Category Archives: Environmental Concerns

Slow mulch and hedge fun

My late friend, Fanny Phillips (1928–2004), was an enthusiast for many things. She wasn’t so much a gardener as a passionate collector and student of mostly exotic plants. She gave me my Bowiea volubilis (below right), as well as several flats of snowdrops from her compost piles, where they had naturalized. But she was especially … Continue reading Slow mulch and hedge fun

More about Mountain Mints

Way back in March 2018, I wrote about Pycnanthemum, the mountain mints (there are several). These rewarding plants are powerhouse attractors of pollinators and provide winter interest with their interesting dried flowerheads. Back then, I had two: Pycnanthemum muticum (the most common species that you’re likely to find on sale) and P. tenuifolium (narrow-leaf mountain … Continue reading More about Mountain Mints

Winter is coming

In the meantime, we’ve had a remarkable beginning of November, haven’t we? The nice weather is great for admiring the glorious fall foliage (see my lovely fothergilla!) and for doing things in the garden before winter sets in. This season of changes brings revelations and opportunities. For instance, when their leaves change color, scores of … Continue reading Winter is coming

The Nativity Scene

Gardeners have many motivations for trying to grow more native plants: supporting insects, birds, and other creatures for their own sake; attracting beneficial insects to attack pests on our plants; choosing plants that are well-adapted to our region’s soils and climate; and simply enjoying the many and varied native plants that are becoming more available … Continue reading The Nativity Scene

Desperately Seeking Phacelia

Last month I mentioned detecting the mottled green leaves of Phacelia bipinnatifida, a biennial that is quietly waiting for spring (aren’t we all?) to begin producing its attractive purple flowers. This is one of those plants that can self-seed prolifically in the right conditions, which turns out to be leaf litter under deciduous trees. (Another … Continue reading Desperately Seeking Phacelia