How To Grow California Poppy

growing california poppies

by Matt Gibson

The golden poppy became known as the California poppy when the state of California adopted the flower as their state flower in 1903. The lovely golden orange perennial is one of the first wildflowers to be cultivated in gardens. Also known as Flame Flower, la amapola, and Copa de Oro (cup of gold), flanders poppy, corn poppy, Iceland poppy, oriental poppy, and golden poppy, the bright orange flower sets the California hills ablaze from early spring to late fall.

Poppy Day is celebrated on April 6th each year, and May 13th through May 18th is Poppy Week. Though most commonly seen in golden orange, the California poppy can also be found in shades of bronze, scarlet, terra-cotta, white, and rose. The bright blooms of the poppy are perched atop foot high silvery-green foliage. The plant is a slight bit wider than it is tall, with flowers that stretch one to two inches wide, each consisting of four fan-shaped petals and a group of stamens. The foliage is divided into narrow segments on long stalks with three to four inch fern-like leaves. California poppy grows naturally in open areas, grassy, and sandy slopes.

The flower is not exclusive to California, however, but can be found from southern California to southern Washington, and as far east as Texas. Native Americans from California loved the Golden poppy, and used it as a source of food and extracted oil from the plant for medicinal purposes.

It is important to address the distinction between the California poppy and Papaver somniferum. The milky sap of Papaver somniferum’s unripened seed pods is the primary source of opiate drugs, such as morphine, opium, codeine, and heroin. Though the two species are cousins, the sap of the California poppy is non-narcotic. It does have mild sedative properties, but not nearly as powerful as its illegal-to-grow cousin.

Poppy seeds, also called maw seeds are used for flavoring in baking, ground for flour, and are commonly found in birdseed. Poppy oil, which is derived from Golden poppy seeds, is used in cooking, and as an additive in paints, varnishes, and soaps.

The Poppy symbolizes peace, death and sleep, and is one of the most important flowers in mythology. The poppy also symbolizes rest and recovery, consolation for loss and death, remembrance of fallen soldiers, peace in death, imagination, messages gleaned from dreaming, resurrection and immortality, beauty, success, extravagance, wealth, and luxury.

Varieties of California Poppy

There are many different types of poppy flowers, but only three types of Golden Poppy. California Golden is the classic bright orange poppy seen all across the hills of California, especially in the southern regions. Mission Bells poppy is available in a wide range of sherbet shades like pink, salmon, and cream, and some hybrids even have semi-double blooms. Golden West poppy is a hybrid of the classic orange flower that is known as California Golden, and is only available in orange, set apart from the original only by its darker center.

Growing Conditions for California Poppy

As with many native wildflowers, California poppies are easy to care for and maintain when grown in their native regions, or when provided with a habitat that mimics their native environment. For the California poppy, the old adage, “less is more,” is truly applicable, as it is more important to focus on what you don’t give the poppy more than what you do provide it. California poppies need less water, less warmth, and less soil nutrition. The less they are given, the more they will become self-reliant, and will even begin to self-sow around the garden in places you wouldn’t expect to see them.

A full six hours of unfiltered sunlight is essential and more is even better, so pick a bright sunny location for your poppies. Though some California poppies may survive in shady locations, they will look tarnished and leggy, and will be more prone to developing fungal diseases than their sunbathing brethren. Golden poppies prefer poor soil conditions to rich soil, but will survive in any soil type except for heavy clay soils, as their tap roots require good drainage. If you have a clay-rich soil, try your poppies out in raised beds with altered soil or containers.

If temperatures are mild, or between 50 and 75 degrees F, California poppies will continue to grow and bloom each spring. In areas with hot summer climates, they will become dormant during the summer instead of continuing to bloom through the season. When cool temperatures return, so will your poppies, regrowing and re-blooming from their tap roots.

Care of California Poppy

California poppies don’t need very much water to thrive, and are practically drought-tolerant. Spring rainfall is usually enough to irrigate the plants sufficiently. In areas with hot summers, the plants will go dormant and will need no additional water during the summer months. Only water California poppies during droughts or extremely dry periods.

No fertilizer is needed for California poppies, even in poor soil conditions. Adding fertilizer to your soil will cause additional foliage growth and less focus on blooms.

How To Grow California Poppy In Containers

When growing California poppies in containers, start from seed. Golden Poppies have long tap roots and hate to be transplanted. Treat container poppies like you would any hardy annual, pulling them up when they’re done blooming, as they will most likely die over winter in a container. If you want to try to keep them alive, bring them indoors during the winter and let them go dormant and gradually reintroduce them to the outdoors the following spring.

How To Plant California Poppy

Plant poppy seeds directly into the ground in a bright sunny location after the last threat of frost has passed. Press the seeds into the soil gently with your fingers and water gently to keep from dislodging the tiny seeds. The warming of the soil in spring and light spring rains will help to trigger germination, which should occur in about two weeks. You can tell the poppies from weeds by noticing the bluish-green tint of poppy foliage, so pull the weeds up and thin poppy seedlings to about eight inches apart.

Garden Pests and Diseases of California Poppy

California poppies can contract several diseases, especially in a location that endures heavy, or excessive rain or overwatering. Mold, stem rot, and mildew can all affect poppy plants grown in wet habitats. Antifungal applications can help subdue some of the issues that come with overwatering, but the best defense against these diseases is planting your poppies in locations that receive full sunlight exposure and maintaining a well-draining soil to help keep your poppies as dry as possible. There are no known pest issues that affect the California poppy.


Holiday Blooms: Create a Living Centerpiece


In our November/December issue, Leaf and Petal owner Lydia Pursell invites us into her family’s home, dressed for Yuletide with botanical selections from her popular chain of garden shops.

Holiday Blooms: Create a Living Centerpiece

During the holidays, the former magazine stylist brings beauty and fragrance into her interiors with fresh-cut garlands and wreaths. But along with these temporary additions, Lydia advises creating arrangements that can last through the winter and beyond.

Holiday Blooms: Create a Living Centerpiece

Here’s Lydia’s step-by-step instructions for creating this magnificent focal point, above.

Prepare a container. This vintage brass treasure, perfectly sized for a buffet or a dining table, was purchased for $20 at a church tag sale. Lining the bottom with floral wrap protects the patina from potential water damage. This waxed tissue paper can also be tucked between plants as a stabilizer, but Lydia suggests using torn-up grocery sacks as an economical substitute.

Holiday Blooms: Create a Living Centerpiece
Design for maximum interest. “The composition for most arrangements comes from the old cliché, ‘thrill, fill, and spill,’” Lydia shares. Florists recommend combining eye-catching favorites with varieties that lend height, and others that extend over the edge of the vessel. These hydrangeas and ferns, available year-round, will find an ideal holiday complement in softly tinted poinsettias.

Holiday Blooms: Create a Living Centerpiece

Develop an artful presentation. This process comes naturally to Lydia. “I usually play with the placement until it feels right,” she explains. The pots growers use are not very pliable, so transferring seedlings and their soil into plastic bags allows more flexibility and increased water retention. Larger shrubs, such as hydrangeas, are better left in their original containers. Consider where the centerpiece will be displayed to determine whether you need to address only the front and sides or plan for a 360° view.

Holiday Blooms: Create a Living Centerpiece
Extend the enjoyment. “The arrangements we do at Leaf and Petal can last for months,” Lydia says. “One or two plants may not have the longevity of the others, but those you refresh.” Realizing that varieties require differing amounts of water, she recommends testing their moisture levels every few days by sticking a finger in the soil. As some flowers begin to fade, they can be replaced with new seasonal offerings.


25 Fun Facts About Flowers

corpse flower


Looking for some flower facts?

Flowers beguile us with their lovely scent and striking beauty, but many flowers have hidden attributes. Flowers and plants have been used medicinally for thousands of years. Some flowers, such as the lotus, have religious or historical significance. Many flowers may also have unusual characteristics or forms. Dive into the fascinating world of flower-lore and gain a fresh appreciation for these plants.

1.     Roses are related to apples, raspberries, cherries, peaches, plums, nectarines, pears and almonds.

2.     Tulip bulbs were more valuable than gold in Holland in the 1600s.

3.     Ancient civilizations burned aster leaves to ward off evil spirits.

4.     Tulip bulbs can be substituted for onions in a recipe.

5.     Chrysanthemums are associated with funerals in Malta and are considered unlucky.

6.     The very expensive spice, saffron, comes from a type of crocus flower.

7.     The largest flower in the world is the titan arums, which produce flowers 10 feet high and 3 feet wide. The flowers smell of decaying flesh and are also known as corpse flowers, as pictured at the top of this post. Creative Commons Flickr photo courtesy of un_cola.

8.     Almost 60 percent of fresh-cut flowers grown in the U.S. come from California.

9.     Hundreds of years ago, when Vikings invaded Scotland, they were slowed by patches of wild thistle, allowing the Scots time to escape. Because of this, the wild thistle was named Scotland’s national flower.

10.  The lotus was considered a sacred flower by ancient Egyptians and was used in burial rituals. This flower blooms in rivers and damp wetlands, but may lie dormant for years during times of drought, only to rise again with the return of water. Egyptians viewed it as a symbol of resurrection and eternal life.

11.  Scientists discovered the world’s oldest flower in 2002, in northeast China. The flower, named Archaefructus sinensis, bloomed around 125 million years ago and resembles a water lily.

12.  The juice from bluebell flowers was used historically to make glue.

13.  Foxglove is an old English name, derived from the belief that foxes slipped their feet into the leaves of the plant to sneak up on prey.

14.  Dandelions might seem like weeds, but the flowers and leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and potassium. One cup of dandelion greens provides 7,000-13,000 I.U. of vitamin A.

15.  The flower buds of the marsh marigold are pickled as a substitute for capers.

16.  Sunflowers move throughout the day in response to the movement of the sun from east to west.

17.  Moon flowers bloom only at night, closing during the day.

18.  Flowering nicotiana is related to tobacco, from which cigarettes are made.

19.  Gas plants produce a clear gas on humid, warm nights. This gas is said to be ignitable with a lit match.

20.  When Mormon pioneers arrived in the Salt Lake Valley, they subsisted on the roots of the Sego Lily Plant. This plant is the state flower of Utah.

21.  The cornstarch-like powder known as arrowroot is derived from the plant, Marantha arundinacea, and is native to India. It was used by indigenous people to draw out the toxins from a poisoned arrow wound. Today, it is used to thicken pies and jellies.

22.  Angelica was used in Europe for hundreds of years as a cure for everything from the bubonic plague to indigestion. It was thought to ward off evil spirits.

23.  Blue cohosh, also known as squaw root or papoose root, was used by Native American women to ensure an easy labor and childbirth.

24.  During the Middle Ages, lady’s mantle was thought to have magic healing properties.

25.  When Achilles was born, his mother dipped him head first in a bath of yarrow tea, believing it had protective qualities. Yarrow is still known for healing and was used during World War I to heal soldiers’ wounds.

The next time you walk through a flower garden, take a minute to consider the individual plants growing there. One of them may hold the secret for curing a dreaded disease. Another may have a long, illustrious history. Every flower has qualities and attributes worth admiring.

Still reading? Check out these additional flower facts for kids!

The Art of Espalier

Espalier fruit trees - how to grow lots of fruit in a small space

How to ESPALIER small trees to grow fruit in a small space


Espalier is an art that originated in Europe. The skill of espalier involves patience and artistry you can see through as these plants are painstakingly trained along fences and walls. Touring around Europe, you will see elaborate and beautiful designs that have grown over hundreds of years.

In the home garden this can be a fun project that grows over time with your family and evolves as the years go by.Espalier lattice Fence

Espalier Shapes

There are many different shapes of an espalier: cordon (branches straight out to the sides), fan (branches fanning up and to the side), candelabra (like a cordon but the branches turn at a right angle to form the shape of a candelabra), lattice (multiple trees with crossing branches), and “Y” shapes.

The simplest shape to start with is the cordon. Often fruit trees can be purchased grafted into this shape like the espalier that I have in my play garden.

Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour

Grafted Espaliers

My espalier has five different varieties of apple grafted onto a dwarf apple stock. Grafting is the process of attaching a branch to the tree so that they grow together as one. Since it’s the trunk of the tree that supports the rootstock, it determines the overall height of the tree. Then the branches of five different apples trees are grafted on to produce varied fruiting branches. I have even seen “fruit salad” trees with grafted branches of apple, pear, plum, peach, and cherry; although I can’t report on how well this works myself.

I have worked with a few espaliers in small urban spaces: grafted five-fruit varieties of apple and pear in my home gardens, and heirloom apples at the community gardens. In my home garden, I have the space for only one tree, so I chose a tree with different varieties of apples that flower and fruit at varying times throughout the season. Usually the varieties are selected to support each other so that cross-pollination can occur, but sometimes grafting is simply for the novelty of having multiple fruit varieties on one tree.

In practice, these grafted trees often start out with multiple varieties but then morph into one or two of the strongest varieties over time. Even so, with the proper conditions and care, an espalier fruit tree can thrive and be productive in a small space.

Garden Therapy Back Yard Play Garden Tour Espalier apple

How to Plant an Espalier

The optimal time to plant any fruit trees is in the winter or early spring when they’re dormant. Dig the tree into the soil as soon as the soil is workable for the year. Create a large hole that is twice as wide, but just as deep as your root ball. Add well-rotted compost to the hole. Position the tree so that the base of the trunk, at the root flare (just where it begins to widen), is at the soil line. Plant any deeper and the roots will grow upwards, plant too high and roots will be exposed. Fill in the hole with soil and water well for the first year until established.

Don’t forget to pick the right place for your tree. Most fruit trees love sun, so a nice sunny spot will give you the best fruit. Follow the care instructions on your tree for best results.Rows of Espalier apples

How to Prune & Train an Espalier

First, determine the pattern you want and look for a young tree that has that basic shape. Remove any branches that don’t fit the pattern or that suffer from one of the 4 D’s (read all about that in Pruning 101).

Now build a structure to support the shape, or attach the branches to an existing fence. Use a soft, covered wire or ribbon that can be retied when the branches grow. Be sure not to choke the branches with too-tight ties.

Here are some helpful supplies for training an espalier:

Espalier apples with blossoms

Espalier Maintenance

Monthly pruning will keep an espalier neat and productive. The key is to regularly do a little pruning to maintain the shape, and allow all of the tree’s energy to go into the remaining branches (read all about plant energy in this post on pruning).

Remove any branches that are starting to get long, and leave plenty of buds where the cuts are. This will ensure that leaves, flowers, and fruit grow close to the branches.

Apple Blossom

Continue to prune throughout the growing season and enjoy your gorgeous new espalier as it grows and fruits over the years.Espalier apples

For more information on pruning, check out these posts:

Thanks to Stephanie Rose for this article:


How to make an indoor herb garden

Use your own fresh herbs in your recipes

The key to making a recipe delicious is to use fresh herbs; while dried herbs are good, fresh herbs add a lot more flavor to even the most mundane meal. I love growing my own herbs and always have some fresh Rosemary growing in the yard, however during the cold winters it’s not possible to maintain an outside herb garden.

I therefore realized I need to learn how to make an indoor herb garden. After much experimentation I realized that creating herbs indoors isn’t easy; you need to create the right combination of lighting and moisture in order to help the herbs thrive.


So how do you make an indoor herb garden?

The good thing about an indoor herb garden is that you can maintain them all year round, and while I still have an external herb garden, the aromas of an internal herb garden really make the idea of an internal herb garden very appealing. Below you will find a general guide for creating your own indoor herb garden; don’t give up, you may not be successful the first time, or even the second time but the effort will pay off when you have fragrance herbs enhancing your recipes.

Rosemary is one of the easiest herbs to grow; it has an amazing aroma and is great in most dishes.
Rosemary is one of the easiest herbs to grow; it has an amazing aroma and is great in most dishes. | Source

Step 1 – select your herbs – if this is your first time then I suggest you select only one or two herbs to start and then as you become more experienced try to increase the number and variety of herbs.

Step 2 – plants or seeds? – decide whether you want to ‘cheat’ by buying a plant or start from scratch by using seeds. Buying a small herb plant from your local hardware store is easier and the herb is more likely to be hardier, but it is more expensive. Using seeds is more difficult and without the right combination of sunlight and water might not develop the hardiness that you need for them to last.

Step 3 – location – finding the right location where the plants will get plenty of sunlight is key; as mentioned before if you don’t have the perfect location then you can purchase a horticultural lamp that you can time to come on during normal sunlight hours.

Step 4 – potting – while you can use fresh soil and fertilizers and try and maintain your own fertilized soil, it is easier to use potting soil with fertilizers and nutrients in them. You can supplement with Miracle Grow if you want, but regular potting soil doesn’t really require much maintenance.

For individual herbs you should use a 6 inch pot, for a full garden use at least a 12 inch pot. If you are using a plant, create a hole that will allow you to put the entire plant in. If you are using seeds, follow the instructions on the packet. Usually you will soak the seed in water for several hours, poke a hole in the soil and then place the seed in the hole (usually the depth will be about three times the height of the seed) and then pat down the soil so that there are no air bubbles.

Step 5 – watering – generally you should water once a week or once every two weeks depending on the moisture retention of the soil. Do not over water. This is one of the hardest parts of creating a herb garden indoors and it can be very hard to judge. Generally I like the soil to feel slightly moist when touching it, but you’ll find what works for you over time by simple trial and error.

Step 6 – harvesting – pruning is an important part of growing indoor herbs; it helps to keep the herb healthy and bushy. You want to aim to have a fairly compact plant. Generally you can use the pruned leaves in your recipes or dry them for the future.

My experiences with growing herbs indoors

 The table below lists the herbs I have grown indoors, what I tend to use them for, and the difficulty level:

Great in salads and marinaras
Very easy
Superb with beef
Very easy
Great for Mexican food
Staple for all Italian foods
Great in a fresh salad
Try in soup and salad
Great with chicken and in stuffing
Perfect in all recipes
Moderate / difficult
Nice in mashed potatoes
Great when stuffed in fish
A must-have with lamb


Making your own indoor Herb Garden is a very rewarding experience. Not only will you save money, enhance you meals but you also add a pleasant aroma to your home. Be careful it can be addicting and you’ll soon find yourself growing some very exotic herbs!

Author:  Simon Cook

10 Simple Gardening Ideas

Article by nikkimeenlips

How many times have you promised yourself that you were going to start growing your own vegetables or plant some nice flowers only to get distracted and let it fall by the wayside?

Well here’s 10 simple Garden Ideas that you can literally start today – and because most of the ideas use materials that you can find around the house you won’t even have to spend much money.

You are literally 1 pack of seeds away from growing your own food, how exciting is that!

Trellis for pumpkins
Trellis for pumpkins

1 Trellis For Pumpkins

If you like fresh pumpkin pie then you’ll want to grow your very own pumpkins in your back yard.

Pumpkins love climbing so if you want to save ground space then why not try and build a trellis like the one pictured. You will need to keep an eye on the vines to keep them on the trellis.

Trellis pumpkins – in my opinion – taste nicer and are more evenly sized and don’t suffer from the blemishes and pale bottom that ground grown pumpkins suffer from.

Recycled herb garden
Recycled herb garden

2 Recycled Herb Garden

Growing your own herb garden doesn’t have to be a chore or expensive!

Use old wooden boxes – like the wine crates pictured to the right – and simply fill with soil before sewing your favourite herb seeds.

It’s also a good idea to keep the crates raised as it keeps pets away whilst making it easier to water and pick them when ripe.

Grow seedlings in eggshells
Grow seedlings in eggshells

3 Grow Seedlings in Eggshells

To get your herb garden growing you may want to start off by growing the seedlings indoors (especially in colder weather).

Eggshells are the perfect container to do this – not only is it ecologically sound, but the carton sits perfectly on a windowsill where it will benefit from warm sunlight.

The shells are also full of nutrients which will benefit the plants long term (and make a far better growing material than plastics).

DIY herb markers
DIY herb markers

4 DIY Herb Markers

Once you get going with all your herbs you’ll need to stay organised – so gather up a few stones and paint on the different herb names beside each plant.

Not only is this a practical solution for your plant growing but also adds beautiful decoration to your garden – and only takes a few minutes to do!

Recycled garden lighting
Recycled garden lighting

5 Recycled Garden Lighting

Another great way to recycle your rubbish into something really cool. Here’s how to make these “Garden Lanterns”

1) Remove any paper from the tin

2) Fill the tin with water and place in your freezer – until frozen solid

3) Get a nail and hammer and drive the nail into the tin – make whatever designs you’d like!

4) Let the water melt – then pour it out

5) Put it in your garden then add some tea lights – and hey presto you’ve got some awesome garden lanterns!

Recycled garden planter
Recycled garden planter

6 Recycled Garden Planter

If you have old furniture lying about then why not put it to use in your garden.

Again the only cost here is the top soil and packets of seeds – and instantly you’ll add an amazing focal point to your outdoor area.

If you don’t have any old furniture then keep an eye out at flea markets and second hand shops – and you could pick up something really funky or retro for your garden!

Sunflower garden house
Sunflower garden house

7 Sunflower Garden House

Sunflowers are really easy to grow and can grow to mammoth sizes giving your garden brilliant shaded areas – which are perfect for relaxing and reading books under.

To grow really big sunflowers, plant them in a good potting soil and add some liquid fertiliser every other week. Sunflowers (as the name suggests!) love sun – so wait until it’s warm before planting.

You can harvest the seeds yourself or let the birds have their fill and enjoy the extra wildlife that will be coming to your garden!

Hanging garden table
Hanging garden table

8 Hanging Garden Table

If you have an old pallet or door you could make a hanging table – obviously a large tree with strong branches is a prerequisite!

This idea is not as hard as it looks – simply drill the holes into the wood in which the rope will fit through and suspend the rope in the tree.

It will take a while to get the balance right – but once you do that you’ll have a really romantic spot to enjoy lazy summer days!

Pallet vertical garden
Pallet vertical garden

9 Pallet Vertical Garden

Another great thing you can do with pallets is create a vertical herb garden.

For this project, you’ll need obviously need a pallet (try your local hardware stores – they usually have a pile of damaged ones they no longer want)

You’ll also need potting soil, bulbs or seedlings, a small roll of landscape fabric, a staple gun, staples, and sand paper.

1) Sand the pallet to get rid of any splinters

2) Staple the landscape fabric on to one side of the pallet – ensuring that the bottom end is covered also – to prevent the soil coming out

3) Add your soil and then plant your bulbs and seeds

That’s it – your very own vertical pallet garden!

Recycled garden markers
Recycled garden markers

10 Kids Watering Can

This idea is so simple it probably doesn’t need any instructions!

But all you have to do is heat a needle and prick a few holes in a plastic container then draw some pretty flowers on the outside.

Children will love watering the flowers with this and it’s a great way to get them involved in gardening and getting them away from the TV for a few minutes at least!

Regional Gardening Gift Ideas for Holidays 2019

Give the Gift of Gardening This Holiday

Get the gardeners in your life exactly what they’ll love this holiday season

It’s that time of the year again.

We know that the gardener in your life may be particularly hard to buy for during the holiday season. How does one buy a beloved plant variety in the winter? So we put together this handy shopping guide with tools, gear, garden decorations, and more. We’re sure your favorite gardener will love anything (or everything!) on this list. Below, see suggestions from our sponsors.

Holly Jolly Decorated

Stay in their thoughts for seasons to come with this festive, fully decorated tabletop tree. A wonderful gift for a family with children or for a favorite grandparent, this live Alberta spruce tree features unique decorations as part of our exclusive Holiday Collection. After the holidays, your recipient may plant this tree outdoors. Height: 18–20 in.

Price: $79.95


Holly Jolly Decorated


A Victorian Greenhouse—the Gift That Keeps on Giving

Give someone the gift to grow all year-round with an Alitex greenhouse. Some spend months or even years searching for the perfect greenhouse—that’s where we come in. Manufactured to the highest quality and standard, in powder-coated aluminum, our greenhouses give gardeners the best growing environment for helping to bring gardening dreams to life.

We work closely with our clients to ensure that our greenhouses fit every need. With its sheer strength and durability, aluminum creates finer, more elegant frames, allowing more natural light in and offering a low-maintenance solution for today’s busy lifestyles.

Price: From $20,000


Alitex greenhouse

Charleston Gardens

Charming Garden-Related Decor

Give a gift this holiday season from our large offering of garden-related items and seasonal decor. You’ll find gifts for gardeners, bird lovers, and children. Decorate your home with our wreaths, tabletop trees, unique ornaments, and other decorations.

Wonderful World Wall Art: $245

Cardinal Bird Feeder: $85

Climbing Frog: $40

Personalized Watering Can Sign: $90

Friends Are the Flowers Sign: $65

Charleston Gardens garden decor


Fine Gardening readers can save 25% now + free shipping using FG25GIFTS

CoronaForged Aluminum Bypass Pruner

A well-made hand pruner is essential for every gardener. The CoronaForged Aluminum Bypass Pruner is ideal for cutting branches and limbs up to 3/4 inches in diameter. It’s made of lightweight materials that will provide years of use. Whether you are making one cut or hundreds, this ergonomic pruner is designed to fit comfortably in your hand, and the angled head helps keep your wrist straight while making cuts. The blade can easily be sharpened when it dulls, and replaced should it ever wear out or get damaged. With a limited lifetime warranty and replacement parts, it’s the single best investment for a quality garden tool that is easy on your hands and your wallet.

Price: $50 [FG $35]


Corona FlexDIAL® Adjustable Bypass Pruner

The internationally acclaimed Corona FlexDIAL Adjustable Bypass Pruner has gardeners everywhere raving about this custom-fit hand pruner. Whether your hands are small or extra large, you can dial in a custom fit for every pruning job. The easy-to-adjust dial lets you set how wide the tool opens—1 for smaller jobs such as deadheading and harvesting, 8 for larger jobs such as branches and stems up to an inch in diameter. The soft ComfortGEL® handles provide lasting comfort for all-day pruning jobs and reduce hand stress and strain on your wrist. A resharpenable blade with protective coating helps prevent rust and sap buildup so you can maintain maximum cutting performance season after season.

Price: $36 [FG $27]


Corona FlexDIAL Adjustable Bypass Pruner

Corona Folding RazorTOOTH Saw®

Empower your favorite gardener to tackle larger pruning jobs with the Corona Folding RazorTOOTH Saw. A fast-cutting pruning saw is a must for removing deadwood and limbs and branches up to 6 inches in diameter. RazorTOOTH cuts two times faster than standard saw blades by leveraging the power of each pull stroke, while keeping the cutting channel free from sawdust and debris. You’ll power through cuts with ease with its extremely sharp blade that cuts fast and efficiently. The steel blade goes through four hardening processes to stay sharp for years of performance, and it can be replaced when you need it. The RazorTOOTH Saw helps make cleaner, healthier cuts on fresh tree limbs. Its compact size also makes it ideal to fold up and toss in outdoor recreation backpacks for use out on the trails.

Price: $32 [FG $24]


Corona Folding RazorTOOTH Saw

Burgon & Ball™

Fine Gardening readers can save 25% now + free shipping using FG25GIFTS


Hip-Trug from Burgon & Ball is an ingenious helping hand for every gardener. It’s a lightweight container in a flexible holster that simply clips to clothing, leaving both hands free for gardening jobs. Hip-Trug solves the common problem of overloaded hands when deadheading, harvesting, or simply pottering in the garden. It’s like having an extra pair of hands! No more trying to carry more produce or debris than your hands will comfortably hold, and no more bending down to a trug or basket on the ground. The soft neoprene band clips easily to pocket, belt, or waistband, holding the container firmly in place, even when kneeling. When it’s full, simply slide the tough, food-safe, and microwaveable container from its holster for easy emptying. Available in select colors, Hip-Trug is a clever new idea to make gardening easier—the perfect hands-free wearable garden trug.

Price: $32 [FG $24]


Burgon & Ball Hip-Trug


Kneelo™ Knee Pads

Kneelo knee pads from Burgon & Ball offer the last word in comfort. At the heart of these knee pads is a core of lightweight shock-absorbing EVA foam surrounded by luxurious twin layers of cushioning memory foam. The unique registered design, together with soft elastic material, offers the wearer unbelievable comfort in use. The cut-out above the knee eliminates any digging-in at the back of the legs when kneeling, as well as uncomfortable pressure at the front when standing. The knee pads are water-resistant, too, with a durable neoprene shell and quick-dry nylon coating. Sturdy hook-and-loop fastenings keep the knee pads securely in place, however active you are as you work. Keep a pair in the garden shed and another inside for cleaning and maintenance jobs.

Price: $32 [FG $24]


Kneelo knee pads


Bluestone Perennials

Bluestone Perennials Gift Certificates

Give the gift of gardening with a Bluestone Perennials Gift Certificate. Bluestone grows and ships over 1,200 varieties of perennials, ground covers, and shrubs, from beloved garden classics to unique and hard-to-find specimens. All plants have a 100% guarantee to grow and thrive.

Price: $25 to $500


Bluestone Perennials Gift Certificates


Jung Seed


Organic Vegetable Seed Collection

Looking for a great gift for the gardening enthusiast? The Organic Vegetable Seed Collection is the perfect gift to start your garden. The collection includes eight of our most popular, best-producing vegetables. Our high-quality seeds are organic and non-GMO. Enjoy the gift that keeps on giving this holiday season. Jung Seed is family owned and operated since 1907. From our garden to yours, we wish you happy holidays.

Price: $27.95


Jung Organic Vegetable Seed Collection

12 Ways to Create Winter Interest


A winter garden does not have to lack interest. With the right plants, ornaments, and design, your winter garden can still function as a sanctuary from the world that is both engaging and beautiful, regardless of the time of year. The following tips will help you pull in the right elements to make your winter garden wonderful.


1. Rely on plants with winter flowers

Hellebores (Helleborus spp. and cvs., Zones 4–9)

Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum, Zones 6–9)

Witch hazels (Hamamelis spp. and cvs., Zones 5–9)

Jelena witch hazel (Hamamelis × intermedia ‘Jelena’, Zones 5–8) is a large shrub that covers itself with fragrant, golden spider blooms in late winter and early spring.


2. Feature winter berries

Heavenly bamboos (Nandina domestica and cvs., Zones 6–9)

Japanese laurels (Aucuba japonica and cvs., Zones 6–10)

Viburnums (Viburnum spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)

Winterberries (Ilex verticillata and cvs., Zones 5–8)

Viburnum rhytidophylloides ‘Willowwood’.


3. Include plants with interesting leaves

Italian arum (Arum italicum, Zones 6–9)

Skimmias (Skimmia spp. and cvs., Zones 6–9)

Sweet boxes (Sarcococca spp. and cvs., Zones 6–9)

Sarcococca hookeriana var. digyna


4. Emphasize intriguing bark

Crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica and cvs., Zones 7–9)

Oakleaf hydrangeas (Hydrangea quercifolia and cvs., Zones 5–9)

Paperbark maple (Acer griseum, Zones 4–8)

Paper-thin remains of oakleaf hydrangea gather fresh fallen flakes.


5. Highlight unusual natural branch structure

Harry Lauder’s walking stick (Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’, Zones 3–9)

Japanese maples (Acer palmatum and cvs., Zones 6–8)

Red-twigged or yellow-twigged dogwoods (Cornus stolonifera and cvs., Zones 2–8)


6. Attract birds by leaving seed heads of perennials

Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)

Coneflowers (Echinacea spp. and cvs., Zones 3–9)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Zones 3–10)

Isn’t sedum lovely in the winter?


7. Prune evergreens into compelling shapes



8. Invite motion with plants such as grasses


9. Create a sensory splash with chimes, mirrors, and pinwheels


10. Showcase large garden ornaments such as planted pots and sculptures


11. Use interesting hardscape elements such as fences, gateways, and trellises


12. Increase impact with multilevel patios or terraces

How to grow Australian native flowers

Big, bold and gorgeous, Australian native flowers are amazing. Our garden guru Meredith Kirton reveals how to grow your own at home.

australian native flowers
With their stunning blooms and textured leaves, Australian natives are a knockout in both the garden and in a vase. The most commonly loved cut native flowers include waratahs, banksias and gum blossoms, kangaroo paws and Christmas bush.
Whatever your soil or climate, it’s possible to find the right selection for your place. Many natives don’t like being fed phosphorous, so use a native specific fertiliser each spring. Natives also like being pruned regularly, so cut them back after flowering.
Here, horticulturalist Meredith Kirton shares some plant-specific tips to help you grow your own Australian natives at home.


Waratahs are the floral emblem of NSW and possibly one of the most striking flowers in the world. Their blooms are the colour of blood, though some have been bred in pink, orange, bicolour and white shades. The flowers last for many weeks both in a vase and blooming in the garden. Grow waratahs in a raised mound or pot as they really need great drainage to thrive. They can be in a semi shaded or full sun position.


Hakea are closely related to grevilleas and, similarly, are a diverse group of plants. Many make great screens and can even be hedged. One stunning flowered Hakea to look out for is Hakea laurina, or the Pin-cushion Hakea. Native to Western Australia, it does need good drainage but, once established, is very hardy. And it’s a wonder to look at in the garden when in flower each spring.
Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Gum Blossoms

The Western Australian Red Flowering Gum (Corymbia ficifolia) is now grafted onto a range of hardy rootstocks, making it perfect for growing right across Australia. There are white, pink, orange and red hybrids, and they are all breathtaking. They’re also brilliant for small gardens as they only grow to around 5m tall, though this varies from cultivar to cultivar. The flowers are followed by large gumnuts too, making them perfect for cutting something of interest for about six months of the year.

NSW Christmas Bush

This is a small shrub or small tree depending on the variety, which can make great screening plants. The “flowers” are the showy bracts that appear throughout summer after the small white flowers in spring. They grow best in moist or regularly watered, organically enriched soil, in full sun or semi shade. Pick lots of flowers, as more pruning makes them thicker and bushier, which means more flowers next year!
Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty


Also known as spider flowers, this group has extraordinary diversity, with Grevillea plants ranging from small ground covers to tall trees. If you’re in a frost-free position, tropical hybrids are probably best, especially for cut flowers. They include great shrubs like Grevillea ‘Robyn Gordon’ and taller screens like ‘Misty Pink’, ‘Moonlight’ and ‘Honey Gem’ – and they seem to flower year round. In colder areas, stick to the hardy, small-flowered types like Grevillea ‘Gold Fever’ and ‘New Blood’.

Kangaroo Paws

These grassy reed-like clumps range in size from around 30cm up to 1m, and their blooms sit up off stems that vary in length and colour depending on the variety… some red, others yellow, orange and pink. There are even black and near-white types around. They all like good drainage so either mound the soil or grow in large pots or bowls. Remove old flowers once they have faded.
Photo: Claire Takacs
Photo: Claire Takacs

Silver Princess Gum

The Silver Princess Gum (Eucalyptus caesia) is only suitable for very well drained positions without humid summers, but if you have the right spot this is perhaps one of the most stunning flowers to grow. Its pinkish red blooms, up to 4cm each, show up beautifully against the soft grey leaves. It has a gently weeping habit too, that can actually be manipulated to grow on an arbour so that the blossoms hang down like garlands.
This fire-tolerant tree is threatened in the wild but has remained a garden favourite for years.
This fire-tolerant tree is threatened in the wild but has remained a garden favourite for years.


These candle-like blooms – named after Sir Joseph Banks – have species that are native to both the east coast and the west coast of Australia. Their stunning flowers range from red and orange shades through to blue and green, depending on the species. Some are trees and others ground covers.
The top pick for areas in the west, South Australia and Melbourne, where summers aren’t humid, is probably Scarlet Banksia (Banksia coccinea). This variety has incredible flowers and will also make a great screen up to around fence height.
If you are from Sydney or further north up the east coast, the Hairpin Banksia (Banksia ericifolia) is beautiful and hardy. There is also a ground-covering cultivar called ‘Birthday Candles’, which only grows about 30cm tall but does spread to about a metre across, creating a stunning mound.