A Messy Winter Garden Makes Good Wildlife Habitat

You worked hard turning some of your property into wildlife habitat. You planted nectar and host plants for butterflies and pollinators. Trees and bushes offer shelter and habitat for birds, squirrels, and other small creatures. Perhaps this summer, a box turtle took up residence in your back yard or you heard tree frogs singing in your own trees! Now, after all your hard work, why would you destroy that wonderful ecosystem by cleaning it up for winter?

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Hydrangeas – Blue or Pink? You Decide.

Hydrangeas grace the landscape with beautiful flowers in the spring and summer. The most colorful hydrangeas are bigleaf hydrangeas, Hydrangea macrophylla. Their flowers are usually either pink or blue. Flower color depends on the pH of the soil, a measure of soil acidity. Soil pH can be raised by applying lime. Some hydrangeas will respond to a higher pH (between 6.0 and 6.5) with pink flower color. To lower pH, apply aluminum sulfate. A lower pH (between 5.0 and 5.0) often results in blue flower color. A soil test will determine the existing pH and you can change your soil with the appropriate amendment to get the resulting flower color you want. Continue reading

Rose Diseases

Spectacular blooms and diverse types and varieties make roses a favorite of many Kentucky gardeners. However, warm, humid growing conditions create an ideal environment for serious problems each year with black spot and powdery mildew.

Gardeners can nip these fungal diseases in the bud by planting resistant or tolerant varieties and creating an unfavorable environment for disease development. It may be necessary to use fungicides throughout the summer, especially on susceptible varieties. Continue reading


A plant that flowers in winter has a head start in making it onto any plants lover’s list. This perennial is one that can grow in Kentucky gardens from the knobs and bluegrass to Ohio River, making it a plant for all regions, over a wide range of climates. Despite its common name, Lenten Rose is not a garden rose at all. Continue reading

Top Three New Year’s Resolutions for Gardeners

Many people enjoy making New Year’s Resolutions, so I would like to encourage you to make some gardening resolutions. Even those of you who do not typically grow anything can reap benefits from planting something, nurturing it, and watching it grow. It doesn’t have to be a large vegetable garden. A small container garden or raised bed garden will be just fine. Continue reading

Drying Flowers

Drying flowers is a great way to preserve some of summer’s beauty over the long winter months. Whether you are making a keepsake of your memories, or using them for some crafts while cooped up inside, drying flowers can be easy if done right. Consider the following when deciding on a method. Continue reading

Fall Gardening Cleanup Controls Spring Diseases

You can reduce the risk of some common problems next year by getting rid of leftover plant debris in vegetable, flower and fruit gardening areas this fall.

Several disease-causing fungi and bacteria spend the winter on plant debris, and can cause diseases the following growing season. Proper garden sanitation can combat such diseases as early blight, mildews, gray mold fungus and various root rot and wilt problems. Continue reading

Plant Bulbs NOW For Spring Color

Spring flowering bulbs such as crocus, daffodils, and tulips require a cold period during the winter in order to flower. These bulbs are planted and develop their root system in the fall and bloom during the spring. The variety of bloom color, plant height, shape, and timing of flowering provides seasonal interest in the spring for many Kentucky gardens and landscapes. Continue reading

Good Perennials for Beginning Gardeners

When starting a new hobby, there are tools to acquire, techniques to learn and materials to purchase. This is so true for flower gardening. The tools can be as simple as a trowel and a watering hose and as complex as irrigation systems and robotic lawn mowers. But for the beginning gardener, the vast variety of flowers, trees and shrubs can be overwhelming. (It still is for me, and I’ve been gardening for almost 40 years!) Continue reading