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At Hartley Botanic we have a good relationship with many knowledgeable garden writers both in the UK and USA – here you can enjoy reading their articles and gardening tips

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Fruits in the garden and greenhouse

The other day I almost picked a quince. It was an incidental quince:  The Japanese flowering quince shrub it was growing on had been planted for stunning coral-and-white spring flowers, not for fruit. However, the plant hadn’t gotten that memo and had developed half a dozen substantial, apple-like fruits anyway. Unfortunately, the shrub wasn’t mine, […]

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. […]

The undaunted prairie

The other day I strolled along a path between plants as tall as my shoulders, like a sea of green grasses with colorful swells of yellow coneflowers and black-eyed Susans, white ironweed and Indian plaintain, purple milkweed, and orange butterfly weed. Butterflies twinkled–monarchs, painted ladies, swallowtails—and bumblebees plodded from flower to flower. On the marsh […]

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 […]

Grow Your Own Mango Plant

You can easily grow your own greenhouse mango tree. If you decide to grow a mango the first step is to find a suitable mango. Most mangoes grown in America, according to the National Mango Board (www.mango.org) are either ‘Tommy Atkins’ or ‘Palmer.’ Tommy Atkins has slightly green and orange-red skin than does Palmer, which […]

Cold Hardy Cactus: Opuntia with punch!

Part of the delight in growing hardy cactus, for me anyway, comes in not having to move pot-grown specimens into the conservatory as the temperature drops. The hardy sorts of opuntia (aka prickly pear cactus) are especially attractive and common throughout the intermountain and prairie regions of the West. Opuntia aurea, hardy from Zone 5-10, […]

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 […]

Plants Need Secondary Macronutrients Too

You fill a watering can with dissolved fertilizer and start feeding your greenhouse plants. But do you know exactly what’s in the solution you’re using? Most greenhouse owners know that plants require nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). These are the primary macronutrients, the word “macro” referring to nutrients needed in relatively large amounts. […]

An expensive bargain: cheap potting mix

In life and gardening, we all make mistakes—sometimes, even when we know better. My big mistake this year (so far) was buying cheap potting mix. I understand perfectly well how important the quality of potting mix is to container plants in greenhouses, in the house, and outdoors. I know that the mix must be light […]