Make portable bouquets for Mom that are big on charm and easy on the pocket.
Jean Giono's short tale is a beautiful reminder that anyone, no matter how humble, can effect remarkable, positive change.
Conversation candy hearts: an awkwardly cool blast from the past.
Neufchatel cheese and fresh fruit make this low-carb dessert a real Valentine's day winner!
Beat the winter blues with delicious home-grown mushrooms.
A few hours in the life of an illegal immigrant
One of a series written from the perspective of a color.
One of a series of poems written from the perspective of a color.
I was too shy to ask the librarian where the children’s books were located, so the first books I read were adult novels & poems located in the perfect spot for the extremely bashful— near the exit.
Whether they're on the side of the road, in a crack in the sidewalk or in the middle of our flowerbeds, we LOVE LOVE LOVE these weeds.
How to encourage oak tree regeneration on your property.
An adventure in windowsill gardening.
"First Day" Hikes, sponsored by U.S. state parks, are a healthy way to start the New Year.
This year, resolve to dispose of your Christmas tree in an earth-friendly way.
Links to free quality fiction
Make two quarts of dill pickles in under an hour.
The President signed sham GMO-labelling bill S.764 into law. The law narrowly defines GMOs & fails to penalize companies that don't comply with labeling requirements.
An old plant that's my new favorite, starflower (also called borage) attracts pollinators, hosts butterflies & can improve garden productivity. It's also tasty. (Recipes included.)
Bold ideas for mixed container gardening that break conventional rules.
Inexpensive and ordinary, clay pots possess a pleasingly earthy appeal.
A sweet Halloween treat.
Freezing seconds from local farmers is an easy, inexpensive way to stock up on tomatoes and NEVER BUY CANNED TOMATOES AGAIN!
Fresh ingredients & a short cooking time make for a quick & easy pasta sauce that tastes as fresh as summer.
Ask an Expert is a free online service provided to gardeners worldwide through US cooperative extensions.
Select the best sage for your garden.
Includes recipes for hot & iced lemon balm tea, plus tips for growing & harvesting lemon balm at home.
Chalkboard paint pots make it easy to track the progress of your container vegetable garden.
If you'd like to host a puddle club party for butterflies in your garden, here are five easy ways to attract lots of gorgeous guests.
Deer-resistant, drought-resistant & low-maintenance, these summer-blooming beauties are so tough they should be named Chuck Norris!
These 10 best practices for successfully starting seed will help your fall garden grow— even when it's hot outside.
Liriope muscari, a favorite of professional landscapers, is as versatile as it is easy to grow.
If you see yellow garden spiders in your garden, don't squash them! Be thankful. Argiope aurantia are large, bright, beautiful and beneficial predators. They are also a sign of healthy garden ecology.
Dolichos lablab or Lablab purpureus, commonly called hyacinth bean, is a fast-growing tropical vine with large leaves, purple flowers & seed pods that are safe to eat in small amounts when immature.
Truly blue flowers can be tough to find, but Appalachian gentian really produces them, developing large buds that bloom into beautiful blue flowers in late summer/early fall.
Eggshell seed-starting pots are my new biodegradable favorites! Economical, practical & cute, they make starting seeds at home fun and easy.
Pink turtlehead (Chelone lyonii) blooms in late summer and fall. Gorgeous in butterfly gardens, rain gardens, and alongside water features, it will naturalize if conditions are right.
From fighting off pesky nematodes to decorating wedding ceremonies, French marigolds have many unique uses. No wonder these fascinating plants are loved the world over.
Blenko Glass Company produces hand-blown art glass as well as water jugs, drinking glasses, salad bowls & other functional glassware.
Losing plants during the brutally hot days of summer doesn't have to happen. You can protect flowers, vegetables & trees from heat & drought with a few smart gardening practices.
Attract swallowtail butterflies to your yard with golden alexanders (Zizia aurea), one of the preferred foods of swallowtail caterpillars, which feed on the leaves & flowers.
Tips from deer expert Scott Hygnstrom of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln School of Natural Resources, Hobby Farms magazine & yours truly for deterring & repelling deer in suburbia--without a gun.
This quick overview of the Japanese art of flower arranging explains three basic differences between traditional Western floral arrangements & ikebana.
Eight simple ideas for making Fourth of July container gardens, from pots dressed with flags to folk art boxes & quaint tin cans.
Things you may not know about Helianthus annus, the sunflower.
Want beautiful, healthy black-eyed Susan the organic way? Try these garden management techniques that help prevent the rust, gray mold and mildew that often plague Rudbeckia hirta.
Thinking about building a log house? Check out these useful sources of information concerning building materials, builders & more.
With a little effort, you can turn one coleus plant into a flowerbed of bright color with ease. Here's how to propagate these gorgeous ornamental plants in four easy steps.
If you use barnyard manure, be sure to ask your source if herbicides have been used anywhere the animals have grazed. One herbicide in particular, aminopyralid, creates killer poop that ruins gardens.
Add a little birdcage to your home/garden with this simple DIY birdcage planter. It's a fun weekend project that (once you've collected the materials) only takes a few hours to complete.
For a unique outdoor vacation, visit the Cranberry Glades Botanical Area in Cranberry Glades, WV. Descendants of seed that rooted there over 10,000 years ago still thrive in this botanical anomaly.
Spring & fall are the ideal times to propagate chives by division. Dividing chives into small clumps & potting/planting them is relatively simple. Here's how I did it this spring.
Harvesting & saving hollyhock seeds is a fun project that's easy enough for beginners & rewarding enough for seasoned gardeners.
Have a sunny window in your bathroom? Why not raise "bathtub" herbs for creating your own lotions, toners & washes? Lavender, santolina & other "cosmetic" herbs are as easy to grow as culinary ones.
Stacking gives old containers a new look. They can also be less expensive & lighter weight than conventional planters, requiring fewer plants & less potting soil —if you make them like I do.
Birdcages are one of this year's hottest decorating trends. And repurposing birdcages as containers for plants and flowers is one of the simplest ways to use them in the home/garden.
Velcro ties are excellent reusable ties for staking tomatoes, training climbing roses & providing support for other plants in the garden. Here are some of the reasons I like them so much.
Check out the 2013 International Flower & Garden Festival at Florida's Disney Epcot! It's happening now through May 19, and it's better than ever before.
Hidden Lake Gardens is a beautiful place to visit year round. Operated by MSU, the 755-acre arboretum hosts lots of special seasonal events, like the Fall Foliage Festival & the Spring Bulb Show.
Ah, the 1970s—when bell-bottoms were groovy jeans, shag carpeting was all the rage, "salad" was made from Jello and canned-soup casseroles offered the ultimate in comfort food.
Once you grasp the basics, knitting can be absolutely addictive!
If you live in the U.S., USDA hardiness zone maps can help you pick the best plants for your garden. Check out the USDA online map & get links for downloading & printing maps of your state or region.
Free seed? It's not too good to be true. You CAN get free seed--without writing a check, providing credit card information or sharing your own seed. Here are 5 sources for really free seed. Really.
For greener, lusher houseplants, apply a solution of unflavored gelatin and water once a month.
Don't spend loads of money on store-bought potting soil! If you compost, you can make your own potting mix. All it takes is some time and a little effort.
Pretty summer annuals like cosmos, zinnia, marigold, nasturtium, portulaca & sweet pea are not only easy to grow, but they're also dependable self-seeders.
Pole beans, corn and squash are ideal vegetables for interplanting, improving the health and productivity of all three plants.
No cottage or country garden would be complete without showy stalks of hollyhock (A. rosea.) From germination to storing seeds, this guide makes growing these old-fashioned favorites a little easier.
Sedum 'Autumn Joy,' colloquially known as Live Forever, is no garden diva. It isn't fussy. It isn't showy. It has character—and a subtle beauty every season of the year.
These super tough bee balm hybrids are virtually impervious to powdery mildew and rust. In summer, they produce bright, scented flowers hummingbirds, butterflies & bees (especially bees) love.
Want to "spice" up your garden? Add a few clumps of 'Hot Papaya' Echinacea. Everything about this bold purple coneflower hybrid is hot, hot, hot—from its sweet-as- honey scent and large, double blossoms to its vivid red and orange color.
These wine cork projects are easy. Really, really easy. Not only do they require little skill, but also very few materials— other than wine corks. Even I can do them!
An outdoor tour may not seem like a good winter pastime at first glance, but the garden and grounds of Historic Sotterley Plantation of Southern Maryland have enough visual and historical interest to occupy even a chilly December afternoon.
Here are some organic solutions for dealing with weeds in cracks, some more permanent than others.
What should you do with a miniature Christmas tree now that the holidays are over? Here are two ideas for keeping them alive and looking good.
Magic Lilies are beautiful summer bloomers that are ideal for borders, beds, and fairy gardens.
Gold Leaf gardening gloves are the best I've used. They offer long-lasting, outstanding protection and comfort. They also allow the dexterity gardeners need when weeding, pruning, harvesting, potting or doing any of the other numerous tasks that gardeners do.
Edle Catharina Norman's "Beautiful Winter" provides instructions (with photos) for over 50 winter decorations made from organic materials, each one lovely enough to brighten a wintry world.
This fall, layer flower bulbs in outdoor pots for gorgeous container gardens next spring.
Barbara Pleasant's The Complete Houseplant Survival Manual: Essential Know-How for Keeping (Not Killing) More Than 160 Plants lives up to its title, offering copious information for cultivating and displaying a wide number of popular & unusual houseplants.
From hardy perennial pansies to pansy hybrids, there are so many "flavors" to choose from that growing pansies year round is a snap in Zones 2-10. Here's an overview of some of the best, including cold-tolerant beauties and heat-resistant heavy bloomers.
Directions for making no-fuss gifts with fresh & dried herbs: herb-flavored sugar, vinegar & oil; herbal skin toner & hand soap; herbal incense; & herbal hankie sachets.
5 tips for extending the lives of poinsettia plants
Fresh fruit adds charm & whimsy to arrangements.
Candied mint is easy to make and use—as a festive garnish for desserts or a sparkly addition to floral decorations and holiday gifts.
Euphorbia milii, also known as crown of thorns, Christ thorn and the Christ plant, is an ideal decoration at Christmas and Easter. Crown of thorn cuttings also make great gifts--and they're easy to grow.
Whether you're planting hardy spring-blooming bulbs or tender summer-blooming beauties, these general guidelines will help you get started. Includes tips for preparing the soil, planting at the best depth & deterring pests organically.
In late summer and fall, when so many other flowers in the garden are going to seed, Montauk daisies turn on their cheery charm, producing sturdy-stemmed, bright-white flowers ideal for floral arrangements.
Balsamic vinegar, buttermilk, corn syrup, pumpkin spice mix, red and white wine--this handy guide includes over 35 substitutes for common recipe ingredients, conveniently arranged in alphabetical order.
Don't let the name fool you. The FoodSaver GameSaver DeluxePlus® is great for preserving much more than meat. Vacuum pack vegetables, fruit and more. It's easy! And it'll save you time & money in the long run.
With a little imagination, garbage and yard debris can be transformed into cool plant markers. Here are over 10 easy plant marker ideas to try in your flower beds and container gardens.
Decorative & versatile, vintage flower pots & planters are fun to use & collect.
Alkaline soil, sometimes referred to as "sweet" soil, registers above 7.0 on the pH scale. Although most plants prefer neutral pH, some thrive in soil that's a bit alkaline.
This hearty cardamom applesauce recipe uses spicy-sweet cardamom in lieu of cinnamon. Make enough for a meal or cook up a batch to freeze. The recipe is easy to double & simple to vary.
Certain gardening practices as well as applications of chamomile tea are commonly held to be effective against the damping off diseases that attack & kill seedlings.
Today, snapdragon is available in a variety of colors & sizes, from towering back-of-the-bed beauties to gorgeous dwarf ground covers. Loved by pollinators, it's a pretty addition to the garden.
Bulbs, herbaceous perennials, shrubs, trees--all sorts of plants bloom in winter. Here are a few to try in your garden.
From seed starting to growing herbs, the right soil mix can be the key to successful container gardening. Six recipes include Rich Potting Mix, Easy Sterile Mix & Soil-less Mix.
An explanation of acidic soil that includes tips for increasing & lowering soil pH as well as a list of plants that thrive in acidic soil.
Mold, mildew, insect debris--all sorts of things can lessen the beauty of gorgeously barked specimen trees like sycamore, birch and lacebark elm. With two ingredients and a little time, you can easily and safely wash specimen trees--and potentially protect their continued good health. It's the...
For gardeners, fall leaves are a double blessing: beautiful on the bough and eminently useful once they hit the ground as mulch, leaf mold, composting matter and overwinter protection for tender plants.
From nature apps & weather apps to maps, compass & first aid apps, these programs make any outdoor experience a little bit better. Most are under $10--and several are free!
When properly combined, garlic cloves, mineral oil, ordinary dishwashing liquid and water create a mild organic pesticide that's effective against aphids. It also kills cabbageworms, larval mosquitoes, leafhoppers, squash bugs, whitefly and other garden pests. And it can even serve as a mild...
From their host-finding antics to their survival skills, ticks are amazing creatures. In some ways, they're practically superheroes of the insect world (evil superheroes, that is) with a thirst for adventure and some, well ... pretty incredible super-tick powers.
This old-fashioned peanut butter fudge recipe from my grandmother makes one small pan of rich, creamy fudge loaded with mouth-watering, peanut-buttery flavor!
Rich, sweet & tangy, my grandmother Bess's old-fashioned sour cream fudge with black walnuts is absolutely scrumptious.
Lots of templates for making your own seed packets are available for free online, & many are easy to customize. Here are some of my favorites.
Pretty in a border, beautiful in a bouquet, purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is a hardy, low-maintenance perennial that's easy to grow by division or from seed.
Learn how to grow Asclepias tuberosa successfully in your home landscape. Commonly called butterfly weed, Asclepias tuberosa is a no-fuss perennial plant that produces clusters of bright orange flowers in summer, attracting hummingbirds, beneficial insects and (of course!) butterflies.
Collecting, preparing & storing seeds doesn't require any special equipment or even much skill. Using common household items, you can easily save wildflower seeds, vegetable seeds and other seeds from your landscape.
Tips for selecting & harvesting the best vegetable seeds & flower seeds from your garden, for your garden.
Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you can't garden--at least a little bit! From planting bare-root roses to sowing native wildflowers, here are some ideas for keeping busy in your garden this winter.
Super easy organic fertilizers you can make a home.
Create the rich, crumbly soil plants love by improving the structure of the soil in your garden.
A basic guide for planning & growing a fall vegetable garden.
Chopped tart apples, thick sour cream & dark brown sugar join forces for a rich, (almost) topless apple pie from my grandmother's recipe box.
At just 60 acres, Maryland's St. Clement's Island is small--and getting smaller. But St. Clement's slow disappearing act is perhaps the least compelling reason to visit it. Known as "Maryland's Birthplace," the island is a truly unique locale rich in history and natural beauty.
Whether you garden a little or a lot, these tools come in handy.
6 easy-to-grow herbs perfect for novice gardeners.
A general guide for beginners, "How to Grow Herbs Easily" includes the ABCs of raising & harvesting herbs at home. Includes basic information on light, water, soil & pest control.
Interested in making compost for your garden? These 25 tips will help you get started. (Recipe for super-fast compost included.)
Do your roses have black spot? Nip it in the bud with these 6 easy strategies for growing healthy, black spot-free roses.
Learn how to identify & treat downy mildew and powdery mildew, plus 12 strategies for preventing mildew.
Six drought-resistant ground covers with showy flowers. Perfect for dry, poor soil areas.
Sizzling hot, super cool, crazy wild ... bling! Whatever you call them, these lime green perennials really WOW!
When the mountain laurel is in bloom, it's time to celebrate this beautiful, hardy shrub at a mountain laurel festival.
Organic and inorganic mulches are great for home landscapes if you avoid creating mulch volcanoes as well as other common mistakes.
Add cool sophistication to your garden with these easy-to-grow silver perennials.
You can feed your family & love the planet at the same time--without shopping specialty food stores or farmer's markets.
Instead of pesticides, try these gardening strategies for controlling aphids.
Spring--a time to begin again,try new things & have some fun. And there's no better way to get started than with these Six Quintessentially Spring Things.
Learn planting strategies & more in this Hub dedicated to reducing the cost of seasonal planters. (Includes plant suggestions for summer pots.)
Lower the cost and reduce the hassle of filling seasonal containers by reusing last year’s potting soil. To minimize risk to your plants and maximize the effectiveness of used soil, follow these recycling tips.
Includes four good reasons to use liquid fertilizer made from human urine, as well as directions for making and applying "liquid gold" at home.
Eangee lamps are colorful lighting options made by Phillipine artisans from renewable materials like tropical leaves, found wood and rope.
If you're like me, you have two great passions: gardening and cooking. These cookbooks appeal to both.
Tired of grim urban landscapes? Then spend the day touring Southern Maryland's wine country. The first stop on the Patuxent Wine Trail is just 45 minutes south of DC.
How can you grow picture perfect paperwhites that won't flop over? Give them a drink of gin, tequila or other hard liquor. Here's how.
Vinegar Pie Crust is hard to ruin. You (or your children) can play with the dough as much as you like. It won't toughen up. If you make a mistake, you can wad it up and roll it out all over again. You can even patch it--no harm done.
This super sweet pie is from my maternal grandmother, Mamaw Nicholas. It's so delicious you'll want to eat the whole thing--but you better not! It's extremely rich!
Since moving to Maryland, I've learned a lot about cooking seafood. Here's one of my favorite easy crab soup recipes. Hope you like it!
Easy recipes for crab cakes, spicy potato wedges & BBQ shrimp just in time for the holidays!
Updated to include Valentine's Day magnetic mailbox covers, this hub features covers guaranteed to give your home added curb appeal this winter. Unlike tie-on or Velcro covers, magnetic mailbox covers won't fall off or blow away.
My grandmother was a fantastic cook who was well known in our hometown for her scrumptious pies. Here are three versions of her "signature" pie, coconut cream, & each variation is delicious.
Rosehips are packed with vitamin C--and they're delicious in teas, jams, jellies and other sweet treats.
Includes an easy, tender pie crust recipe, as well as two recipes for filling, including chiffon pumpkin. Yum!
Magnetic mailbox covers are a quick & easy way to dress up your home for fall. Decorate with Halloween, Thanksgiving and other fall motif mailbox covers. You can even buy mailbox covers that support your favorite football team!
Over 10 fun ways to use autumn leaves in your home & garden this fall.
If your work has ever been rejected by an agent or publisher, you're in good company. It's happened to innumerable writers, from Anthony Trollope to Stephen King. Today, however, even cash-strapped writers can self publish through Barnes & Noble's PubIt! eBook site. Of course, as with all self...
Keep your house beautiful through autumn with pretty mixed containers. Tips include how to reuse summer container materials, including soil.
How much fun can you have with a bag of rocks? How much imagination do you have?
Clay water filters provide the citizens of developing countries with an easy, inexpensive way to make their dirty drinking water safe. Learn about Tony Flynn's clay water filter design, and find out how you can help others have access to clean water.
Some novelty toilet seats are funny, some are surprising & most aren't in the best of taste, but they sure are fun!
What could Chinese farmer Hao Xianzhang's baby Buddha fruit lead to? From pear performance art to political fundraising, it boggles the imagination.
Includes cost-free, cheap as well as more expensive ways to make your old toilet use less water every time you flush.
This hub's about tomato skin conditions like dry patches, scars, yellow spots, black spots & unsightly cracks.
Voted Coolest Small Town 2011 by Budget Travel readers, Lewisburg, WV has over 40 shops & restaurants. It hosts the state fair & an annual chocolate festival. The famous Greenbrier Resort is nearby.
Got bagworms? Don't cry! Beat the bagworm blues with two safe, effective methods of control.
A variety of unique & beautiful cachepots are available to cover up ugly nursery flowerpots and keep your plants from shedding water & soil onto floors & tabletops.
If you're looking for a heat-loving, drought-resistant, flowering ground cover that doesn't mind poor soil, the hardy ice plant (Delosperma) may be just the plant for you.
How to care for your chrysanthemums (mums) in spring & summer to ensure fall blooms.
For blackeyed Susan photos as well as tips & videos on planting, dividing & harvesting Rudbeckia hirta, see this hub!
Want bigger, better tomatoes? Plastic mulch, staking, and pruning could get you the crop you want.
These 20 apps, ranging from free to under $20, are fun, useful tools for home gardeners, landscapers & nature lovers. Updated to include specialty apps about cacti, wildflowers, veggies, & mushrooms.
If you'd like to grow Calla lilies in your garden, cultivate them from bulbs. Or, for a less expensive option, grow Calla lily flowers from seed.
Seven cool plants that are fun to grow. Which one's right for your dad on Father's Day?
These sensational peonies have all the charm of Grandma's herbaceous peony plants-- plus a few added bonuses.
Old-fashioned peonies are lush, fragrant and surprisingly easy to grow. Order them now and plant them this fall.
Four great reasons to grow Brunnera macrophylla 'Jack Frost,' the 2012 Perennial Plant of the Year.
Amsonia hubrichtii is a versatile, low-maintenance perennial with feathery blue flowers & gorgeous fall color. No wonder it was the Perennial Plant Association's 2011 Perennial Plant of the Year.
Learn how to grow and share beautiful bearded and beardless iris varieties. Although irises look like difficult flowers to grow, they're relatively low-maintenance plants.
These low-maintenance groundcovers grow thickly and spread quickly to choke out weeds.
Plagued by ticks? Keep your family safe by creating a tick-free zone in your yard.
Looking for awesome thrillers that can take the heat in summer containers? Search no further. These five tropical plants are bold, beautiful and definitely thrilling!
Stumperies are garden features made from dead tree parts such as stumps, logs, branches, bark, and other debris common after a storm. Here's how to make one.
Try planting the ornamental grass bunny tails (Lagurus ovatus) along a walkway. Its fluffy white cottontails, which first appear in early summer, will tickle your legs as you pass. At 1 to 2 feet high, bunny tails is also just tall enough to tickle a toddler’s nose.
Since the publication of “Goofy Gardening Tips That Work,” I’ve been on the lookout for even more outlandish advice that gardeners swear by. And I think I’ve found it. While the last batch of odd gardening tips dealt with a variety of topics, this hub focuses on only one: cheap organic...
Five tips for long-blooming spring bulbs, tuberous-root plants and corms.
Making delicious, refreshing candied rosemary is easy with this old-fashioned recipe. Use candied rosemary in mixed drinks, as a garnish for desserts, or have it with a hot cup of tea. Rosemary is easy to grow, especially in pots.
Frosts and thaws can damage or even kill tender plants. Here are 10 easy, practical ways to protect your garden from killing frost.
Learn how to identify poison ivy and remove it from your yard safely.
If you’re a gardener, chances are you learned your love of nature from a parent or grandparent. This year for Mother’s Day, why not “grow it forward”? Give your children a lesson in gardening, love, and gratitude by teaching them to make Mother's Day gifts from the garden for their mother,...
Includes brief descriptions and planting recommendations for four deliciously drinkable plants, as well as instructions for brewing herbal teas.
Learn how to prepare a soil sample for testing, locate a testing center near you (even if you're an organic gardener), and read your test results.
Squashing "nasty bugs" just comes naturally to most of us. But it isn't always the right thing to do. Lots of less-than-lovely-to-look-at insects are actually beneficial predators.
Attract pollinators to your landscape, and you'll dramatically increase its health and productivity, particularly if you grow flowers, fruits and vegetables.
Includes directions for two methods of in-ground composting--the one-hole and the two-hole method.
Includes descriptions of five fast-growing, shade-tolerant vegetables you can grow indoors, as well as a soil recipe for indoor container gardening.
Learn how to create your own seed-starting mix, choose the best containers, sow at the right of year, provide optimum water and light, & transplant seedlings that will survive early spring weather.
Besides providing shelter & water, supplying wild birds with food sources is one of the easiest ways to attract them to your yard. This hub includes a recipe for homemade suet & wild bird comfort food, as well as links to other bird food recipes.
Links to fun, free gardening apps for droids, including games, wallpapers and educational apps.