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A seat by the lake or a rowboat: either could be the perfect place to relax and enjoy the garden on a warm afternoon.

A seat by the lake or a rowboat: either could be the perfect place to relax and enjoy the garden on a warm afternoon.

You can find more creative shrub mood schemes in Andy McIndoe’s new book, The Creative Shrub Garden.

The colours in this scheme recall a warm summer’s afternoon in the garden. They are easy-to-live-with shades that create a relaxed and dreamy mood in the planting. These are the subtle hues that many of us are drawn to in fashion and in our homes. They convey an aura of comfort and security. They are slightly sleepy and never stimulating and exciting, but also never boring.

The sweet and familiar character of these colours is echoed in the foliage and the fragrance of the flowers. Some depth of colour, in the form of wine purple foliage and flowers, accentuates the lightness of other subjects in the scheme. Flower heads composed of tiny individual blooms add a lacy effect to the planting.
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This greenhouse receives plenty of light but still sheltered from wind by the surrounding trees. Image: Shelley Newman/Hartley Botanic

The Greenhouse Gardener’s Manual author shares questions every homeowner should ask before installing a greenhouse.

Unfortunately, many greenhouses get jammed into odd corners of the garden with little thought given to logistics. Before deciding where to put your greenhouse, carefully evaluate your property for a suitable site, looking for some key features.

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Header 01aThe Timber Press office takes a field trip to the Portland Japanese Gardens, one of the many featured in The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour.

Donald Olson came from a place where “gardens were yards with mowed grass, shade trees, a few hardy shrubs, and not much else.” Arriving in the Pacific Northwest, the “luxurious abandon” of the region’s gardens was a revelation: “I could always find something in bloom, even in fall and winter. The natural landscapes of this region had a beauty and a grandeur that astounded me then and continue to astound me today.”

In The Pacific Northwest Garden Tour, Olson celebrates 60 of the most noteworthy public gardens to visit in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. On a recent sunny summer day, the Timber Press office made a field trip to one of these places, the Portland Japanese Garden. Our goal was to see for ourselves what Olson claims is “one of the most beautiful gardens in the United States.”

It did not disappoint.

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Burdock, Japanese knotweed, and garlic mustard. Three plants that are invasive and edible.

Burdock, Japanese knotweed, and garlic mustard. Three plants that are invasive and edible.

Become an invasivore and eat your way to a healthier planet with help from Northeast Foraging.

Some plants are takeover artists. Often these are introduced, so-called alien species that spread so prolifically they can crowd out native plants. Some of them, such as mugwort, are allelopathic, meaning that they exude substances that can suppress the growth of other plants.

Non-native species get introduced into a region both intentionally and unintentionally. Some of the most aggressively invasive species, such as Japanese knotweed, were originally touted by the horticultural trade as attractive ornamental landscaping plants. They jumped the garden fence and took off on their own. Other species probably arrived here as seeds clinging to the clothes of colonists and immigrants.

When you harvest invasive species, you are not threatening that particular plant population (trust me, the mugwort will be just fine). More than that, you are giving slower-growing, non-invasive native plants a fighting chance.

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A camouflaged looper hides from its enemies by fastening petals of the blazing star (Liatris spicata) to its back with silk. This strategy has earned this caterpillar its common name and ensures that it will always perfectly resemble its background, no matter what flower it feeds on.

A camouflaged looper hides from its enemies by fastening petals of the blazing star (Liatris spicata) to its back with silk. This strategy has earned this caterpillar its common name and ensures that it will always perfectly resemble its background, no matter what flower it feeds on.

Chances are your garden is full of life that you have never seen. Don’t feel bad; there is an excellent reason these animals are difficult to see. Any animal that is easy to find quickly becomes a predator’s next meal.

A mother bird that must find thousands of caterpillars in just a few days to feed her young becomes very good at finding caterpillars. Over the eons, this has made caterpillars equally good at looking like their background, a condition known as crypsis. Insects that come to resemble a decayed section of leaf, a conifer needle, the bark they are resting on, and so forth are more difficult to locate than insects that contrast with their background. Often that’s all it takes to discourage a bird from searching for cryptic insects.

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Header-Image-WEBHow a neglected part of the yard became a thriving spot of beauty and habitat for wildlife.

This following series of images illustrates the transformation of a relatively sterile space off a north-facing bathroom window of our Pennsylvania home. Though a bathroom view may seem mundane, like the view from a kitchen window it is a small but significant element in our daily experiences—our “necessary journeys” to quote Ralph Waldo Emerson. Bringing life into these little landscapes can add immeasurably to the joy, the intrigue, and the functionality of the garden as inclusive habitat.

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Providing fragrance is a function of plants and gardens that is important to human sensibilities, and good design will make the most of this potential.

Providing fragrance is a function of plants and gardens that is important to human sensibilities, and good design will make the most of this potential. The sweet fragrance of strategically placed summer phlox (Phlox paniculata), a native of eastern United States, is readily accessible in this July image.

Though native plants are sometimes considered appropriate only for informal design styles, there’s no reason for this. Style, and formality or informality, have more to do with management than with plant selection.

Ferns are among the most adaptable and durable possibilities for the herbaceous layer. Though many are deciduous, a few including marginal shield fern (Dryopteris marginalis) and Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides) are fully evergreen. Two running species, hayscented fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula) and New York fern (Thelypteris noveboracensis), can be used to create highly durable herbaceous layers at a large or a relatively small scale. Ferns come about as close to being immune to deer damage as any group of native plants in eastern North America.

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The richly layered Riska-Dunson garden in Delaware is brimming with life yet is highly functional and profoundly livable.

The richly layered Riska-Dunson garden in Delaware is brimming with life yet is highly functional and profoundly livable.

What brings life to a landscape? Gardening is unique among the arts because its primary materials are literally alive, but are gardens merely beautiful arrangements of living objects?

A growing awareness of a broad range of environmental relationships suggests the traditional object-oriented approach to garden-making is unable to guide us in the design and care of landscapes that are genuinely sustainable. Informed by ecological science and cultural studies, we have an opportunity to adopt new ethics outlining a modern recipe for inclusive habitat: ethics that embrace the changing dynamics of our world while recognizing the need to protect and conserve what is vital and irreplaceable.

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Lederer_Burr_3DCover 300Latin for Bird Lovers uncovers the secrets behind more than 3,00 scientific names, delves into bird behavior, and reveals the fascinating discoveries of ornithologists. Here we take a look inside with author Dr. Roger Lederer.

More after the jump. Click images to enlarge.

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The power of a good teacher: Roger Lederer began as a student most interested in fish but, he says, “I had a great ornithology instructor and learned that birds were fascinating to me.” That instructor inspired what became a life-long passion and career.

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Author of The Plant Lover’s Guide to Dahlias, Andy Vernon shows us the dahlias in bloom at his home in England and shares his love for these spectacular flowers.

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