Gardening With Tony

Toxic Plants In Home Gardens

toxic plants
UNITED STATES—Oleander that inhabits freeway medians is poisonous enough to be hazardous. Two tons of Buick cruising at 65 miles per hour past such oleander has more potential to be hazardous. The risk associated with toxic plants within freeway medians is as limited as their accessibility. Remarkably durable and resilient oleander is therefore quite practical. Realistically, established oleander is quite...

Perennial Plants Keep On Giving

perennial plants
UNITED STATES—Many popular annual bedding plants have potential to be perennial if they get a chance. Cyclamen commonly perform as a cool season annual, only until replacement with warm season annuals. However, after summer dormancy, their tubers can generate foliage and bloom again for several following winters. Replacement is just easier than maintenance. Real annuals complete their entire life cycles,...

Dog Days Of Summer Warmth

dog days of summer
UNITED STATES—Summer began more than a week ago. Subsequently, the dog days of summer continue from the third of July to the eleventh of August. These 40 dog days are the 20 days prior to and after the twenty-third of July. That is when the Sun aligns with Sirius, the Dog Star of the constellation of Canis Major, or...

Color Outside The Spectral Lines

color
UNITED STATES—Green is the most common floral color. It only seems to be rare amongst flowers because almost all green bloom relies on wind for pollination. Thus, neither color nor fragrance is useful to get the attention of pollinators. Actually, green flowers do not get much attention at all. They are easy to ignore in the wild, and generally...

Arid Climates Can Be Challenging

arid
UNITED STATES—'Mediterranean' translates as an adjective that describes being at the middle of the Earth. Those who inhabited that region many centuries ago considered the Mediterranean Sea to be central to their World. That was long ago and far away. Nonetheless, climates here and now are somehow Mediterranean. Maybe semi-arid climates of Italy are Californian. Mediterranean climates are temperately warm...

Drought Tolerance Necessitates Root Dispersion

drought tolerance
UNITED STATES—Fads certainly complicate gardening. Most are merely marketing tactics. Most are bogus. Many even contradict their justifications! For example, most new, trendy and supposedly sustainable plant cultivars are genetically weak because of extensive breeding. Drought tolerance likewise has potential to be a constructive fad but is so commonly misapplied. Incidentally, its terminology is somewhat inaccurate. Drought is an extended...

Foliar Color Goes Beyond Green

foliar
UNITED STATES—New England is famous for spectacular foliar color through autumn. Such color is merely seasonal though, and almost exclusive to deciduous vegetation. With few exceptions, its color range is limited to variations of yellow, orange, red or brown. It happens thousands of miles away and is difficult to replicate on such a grand scale with locally minimal chill. For...

Shear Hedges Seasonably And Properly

shear
UNITED STATES—There are rules to hedging. For example, hedges should be uniform and exclusive to just a single cultivar. A modern 'Green Beauty' boxwood will never conform within a hedge of more yellowish old-fashioned boxwood. Hedges should also remain within confinement. It is important to shear them back from obtrusion into walkways and other usable spaces. It is not as...

Nature Is Not Naturally Accommodating

nature
UNITED STATES—Gardening is quite unnatural. It involves unnatural cultivation of mostly unnaturally exotic (nonnative) species of plants. Irrigation delivers more water than seasonal rain provides. Fertilizers contribute more nutrients than endemic soils provide. Pesticides, if necessary, inhibit proliferation of pathogens. Nature simply could not accommodate such demands. Not only is gardening unnatural, but it also interferes with established ecosystems. Many...

Streets Might Benefit From Shade

streets
UNITED STATES—Shade has become less of a priority for modern urban gardens than it still is for older and more spacious suburban gardens. Significantly less sunlight reaches the ground of such confined gardens among taller and shadier homes and fences. Even where shade might be desirable, space for shade trees might be minimal. Streets are the primary exception. Streets, and...