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The 6 plant habitats of the American Southeast, based on topography, soil, and bedrock type.

The 6 plant habitats of the American Southeast, based on topography, soil, and bedrock type.

It’s tempting to think native plants are easier to grow than exotics. “If this were so,” writes Larry Mellichamp, “then we would be growing all natives around our homes.” Gardeners who want a space that better reflects their region can struggle to find a native plant for a specific purpose, whether it’s to remedy a troublesome spot of dry shade or complete a seasonal color palette. Mellichamp wrote Native Plants of the Southeast to help those gardeners and here offers seven common challenges and a native shrub to help overcome it.

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This lane at Moore Farms in South Carolina, far from a water source, was planted on longabused, compacted soil by submerging plants before plantings and using a temporary drip system to get them established. Image: Moore Farms Botanical Gardens

This lane at Moore Farms in South Carolina, far from a water source, was planted on long-abused, compacted soil by submerging plants before plantings and using a temporary drip system to get them established. Image: Moore Farms Botanical Gardens

While you won’t find it mentioned in gardening handbooks, “watering-in” is a phrase that almost every gardener says and understands and expects the same of those that they work with. It’s universal gardener speak; I have friends from across the United States and Europe that use it. Where did you first hear it? From what tiny moments, conversations, mentors, or plants did you first get your head around it?

Watering-in for a gardener is sort of like bedside manner for a doctor—it’s a practice, a gentle, caring, comforting thing. It’s making sure that someone who’s a little weak or in a moment of transition is tucked in and going to sleep well.

The process of watering-in a new planting, versus simply squirting some water, demands an understanding and appreciation of the needs of roots and dirt, potting soils and water, photosynthesis and positive energy. It doesn’t mean that we know everything there is to know about all of this, but there’s a feeling.

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The dynamics sparked by modestly reseeding volunteers can create some of the nicest combinations. This Echinacea purpurea seeded into the plant community from another area, actually adding value to the composition and illustrating that sometimes your best contribution to the garden is to let your plants have some immunity from the hoe.

The dynamics sparked by modestly reseeding volunteers can create some of the nicest combinations. This Echinacea purpurea seeded into the plant community from another area, actually adding value to the composition and illustrating that sometimes your best contribution to the garden is to let your plants have some immunity from the hoe.

Roy Diblik wants you to get to know your plants. Understanding how plants grow and interact with each other in nature, he tells us, is key to creating self-sustaining communities, decreasing time spent on maintenance and allowing gardeners more time to use and enjoy the garden space. Roy calls this the “Know Maintenance” approach. It begins with perennials but is easily adapted to include your favorite annuals, vegetables, herbs, shrubs, trees, and containers.

It’s also an antidote to traditional gardening practices designed for specific kinds of plants and site conditions. “These well-defined cultural practices,” says Roy, “have been homogenized into common tasks that are now applied indiscriminately to all types of plants and landscapes.” The same techniques are applied to agricultural crops, commercial landscapes, and home gardens. Because of this, gardening has become “overwhelming to both the plants and the gardener.”

Read on to find out more about Know Maintenance and how it can save you time in the garden.

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Plantiful-Infographic-TornWant a lush garden? Pick a few favorites and plant them where they can spread, fill empty spaces you can’t get to with your trowel, and create gorgeous combinations with the existing plants in your garden. These are just some of the 150 plants in Kristin Green’s guide to a bountiful garden, Plantiful.

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Gardeners are not all the same. But gardening advice often is. What works for one gardener may not work for another, especially if they live in different parts of the country.

The Timber Press Guides to Vegetable Gardening solve that with advice from regional experts. These gardeners know what works, where. And they want to save you from frustration.

Read on to find which one is right for you.

Note: Midwest & Southwest coming soon!

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A seaside buffer is provided by an outer row of shrubs with a mixed ornamental border on the inside. Image: Andrew Buchanan

While landscaping for privacy can shield your yard from neighbors, reduce noise, or hide an eyesore, it can also provide protection. In this post, Marty Wingate offers advice on how to contend with two common environmental intrusions, wind and salt.

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Don’t just buy a generic bouquet of roses—make your Valentine’s gift of fresh flowers really mean something! By following the Victorian meaning of flowers, you can send a truly modern message of love.

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Download. Print. Cut. Voilà. Happy Valentine’s Day!
Design: Marla Sidrow

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“I like to think of it as the summer I grew the world and ate it.”

That’s Marie Iannotti describing what it was like to do the hands-on research for her book, The Beginner’s Guide to Growing Heirloom Vegetables. “Growing wonderfully satisfying food is the main point of vegetable gardening,” she writes. “Homegrown heirloom vegetables can be so beautiful and delicious that it seems you could simply inhale them, and many vegetables never make it all the way from the garden to the kitchen.”

But what exactly is a heirloom vegetable and how do you get started growing them? In the following excerpt, Iannotti answers those questions as well as provides her top 10 heirloom vegetable picks.

“Delicious, and deliciously dirt-filled.” —Dominique Browning, New York Times

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Which would you rather have: a front lawn, or flowers and food? Photo: Saxon Holt

Which would you rather have: a front lawn, or flowers and food? Photo: Saxon Holt

When designing your no-mow yard, Evelyen Hadden, author of Beautiful No-Mow Yards: 50 Amazing Lawn Alternatives, writes that each choice “should be based not only on your aesthetics or comfort but also on the natural processes and character of your site.” The following are five things to consider when contemplating replacing your lawn with a now-mow yard.

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