In Praise of Japanese Maples

In Praise of Japanese Maples

For years, I’ve been asked repeatedly, “What’s your favorite plant”? It’s a difficult question to answer, because there are so many incredible candidates. But the other day, while pruning my Acer palmatum ‘Shishigashira’ bonsai, I came to the realization that my favorite plant – or more specifically plant group – would have to be Japanese maples.

Soil is Alive!

Soil is Alive!

That’s right. Soil is alive. It’s a living organism. And until you get your head around that concept, you’ll never really get gardening. Sorry, but it’s true. So make those three words your gardening mantra. Carve them into the handle of your favorite shovel. Paint them graffiti-style on your fence. Shout them out at the top of your lungs for all your neighbors to hear!

Damage Assessment

Damage Assessment

Morning lows earlier this week were colder than a polar bear’s paws. As a result I had at least a dozen friends ask me what effect, if any, the way-below-freezing temperatures might have had on landscape plants. My responses ranged from “We’ll have to wait and see” to “It’s a goner” depending on the plant in question. Here’s why.

Moles on the Move!

Moles on the Move!

A post about moles may seem decidedly unromantic on Valentine’s Day, but bear with me. You see moles are making their moves, so to speak, evidenced by their extensive tunneling. And while they’re certainly on the hunt for food, they’re also hunting for a mate. Yes, my friends, it’s mole mating season, the most romantic time of the year for moles.

Beyond the Bouquet

Beyond the Bouquet

I’ve never swooned my sweetie with cut flowers on Valentine’s Day, because I don’t want to express my love with something that’s here today, gone tomorrow. And a dozen, grossly overpriced (and often fragrant-free) roses always struck me as a predictable, last-minute decision. That’s why I prefer to go beyond the bouquet and give live plants instead.

Soil Test, Anyone?

Soil Test, Anyone?

When is the last time you had your soil tested? Or perhaps more to the point, have you ever had your soil tested? Chances are the answer to the first question is “Can’t remember,” and the answer to the second is “No.” And that’s too bad, because a soil test can reveal problems you never knew you had and make a huge difference in how well your plants grow.