The Gardener's Apprentice

New This Month

Got dry shade? Try variegated bugleweed (Ajuga reptans) for color and coverage in daunting conditions.

Tips

As you do routine garden maintenance chores, think of ways you can simplify your garden. Sometimes rearranging a few plants, getting rid of a ground cover that doesn’t work or thinning out a stand of overgrown perennials can improve the look and feel of the garden.



August 11, 2014
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
0 comments

Jazz Bugles

Never say “never” in the garden. It always comes back to haunt you. For years I swore that I would never buy carpet bugle or bugleweed—Aujga reptans—under any circumstances. After all, my property came with an abundant supply that has increased exuberantly over time. Every spring the blue-purple spires light up the entire back garden, where the plants have spread into the lawn and insinuated themselves into every flower bed. I don’t mind them at all. Growing grass in the lower back yard is a tough proposition and once the bloom period is over, bugleweed can tolerate light to moderate foot traffic. Unwanted plants are easy to pull out. In places where it thrives, it has the added benefit of outcompeting most weeds, attracting ...

Click here to read the full article

August 4, 2014
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
0 comments

Beautiful Balloons

Lately the balloon flower—Platycodon grandiflorus—has been stalking me. As I wander through garden centers in search of mid-summer bargains, the inflated buds pop out from the pallets. A neighbor’s border overflows with a blue-flowered variety. Last week, on a visit to the main garden of the Cloisters museum in Upper Manhattan, I saw a giant healthy clump resplendent in the mid-summer sun. Perennial balloon flowers are perennially popular, but since I last wrote about them six years ago, they have clearly taken off. Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix, writing over a decade ago in their wonderful book, The Botanical Garden, mentioned that balloon flower is popular in Europe, North and South and Japan. My hometown may not be a microcosm of the ...

Click here to read the full article

July 28, 2014
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
0 comments

Hot Gardening

Some days you feel as creative as a lump of wet clay. Other days, the creative juices flow. For unaccountable reasons, mine have been flowing, though the days have been hot and sticky. The present creative burst is a good thing, because my garden is in need of a considerable amount of attention. I have a patch of raised bed that is doing nothing except serving as a setting for a large groundhog hole. I am going to remake the bed even though conditions outdoors are miserable. What’s more, I am going to remake it with supplies on hand. At this time of year I always hear the siren song of garden center plant sales, but at the moment the ready cash supply is low. The garden thrives, but the computer, dishwasher, washing machine and string ...

Click here to read the full article

July 21, 2014
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
0 comments

Chelsea Fringe

For the past hundred and one years, the Chelsea Flower Show has celebrated the best in English horticulture and garden design. Sponsored by the Royal Horticultural Society, it is a much-anticipated five-day plant extravaganza that attracts thousands of people. While not nearly as fusty as it once was, it is necessarily bound by a certain amount of tradition and structure. Regular people, especially those with modest incomes, can only gaze with awe—or other emotions—at the sponsored exhibition gardens, which cost a great deal to design and build. The Chelsea Flower Show is a glorious spectacle, with something for everyone; but several years ago, garden writer Tim Richardson came up with an idea for an event that was complementary, but ...

Click here to read the full article