The Joy of Landscaping

A Gardening Blog

Substitutes & Options for Some Common Invasive Plants - Part 1


The joy of the abundance of plant options!

While my last blog - Invasive plants: avoid these very bad boys! - was not very joyful, with listings of plants to avoid, I will get back to the "joy" of landscaping by providing substitutes for some of them. This post will cover shrubs while a future post will address other plant categories.

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Invasive Plants: Avoid These Very Bad Boys!


The joy of helping the environment.

My last blog discussed the rose rosette disease that was primarily introduced into the U.S. with introduction of an invasive plant, the multiflora rose. It got me riled up enough to help get the word out about invasives in general.

The first issue is defining "invasive". We typically describe plants as invasive when they start taking over our gardens through excessive growth and spread. While this can be a characteristic of an invasive plant, especially when it is planted next to a natural landscape, the primary definition of a plant that's on, for example, a state DNR's list of invasive plants, is: a non-native plant that takes over natural habitats or is destructive to the ecosystem. Often this occurs by birds transferring their seeds, or the seeds dispersed by wind.

The scientific community is acutely aware of the severe destruction caused by the plants listed below to natural habitats, and many long time gardeners have experienced their evil ways in their own gardens. But to further emphasize just how bad these plants are, DO NOT EVEN THINK ABOUT PLANTING THESE PREDATORS:

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How to Care for Knock Out® Roses


The joy of low maintenances roses! **

I was thinking today about what tasks needed to be done this month with the gardening season around the corner. "Prune the Knockout Roses" is on list. It’s one of the few times of the year that I need to pay some attention to these marvels of horticulture. You see, despite my intense love of garden design, I just don’t like plants that are fussy and need a lot of hand holding. That’s why I stayed away from roses for so long.

Fortunately, Knock Out Roses® (Rosa x “Radyod”) came along and at last, I’ve been able to enjoy roses in my own landscape. While the Blushing color works best in my yard, they come also in pink, red and yellow rose colors.

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The Uncommon Blues: Blue Flowering Plants and How to Use Them


The joy of seeing a beautifully unique color in the garden.

Every year, more color options for flowering plants appear at the garden center or in the seed catalogs. But one color still remains unique in its scarcity - true blue. I’m not talking about the “blue” broadly listed as a bloom color by growers, which is often more lavender or red-purple. The blue I’m referring to shows itself infrequently; when it does, its uniqueness further enhances its beautiful hue.

One way to find truer shades of blue is to visit a nursery after the last frost and check out the annuals. Lobelia comes in a brilliant blue color rarely seen and can be the star of a container. The California native Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila) is sky blue. Pansies come in a pretty baby blue or darker blue colors, including two tone, for use in the spring or fall.

However, here’s some plants to get blue more “permanently” into your garden.

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The Early Harbingers of Spring


The joy of starting a new gardening season (& a gardening blog!)

It’s fitting that my first blog post coincides with Spring just around the corner. I hope you find this blog informative as I muse about the joys of plants and the design of our landscapes.

Everyone’s familiar with crocuses, hyacinths, and daffodils to let us know Spring is coming. Pansies appear across the landscape, planted by those anxious to get started on a new year of gardening. Cherry trees put out their beautiful blooms early in the Midatlantic states. Native Dogwood and Azaleas pop in the South. Redbud trees bloom in northern climates. And of course, Forsythia’s yellow blooms can’t be missed after the grayness of the winter landscape.

Beyond these well known plants, here’s some other early bloomers that signify warmer days are ahead.

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