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

Perennials that are moody depending on the weather

June 2, 2015 0 comments
Geranium june.

The other day I dropped by my brother’s new home and he proudly showed me the beds he had just planted with hypoestes (polka dot plant). “They’re great,” I said. “But you know they’re annuals. You’ll have to replace them… Read More

A new day for a great glass house

May 6, 2015 0 comments
Botts Show House Small_edited-1

One of my favorite places, the great Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, is all shiny and sparkly. In a good way. I remember when it was shiny and sparkly in a bad way: the day in June 2011 after golf-ball-sized… Read More

Planting for the future

March 18, 2015 0 comments
Petunia seeds sprouting

I had the pleasure of spending the last day of February at a regional meeting of the Perennial Plant Association at The Morton Arboretum near Chicago. “Ready, Set, Grow!” was the theme of the daylong symposium, and are we ever!… Read More

A cold frame gives you a jump on the growing season

February 4, 2015 0 comments
Michelle standing in front of cold frames

The weather report may still be full of blizzards, but once Ground Hog Day rolls around, springtime becomes less of a memory and more of a prospect. That’s when it’s worth thinking about buying or building a cold frame to… Read More

Why a Hartley? Hartley Botanic