Gardening With Tony

Good Roots Are Seldom Seen

UNITED STATES—When a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one around to hear it, does it make a sound? Of course it does! There is just no one to hear it. Why should that be such a profound question? A falling tree makes a mess too. Anyone who does not see or hear it in action...

Pull Weeds Before They Seed

UNITED STATES—Spring brings out the best and the worst in the garden. While warm season annuals and vegetables are getting established, so are a variety of weeds. Just like other annuals and perennials, they respond to the changing weather. Cool weather and moisture stratified their seed through winter. Warming moist soil prompts germination. Warm and sunny spring weather prompts...

Vines Are Naturally Social Climbers

UNITED STATES—If more of us knew how vines compete in the wild, fewer of us would grow them in our home gardens. Understory plants that are satisfied with the sunlight that reaches them through a higher forest canopy are the most passive. Taller trees compete for sunnier exposure above. Vines are the most aggressive as they climb and overwhelm...

Colorful Berries Linger Through Winter

UNITED STATES—Just as many flowers attract pollinators with color, some types of fruit employ color to get the attention of birds and other animals. Just as many flowers reward their pollinators with nectar, fruit is its own reward to the animals that eat it. The only catch is that those who want the fruit must disperse the seed within....

Leaves Are Starting To Fall

UNITED STATES—Autumn color is different every year. Sometimes, early and sudden cool weather after a mild summer promotes good foliar color that lingers longer while relaxed trees slowly realize that they should probably start to defoliate. Sometimes, early wind and rain accelerate defoliation of otherwise good color. There are a few variables that trees must adapt their performance to. Warm...

Recycle And Repurpose Overgrown Perennials

UNITED STATES—Just like anything else that gets planted in the garden, new perennials seem to be so cute and innocent. They get even better as they mature. Some grow and spread to impressive proportions. Then...some perennials get to be too large. Some get overgrown enough to obscure their own appealing characteristics or other plants. Others get crowded enough to...

Living Christmas Trees Grow Up

UNITED STATES—All around town, there are Italian stone pines, Canary Island pines, Monterey pines and Aleppo pines that are much too big for the home gardens that they live in. Some are too close to pavement or foundations. Others are under utility cables. Many are shading or crowding out other more desirable plants. What most have in common is...

Houseplants Bring The Outdoors In

UNITED STATES—Philodendrons, dracaenas, ferns, palms or any sort of tropical foliage inside our homes only create an illusion of closeness to nature. Naturally, these plants live in very different climates, mostly thousands of miles away. Not only do they have no business in our homes; they have no business on the North American Continent. Some can live in the...

Street Wise About Street Trees

UNITED STATES—There is no such thing as a perfect tree. Every tree has foliage that one way or another, eventually falls to the ground. Every tree has roots that might try to displace something that gets in its way. Many trees are messy in bloom. Some make messy fruit. Except for palms, every tree has branches that can be...

Vines Do Not Replace Hedges

UNITED STATES—Urban homes are innately close to other urban homes. Newer homes are even closer to each other than older homes are, and are more imposing. Establishing or maintaining privacy can be a challenge, especially for high windows in narrow spaces. Even though home builders prefer to place windows strategically, some windows invariably face into neighboring windows or gardens. Trellised...
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