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Country Gardens

Country Gardens Early Spring 2018

Country Gardens® celebrates the spirit and romance of gardening as a lifestyle. Whether you have 40 acres or live 40 stories high, we know that country style is more than a passing fancy, it’s part of our united gardening experience. Country Gardens embodies what today’s gardening enthusiasts are looking for—pretty, straightforward garden advice, casual decorating, old-fashioned garden favorites and tough-as-nails natives, the latest tools and gadgets, garden-fresh recipes, and personal stories that inspire readers to take action.

United States
Meredith Corporation
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$8.38(Incl. tax)
$26.87(Incl. tax)
4 Issues

in this issue

1 min.
i’m feeling very lucky lately.

Lucky and excited. A few months ago, I saw the opportunity to become the editor of Country Gardens® magazine. Although I was a happy freelancer, I knew I’d regret it if I didn’t apply for the job. Now in place as editor, I feel as though I’ve slipped on an old favorite pair of garden gloves, ready to go to work and sure that I have all I need to get the job done. Longtime readers may remember that I was the senior associate editor of Country Gardens some years ago, and I’m glad to be back on the team. Recently I was asked to describe what makes Country Gardens different—what is the “special sauce” that has attracted and retained hundreds of thousands of subscribers for more than a quarter century?…

4 min.
scintillating scillas

A “river” of brilliant blue scillas, or squills, is an unforgettable sight in early spring. The Siberian or wood squill (Scilla siberica, Zones 2–8) is probably the best-known and most widely grown species. These earlyblooming bulbs produce short spikes with two or three intensely blue (or white) flowers, and gardeners often plant them in a drift to simulate a stream. However, the scilla clan extends beyond this single species, with other notable examples being alpine squill (S. bifolia, Zones 3–8) and amethyst meadow squill (S. litardierei, Zones 5–8). Most are spring bloomers, but some, such as Chinese or Asian squill (S. scilloides, Zones 6–9) display their flowers in late summer and fall. Among the so-called minor bulbs, scillas belong to the Asparagus family in the subfamily Scilloideae. In the past they…

1 min.
plant at a glance scillas

COMMON NAME: Squill BOTANICAL NAME: Scilla species FAMILY: Asparagaceae (subfamily Scilloideae), formerly in Liliaceae HARDINESS: Zones 2–10 CONDITIONS: Select a spot for scilla bulbs where they are in full sun to part shade with average, welldrained soil. They are not fussy, but they should have space to reseed. Plant the bulbs in fall about 3 inches deep and 3–4 inches apart. They have the most impact when planted in drifts or masses, perhaps under flowering shrubs, or clustered in rock gardens, along pathways, or among other spring bulbs and emerging perennials at the front of the border. BLOOM TIME: Spring to early fall HEIGHT: 4–24 inches BEST FEATURE: Terminal clusters of bell-shape or starry flowers with six petals bloom starting in very early spring or late summer into fall. They may be brilliant blue, white, or pinkish.…

3 min.
containers, color, & creativity

Barbara Kubarych’s California commute is a stroll through a sunny, fragrant, flower garden. “I pass through it at least 10 times a day,” she says. Beyond her office’s French doors is an inviting sitting area with dozens of annuals and perennials in pots. During the decades Barbara ran a business from her home, she dove into her office garden to de-stress from problem-solving for a global customer base “and from trying to finish in time to pick up my kids from school,” she says. Do-it-yourselfers who let their own visions evolve, Barbara and her husband, Ken, poured the slab for the small office building adjacent to their ranch-style home in 1995. The 280-square-foot structure, costing $10,000 at the time, has “no plumbing, just walls, windows, and electrical outlets,” Ken says. Vines planted in…

1 min.
design essentials for outdoor rooms

FURNISHINGS Popular configurations are a coffee table and love seat, a tête-à-tête table with two chairs, or a dining table with seating for four or six. Pieces should be comfy, weather-resistant, and in scale and proportion to the space. FABRIC It needs to resist dirt and moisture and not fade or deteriorate in sun. ACCESSORIES To make a stark sitting area feel sumptuous, add all-weather throw pillows. HARDSCAPE Brick, à agstone, and even stabilized decomposed granite are options. You might enhance a concrete slab with tile or paint it to resemble a rug. SURFACES Glass-topped tables are airy but scratch easily and show water spots. Wicker (and woven plastic that resembles wicker) allows water to drain. PLANTS In a space smaller than 200 square feet, even if entirely hardscape, you can have an abundant garden…

4 min.

I adhere to wisdom put forth by the father of taxonomy in 1751: “If the names are unknown, knowledge of the things also perishes,” Carl Linnaeus wrote in his Philosophia Botanica. I am no taxonomist over here in Nowheresville—no scientist diligently going about naming, describing, and categorizing the organisms I share my space with into proper classifications. That heroic and fascinating assignment is an incomprehensibly vast one; an estimated 5–30 million species of animals, plants, and microorganisms live on the planet, and fewer than 2 million are named so far. I am at the moment merely one small person trying to learn all her 14 local sparrow species (I’m leaving the nonnative House Sparrow, a pest who disrupts native birds’ nests, off my list, thank you). Each is well-documented in field guides…