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March/April 2021
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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

Growing up, I kept a collection of cacti and other succulents in my room. I was so devoted my parents installed a deep shelf underneath the double window there, so that I could keep expanding my little potted desert garden. At least once a week I would ask my older sister, “Come look at my plants?” She always agreed to a tour, although, given the rate of growth for a Massachusetts cactus, there were few true developments from one week to the next. Still, she always “ooo’ed” and “ahhh’ed.” Today my sister and I live in different states. It’s not too far of a drive between us, but it’s long enough that “just popping by” doesn’t happen. Covid-19 put a damper on visiting, as well. I still have that old impulse…

3 min.
growing, going, gone

HOME AND PRO GARDENERS alike may wonder whether biodegradable containers decompose quickly enough to avoid hindering plant growth. A recent study conducted by University of Georgia researchers determined that, under standard cultivation practices, certain such containers will decompose within a single growing season. The UGA scientists looked at how industry-standard growing practices affected the decomposition of widely available biodegradable, or alternative, growing containers. This study was led by Bethany Harris while she earned her doctoral degree in horticulture under the guidance of professor Bodie Pennisi and soil microbiologist Mussie Habteselassie in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) at the UGA Griffi n campus. Pennisi, also a horticulture specialist with UGA Cooperative Extension, said although alternative containers made of animal- and plant-based byproducts have been available for more than 10 years,…

4 min.
lights within

SCIENTISTS HAVE KNOWN for several decades that living cells of plants and animals emit low-level bursts of light that they call biophotons—a photon being a particle of light and a biophoton being a particle of light emitted by something biological, like a cell. When I think about this, it’s pure visual poetry. Imagine points of light flickering on the surface of an ocean of cytoplasm deep within the tissues of a living plant or animal. It’s dark there, and against this black background soft blue stars come and go. It’s like a child’s fairytale. And like a child, one wonders: “What are those lights? Where do they come from? What do they mean?” These biophotons occur in the cells of all kinds of creatures, whether animal or vegetable. Since our kingdoms share…

4 min.
edible edges

AS A RAISED-BED GARDENER, I want to use every square inch of my beds to grow food. To achieve this, I grow vegetables, herbs and flowers along the margins and sometimes even over the sides of my 16-inch-tall beds. Here are five of my favorite plants to grow as edible edges. Parsley is an essential culinary herb that lends a fresh flavor to salads, pastas and so much more. While I grow a lot of ‘Giant Italian’ parsley, it’s the more compact curly parsley that I like to tuck along the edges of my raised beds. Curly parsley plants grow only a foot tall and up to 18 inches across. We harvest the tender, deeply curled leaves often during the growing season and dry any extra for winter use. Unlike Genovese-type basils,…

1 min.
early spring checklist

Sow! It’s finally seed-starting season, but before you start to sow, make sure you’re planting at the right time. Read seed packets carefully to ensure you’re not starting your crops too early. Tomatoes and peppers need six to eight weeks beneath grow lights, while cucumbers and squash need just three to four weeks. Light! When starting seeds indoors, consider light. For sturdy, healthy growth, most types of vegetable, herb and flower seedlings need 16 hours of light each day. This is easy to provide if you’re using grow lights, but more difficult if you rely on a windowsill for seed starting. An inexpensive spot grow light is useful for adding additional light to a windowsill. Order! If you haven’t purchased your seeds yet, it’s time to finalize your seed list and place…

10 min.
allan armitage

A FAMILIAR NAME to many gardeners, Dr. Allan Armitage is a prolific writer and popular speaker whose enthusiasm and expertise continue to inspire and build the horticulture community. The recipient of numerous awards for his teaching, writing and other outreach, the Canada-born plantsman taught for many years at the University of Georgia and developed its extensive Trial Gardens. To find Armitage’s books, download his app and follow his forays into social media, visit http:// www.allanarmitage.net SCOTT BEUERLEIN: You and your wife recently became US citizens. ALLAN ARMITAGE: Yes! You know, going through the process of becoming a citizen, it was long, and you have to do this, that and the other thing, but every person the whole way, whether they were taking your fingerprints or whatever, was so welcoming! One thing you…