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Slow water, fast.

High elevations and low waterfall mean gardening in the southwest depends a lot on what you might call “mechanical intervention”; glasshouses and tunnels for season extension and irrigation to compensate for shortages are the chief tools at the gardener’s disposal. Developed by the ancient Romans, adapted by the Moors in pre-Christian Spain, aqueducts fed water […]

Fascine—An ancient hill holder for modern gardens

I love when I come across a new (to me) gardening term. I’d never heard the word fascine, until I talked with Vanessa Gardner Nagel, award-winning landscape designer and author. She mentioned she was building fascine to stabilize the slope in her Pacific Northwest ravine garden. A fascine, she explained, is a bundle of sticks […]

Gone fishing

One of the biggest trends in indoor gardening nowadays is hydroponics—growing plants indoors, usually under lights, with their roots in water that is enriched with fertilizer. This technique (fine-tuned in the last decades of the 20th century for the discreet production of marijuana) is now developing into a small but significant sector of agriculture. If […]

Mandevilla Care

Mandevilla is a genus of flowering vines with showy, trumpet-shaped blossoms in various vibrant colors, making them highly popular for patios and decks.  In cold climates, however, they must be brought indoors for winter. Fortunately, a greenhouse is an ideal winter haven for Mandevillas as long as the temperature there stays above 50˚F. Before bringing […]

Midcentury Modern Living and Glasshouse Style

Glasshouse and conservatory construction have come a long way since the days of ancient Rome, when Pliny the Elder wrote about the Emperor Tiberius’s love of cucumbers. Such was the regal passion for the vegetable that he had, as Pliny described, “raised beds made in frames upon wheels, by means of which the cucumbers were […]

Big Surprises in Small Packages

Small yet highly effective tools can be the perfect gift for the holidays. When garden space is tight—like inside a greenhouse—this collection of scaled-down products will be appreciated. Or, put these miniature offerings on your own wish list if someone needs a hint about your preferences. Cobrahead Mini Weeder – Folks who use the regular […]

Pomegranates in the garden and kitchen

Pomegranate, Punica granatum, is a small tree native to the Mediterranean reaches of the near east, and so in zones where the temperature drops below 40F, is a pretty and productive addition to a conservatory garden. Otherwise it will be happy outdoors in regions with arid hot summers and cool winters. In either situation, pomegranate […]

Garden Success—Paul Bonine Turns Horticultural Advice on its Head

“Suit your plants to your soil, rather than creating soil to suit your plants.” That’s what Paul Bonine tells me. He’s the co-owner of Xera Plants, in Portland, Oregon, and author of the upcoming Gardening in the Pacific Northwest—A Complete Homeowners Guide. The results of following his advice? We’d all experience less struggle, less work, […]

Grow Your Own Turmeric

The much publicized health benefits of turmeric, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, have made it a popular addition to everything from lattes to smoothies to teas. Although fresh turmeric tubers have been said to have more potent health benefits than the powdered turmeric sold in grocery stores, a small bag of them can cost upwards […]

Autumn Harvest’s Bounty

The aspen trees have moved from shining beacons on the mountainsides to puddles of gold beneath the trees; greenhouses — retail and residential — are being cleaned out, and pumpkins, turkeys and sugar plum fairies are dancing in shoppers’ heads. The holiday season is upon us. In 1574, Nicolas Monardes, a Spanish man of letters, […]