Connecticut Garden Journal | Connecticut Public Radio
WNPR

Connecticut Garden Journal

Baker County Tourism / Creative Commons

We think of peaches as a special summer treat from Georgia or New Jersey, but they were originally grown in China and can be grown in Connecticut. 

FarOutFlora / Creative Commons

This stately perennial has white, pink, blue, or purple flower buds that ancient Greeks called delphis or dolphin. They thought the flower buds resemble Flipper. We know theses plants as delphiniums.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Although I grew up in Waterbury with a big veggie garden in the backyard, my first foray into gardening as an adult was in a community garden. 

Jim, the Photographer / Creative Commons

After a hesitant start to summer, I think it's finally here. That's good news for watermelon lovers. Watermelons, like all melons, love the heat. So far it's been a slow start to summer, but luckily these cucurbits grow fast under the right conditions.

Kazuya Yokoyama / Creative Commons

We know this Mediterranean herb more for its scent and medicinal uses than for its culinary attributes. Its Latin name means "to wash," which refers to its use in baths, beds, and clothing. The oil has been used medicinally as a disinfectant, antiseptic, and to soothe migraines. This herb also adds a slightly sweet flavor to breads, soups, salads, and desserts. We know it as lavender.

Field Outdoor Spaces / Creative Commons

It's Memorial Day weekend. Time to get planting. When you're selecting flowers for containers, it can get overwhelming. When you walk into a garden center, the flower choices and colors can bowl you over. Where to start? 

Courtney McGough / Creative Commons

What do you do with a vegetable that looks like a spaceship? Kohlrabi isn't the prettiest veggie on the block, but it sure is easy to grow and surprisingly tasty and versatile in the kitchen.

Katrina J Houdek / Creative Commons

Although we think of this spring flowering shrub as quintessential New England, it hales from Eastern Europe and Asia. It's fragrant, beautiful and a sure sign of spring. It's the lilac. 

Katie Hetrick UC Davis / Creative Commons

Many gardeners want to grow their own food. Homegrown produce is fresher, safer, and healthier. But many gardeners don't want to sacrifice the beauty of their yard by removing flowers or shrubs to plant edibles. The solution is foodscaping.

Gardening Solutions / Creative Commons

One of the biggest trends in the last 20 years in vegetable gardening has been the expanded use of raised beds. It's not a new idea, but it seems everyone is embracing a raised bed to grow better tomatoes, lettuce, carrots, and many other crops.

James Gaither / Creative Commons

I love the common name of the tree Chionanthus viginicus. Old Man's Beard is a good description of the white flowers that bloom in May and June. It's one of the later leaving-out and blooming spring shrubs and trees. 

Uacescomm / Creative Commons

Some people love this root, while others loathe it. It's probably because the root contains the chemical geosmin, which gives it an earthy smell. 

F. D. Richards / Creative Commons

There are symbolic flowers for many holidays we celebrate: Poinsettias for Christmas, shamrocks for St. Patrick's Day, and lilies for Easter. 

Richard BH / Creative Commons

Back in colonial days, when someone died in winter, they had to store the body until the ground thawed in spring. 

Daniela / Creative Commons

Those of us living inland tend to only think about the ocean in summer. But for those 23 million people living within a few miles of Long Island Sound in Connecticut and Long Island, the sea is a daily companion.

305 Seahill / Creative Commons

Happy St. Patricks Day. I was tempted to talk about shamrocks or green carnations, but instead I'm talking about another green plant that's more Italian than Irish. It's the globe artichoke. 

Jean Barrell / Creative Commons

Connecticut is one the leading states for rooting out invasive species and encouraging land owners to plant more natives. Native trees, shrubs, perennials, and ground covers are adapted to our changing climate, interwoven in the ecology of the forests and open lands -- and provide vital food, shelter, and nesting sites for insects, birds, and animals.

The Manic Macrographer / All Creative Commons

With the sudden change in weather going from snow storms to 70 degree temperatures, flowers are a bit confused. Although not spring yet, the warm spell pushed along some early flowering shrubs. And one of the earliest is the flowering quince. 

ThunderUPforever / Creative Commons

With winter here, it's nice to have some outdoor garden activities that result in beautiful flowers. One activity I like is forcing flowering branches of spring blooming trees and shrubs indoors. Not only do you get beautiful color weeks before the natural bloom time, you prune your plants too. 

Franco Folini / Creative Commons

This ancient vegetable hales from Southeast Asia. Laborers who built the pyramids in Egypt were paid with it. In Mexico a special night in December is dedicated to this veggie where they artistically carve the root. What vegetable is this? It's the radish. 

Sharon Dowdy / Creative Commons

Everyone loves flowering shrubs, such as lilacs and rhododendrons, but you may be wondering, how should I prune this thing? Pruning reduces the size and shape of your shrub, but you have to know when and how you do it.

Stanley Zimny / Creative Commons

As you drive around the state, you'll notice orchards are being pruned. You can start pruning apple trees anytime after the New Year, up until the flower buds start swelling. 

Alex "Skud" Bayley flickr.com/photos/alexsbayley / Creative Commons

Unless you have a greenhouse or hoop house, you're probably buying greens this time of year. It's good to support local growers, but you can grow nutritious greens right in your windowsill without an elaborate light system. 

Martin Fischer / Creative Commons

Last week, I highlighted award-winning vegetables that we can grow in our gardens this summer. Now, it's the flowers' turn. The All-America Winners selections include annual flowers that you'll be seeing in garden centers in spring.

Mark Buckawicki / Creative Commons

When it comes to new varieties of vegetables, small is better. As the average size of the typical home garden shrinks, plant breeders have been working to create varieties of our favorite veggies that fit in containers and small beds. 

Ciera Holzenthal flickr.com/photos/cierah / Creative Commons

I first came across tillandsia, or air plants, at a boutique garden center in San Francisco a few years ago. This trendy plant seemed like the answer to many people's dreams of a low-care house plant. 

Timo Newton-Syms / Creative Commons

Well, the leftovers still fill the refrigerator, there's still reams of wrapping paper to recycle, and there's the Christmas tree. If you purchased one of the more than 20 million live Christmas trees sold this year, you're probably wondering what to do with it now. 

Guilherme Cardoso flickr.com/photos/guiskatenator / Creative Commons

I recently returned from a trip to India, and while visiting a friend in his garden outside Delhi, I was struck by one brilliantly colored, red plant. This five-foot-tall and -wide plant looked familiar. Upon closer inspection, it was a poinsettia.

Mónica Pinheiro flickr.com/photos/monica_andre / Creative Commons

Oh by gosh by golly, it's time of gifts for your favorite gardener. I may not be much of a singer, but I know gifts a gardener in the family might like.

Tracey Adams flickr.com/photos/bikracer / Creative Commons

One of the simplest and most rewarding activities to bring in some holiday cheer this time of year is to make your own wreath. You can go to local garden centers and take a wreath-making workshop, or buy a pre-made wreath. But I like to construct my own wreath made from materials around my home. 

Pages