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how and when to harvest potatoes

Harvesting Potatoes

How do you know when to harvest potatoes in fall? Although you can harvest new potatoes a few weeks after the plants have flowered in late summer, spuds grown for winter storage should be harvested 2 to 3 weeks after the foliage has browned and died back to the ground…

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Black Eyed Susan in bloom

‘Goldsturm’ Black Eyed Susan

(Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’) One of our favorite fall plants! They first come into bloom with their cheery golden flowers right when early summer perennials are starting to fade. They then team up with other end-of-season bloomers like asters, autumn joy sedum, and echinacea to create a final blast of color.…

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Alert Aster in autumn garden

‘Alert’ Aster

Alert’ aster (Aster novi-belgii ‘Alert’) is one of our favorite fall plants as it sets the autumn garden ablaze with its stunning crimson-purple flowers. As other perennials are setting seed this time of year, fall blooming asters provide the last round of fresh nectar for honey bees and other pollinators.…

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maple leaves in fall

Why do leaves change color in the fall?

The russet and golden colors of autumn are magnificent this time of year brightening our gardens one last time before winter takes hold. But why exactly do leaves change color? The short answer is we are witnessing the withdrawal of chlorophyll – the green pigment in leaves that facilitates photosynthesis…

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pumpkin potimarron winter squash

How to Harvest Squash

How do you know when to harvest your squash? Harvest time depends on which varieties you are growing and how you want to use them. For starters, summer and winter squash need to be harvested before the first hard frost as the cold will kill plants and damage fruit. Although…

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service berry in fall

Fall Gardening Checklist

This last Tuesday was the autumn equinox and the official first day of fall. The equinox is a special time as day and night, warmth and cold come into balance before the light gives way to the darkening days that take hold for the remainder of the year. As mornings…

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Hardy Hydrangea for Cold Climate

Tips for Choosing Hydrangeas

Do you want to grow hydrangeas but live in a cold region? Cultivars (horticultural selections) of smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens) and hardy hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata) are your best choice! These underused hydrangeas reward you with beautiful white-fading to pale pink flowers June through September. Once the plants go dormant, their…

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Blanket Flower Native Plant Gailardia Aristata

Gailardia Aristata

Blanket flower’s (Gailardia aristata) dark red and yellow petals with a hint of pink remind me of desert sunsets. Known for its hardiness, ease of growth and lasting color, this beautiful native plant will bring you more joy if you continuously deadhead the seed heads throughout the season. Plants also…

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Scarlet Gilia Native Plant

Scarlet Gilia

Scarlet gilia or skyrocket (Ipomopsis aggregata) is native to the mountain west finding it’s home in open forests at higher elevations. When in bloom the clusters of trumpet shaped red flowers provide much-needed nectar to Rufous, Anna’s and other hummingbird species. In fact, it is held that hummingbirds need to…

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Stone wall and fern in Ireland

Pondering the Stone Walls of Ireland

In the fall of 2017 and 2019, April and I traveled to Ireland. Throughout both trips we found ourselves walking along ancient stone walls and agricultural fields. As an Irish-American who has tended land for most of his life and who has also spent considerable time exploring his family history,…

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