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Improve Poor Drainage

Follow these tips to transform a poorly drained area into an easy-care garden.

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Tips and Tricks to Keep Plants Blooming

Deadheading is a popular practice ¿ but do you know all the ways to keep flowers on your plants longer? Follow these easy tips for keeping your favorite shrubs and flowers blooming longer.

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Top Plant Picks for Late-Summer Color

Keep the color coming on strong through the end of the growing season with these easy-care, reliable annuals and perennials.

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Plan for a Gorgeous Fall Landscape

See how two great gardeners -- one on the East Coast and one on the West -- created knock-your-socks-off fall yards -- and learn how you can do the same.

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Best Plants for Rock Gardens

Transforming an unsightly slope or mound in your backyard into a colorful rock garden is easy when you chose the right plants. These amazing, low-maintenance ground huggers don't mind poor soil but do need good drainage to survive. Here's a list of our top plants for rock gardens.

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How to Dry Hydrangeas

Use this technique to dry hydrangea blossoms for year-round enjoyment.

For a few weeks each summer, Gloria Ward's dining room table is all about hydrangeas. Gloria, whose Atlanta-area garden is a showcase for her favorite flowering shrub, sets up a convenient dining-room laboratory where she dries blossoms cut from her garden.

The process begins mid to late summer when Gloria strolls through the garden in search of viable candidates. "You should cut the blooms as soon as they feel papery and less supple than they were earlier in the season," she says. The papery stage typically occurs at least six weeks after the flowers open, although sunlight can hasten maturity.

Learn how to dry peonies.

In the coolness of morning, Gloria arms herself with pruning shears and a bucket of water. She collects flower heads, cutting stems at an angle, stripping leaves, and placing the cuttings in water.

Indoors, she recuts the stems at varying lengths and places them in jars containing about four inches of water, about a half-dozen stems per jar. By staggering stem heights, each head benefits from air circulation, which is crucial in drying. Gloria then places the jars in her dining room, out of direct sunlight or bright light, for one to two weeks. If, after that time, the water has evaporated and the flowers still aren't dry, she adds more water and gives the blooms more drying time.

Compared to the bright, clear colors of fresh blooms, air-dried hydrangeas take on muted hues. Once the blooms are dry, Gloria arranges them in vases, wreaths, and topiaries. When displayed away from humidity and direct sunlight, dried hydrangeas last indefinitely.


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