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Connecticut Garden Journal

Natalia Wilson / Creative Commons

With all the hot weather this week, it's hard to think about planting for spring. Heck, I'm still swimming! But October is bulb planting time and one of the beauties is the crocus.

mwms1916 (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Being an Italian-American, I'd like to think I know something about lasagna. Hey, I’ve been eating it since I was a little bambino. While lasagna is great for eating, it’s also a good gardening idea. Let me explain.

Tom Gill / Creative Commons

Most of the vegetables I grow are primarily for eating. Some may be beautiful too, but if you can't eat it, I'm not interested. The exception is gourds. 

Mark / Creative Commons

Growing up an Italian-American in Waterbury, I have fond memories of my mom canning tomatoes in late summer. It always seemed to be a hot day when she canned and her boiling water bath just added to the stickiness in the air. But those tasty canned tomatoes made for great sauce all winter.

Men In Black / Creative Commons

I call this the golden time of year in the garden. Goldenrods and sunflowers are peaking. But the plant that really shines in late-summer is rudbeckia or black-eyed Susan. 

Ryan Wightman / Creative Commons

This native wildflower is often overlooked as a garden plant. 

Rachel Paxton / Creative Commons

It was a slow start to the melon and watermelon season. Cool, rainy spring weather delayed planting and early growth, but now they're coming on strong.

Renee / Creative Commons

Some plant common names can steer you in the wrong direction. Take Rose of Sharon for example. 

ilovebutter / Creative Commons

With the zucchinis coming on hot and heavy and winter squash not far behind, you might welcome some insects that prey on these cucurbits. But while squash can be overly abundant, I'd never wish squash bugs or squash vine borers on any gardener.

K M / Creative Commons

I love seeing those tropical hibiscus flowers in warm regions such as Florida. The flowers are big and colorful and plants like small shrubs. We obviously can't grow them outdoors in our New England climate, but we can grow a similar relative.

Scot Nelson / Creative Commons

Ahh, the dog days of summer. This time of year you can almost see the corn, melons, and tomato plants growing. But along with all this lush growth comes problems, especially with tomatoes.

Jane / Creative Commons

We often get wowed in late spring and early summer with all the colorful flowering shrubs. Lilacs, spirea, rhododendron, mountain laurel, and weigela are just some of the beautiful shrubs that burst into color in May and June. But come July and August, our shrub borders often just look green.

Sergey G / Creative Commons

This pest is native to the Southwest United States but has spread and become a worldwide problem for anyone growing potatoes. It's the Colorado potato beetle. 

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.

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