Archive for the ‘Grow It’ Category

One domestic pursuit I’ve never been able to wrap my head around is gardening. It’s always seemed very complicated to me with its chemistry and logistics. Managing planting and blooming times; planning out a garden to allow for the plants to mature; understanding soil pH; making sure the buggers aren’t over- or under-watered, etc. etc. etc.

Am I overthinking this?

Maybe so.

Maybe if I planted a whole garden full of these beauties I’d be all set.


According to my emerald-thumbed friends, Hellebores are some of the easiest plants to grow. They’re perennials (so they’ll come back every year), they like shade, and they bloom from late winter to late spring (in the Northeast), so you get to enjoy them for months on the plant, or clipped and set in a bowl.


Gorgeous, right?

What do you have in your garden? Any easy-to-grow, easy-to-keep-alive plant suggestions for me?

Image and gardening credit: Valerie Schrade


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Image credit: Paige Lewin

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Goofproof Gardening

CalibrachoaWith crossed fingers that the sun will come out and stay out, I plan to hit my local garden center at the end of this week.  I’m notoriously bad about getting plants into the ground early in the season (somehow Massachusetts’ unoffocial gardening start date of May 15 always comes and goes without a second thought), but I’m not feeling so bad about it this year given the rain-induced plant mildew that seems to be appearing.  Anyway, Real Simple’s list of 10 almost-impossible-to-kill “goofproof” plants will definitely come in handy as I put together my shopping list:

  1. Verbena (full sun, heat-tolerant, let dry out before watering)
  2. New Guinea impatiens (partial sun, partial shade, keep moist)
  3. Geranium (full sun, heat-tolerant, drought-tolerant)
  4. Euphorbia (full to partial fun, partial shade, drought-tolerant)  
  5. Purple fountain grass (full to partial sun, partial shade, heat-tolerant, let dry out before watering)
  6. Coleus (partial sun, partial to full shade, heat-tolerant, keep moist)
  7. Calibrachoa (full sun, let dry out before watering)
  8. Sweet-potato vine (full to partial sun, partial shade, heat-tolerant, let dry out before watering)
  9. Begonia (full to partial sun, partial shade, heat-tolerant, drought-tolerant, let dry out before watering)
  10. Lantana (full sun, heat-tolerant, drought-tolerant, let dry out before watering)

Image: Cabaret White Calibrachoa

Image credit: Real Simple.com

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Sun Calculator

I yearn to be good gardener, and there’s no earthly reason why I shouldn’t be really. My mother has a prolific garden (there’s such a thing as a gardening gene, right?) and my husband spent every summer in high school and college running a completely legit landscaping business (not just a guy with a mower).  But excelling at gardening is something that has eluded me.  I think it’s because of poor planning.   

About this time every year, I find myself facing racks and racks of plants outside our local grocery store.  I pull pots down, trying out combinations for imaginary planters on my front steps or non-existent beds in my backyard.  Hydrangeas in the front?  Veggies in the back?  Plants are chosen, purchased, and home when it hits me…I have no idea how sunny or shady our property is.  I plant anyway, and a few weeks later everything is dead, or leggy, or something it wouldn’t be if it was planted in the right spot. 

Chalk it up to being away from the house too much or just not paying attention, but it turns out I’m not the only one who doesn’t know what’s going on in her yard during the day.  As I was perusing the June issue of Better Homes & Gardens this weekend, I came across the SunCal — a little device that measures the amount of sunlight hitting a particular area during 12 hours of exposure.  Seems I might have a better chance with those planters this year after all.  

Find stores listed here for the SunCalc Sunlight Calculator, $30

Image credit: SunCalc

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