Author: Louise Hogan

Beekeeping 101

Un”bee”knownst to some people, and much to their surprise, queen bees are a hot commodity for those of us who want to start a honeybee colony and become a backyard beekeeper. That’s what a friend of mine did! Living on the west coast in San Francisco, Torbie, a college professor, makes use of every square foot of land she owns, which includes beehives. That peaked my interest, so I asked her a few questions….

Overwintering Spikes

No…for you fashionistas out there, I don’t mean your stilettos! Although, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to put those away for the winter, too! The Spikes that I’m talking about are the only non-flowering plants that I make sure to overwinter every year. By overwintering plants you’ll not only save money….

Container “Refresher” Course

“Taken its toll” is a phrase that pops up in my mind around this time of year, and summer has done just that to some of my flower filled containers! They’re looking a little frazzled, due to either the summer heat or the soaking rains during the season. They could barely take a breath and drain quick enough before the next storm! With some, the soil was so soggy I had to drag the containers under the eaves of the house to help them dry out a bit. But, through it all, those hard working annuals have now…just about exhausted themselves! So, in order for them to remain that “focal point” I talked about in my last article, My View From Here, now is the time to give those flowers a little sprucing up…

My View from Here

Amid these longest days and shortest nights since the summer solstice began, we are definitely in the thick of things, and that means the heat of the summer. These hot and humid days and nights have me wishing for the slightest breeze. A breeze that will bring a waft of those fragrant, lush flowers we toiled over earlier in the season. Now, looking out into the brightest sun or the deepest shade, it’s my time to sit back and enjoy the view around my home…

Impatient for SunPatiens!

For many years, I had a favorite shade plant that I loved to grow on my back deck, where the morning sun kissed it briefly. They were called Impatiens, a prolific flowering plant, and they were impatient to bloom! A few years ago, I was informed by my garden center that they would not be selling them, due to the fact that Impatiens were overcome by a plant disease called downy mildew. I was sad to see them go. Then, a new hybrid of Impatiens arrived on the scene that were unaffected by the mildew. They were called SunPatiens, and they took my breath away! I’ve grown SunPatiens ever since and I’m still thrilled with them. In fact, I’m waiting impatiently to grow them again this year…

A Must Do This Spring: Plant Tomatoes!

Some of us have anxiously planned ahead by preparing for this glorious time of year. Now it is time to go into the garden! ​There are many varieties of tomato plants that I have grown in containers. Read on to learn about the different types that have worked for me, seedlings that will grow in your space, where you can buy them, and how to plant them…

Spring’s Opening Act, ​A Brilliant Character

My Grandmother had an old, urn-shaped, iron pedestal “plant holder” that sat out front of her house years ago. I can’t quite recollect what she used it for or what it was meant to be used for. At my house, it serves as a beacon for displaying an “opening act” for Spring. And so, the marquee would read (as the saying goes), ‘April Showers Bring May Flowers’. The first showing of flowers is always around Mother’s Day, which is May 14th this year, and the starring role goes to the brilliant Fuchsia! Fuchsia are wonderful as Hanging Plants​, although there are Upright Varieties. On some Fuchsia plants, The Blossoms look like ribbons of hanging lanterns or, better yet, tiny dancers wearing tutus! Others have Elongated Blooms and look like a long, tubular, musical horn. Fuchsias bloom in a variety of two-toned colors. I gravitate toward the vibrant, deep Fuchsia/red and purple plants. Other colors range from pink to white, red, or even orange hues. Their bloom time is from late spring to fall, so I …

Blooming Branches

In early spring, very rarely do I miss out on an opportunity to take budding branches, from flowering trees or shrubs, and turn them into blooming branches in my home. For an amazing visual impact, you can make beautiful sweeping arrangements to place in your foyer, on a side table, cocktail table, or for a centerpiece…

Indoor Herb Growing and Renewal

When most of the plant world is on hiatus for the winter, there are some hardworking plants that can, and will, work right through the cold season. That is, of course, if you have an indoor garden. ​Indoor gardening has become a growing trend, and there is no better time to start one than now. Your own indoor herb garden can be complete in a few easy steps…