Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Grade Your Garden—New Plants Go to the Top of the Class

At this back-to-school season, it’s time to study—what gets an A in your garden and greenhouse, and what rates an F? Take notes on both the perfect and the problem areas. Then you can hunt for plants that fit into these two categories. If, say, your foxgloves were a glory, find more for next year. […]

Surprisingly Tasty Ornamentals Hide in Plain Sight

I’m always pleased when I discover beautiful ornamental plants in my garden that are also delicious to eat. So, last month, at a Hardy Plant Study Weekend in Portland, OR, I was happy to attend a presentation by Stacey Hirvela called “Incidentally Edible.” Stacey is a marketing specialist for Proven Winners Colorchoice Shrubs, and the […]

Historic Gardens—What the past tells us about today—and tomorrow

I love the feeling of time travel that comes with visiting restored gardens. One of my favorites is Aspet—a garden designed around the home of artist and sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907). The 30-acre garden and 200-acre grounds are now a National Historical Park in New Hampshire. When I visit gardens like this, one question always […]

Share a Plant, Create Community—Dina Russell has a vision

How would you like to meet more of your neighbors, celebrate the bounty of your garden, forge new friendships on common ground, and strengthen your community ties? Dina Russell, gardener and founder of PlantShare®, believes plants can help you do all of that. “Think about it—the development of the original human society was created by […]

Fabulous Plants Depend on Great Dirt

A plant’s performance is often tied to the quality of the soil it’s growing in. According to Elizabeth Murphy, soil scientist, gardener, and author of Building Soil—A Down to Earth Approach, certain steps can be taken to modify garden soil. But what about purchased potting mixes that are the mainstay of containers, raised beds, and, […]

Making Kokedama—Chance Justbe Tells How

Imagine walking into a leafy greenhouse. There you find a group of plants, suspended in space, each growing out of a rounded ball of moss, and dancing lightly in the breeze—an utterly exquisite show. You’re looking at kokedama, an elegant Japanese bonsai technique for showing off superstar plants. Several years ago, Chance Justbe, a Pacific […]

Steal This! —the season’s best indoor show ideas

I think of indoor flower and garden shows as giant greenhouses where you can walk among the plants and pick up great ideas for your garden. I recently attended the Northwest Flower & Garden Festival in Seattle. Here are some terrific takeaways you can use from that show. Play with perspective –The multiple award-winning Asian-inspired […]

How to Help Native Plants Win Back their Territory

It’s well known that really obnoxious invasives can overpower our native plant populations. Now meet Nancy Lawson, garden columnist, habitat consultant, and author of the book, The Humane Gardener. She’s got great advice for how gardeners can assist natives to fight back—and win. In Nancy’s two-acre garden outside Baltimore, Maryland, a fallen tree allowed the […]

In Praise of Paper Catalogs

Right now, my breakfast table is piled with gardening catalogs for my reading pleasure. And yet, I must ask—in this digital age, why do nursery folks continue to go to the time, trouble, and expense to put these colorful collections of plant offerings into my hands? “Our customers aren’t futurized,” one nursery employee wryly notes […]

Greenhouse Glory—How to Make Your Poinsettias Bloom Every Year

I confess—I’m a poinsettia composter. I tried growing them on after the holidays with my other houseplants, and the results were leggy and dismal. Now I’m talking with Kym Pokorny, a gardener, a 20-year veteran garden writer, and communications specialist at Oregon State University Extension Service. She’s always been interested in this iconic holiday plant. […]

Best Easy-Care Plants for Years to Come

It’s the time of year for giving thanks. And as a professional garden writer, I am thankful for the exciting new plants from growers and marketers that I get to trial and review. However, sometimes many seasons pass before plants demonstrate just how good they really are. So, I’d like to share a couple of […]

Instant Privacy Hedges—Now You Can Buy Time

Recently, while walking through the aisles of the Independent Garden Center trade show in Chicago, I discovered a product I’d never seen before—containerized hedges. A row of neatly sheared plants outlined the booth. Clearly, they were field-grown and root pruned, their branches naturally intermingling. It was a living privacy wall you could buy. It would […]