Covering Ground

Book Review: The Hidden Half of Nature

David Montgomery and Ann Bikle peer into the scientific community's current understanding of the microbial world and its interactions with plants, insects, animals, and people. The writers, a husband and wife team, also bring a personal angle to their motivation for digging into the fast-emerging field of microbial medicine.

Rhododendron planted in the wrong place, results in poor plant health "Bring Me a Shrubbery!"
Who'd have thought the dreaded Knight Who Says 'Ni" had something to teach about plant selection?
Seeds germinate in the top three inches of soil. Avoid stirring soil to avoid weed seeds near the surface. Let sleeping dogs (and weed seeds) lie

For many of us, May seems like the very beginning of the growing season. The tomatoes are still in the greenhouse and squash seeds still in the packet.

But by May 15, many weedy plants are already dropping the year's first crop of viable seeds. To reduce future weeds, we need to pull or dead-head seedheads before they can spread.

Baby girl visits a container-grown raspberry. Photo by Don't contain your enthusiasm when it comes to container growing

When it comes to container gardens for the home grower, what's not to like? 

Container-grown plants can live close to the kitchen door, convenient to watch, water, and harvest. They are easier to protect from deer and other critters. They largely avoid the weeds and diseases that often visit in-ground gardens.

Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) Plan an Herbicide-Free Attack on Landscape Weeds

(See the complete article at The Day.)

There are no weed-free landscapes, but luckily there are good alternatives to herbicides for some weeds. But we need a plan. 

Japanese barberry thorns Beware the first leaves of spring

Think of them as bait-and-switch artists. They're among the first to leaf out in the shade of backyards, street edges, town parks, and forests.

But take a closer look.

Winterburn on boxwood Early spring is a great time to assess health of shrubs and trees

Have you seen trees and shrubs turning brown or ashen gray on one side at the end of winter? You may be looking at winterburn. It's a condition that usually occurs on the south and southwest sides of needled and broadleaf evergreens when winter sunshine heats one side of the plant above the ambient temperature and wrecks havoc on the plant's internal moisture system.

Gardening Under Lights by Leslie F. Halleck Shedding some light on the latest in grow lights

I have long wished I could find horticultural lighting that didn't cost a fortune to operate. For several years, I've revisited the topic of LED lights for indoor growing. At last, their day has arrived.

Deer damage arborvitae Deer, Landscape Plants, and the Winter of 2018

Will landscape plants see lots of deer damage in the winter of 2018? Could be . . . and here's a reason: The preceding summer didn't produce a large crop of acorns and nuts from oak and beech trees. In other words, 2017 wasn't a "mast year."

Tower Hill Botanic Gardens Winter Reimagined Winter nights mean warm lights at two regional botanical gardens

November may seem an odd time to think about botanic gardens, but two of southern New England’s best-known tempt us outdoors with colorful holiday events from Thanksgiving to New Years.