorite picks (left to right, top to bottom) that you should watch for in your garden, this year or next.


It’s Wednesday…that means time to show off some fantastic photos from the BHG Share My Gallery.

First off, a great summer border from reader egilb19:

Summer Border


Next, a fun outdoor path from reader barbee789!

Garden Pathway


And finally, a great outdoor room from reader leximam!

Outdoor Room

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