Home & Garden


September/October 2020

Since 1904, Horticulture Magazine has provided avid gardeners and plantspeople with accurate, compelling coverage of gardens and the plants and design techniques that truly make them shine. Our in-depth features take you to outstanding gardens and explain their plants and practices.

United States
Active Interest Media
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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
editor’s note

Teakettle—teakettle—teakettle! A Carolina wren was our neighborhood alarm clock this summer, hollering this tune no later than 5:30 most mornings. (That’s their call—it really does sound like “teakettle!”) I’m up with my coffeepot—coffeepot—coffeepot by five, so this tiny but incredibly loud bird didn’t bother me. (Don’t ask my husband about it.) I enjoyed listening and looking for the wren, which led me to think about how to make our yard and garden more welcoming to songbirds. Yet sometimes we do good by wildlife without thinking. There’s a huge red maple at the corner of our front yard, and its lowest branches were blocking a stop sign once they leafed out. We trimmed these away in spring, making a pile near the garage to take to our town’s compost station. But its…

3 min.
second helpings

THE IMPENDING ARRIVAL of autumn doesn’t mean the harvest needs to end. I garden in USDA Zone 5 and I’m still seeding and transplanting in September for vegetables that we’ll eat later in autumn as well as throughout winter. I pair cool- and cold-season crops with simple season extenders like cold frames and mini hoop tunnels. The following are five vegetables I plant in September: Spinach is extremely quick to grow, especially in the cooler temperatures and increased moisture of autumn. ‘Bloomsdale’ spinach is a classic fall crop that goes from seed to harvest in just 30 days. Sow more seed every few weeks for a long supply of top-quality spinach. Kale can be planted anytime from spring to midsummer for a harvest of mature plants, or it can be sown in…

1 min.
fall checklist

Save! As summer winds down, my seed saving ramps up. I love to collect seeds from the annual flowers in my vegetable garden—nasturtiums, calendula and poppies—as well as from herbs and vegetables. Easy vegetable seeds to collect include peas, beans, tomatoes and lettuce. Plant! While garlic is a common crop to plant in autumn, I also like to plant shallots. Planting shallot sets in fall yields a crop that is ready to harvest in early to midsummer. Shallots grow best in a sunny spot with well-draining, compost-enriched soil. Plant each bulb about two inches deep; the pointy tip of the bulb should be just sticking out of the soil. I like to space them on six-inch centers. Water them well and mulch them with shredded leaves for winter protection. Organize! In my…

5 min.
our endangered prairies

WHEN PEOPLE THINK about endangered or threatened ecosystems, often the Amazon rainforest or the Great Barrier Reef comes to mind. And those places are important. But there’s another, less well-known yet very important ecosystem that’s endangered: the Great American Prairie. Prairies and grasslands are some of the most endangered (and least talked about) ecosystems on earth. Grassland biomes have just as much, if not more, biological diversity as any of these other ecosystems. But most of that diversity is underground, in the soil beneath the prairies. Grasslands are naturally found around the globe. They are common in areas that have extreme or fickle weather patterns, especially as it relates to rainfall. Grasslands are often found in the centers of continental land masses. In these “middle spaces,” moisture from the oceans has less…

6 min.
plum perfect

WHEN I MOVED to Sonoma County, Calif., from the East Coast in 1985, I was surprised by what a presence Luther Burbank still had around the county seat of Santa Rosa. Yes, he died in 1926, but there was the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts, the Luther Burbank Savings & Loan and other places named for the famous plantsman of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. A main tourist attraction was the Luther Burbank Home & Gardens. His house, greenhouse and outbuildings still stood and some of the trees he’d hybridized were still growing there. There was the prickly pear cactus he’d cajoled into shedding its spines. There was the cedar of Lebanon he’d been given as a gift, now a towering tree in his front yard, under which,…

1 min.
chicago botanic garden

THE CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN opened more than 40 years ago as a beautiful place to visit, and it has matured into one of the world’s great living museums and conservation science centers. One of the treasures of the Forest Preserves of Cook County, Ill., it is a 385-acre living plant museum encompassing 27 distinct gardens and 4 natural areas. Its mission is: We cultivate the power of plants to sustain and enrich life. With events, programs and activities for all ages, the Garden is open every day of the year. Admission is free; parking and select event fees apply. The Chicago Botanic Garden is managed by the Chicago Horticultural Society and accredited by the American Association of Museums. It is a member of the American Public Gardens Association (APGA). The Chicago Botanic…