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GARDEN TIME with DOUG – Hellebores: A Cure for the Winter Blues

NEEDING COLOR IN THE LANDSCAPE THIS TIME OF YEAR? Here we are in mid-January. Compared to last year, this January has been more typical for us when it comes to temperatures and snow. Yes, we had snow this past weekend. But, it was nothing compared to the snow we had in December. And, snow helps…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Five Plants for Beautiful Indoor Color This Winter

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

I get it. January and February are b-o-r-i-n-g!  The Christmas tree has come down, the fresh wreath is now tossed, and the poinsettias are dropping leaves every day. And when you look out the windows, there’s nothing much to see—unless you like dim gray winter skies. But there are some ways to brighten up your…

GARDEN TIME with DOUG – Pruning Is All About Timing

TO PRUNE OR NOT TO PRUNE? – THAT’S A GOOD QUESTION. Here we are in early January and we are having some nice weather and temperatures that allow us to get outside into our gardens and enjoy ourselves with our beloved plants. If there is one question that I get asked more than any other…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Cacti and Succulents

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

Cacti and succulents are really “in” right now.  And they should be.  They’re fun, interesting, and easy to grow. The word “succulent” comes from the Latin word “sucus” meaning sap or juice.  All succulents contain specially evolved cells in their roots, stems or leaves that absorb and retain water.  That’s because they’ve evolved in areas…

TALKING GARDENING with DOUG – What’s A Gardener To Do In January?

PLENTY First, Happy New Year to all you gardeners. Whatever the weather and regardless of where we live, January marks the start of another garden year. We made it to 2019. Somehow, all the gardening disappointments of last year with the excessive rainfall seem to be vanishing as we look forward to another great gardening…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Last January, I Made Some Gardening Resolutions. So How Did I Do?

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

I resolved to be better about feeding my garden during the growing season.  Fast-growing summer annuals and vegetables need to be fed but I usually get so bogged down in just trying to keep things watered and weeded in the heat, that I forget.  How did I do? Better—but not great.  I did get an…

TALKING GARDENING with DOUG – A Gardening Year in Review

IF WE COULD SUMMARIZE THE 2018 GARDENING YEAR IN ONLY ONE WORD, THAT WORD WOULD BE RAIN. The time right before New Year’s is often a time for reflection on the past year and the year ahead. It’s only fitting that my last blog of 2018 would be just that! We’re reflecting on the gardening…

TALKING GARDENING with DOUG – Winter Bird Feeding

BIRDING IS THE COUNTRY’S SECOND-MOST POPULAR OUTDOOR PASTIME (AFTER GARDENING) Winter will be here, officially, in just a few days. But, we have already experienced some cold weather and snow already here in Central Virginia. How about all that snow last week? Just imagine what it must be like for our feathered friends. How do…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – The Winter Solstice

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

This Friday, December 21st, is the Winter Solstice—the shortest day of the year; the first official day of Winter; Yule. The days, which have been getting shorter and shorter each day since the Summer Solstice, now will begin getting longer by a minute or two each day. Many cultures around the world have celebrated the…

TALKING GARDENING with DOUG – Holiday Gift Guide: Gifts For Gardeners

SHOPPING FOR GARDENERS MADE EASY BY COMING TO THE GREAT BIG GREENHOUSE & MEADOWS FARMS NURSERIES T’is the season.  All of us here at The Great Big Greenhouse invite you to come and shop for unique gardening gifts. The sky is the limit when it comes to finding new and unique gifts for that gardener…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Rosemary

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

One of the plants often given as a gift this time of years is Rosemary, so here’s what you need to know: Rosmarinus officinalis is native to the Mediterranean.  It’s a member of the Lamaceae family—which includes oregano, basil, thyme and mint.  Wild rosemary can be found growing on the rocky cliffs along the coasts…

TALKING GARDENING with DOUG – December Gardening Thoughts and Chores

LAST MONTH OF THE YEAR – CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?!! Here we are in December. Mother Nature has been very kind to us when it comes to all the rain this year. We NEVER want our plants to be dry going into any cold snap. I have a soil thermometer that I check regularly. As…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Tis The Season For Mistletoe

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

Hanging a sprig of mistletoe over your door this holiday season? Here are some interesting facts about this holiday staple. The botanical name for mistletoe is “phoradendron” which means tree thief. While mistletoe is capable of performing photosynthesis, it more commonly grows as a parasite, sending roots down into a tree to leech nutrients away….

TALKING GARDENING with DOUG – Christmas Tree Fun Facts and Folklore

IT’S OFFICIAL…CHRISTMAS SEASON IS HERE.  LET’S KEEP IT REAL!! Thanksgiving has passed and December is fast approaching.  We are officially entering the holiday season.  Buying a Christmas tree is on everyone’s mind.  It is fun to learn some background facts when it comes to our fresh trees and greenery that we use for holiday decorating….

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Paperwhites

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

I love paperwhites. They are easy to bloom—and fast! What’s more, they are inexpensive and beautiful. Narcissus papyraceus—paperwhites—are native to the western Mediterranean from Greece to Portugal to Morocco. They are a variety of daffodil. Even though they are a daffodil, they are not winter hardy here in Virginia. They will bloom easily in a…

TALKING GARDENING with DOUG – ‘Tis the Pruning Season

STROLL OUTDOORS TO FIND MATERIALS FOR YOUR HOLIDAY DECORATIONS Thanksgiving is here so now is the time to concentrate on decorating your home for the upcoming Christmas season.  Finding the right materials to decorate for the holidays is as easy as taking a stroll through your gardens.  Personally, I find it so rewarding to use…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Poinsettias

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

We are surrounded by beautiful poinsettias right now so here are some interesting tidbits about them: Poinsettia, botanically Euphorbia Pulcherrima, is named for Dr. Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first U.S minister to Mexico.  He was an avid amateur botanist who, in the 1820’s, sent home to South Carolina cuttings of a beautiful plant he’d seen…

TALKING GARDENING with DOUG – Buying a Christmas Tree to Plant

THE HOLIDAY SEASON IS FAST APPROACHING A living Christmas tree not only provides holiday cheer but can provide a valued landscape plant with proper care.  Using a living tree is a “growing” – pardon the pun – trend amongst homeowners these past few years.  I realize the idea of using a living tree for Christmas…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Holiday Cactus

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

One of the plants you’ll see almost everywhere this time of year is Christmas/Thanksgiving/Holiday cactus. So here are some interesting facts about these beautiful seasonal bloomers. When they bloom in their native habitat in Brazil, they are beautiful spring bloomers that the locals call “Flor de Maia” or May Flower! Holiday cacti are a small…

TALKING GARDENING with DOUG – Gardening Tips for November

THE FACT THAT IT IS NOW NOVEMBER DOES NOT MEAN TO PUT AWAY YOUR GARDENING TOOLS AND HIBERNATE JUST YET! Here we are in early November with the holidays just around the corner and we are still having great weather to be outside and doing needed gardening tasks.  Yes, it feels like fall with our…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Amaryllis

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

Amaryllis just showed up a couple of weeks ago and I’m already getting a lot of questions on how to grow these beautiful giants.  The good news is they’re a whole lot easier than you might think.  There are just a few things to keep in mind. In every grocery store these days, you can find amaryllis…

TALKING GARDENING with DOUG – A Positive Spin On All This Rainfall

We all know that water is a precious natural resource and an essential component of our lives and landscapes. Without it, nothing on Earth would survive. Did you know that less than 1% of all the water in the world is available as fresh, clean water? With all the rain that we have had this year,…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Cats and Plants

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

Today, October 29th is National Cat Day.  National Cat Day was established in 2005 and is sponsored by The Animal Miracle Foundation.  I’m someone who is lucky enough to be owned by five cats.  I’m also someone who has been owned by many cats since I adopted my first cat when I was 15. I…

TALKING GARDENING with DOUG – Pumpkins Are Not Just For Pies

DECORATING WITH PUMPKINS AND OTHER EXOTIC GOURDS FOR THE FALL Fall officially arrived last month but it sure hasn’t felt like fall until now.  Since September, we have been experiencing above average temperatures.  Here we are in late October and finally starting to experience average, cool temperatures.  It’s pumpkin season time!!!  Everyone is decorating with…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Tulips

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

Beautiful Flowers with an Amazing History In 1593, a Flemish botanist named Carolus Clusius was sent some tulip bulbs by a friend of his who was the Austrian ambassador to the Ottoman Empire. When Clusius accepted the position of curator at the botanical gardens in Leiden, Holland, he took his bulbs with him.  The first…

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