Archive for March 2009

Magnolias: A Gardener’s Guide by Jim Gardiner

If you’re like me, you might be interested in not only the cultivation requirements and growing habits of many garden plants, but the stories behind them and how they came to be. Jim Gardiner’s book Magnolias offers detailed information on some of the most interesting cultivated magnolias as well as the story on how magnolias came to be such significant garden plants. Gardiner also goes in depth with common pests and diseases to this group of plants as well as the best cultivation and propagation techniques. Hybrids, cultivars, and species are discussed and a useful list of recommended magnolias is …

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Why Plant Conservation?

On Sunday, March 15, Dr. Peter H. Raven gave a very thought-provoking acceptance speech for the 2009 Scott Medal and Award where he was recognized for his outstanding national contribution to the science and the art of gardening. Described by Time magazine as a “Hero for the Planet,” Dr. Raven impressed the importance of plant conservation in a rapidly changing world.

It is important to recognize that we depend on plants for food, medicine, and ecosystem processes. Probably 300,000 valid species have been named, perhaps 50,000 to 100,000 more are yet to be discovered. But even of those plants that …

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Mulching Woody Plants

As I see more and more people getting busy in their gardens, and crews of landscapers busy mulching trees in parks, along streets and at local businesses, this is a good time to revisit the reason for mulching woody plants and the proper method to do so.


Trees planted in urbanized or developed environments such as city parks, near roads or buildings, or in cultivated gardens or lawns are often exposed to stresses not usually found in woodlands or natural environments. We remove the natural source of nutrients available to plants when we rake leaves, remove topsoil from construction …

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