Gardening With Tony

Winter Is The Main Season For Pruning

winter
UNITED STATES—Plants are unable to migrate to warmer climates for winter like so many migratory birds do. They are immobile for their entire lives. Only potted plants can move to more sheltered situations when the weather gets too cool for them. Some get to live inside as houseplants. Otherwise, they all must contend with seasonally changing weather. Most are...

Christmas Trees Are Major Cut Foliage

Christmas
UNITED STATES—Cut foliage is a common ingredient of ready-made mixed bouquets. Bundles and individual stems of cut foliage are available with cut flowers from florists. Cut foliage is the primary component of most wreaths and garlands that are now so popular for Christmas décor. It is another horticultural commodity like cut flowers, bulbs or nursery stock. Cut foliage is...

Colorful Berries Brighten Wintry Gardens

colorful berries
UNITED STATES—It is no coincidence that so many colorful berries ripen in autumn as migratory birds migrate south for winter. Such berries are intended for both migratory and overwintering birds. Rodents and other wildlife are welcome to take what they want as well. Most colorful berries are bright red, to get the attention of birds and wildlife. They are...

Planters Are Overrated But Functional

planters
UNITED STATES—Container gardening is overrated. The endemic soil here is not so bad that nothing will grow in it. What is now suburban gardens was formerly famously productive farmland! Soil amendments make the soil more comfortable to plants with more discriminating taste. Plants that are too discriminating are probably not worth accommodating. With few exceptions, planters are unnecessary. Plants naturally...

Mess Is Not Limited To The Deciduous

mess
UNITED STATES—Nature is messy. It is that simple. Leaves, flowers, fruits and stems regularly fall from vegetation onto the ground. Animals contribute their mess too. Insects and microorganisms seem to eliminate most of the mess. In reality, they merely accelerate the process of recycling the mess back into more mess. Decomposing organic matter sustains viable vegetation as it perpetuates...

Dividing Perennials Equates To Multiplying

dividing
UNITED STATES—This seems like bad algebra. Horticulturally, dividing and multiplying really are the same. Division is the separation of crowded perennials into smaller, but more numerous portions. It multiplies the number of individual plants. The smaller portions perform better than they did while crowded. Division is both a method of vegetative (clonal) propagation, and a form of healthy social...

Tree Surgeons Evolved Into Arborists

tree surgeons
UNITED STATES—Arborists are very specialized horticulturists. They prefer to work with trees. Of course that is not as simple as it sounds. Some are nurserymen who grow trees. Some select appropriate trees for landscape design. Even some of the orchardists who work with many trees of a similar type have earned this prestigious designation. Decades ago, we still knew...

Leaf Litter Is Perfectly Natural

leaf litter
UNITED STATES—Forests lack gardeners. In the wild, there is no one to rake fallen leaves or blow them away. Foliage falls from trees and onto the ground, where it stays as it decomposes. It is the natural process. Raking and blowing leaf litter away is unnatural. It deprives the soil and organisms that inhabit it of significant organic matter...

Color Is Not Black And White

color
UNITED STATES—Several months ago, warm season vegetable plants replaced cool season vegetable plants. More recently, new cool season vegetable plants began to grow from seed, to replace warm season vegetable plants. Annual vegetables grow only within specific seasons. As they finish, they relinquish their space to those that grow in the next season. Annual color operates in the same...

Autumn Color From Deciduous Foliage

autumn color
UNITED STATES—Autumn does not get cool enough locally to prevent everything from blooming. A few plants can bloom sporadically all year except only during the coolest part of winter. A few plants naturally bloom in autumn. Cool season annuals begin blooming before warm season annuals finish. Flowers can potentially provide plenty of autumn color if necessary. A mild climate...
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