Attack of the Maple Tree’s

Get a Maple tree, they said. They grow to 50′ tall, they said. They’re pretty in the autumn, they said. And they give you cute parachute seeds, they said.

Yeah, like everywhere you look !


Yucca; architectural, drought tolerant and tough desert plant

Yucca aloifolia 'Variegata'

An Old Favorite, New Again

Luckily, Yucca has once again found favor among landscapers and homeowners alike, especially those that are interested only in growing plants that thrive on drought.

Although the long sword like leaves of these plants are not really succulent, it does fit neatly into the category of ‘succulent plant’ because of the fleshy roots, designed to store water for times when the lack of rainfall extends into years.

Some species and varieties of Yucca, also known as Spanish Bayonet and Adams Needle, are armed.  The ends of each leaf have a strong barb – you can see why these plants got such interesting common names.

The roots are like white plump tubers, growing in a clump under the crown of the plant. 

These can be divided easily to form new plants.  They take a few years to grow big enough to plant in their allotted space, so a nursery area is a good idea.

Once the plant has gained its full size, about 60 cm across (2′) it will start to bloom, fairly reliably every year. 

The flowers are borne on a tall stalk, and are waxy white or pink depending on the variety.

These are great landscape plants where they are given enough room – don’t put them right up against a building, or along a pathway. 

They need space around them to look good. 

Combine them in a bed of well drained soil with cactus, Aloe, Agave and other succulents for a great desert landscape.

If You Want to Grow Cilantro, You Should Wait Until Summer’s Over

Article written by Amanda Garrity for Good Housekeeping

When growing cilantro, you get two appetizing herbs for the price of one: the plant itself is coriander (you may think of it as a spice or seed), and the green leaves and stems are considered cilantro. The leaves, also referred to as Chinese Parsley, are by far the most versatile part of the plant. Many dressings, soups, dips, sides, and meat dishes incorporate this green herb for an instant flavor lift. If you find yourself cooking recipes that call for cilantro or simply like to keep fresh herbs on hand, growing cilantro at home is a smart — not to mention, delicious — investment. a green plant in a garden: Growing cilantro at home is a smart — not to mention, delicious — investment. Find out how to grow and maintain cilantro plants outdoors, starting from seed. © Wanwisa Hernandez / EyeEm – Getty Images Growing cilantro at home is a smart — not to mention, delicious — investment.

Unfortunately, Plants will bolt as soon as the days get longer and the temperatures rise, so make sure they’re in a spot with full sun or partial shade, if you live in a particularly hot climate. If there is any danger of frost, protect your cilantro plants with row covers. After about 50 to 55 days, the plant should be at least 6 inches tall and you can start picking the leaves. When harvesting, pick leaves one by one or cut 1/3 of the way down with kitchen or pruning shears, so that the remaining plant can continue to produce cilantro. Cilantro is a short-lived herb, so harvest the leaves once a week to avoid bolting a.k.a. developing seed. Once seeds develop, they’ll self-sow, causing little plants to pop up during the current or following season.

Bonus: If you plant cilantro in pots, you can move them indoors when the weather cools down to harvest more fresh herbs (if you time it right, of course).

Follow these tips to ensure that you properly care for your cilantro plant:

  • Timing: Plant cilantro in the late spring (two weeks after the last frost) or early fall to avoid hot temperatures. Cilantro planted during the summer heat will have a bitter flavor, and last for a shorter period of time. Check your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone to find out the optimal time for cilantro planting — gardeners in USDA Zones 8, 9, and 10 should opt for fall sowing, for example.
  • Soil and Watering: Cilantro grows best in a neutral soil pH of 6.2 to 6.8, but it’s fairly tolerant and will grow in just about any rich soil. You can find out your soil’s pH levels by completing an at-home soil test. Once your cilantro is planted, make sure the soil is moist yet well-drained.
  • Weeds: Mulch around the cilantro plants as soon as they are visible above the soil to prevent weeds.
  • Pests and Diseases: The most common problems for cilantro are fungal wilt, leaf hoppers, aphids, whiteflies, and mildew. Control insects by using antibacterial soap, and clean up debris or dead leaves to combat wilt and mildew.
  • Bolting: If you don’t time it right, cilantro can bolt before you have a chance to harvest. To prevent bolting, harvest leaves often, and keep the plant shaded and watered. For a season’s worth of cilantro, stagger plantings every three to four weeks.

How to Store and Use Harvested Cilantro

After your plant bolts, collect any visible coriander seeds and crush them for cooking or baking. If you’d rather save the seeds for another planting, gently crush the coriander seeds to crack the shell and soak them in water overnight. Let the seeds dry completely and plant next season.

Your bounty of cilantro leaves, however, are best when fresh, and should be used at the end of cooking for full flavor. Wrap damp paper towels around fresh cilantro and store in the refrigerator to lengthen it’s shelf-life. If you can’t eat all the cilantro before it turns, trim the individual leaves and stick ’em in a freezer-safe bag before storing in the freezer. For specific measurements, cut the cilantro and store them in an ice cube tray in the freezer. The rest is up to you: Throw it in vinaigrettes, make your own guac, or dress up a basic chicken dish.


Oprah Just Won Farmer’s Market Season with This Gigantic Cabbage from Her Garden

Oprah is back on her garden game with mind-boggling garden harvests that we wish we could replicate in our own backyard. On May 21, Oprah took to Instagram to share a video of her latest enviable crop: a cabbage that is quite literally bigger than her torso. In fact, with all its sprawling leaves, it could very well be bigger than half her body.

Yes, Oprah, we enjoy—we’re green with envy over your crazy-big crop. What’s even crazier, however, is the way in which it was grown.

“Y’all are not going to believe this, but this is a cabbage that just came out of my garden” she said in the clip. “Just pulled from the garden. I’m telling you, not one chemical used whatsoever because we don’t believe in it around here. And this is gonna make a lot of good slaw for Memorial Day.” She closed the clip nearly dropping her newest prized veggie, which she admitted to actually being quite heavy.

This isn’t the first time Oprah’s broken the internet with her lush crop. Back in 2018 she shared a bounty that made followers swarm her comments section with questions of how to become an equally-as-fruitful gardener.

Here’s to hoping Oprah keeps up the harvest posts so that we can live vicariously through—and be inspired by—her garden.

written by Rebecca Norris for CountryLiving

8 ways to keep garden pests under control

By Meg Muckenhoupt for Review.coma hand holding a green plant: 8 ways to keep garden pests under control © Getty Images / jess311 8 ways to keep garden pests under control — Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

It’s a familiar scene: You step outside to look at your garden one sunny morning, and find that your beautiful tomatoes have been gnawed, your broccoli leaves are full of holes, and your seedlings have disappeared altogether.

You’re not alone in your garden. Rabbits, groundhogs, squirrels, chipmunks, and hungry bugs are happy to devour those nice, juicy, tender young young vegetables and delicate flowers.

Here are ways to protect your plants so that you can enjoy them, and not just feed the critters in your hard.

1. Know your enemy

a green insect on a leaf: Before you can treat a pest problem in your garden, you need to know what sort of critters are doing the damage. © Getty Images / imagedepotpro Before you can treat a pest problem in your garden, you need to know what sort of critters are doing the damage.

Check your plants at least once a week for damage. Look underneath the leaves, at the stems, at the base of the stem, and at any fruits or vegetables that you’re growing. If you can catch signs of infiltration early, you’ll have a much better chance of saving the rest of your garden.

The University of Florida’s guide to insect pests can help you narrow down the suspects quickly. Finding holes in your leaves? Look for caterpillars. Are the leaves turning yellow or brown? Look for insects that pierce and suck on plants’ leaves, such as aphids, flea beetles, scale insects, spider mites, and whiteflies. Are the leaves “skeletonized,” mostly eaten with a few strips of fiber remaining? Consider caterpillars or leaf miners.

Have you found a bug, and you’re not sure what it is? Check out your local agricultural extension’s website for info about the pests in your region. Northern gardeners can start with the University of Minnesota’s insect ID site, which has plenty of pictures of plant-eating critters sorted by size. You can also take a look at their “What’s wrong with my plant?” page to check if your problem is insect damage or a disease.

If the bites look too big to be caused by a bug, consider a larger animal. When deer stop by, your leaves will look torn and ragged because deer don’t have upper incisors. Rabbits and groundhogs have upper and lower teeth, and make a much cleaner bite.

2. Cover up with cloth or netting

a close up of a cage: Netting can help keep hungry birds from eating your hard-earned fruits and vegetables. © Getty Images / v_zaitsev Netting can help keep hungry birds from eating your hard-earned fruits and vegetables.

A lot of bugs, animals, and birds can be stopped by putting a cloth or net on top of your crops. The most versatile cover for your crops is floating row cover, a thin fabric usually made of spun polyester or polypropylene. It looks a little like packing material, but it’s highly effective at keeping insects, birds, and bunnies out of your garden patch.

Using floating row cover on low-growing plants like lettuce or spinach is easy. Drape the fabric over your plants—leaving enough slack for the plants to grow and push it up—and secure the edges of the fabric to the ground with rocks, bricks, boards, shovels of dirt, or whatever else you have that’s convenient.

Note that floating row cover also keeps pollinators off, so if you’re growing a fruiting vegetable like tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, or squash, you need to remove the row cover when it starts flowering. It can also retain heat—up to 15 degrees warmer during the day—so be aware that plants like beans, tomatoes, and peppers can start sustaining damage at 90°F.

If you’re growing any kind of fruit on trees (apples, peaches, cherries), bushes (blueberries) canes (raspberries, blackberries), or the ground (strawberries), you are going to attract the attention of your ravenous local bird population. After your fruit plants have flowered, when they have started developing fruit, use bird netting to protect your crop.

Make sure to secure it to the ground, and check your nets often to make sure a desperate bird didn’t find its way inside. A bird’s definition of “ripe” is a lot greener than human standards.

3. Give them a bath

a close up of a red flower: A simple spray of water can often do the trick to knock pesky bugs off your leaves. © Getty Images / NinaMalyna A simple spray of water can often do the trick to knock pesky bugs off your leaves.

Some of the most common insect pests can be deterred by the common garden hose. Aphids, spider mites, and lace bugs can all be knocked off your plants with a stream of water, and they often don’t return. Make sure you spray the undersides of the leaves as well as the tops. (Insects commonly shelter and lay their eggs on the bottoms of leaves, which is one reason humans don’t see them until after they’ve done significant damage.)

If the bath doesn’t seem to be working, try adding some soap. Insecticidal soap sprays potassium salts of fatty acids, which damage insects’ cell membranes on contact. Insecticidal soap is mostly harmless (unless you’re a soft-bodied insect), but it can cause skin and eye irritation, and it can damage some types of plants, including begonias and cucumbers. Read the manufacturer’s instructions before you apply it. Don’t substitute dish soap, which can dissolve the waxy outer coating of plants’ leaves.

4. Bring in some friends to do your dirty work

a close up of a green plant: Ladybugs are natural predators to some hungry bugs. © Getty Images / karandaev Ladybugs are natural predators to some hungry bugs.

For every bug that eats plants, there’s another bug that will return the favor. Ladybugs and lacewings will eat all kinds of soft-bodied insects, including aphids, scale insects, spider mites, and mealybugs.

If you’re dealing with deer, groundhogs, or rabbits, the Michigan State University suggests that even getting a dog can help. The dog’s size doesn’t seem to matter, but the dog has to be outside when the animals are eating at night.

5. Build the right barrier

a deer standing next to a fence: The right kind of fencing can keep deer and other larger animals away. © Getty Images / Lux Blue The right kind of fencing can keep deer and other larger animals away.

The best way to keep deer, rabbits, groundhogs, and other four-legged frenemies out of your garden is to build a fence. The type of fence you build will depend on whether you’re worried about deer, which jump, or rabbits and groundhogs, which dig.

White-tailed deer can jump 8 ft., but they can’t jump that high and clear much horizontal distance. The University of Vermont Extension suggests several fencing schemes for discouraging deer: 8 ft. tall; 6 ft. tall and slanting outward at a 45-degree angle; or installing two shorter fences 4 ft. apart.

Cottontail rabbits can jump, but they’re not all that ambitious about digging. A 2-foot-tall fence made of chicken wire or 1-inch mesh should keep them out if you bury 3 to 4 inches of fence below the surface. For jackrabbits, build a 3-foot fence with 4 inches buried.

Groundhogs and woodchucks are energetic garden destroyers. Most experts recommend building a 4-foot fence with another 1 ft. buried underground, and the last 6 inches bent outward parallel to the ground in an L-shape.

If you’re thinking of building fences, take a good look around your yard. Are there places where rabbits or rats would be able to hide or nest? Consider tall grass, weeds, brush, low-growing shrubs, or piles of wood or rocks. Remove the rabbits’ happy place, and the rabbit may decide your yard isn’t worth the bother.

And while not a physical fence, the right materials can also keep slugs at bay. You can catch slugs with a bowl of beer, but throwing out a bowl of dead slugs is an unpleasant task—and a waste of beer. To keep slugs away from your favorite plants, surround them with something that slugs can’t cross.

Diatomaceous earth isn’t a poison per se. It has tiny prickly bits that scrape slugs enough that they stay away, and it makes a slug-proof barrier around plants. Or, consider putting a damp burlap bag or board out in your garden: The slugs will crawl underneath the dark, moist area in the night, and you can dispose of them as you wish.

6. Try natural animal repellents

a cat sitting on top of a green plant in a pot: Some natural repellents can keep animals like rabbits from nibbling on your growing fruits and vegetables. © Getty Images / DWalker44 Some natural repellents can keep animals like rabbits from nibbling on your growing fruits and vegetables.

If you have rabbits, groundhog, deer, or any other herbivore chewing up your yard, and you don’t want to put up a fence, you can try using an animal repellent. Don’t bother with alarms or flashing lights; hungry animals will ignore them once they figure out they’re not harmful.

Most animal repellents are made of a combination of rotten eggs (“putrescent whole egg solids” on the label), garlic, and sometimes capsaicin, the chemical that gives chili peppers their heat. You simply spray the repellent on the leaves you want left alone. It may smell terrible for a few hours, but the aroma slowly dissipates, leaving a scent and taste that only animals can sense.

The main problem with repellents is that it’s extremely hard to find one approved for use on anything you’re planning to eat. You can spray any stem or foliage you won’t eat, but if squirrels have been nibbling your tomatoes, you’re out of luck. Repellents also aren’t very long-lasting. Be prepared to re-apply your repellent after every rainstorm if you want animals to stay away—and be prepared to lock up your dogs if they enjoy sniffing and digging for the sources of strange new odors.

7. Make your garden an unpleasant place to be

a cat sitting on a white surface: Cats don't always know the difference between your garden bed and their litter box. © Getty Images / Nils Jacobi Cats don’t always know the difference between your garden bed and their litter box.

Cats can be a nuisance in the garden. They roll on plants, smashing them and breaking the stems, and use fresh-dug soil as an outdoor litter box. You can try keeping cats away with deer and rabbit repellent, or cat and dog repellent (check the label to see if it’s safe to put on plants, especially edible plants). And you can try to put up fencing, especially with loose chicken wire at the top; cats don’t like to climb wobbly things. But what can be really effective is making the ground less attractive to walk on.

Cats love smooth soil and open space. To keep cats away from open soil, make it less comfortable. Put down netting, chicken wire, or mesh, or pine cones. You can put them on the surface of the soil, or bury them under a thin layer of soil if you prefer a more rustic look. When the cat scratches, it will get an unwelcome surprise. Strips of outdoor carpeting can also help.

If you don’t have mesh lying around, you can also stick plastic forks, chopsticks, plant stakes, or other detritus upright in the soil every 8 inches or so, so there aren’t any clear areas for scratching and rolling.

8. If all else fails, use chemical sprays

a person wearing a helmet: Chemical pesticides should be a last resort because they can also harm wildlife that isn't trying to attack your garden. © Getty Images / macniak Chemical pesticides should be a last resort because they can also harm wildlife that isn’t trying to attack your garden.Nobody wants to spray their garden with poison. If your plants are being devoured by insects, there are some chemical sprays that won’t damage your plants, your pets, your families, or the bees and other pollinators that plants depend on.Bacillus thuringiensis kurstaki (BTK), commonly sold under the name Thuricide, is a bacteria that attacks caterpillars. It only works if the caterpillar eats it, so you have to spray it on a plant that’s already infested while the caterpillars are still eating it. It’s safe to use near bees and beneficial insects like lacewings. It’s approved for use on organic farms, and it’s considered safe to use on edible crops. Follow the label directions, and remember to reapply it after a rain.Three other common pesticides — horticultural oil, spinosad, and azadirachtin — are considered safe for humans and most other species, but are toxic to bees. Never spray these chemicals during mid-day hours when bees are out foraging: Spray them at dusk or dawn. Use these substances wisely, and you can protect your garden and the earth.

10 of the Best New Perennials For 2020

Article by Wanda Simone

For gardeners this is one of the most exciting times of the year.

This is when plant growers start announcing their new plants that are coming out next spring.

And when I start figuring out where I can squeeze in just one more shrub and a couple of perennials. Pretty soon I’m going to need a bigger yard 🙂

But I can’t help it. When I read about Hibiscus with fuchsia flowers and black leaves (how stunning is that?), or re-blooming perennial Salvia (finally!), or Achillea that doesn’t spread, or mini Alliums that do…I just have to get them!

So without further ado…here are my 10 favorite new perennials for 2020 (in no particular order)

2020 new perennials - Achillea 'Firefly Amethyst'

Achillea ‘Firefly Amethyst’ (Yarrow)

Exposure: Full Sun
Bloom Time: Summer
Zones: 3 to 8
Height: 18″ to 22″
Width: 32″ to 36″

2020 new perennials - Dicentra 'Pink Diamonds' (Fern-leaved Bleeding Heart)

Dicentra ‘Pink Diamonds’ (Fern-leaved Bleeding Heart)

Exposure: Sun / Part Sun
Bloom Time: Spring, Fall
Zones: 3 to 9
Height: 12″ to 16″
Width: 16″ to 18″

2020 new perennnials - Echinacea Color Coded 'Orange You Awesome' (Coneflower)

Echinacea Color Coded ‘Orange You Awesome’ (Coneflower)

Exposure: Sun
Bloom Time: Summer to Fall
Zones: 4 to 8
Height: 18″ to 22″
Width: 16″ to 20″

Read about more new plants for 2020 here:

How to Set Realistic Garden Goals

By Kathie Lapcevic

Gardeners are dreamers by nature, I think. This capacity to dream big can often lead to some over-extension. As the garden season approaches let’s set realistic garden goals so that we can eat like royalty for months to come.

A basket of multi-colored carrots.

Find 1 or 2 Main Garden Goals

What’s the reason for keeping a garden? It can be any number or combination of things.

Want to can your own homegrown salsa? Focus on growing tomatoes, peppers, onions, and herbs.

Desire to just keep fill an herbal apothecary? Grow herbs like mint, lemon balm, calendula and more.

Homegrown mint in a basket.

Frugal and fresh salads? Grow greens, radishes, and herbs to keep the salad bowl overflowing.

There’s no reason why a garden can’t be a number of things – but trying to focus on just a few things increases chances of success. It’s also incredibly empowering to know that meals or pantry stores came from your own hard work and land.

Keep the Size Manageable

Size is relative but keep the garden so it’s not overwhelming. Obviously, available land determines a lot of this. And this will also vary based on experience and skill-level.

A garden can be anything from a pot on a windowsill to several acres. Keep it manageable for your time, space, and skill level.

Mostly Stick to Tried & True

Those seed catalogs are full of such temptations. Oh goodness – every color, size, shape, flavor imaginable. Stick to the ones that are good for your growing zone by and large.

If you live in a cooler area this might mean sticking to varieties that ripen in less than 90 days. For warmer areas, you might need to stick to heat-loving plants or plant the cooler varieties in the fall.

Experiment & Play Wisely

Having a garden means we should play and enjoy. For sure, grow a few of those seed catalog temptations but keep it small. Let the seed and plant prove its worthiness in production in your garden before giving it too much space.

Forget Weed-free

A weed-free garden is an amazing ideal. It’s also extremely hard to achieve when a garden gets large and time gets pinched. Aim instead for controlling weeds. Use deep mulch and the hoe to make it a bit easier. A well-placed hoe can do amazing things in keeping the weeds manageable.

Make Building the Soil a Priority

Focus on building healthy soil more than anything else. This will only serve you and the garden well in the future.

Many Composting Methods - Homespun Seasonal Living

Use compost and other organic amendments as necessary. Get the soil tested and seek advice from folks to give the soil what it needs so that the garden is a success.

Use a Garden Journal

No matter the garden goals – a garden journal is the best way to track progress and more. Use a garden journal to record planting dates, harvest amounts, watering, temperature – truly everything.

These don’t need to be grand journal entries worthy of being saved by the Smithsonian someday. These are simply records to help you understand what worked, what didn’t, and how to make it all better in coming years.

It’s so much easier to have a written record to refer too rather than relying on memory. No one regrets having these records. Start now and keep it going.

What Every Gardener Should Know About Topsoil

Garden Shovel

© Shutterstock / Aggie 11
A bit of olive oil applied to your garden tools before digging into the dirt can cut down on dirt buildup. It can also help prevent rust and corrosion.

What Exactly Is Topsoil?

Topsoil is the top portion of the soil consisting of minerals, organic matter and microorganisms. It can range from a few inches deep in some areas to a few feet deep in the Corn Belt. Topsoil has accumulated over millennia, but erosion is a serious problem. Erosion can deplete topsoil quickly, which is why it is important to cover bare soil with mulch or a ground cover plant.

What’s in Topsoil?

Topsoil is made up of sand, clay and silt. The proportions vary. An ideal topsoil, called loam, is soft and crumbly and has roughly equal parts sand, clay and silt (a fine, dust-like sediment of rock and mineral particles). However, many gardeners struggle with less-than-ideal topsoil that tilts towards heavy clay (slow draining and less oxygen available to plant roots) or sand (fast draining but less able to hold moisture and nutrients). Surprisingly, compost can improve clay and sandy soils.


Topsoil vs. Dirt

Topsoil is for growing things. Dirt is for filling, which is why it’s often called fill dirt. Some people erroneously use “dirt” interchangeably with “soil.”

Topsoil vs. Garden Soil

Available in bags at your favorite nursery or big box store, garden soil is a topsoil that’s been screened and amended with compost. It’s too heavy for use in pots, but it’s well-suited for garden beds and lawns ready to be reseeded.

Topsoil vs. Potting Soil

Topsoil is used for planting in the garden, potting soil (also called potting mix) is used in containers. It is a lightweight, soil-less mixture of peat moss and perlite. Some mixes also contain wetting agents to help the peat moss absorb moisture, as well as slow-release fertilizer and moisture-holding crystals.

Potting Soil vs. Raised-Bed Soil

With the popularity of raised-bed gardening, suppliers have introduced raised-bed soil. It is lighter than topsoil but heavier than potting soil/potting mix and may contain compost and wood fines (small pieces of wood that are already composted).

How Can I Improve Topsoil?

Amend topsoil regularly by digging compost into the top six or eight inches. Compost supplies nutrients and beneficial microorganisms to create a “living soil” that is better for plant growth and health. Sound like too much work? Then start mulching with shredded leaves. They will be food for earthworms, who will aerate the soil with their tunneling and add to its fertility with their castings (waste).

Article by Luke Miller for Handyman


Best Indoor Apartment Plants to Buy Online


Dim, dry, or overly humid rooms impeding your dreams of becoming an at-home horticulturist? These factors—which are all too common for apartment dwellers—may have once hindered you from pursuing a life as a plant parent…until now. While many plants require paradise-like living arrangements with abundant light and constant attention, there are an array of options that can survive in less-than-perfect conditions. We tapped Baltimore-based plant stylist Hilton Carter, author of Wild Interiors, to recommend the best indoor apartment plants to buy online and how to care for them once they’re all yours.

Burgundy Rubber Tree


“This is one of my favorite ficus trees,” says Carter. “It’s less finicky than its popular cousin, the fiddle-leaf fig, and it can grow up to 25 feet indoors. When it comes to light, it does well when it’s bright and indirect. Keep the soil moist during the growing season, which is summer. In the winter, the soil needs less moisture.”

Philodendron Jungle Boogie
PlantedRootsCo Etsy


“Like all philodendrons, you have to be careful to not overwater it,” says Carter. “Only give it a drink when the soil is completely dry. When it comes to light, it likes it bright or medium and indirect.”

Lipstick Plant

“It’s easy to see where this got its name,” says Carter. “It thrives in bright indirect light but will also do well in filtered light. Be careful not to overexpose it to direct sun, because this can burn the leaves and dry the plant out. Keep the soil moist, not wet. For balanced growth, rotate it at least once a month.”
Aralia Fabian


“The Aralia fabian reminds me of something out of a Dr. Seuss book. Its beauty and weirdness comes from its thick burly trunk, thin speckled branches, and pancake-shaped foliage that’s a dark shade of green on top and a shade of violet on the bottom,” says Carter. “To care for it, place your plant in a pot that has a drainage hole and water it until water comes out in the base tray. Repeat only when the top two inches of soil become completely dry. It can live in a nice spot that has bright indirect light. If you don’t have that, a mix of dappled light throughout the day will also work well.”

Costa Farms The Home Depot $23.99

“This is one of my favorite succulents to grow indoors. Unlike other plants, it can survive a day of direct sunlight,” says Carter. “Place it in a pot with a drainage hole and water every two weeks only when the top two inches of soil are dry. To keep it looking fresh, just give dying or dry branches a snip.”


Well those plants should get your mind heading in a creative direction, but there’s more to see at this website:

How to Landscape a Dog-Friendly Garden

Watching your furry friend enjoy the garden, lounging on a sunny patio, happily running on paths and sniffing at foliage is all wonderful—until it’s a disaster. Until pots get knocked over, the lawn is a matted and rutted mess, and precious spring bulbs are dug up. Your dog and garden don’t have to become a nightmare combination if you keep your four-legged family member in mind when designing your green space.

a dog sitting in the grass: Keep your dog's habits and character in mind when creating your outdoor space. © Purple Collar Pet Photography / Getty Images Keep your dog’s habits and character in mind when creating your outdoor space.

Gardening with dogs—or dog-scaping—is a way that identifies problems and hazardous plants, uses creative and green solutions and ultimately respects the most common canine behaviors. Fundamentally, it’s coming to terms with the fact that you own a dog and you need to relinquish some control and put aside total perfection. You and your dog naturally change over time; let your landscape grow with you, and it will soon become a garden to wag about. Here are seven things to consider when landscaping a dog-friendly garden.

Observe your dog’s habits and routines.

Your dog’s breed can offer some important information about their behavior. For example, beagles and terriers are more prone to digging while Labrador retrievers are prone to chewing, especially when young. Nonetheless, every individual dog has a different personality too, so go with what you see: is your dog a digger, an escape artist, a patroller, a fence barker? Focus on solutions to those specific problems.

Install sturdy fences and gates.

To ensure your dog doesn’t go on a walkabout, all major gates should be self-closing and fences high enough to discourage the canine escape artist. Also consider lining fences with an underground barrier, such as chicken wire, to prevent the persistent tunneler. Want to keep your yard clutter-free? An electronic dog fence is an attractive alternative. Electronic fences allow you to set up invisible boundaries that your dog can’t jump over or dig under. Your dog gets too close to the boundary? The receiver on the collar warns the dog with a high pitch sound.

Replace all or part of your lawn.

Don’t waste time and money on lawn care when it comes to dog-friendly landscaping. Most dog urine burns grass and leaves unsightly spots. Plus, many dogs enjoy digging up lawns, which generally results in mud being tracked into the house. To create a problem-free and low-maintenance landscape, ditch your lawn and add more permeable hardscape. Concrete, brick, wood, flagstone, or smooth river rocks are all popular hardscape materials among dog owners. Tip: Stay away from using sharp-edged crushed stones that can damage an animal’s feet.

Don’t plant the perimeter—a dog will patrol his territory.

If your garden is fenced in, this is an important concept to consider. Some dogs will cruise perimeters and enthusiastically investigate every time it hears a noise. This, unfortunately, translates into plants being crushed and trampled, especially tender ones. A good solution? Observe your dog’s patterns and clear out a small (three feet wide) and simple perimeter paths along a frequently visited fence line and mulch to provide a mud-free surface. Also consider planting a sturdy hedge in front of the dog runway. Some evergreen plants to consider include silverberry, juniper, crimson bottlebrush, southern wax myrtle, sweet osmanthus and Camellia japonica.

Use more containers and raised planter boxes.

For herbs, vegetables, and less durable plants, consider planting higher up in pots and containers. This is an effective way to introduce color and tender plants onto decks, patios, and other heavily traveled areas. If you want to plant in regular beds, protect flowers, bulbs, or ground covers by installing short rounded stakes just below the foliage as this helps discourage dogs from lying in the beds.

Select plants carefully.

Young dogs and certain breeds chew on anything—including poisonous plants—so before planting a new favorite flower, check out this important toxic and non-toxic plant list. And to get you started, here are some dog-friendly (meaning safe) plants: For a sunny spot, consider crepe myrtle, Euonymus, Abelia, kangaroo paw, viburnum, weigela, and lavender. Sturdy ground covers include carpet bugle, elfin and wooly thyme, silver carpet, and dwarf mondo grass. For shady spots, ferns (except asparagus ferns) lily turf, begonia, mock orange, and carex. Urine resistant plants include feather reed grass, holly fern, viburnum, Mexican sage, New Zealand flax, and red twig dogwood.

Practice organic gardening.

Even without a dog in mind, it’s smart to avoid harmful chemicals, pesticides, and weed killer, which can be harmful to you, your family, and the earth. Choose organic fertilizers instead, but also be aware that dogs are especially drawn to blood, fish, and bone meal; if these prove problematic, try a plant-based fertilizer. For natural pest control, plant flowers and herbs like cosmos, cilantro, sweet alyssum, and yarrow that attract beneficial bugs and do the exterminating for you.

Article written by Kier Holmes for Martha Stewart