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November/December 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.

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United States
Active Interest Media
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
editor’s note

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” This quote came to mind when I spoke with Katherine Macdonald and Joann Vieira of The Stevens-Coolidge Place, a Massachusetts public garden, for “Rising to the Occasion” (page 60). Kathy and Joann described how last fall, garden staff and volunteers planted 30,000 tulip bulbs in preparation for the Tulip Festival to be held in April 2020. Who could know that a global pandemic would mean no visitors could enjoy the bulbs in bloom? Yet the intrepid Stevens-Coolidge gardeners, like staff at similar venues around the world, looked at the closed gates and saw an opportunity to share beauty in new and meaningful ways, like donating those lonely tulips to front-line medical workers. Their act of…

3 min.
seeing 2020

I’M THRILLED TO ANNOUNCE the release of my latest book, Growing Under Cover: Techniques for a More Productive, Weather-Resistant, Pest-Free Vegetable Garden (Storey Publishing, 2020). This new book focuses on how I use covers like insect barrier fabrics, polyethylene, shade cloth, a polytunnel and more to grow food year-round and reduce pest and disease pressure. I hope you check it out—and I recommend checking out the following plants, too, some favorites from this year in my garden. 2020 has been an interesting year on so many levels. Like many gardeners, I found my planting plans were affected in spring by seed shortages and I had to substitute crops and varieties for those I couldn’t source. But I still had a very productive year in my raised beds. Because it is an All-America…

1 min.
late fall to winter checklist

Plan! For me, November and December are the best months for mapping out garden plans. Not only is the recent growing season still top of mind, but I want to make sure I’m ready to place my seed orders by mid-January to ensure I get all the varieties I want to grow. Sow! It’s a bit early to be thinking about spring seed sowing, but it’s a great time to plant shoots, sprouts and microgreens indoors. I sow fresh trays of sunflower, pea and broccoli shoots every two to three weeks for a non-stop supply. I also sow baby greens like kale, lettuce, arugula and spinach. They’re super quick to grow and ready to harvest in just 21 to 30 days. Cover! It’s not too late for season extension. If you still…

2 min.
clean compost

COMPOST CAN BE a gardener’s best friend. It can deliver dramatic improvements in soil quality and nutrients to nourish your plants throughout the growing season. But unless you use the right techniques, you may also find yourself with a bumper crop of weeds. “Composting is a biological process that decomposes leaves, lawn clippings and other organic materials until they look like rich soil,” said Dr. Gary Wade, extension horticulturist with the University of Georgia. “But many of the rich ingredients in the mix can also be a source of weed seeds.” When lawns are mowed, for example, seeds can be collected with the clippings. Seeds can also survive in leaf debris or on mature weeds that you pull from your garden. TIME AND TEMPERATURE If you want to keep weed seeds from sprouting and…

2 min.
10 tips for at-home composters

Here is a 10-step formula for building an effective compost pile, based on advice from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Georgia’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Cooperative Extension Service: 1 Select the right site. You’ll need a level location with good drainage. While a compost bin or wire mesh structure can be helpful, it isn’t a requirement. You can start your pile directly on the ground. 2 Build from the bottom up. Use a coarse layer of woody material as your base. This will create better air circulation and a chimney effect that will help to heat your compost pile. 3 Add organic waste. You’ll need an 8- to 10-inch layer of leaves, grass, plant trimmings or similar material. One caution: Don’t use grass clippings if your lawn…

4 min.
the beautiful child

YOU KNOW HOW parents who may be nice looking but are no movie stars can have a kid who’s just gorgeous? Well, something like that seems to have happened in the family of the buckeyes. On the one hand, we have the stately horsechestnut tree (Aesculus hippocastanum), with its big, palmately compound leaves and its conical flowers—white panicles about five inches wide and ten inches tall, perched out on its branches, making it look like a Christmas tree with candles aglow in early May. The tree is native to the mountains of Greece and Albania and now planted through Europe. It was much planted in New England and other eastern states in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Some might say overplanted: Its leaves are susceptible to a brownish blotch that…