Tips for potting with less mess

May 11, 2016 0 comments
Potting - 11.06.16

Sometimes I imagine the perfect potting bench. It’s inside a conservatory, of course, so I can pot up my imaginary rare orchids all year round. It has ample space to work, a bin for my own special blend of potting… Read More

Flowers: flirty, fun and sure to attract attention

April 7, 2016 0 comments
Cosmos-Early-Summer-Rose - 07.04.16

Starting annual flowers from seed in a greenhouse or under lights isn’t a whole lot different from starting tomatoes. There are still flowers you can start in April, and it’s a nice thing to do when the perennials are up… Read More

Start the tropics in pots

March 2, 2016 0 comments
crocosmia 02.3.16

When sleet is still rattling against the glass of the greenhouse, it’s hard to get your head into spring. But if you think ahead in March, you can take advantage of a glasshouse to get a head start on the… Read More

Timing is everything: in life and in seed starting

February 10, 2016 0 comments
tomato seedlings - 10.2.16

In February, a gardener’s fancy turns to starting seeds under lights: cabbages that can be transplanted into the garden in early spring; the earliest annuals, such as violas and snapdragons; and those that take a really long time, like petunias.… Read More

Look Sharp

January 12, 2016 0 comments
diamond hone - 12.1.16

Now that all that holiday fuss is over, it’s time to get down to serious business: gardening. In the middle of winter? Well, sure, if you have a conservatory. You can be as busy as June, patrolling for insects and… Read More

A cactus for Christmas

December 2, 2015 0 comments
Christmas cactus2 - December 2015

Most of the plants I’ve ever received as holiday gifts have been temporary pleasures, best enjoyed while they’re at their prettiest and then composted like cut flowers after they fade. The amount of fuss and bother required to get poinsettias… Read More

Conservatory cheer for November doldrums

November 3, 2015 0 comments
holiday cheer nov

If you’re lucky enough to have a big conservatory—and it isn’t too crowded with plants—you have a lovely setting for a holiday party. If it’s warm enough to overwinter houseplants, the glasshouse will be comfortable for people. And wouldn’t it… Read More

Waking up to a world with less water

October 9, 2015 0 comments
Los Angeles county arboretum oct

Where would we be without water? I recently returned from California, where I got a sobering look at the possibilities. The drought there is a wakeup call for all of us—even in places like Chicago or the East Coast that… Read More

The blessed blooms of autumn

September 9, 2015 0 comments
Turtlehead (Chelone obliqua)

Days are still hot. Roses and tomatoes are still around. But I can’t avoid knowing that fall is on the way, because its lovely, wistful heralds are flowering—Japanese anemones and turtlehead, with toad lilies on the way. Gardeners tell time… Read More

Reading, writing and gardening – Back to School

August 10, 2015 0 comments
school gardening big dig with photo effect - August

August is back-to-school time. For an increasing number of children, school will involve gardening. But they need the help of experienced gardeners—especially those who know what to do with a cold frame. School gardens are one kind of volunteer project… Read More

Why a Hartley? Hartley Botanic