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Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Coping with Slopes

Gardening on a level lot is challenging enough, but when you have a sloping site, you have a whole other set of design and maintenance factors to consider. The soil is often dry and rocky, making planting a hassle, and rainfall tends to run off before it can soak in, carrying away precious topsoil and mulch — and sometimes even the plants, too — and leaving you a muddy mess to clean up at the bottom. On a steep slope, simply trying to get around for planting and maintenance can be downright dangerous. Continue Reading →

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GBDW – The Garden in Fall Wrap-Up

Muhlenbergia capillaris Calamagrostis KF Oct 22 06

With the great gardening weather in many parts of the country, it’s much more tempting to be working in the garden than writing about it. But several of our dependable GBDW participants came through again for us this month, treating us to portraits and galleries of their favorite plants and combinations to add sparkle to the autumn garden. So, if you’re looking to extend the display of color in your own garden, or if you’re always on the lookout for great new plants to try, here are lots of links for you to check out. Continue Reading →

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Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – The Garden in Fall

 Helenium Coppelia Sanguisorba Aug 29 09

Here in Pennsylvania, fall has made an early appearance, before summer ever had much of a chance to settle in. But that’s fine by me, because autumn is definitely my favorite time of year in the garden. Sure, I can appreciate the glories of spring bulbs and ephemerals, as well as the beauty of mid-spring to early summer borders, but my own gardens get a much later start, not looking like much until late July or early August. I’ve found that, in many ways, creating a great late-season display is much easier than orchestrating an earlier show, partly because it gives me a lot more time to get my garden cleaned up and the annuals and tropicals  planted. And well, there are just so many possibilities for working color into the later-season garden. Continue Reading →

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GBDW Time in a Garden Wrap-Up

 Long Border changes 2008

We gardeners tend to be rather critical of our own efforts, seldom satisfied with whatever progress we’ve made and sometimes disappointed with how our plants have performed (or rather, not performed). Taking the time to sort through old photos and put together posts that show how things have changed over time can be a great way to remind ourselves that we really are doing a good job.

Seeing progressions of other gardens over the seasons and over the years is useful for all of us, often giving us ideas and inspiration for our own planting projects. Another lesson we can all take away from this month’s workshop is that we can never have too many “before” photos. So it’s a smart idea to wander around the yard a few times a year and take lots of pictures from many different angles, just in case, and to always grab a camera before you grab a shovel or sod cutter.

I’d like to thank all of you who took the time to participate this month, by posting or reading or both. I’d also like to give a special thanks to Craig of Ellis Hollow for showing a technique in his post that’s completely new to me: how to make videos out of a series of photos taken from one spot, based on instructions from Very cool! Now, on to this month’s posts: Continue Reading →

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Garden Bloggers’ Design Workshop – Time in a Garden

Front path April 19 08 and early Aug 05

Of all the many skills we gardeners have to learn, one of the most challenging – as well as the most valuable – is the ability to see into the future. We need to be able to predict how fast a plant will grow, so we can figure out how much space to give it at planting time. We need to be able to envision what shape it will ultimately have (or can be coaxed into), so we can figure out if it will be suitable for a particular site. And we need to be able to guess when it will be at its peak, so we can select partners to complement its beauty. Being able to predict the future isn’t a skill we can pick up in just a few hours, or even a few seasons. It’s a learning process that lasts as long as our gardens do. Continue Reading →

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