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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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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….

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – How to Grow a Dragon – Tree, That Is

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

What do Corn Plants, Dragon Trees, and Lucky Bamboo have in common? They are all members of the Dracaena family. Dracaenas are a family of herbaceous plants that are, believe it or not, related to Asparagus! The name “Dracaena” comes from the Greek word “Drakaina” meaning Female Dragon. Some varieties of dracaena have a reddish…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – How to Plant a Lasagna Garden

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

Ever notice how some of the best things in life coming layers?  Lasagna, baklava, even pizza (think of tangy sauce with gooey melted cheese on top)!  Well, layering bulbs in your garden is fun, easy, and—delicious—to the eyes, at least. How to Plant You can do this in a container or in the ground.  For…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Peonies

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

Our locally grown peony roots just came in last week and I’m reminded of how much I love these huge gorgeous easy-care perennials. The first peony I ever got was a division of one my grandmother had—and she said it was a division she’d gotten from her mother.  Peonies are one of the longest-lived perennials—living…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Fall Already?

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

This past weekend was the first official day of fall—the Autumnal Equinox. The Autumnal Equinox occurs when the sun is directly in line with the equator. On this day, the day and the night are of equal length. From now until the Winter Solstice on December 21, the hours of the night will be longer…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – A Fall Surprise

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

Surprise Lilies, Magic Lilies, Resurrection Lilies, Naked Ladies, Spider Lilies, Hurricane Lilies—these are all nicknames given to various types of Lycoris. Lycoris are strong perennials that send up lush foliage in the spring, which then dies down, then blooms late summer without foliage—hence the nicknames Surprise Lilies, Magic Lilies or Naked Ladies. Because they bloom…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – My Top Ten Favorite Spring-Blooming Bulbs

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

Ah, another fall and another chance to share my top-ten favorite bulbs. Give me a minute while I think about this past spring’s garden—how it looked, what did especially well, were there any surprises…. Okay, I’ve reminisced and I’m ready. So here they are: #10: Alliums From four foot tall giant alliums with 8 to…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Things To Do In Your Fall Vegetable Garden

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

I’m getting my vegetable garden ready for fall now.  I just pulled up the last of the squash.  Most of my tomatoes are now long tired looking vines with only a few blooms at the tips—and they won’t have time to set fruit and ripen by the first frost.  I pulled them up. I’ve pulled…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Mind Your Peas–and Grow Them, Too

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

Now is the time to plant peas for a fall harvest so I thought I’d share some interesting facts about these deliciously sweet veggies (well, scientifically speaking, they’re technically fruits.) Peas are one of the oldest cultivated crops. Fossil evidence shows that they were even eaten during the Bronze age! Green peas are actually unripe—that’s…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Bearded Iris: Plant a Rainbow

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

I know fall is on the horizon when the bearded iris rhizomes arrive in the store.  We just got ours in so fall can’t be far behind (exactly one month from this coming Thursday, to be exact.) History Irises are a genus of over 250 flowering plants.  The word “iris” is from the Greek word…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – Fall Gardening

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

This time of year is a perfect time to think about your fall garden.  What are you going to do when the tomatoes, squash and green beans finally give their last?  Do you let your garden lie fallow over the winter or do you want to grow broccoli, peas, kale, etc.? If you’re going to…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – National Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbor’s Porch Day

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

This Wednesday, August 8th, is National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. Yes, really. Zucchini does seem to be the one vegetable of which I often do have an over-abundance. So what can I do with it? While I don’t “sneak” it onto my neighbor’s porch, I do offer them bags of zucchini,…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – National Avocado Day

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

Today is National Avocado Day.  Have you ever thought about growing your own avocado?  It’s not hard. Yes, I’ve done it.  The up-side—they’re easy, fun, and make a beautiful dramatic houseplant.  The down-side—they get HUGE over time and the chances of them ever fruiting are slim to none. But for lush tropical foliage, they can’t…

BONNIE’S GARDEN – World Snake Day

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

July 16th is World Snake Day.  I can already hear some people go “Oh, Gross!”  I used to be one of them, but as a devout gardener, I’ve developed a healthy respect for them.  Still, every summer, I get a lot of questions about how to kill or otherwise get rid of snakes. So maybe…

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