Turning a Garden's Problems into Personality

When we bought our house last year, I knew that the yard had issues; terrible erosion, poor drainage, dry shade and a doomed tree, to name a few. Yet for all of these problems, their solutions can make the garden into something more special; erosion can become an exciting dry creek bed and bad drainage can become a brimming rain garden. When you look at it like that, a perfect yard looks pretty boring after all.

How to Design your own Garden: 12 Easy Tips

Whether you're starting from scratch or trying to bring some order to an existing garden, any landscape can benefit from a little bit of planning. More importantly, organizing your daydreams onto paper is fun! In my last post I sung the praises of real gardens; loved patches of dirt with weeds, unfinished areas and a wealth of potential. Now I'll show how to visualize those possibilities. Put some garden boots on those cold feet and turn your yard into a beautiful garden with these 12 creative tricks and ideas.

The Joys of an Imperfect Garden

My fences are falling apart, the previous owner's doghouse is still being dismantled to make room for veggies, my cucumbers are plagued by caterpillars and I have weeds up the wazoo. I've even resorted to using Round-Up on the cracks in my driveway the other day... not that it even worked. For all of these headaches, I'm overjoyed. I fail to see the appeal in a 'finished' garden and applaud those who choose to garden without seeking the approval of others.

Troy-Bilt TB6044 XP Review and Giveaway

My idea of a perfect lawn is one that is kept neat and trim, and steadily becoming replaced by new garden beds. Lawn work should be fast, easy and even fun, and should never take time away from the garden or time with my family. Now that I have the TB6044 XP I was finally able to tackle what I thought was an impenetrable jungle of overgrown weeds and can now look forward to giving my lawn and garden beds a manicured look. Want to win one for yourself? Read on!

My Backyard Oasis Makeover, Before and After

When we moved into our house last year, the back yard was a disaster zone with rotting fences, a foot of soil washed out from beneath the mildew-blackened patio and a lawn so choked with invasive weeds that... well, I just gave up. I've found lots of articles showing how to distract from an eyesore in the garden, but what if the whole backyard is a bleeping eyesore? I'll eventually replace the fences and get my stuff together, but what I really needed in the meantime was a diversion.

Make this Living Flower Arrangement

If you've ever received an orchid, bromeliad or Christmas cactus as a gift, only to find that they're bloomless and boring the rest of the year, then let me show you how to combine them into an easy and long-lasting living flower arrangement! Since my Easter cactus was just blooming last week, I've decided to share this whole container garden 'recipe' from my book so that you can make it yourself.

3 Easy Kumquat Glaze Recipes

Finally, a use for all of those extra kumquats! The kumquat is the kind of fruit that you tend to either love or hate, but even the most ardent avoider of this bittersweet little citrus relative would love it as a tangy glaze. If kumquats are unavailable, it's a great use for other acidic citrus like calamondins or key limes. Below are my three favorite variations, from a two-ingredient version to an exotic spicy ginger kumquat glaze for the more adventurous. Each of the glazes can be used with the bonus 15-minute glazed salmon recipe at the bottom of this post.

7 Ways to Save Money on Plants

Shopping for plants can be an exhausting and bewildering experience, especially if you have a lot of questions. Will these flowers survive a year in my garden? Are clearance plants really that good of a deal? Should I buy a bigger plant or a smaller one? What's the difference between an annual and a perennial, and why should I care? Why are plants so expensive? Before you drive to the garden center with full on spring fever, read this article and learn how to fill your garden beds on a budget by making smart and informed decisions.

How to Combine Houseplants for Easy Indoor Gardens

A combination of houseplants is easier than a bunch of individual plants, especially if you choose the ones that actually like the same amounts of sunlight and water. It's also a lot more rewarding to tend to an lush and well designed indoor garden than it is to merely keep that one sad Dracaena in the corner alive. While my book Plant by Numbers goes into much more detail with plant lists, substitutions, design tips and care guidelines, I'll get you started by showing you how I made the combo pictured here.

The Parable of the Banyan (Or, How I Planted a Tree in a Rock)

Following the loss of my mother two years ago, I received a mysterious package containing a bonsai Schefflera from an unknown, yet incredibly thoughtful benefactor. I was humbled by the generous gift, but since I was admittedly a little off my gardening game at the time, I forgot to water the new bonsai for a week and found two dead stems staring me in the face. The one surviving stem had a lot to teach me.