Climbing roses

climbing roses

Climbing roses reaching across an arbor or creeping up a wall can be eye-catchers. This makes climbing roses an excellent focal point in the garden. Roses are susceptible to disease so when choosing climbers for your garden, look for disease resistant varieties.

Victorian beginning

Climbing roses were very popular back in the Victorian era. The roses bedecked arbors, fences, pergolas and were trained to wrap around wire pillars. Unlike flowering vines with their tendrils that grasp to a trellis or side of a house, climbing roses have to be secured to structures with strong cord or wire. The cane of some climbing roses, like Westland, may grow as little as seven feet. While climbing roses like, Climbing Cecile Brunner, can reach lengths of 20 to 30 feet.

Uses for climbing roses

Climbing roses can be grown up, down and across a fence to add beauty and scent, and to deter people from climbing the fence. A vertical or horizontal trellis secured to the house, garage or shed and covered with climbing roses provides a beautiful focal point. An arbor heavily laden with blooming roses beckons visitors to pass through its archway. Climbing roses trained to grow over a pergola will provide shade. Privacy can be achieved on an open porch by growing roses on lattice installed on the side of the porch facing the neighbors or vehicle and foot traffic.

Growing climbers

Plant climbing roses in an area where they will get full sun or least five hours of sunshine. Follow the planting directions on the bareroot, or bagged or potted plant that you purchase. As climbing roses grow, the base of the cane near the ground will become woody, with little to no leaves. By planting low to mid-height plants in front of the rose, you can hide the bare cane. For the healthiest roses, fertilize two to three times from early spring to late summer. In the spring, you can either prune the cane back to about three feet above ground or just thin out cane that is dead, damaged or growing the wrong direction.

Climbing roses will need winter protection if planted in northern states where the winter temperature remains below zero for more than two weeks. In those frigid areas, the cane needs to be removed from the structure, laid on the ground and covered with six inches of soil and two inches of mulch. Most areas of the Unitized States, however, do not have to take this extreme measure.

Rose diseases

Two common diseases of roses, both a fungus, are black spot and powdery mildew. Black spot shows literally as small black spots on the leaves of roses. Caused by hours of continuous moisture, black spot may be avoided by giving the rose more airflow through removal of tall or wide nearby plants or relocating the rose to another location. Powdery mildew is a grayish-white fungus that can affect leaves or buds of roses. Powdery mildew can be caused by humidity, particularly high humidity at night.

Disease resistant climbing roses

Not wanting to deal with fungal infections of roses has led gardeners to buy disease resistant climbing roses. Disease resistant roses are less likely to contract fungal infection. If they do, the damage will not be as overwhelming (fewer leaves will fall for example) as a fungal disease infection on other roses.

Some varieties of disease resistant climbing roses include Aloha, America, Darlow’s Enigma (rambler), Portlandia and William Baffin.

Landscaping ideas to hide utility boxes

Landscaping ideas to hide utility boxes

We’ve all seen them, those unsightly, large green metal boxes or cylindrical bullets set in the landscape by utility companies. Those devices give the electric or cable companies access to below-ground cables. There are ways to deal with that eyesore in your yard to hide it from view.

Contact Utility Companies

Before digging near the boxes in your yard, contact local utility companies to have them mark the location of the underground lines. In many locations, calling 811 will connect you with the local authorities.

Also ask them about how much space you need to allocate for them to access the box. If you are present when the utility representative arrives to mark the ground around the box, ask him to spray-paint a perimeter around the box to indicate how much space they may need to service the cables.


Place stepping stones, like inexpensive cement circle steppers, over the markings that show where the cable is buried to ensure you do not dig there. Use a garden hose to mark the perimeter of the planting bed. A curvy perimeter is more natural in the landscape than straight lines. Turn the soil down to a depth of about 10 inches in the area between the hose and the utility box—EXCLUSIVE of the area marked for underground cable. Lay landscape fabric over the area that should not have any vegetation; this is where the utility workers will need space to access the unit. The landscape fabric should extent under the stepping stones too. When the plantings are in place, 2 to 3 inches of mulch, like pine chips, can be placed on top of the landscape fabric.

Plant Selection


Plant a tree between the house and the utility box. As the tree grows, its trunk or foliage will help to block the view. The trunk of a tall tree, like field maple, can block small boxes. The dense, low canopy of Japanese maple can disguise a larger box. Keep the trees at least 5 feet from the box or according to the utility company’s guidelines.


Slow-growing and low evergreen shrubs, like a globe arborvitae, spreading yew, or savin juniper are options for planting around the utility box, though any type of shrub may be used.


Perennial flowers, like iris, daylily, yarrow, hollyhock and false indigo can reach a height of 2 to 4 feet. Annual flowers that grow 2 feet or taller can include aster, cockscomb, cornflower, feverfew or four o’clock.

Ornamental Grasses

Ornamental grass grows fast and wide, making it an easy solution to hide utility boxes in the landscape. Some grasses produce flowers or plumes of color. Ornamental grasses under 2 feet might include sand love grass, Japanese or palm sedge, or velvet grass. For heights of 3 to 6 feet, try big bluestem, Indian grass, prairie dropseed or Korean feather reed grass.

Man-Made View Blockers

A fence on two or three sides of the utility box can make the area looked like a planned focal point. The fence can be high enough to completely block the box, however, a lower fence with shrubs or flowers on both sides can look quite pleasing.

About flowering abelia shrubs

abelia shrubs

If I had to choose just one landscape shrub, it would be glossy abelia (Abelia x grandiflora). In USDA plant hardiness zones 6 though 9, abelia is semi-evergreen according to North Carolina State Cooperative Extension. Abelia grows in most of the continental U.S., exclusive of states with severe winters such as North Dakota, Montana, Minnesota and northern Maine.

Why I prefer abelia

abelia shrubs floweringAs a landscape shrub, the canes of abelia produce trumpet-shaped blooms of that are white to pinkish in color. Better yet, the blooms are fragrant and appear from early summer into late fall. The blooms attract bees and butterflies. Abelia grows 6 to 8 feet tall in full sun to part shade. In my area, USDA zone 7, the loamy soil proved to be the perfect setting for abelia. The shrub grew taller than 8 feet. It was one day when I found myself snipping the tops of the shrubs from inside the house through a second floor window that I decided it was too tall. I cut the shrubs to about 8 inches above the ground in mid-summer. The following year, the shrubs grew several feet high.

Planting abelia

Plant abelia shrubs in early fall or early spring. Choose a sunny to partial shade location in the landscape to plant abelia, which grows well in most soil conditions without amending the soil. Abelia shrubs can grow 6 to 8 feet wide with a base narrower than the fountain-like top. Because of that, you can set the shrubs 3 to 5 feet apart. I planted my shrubs at one end of the porch to create privacy. Small leaves cover the canes of the shrub, providing a subtle screen while still allowing some light and breeze to pass through.

Dig the hole for the shrub twice as wide as the root ball (plant container). Dig the hole as deep as the root ball is tall. Remove the shrub from the container and place it in the center of the hole. The top of the root ball should be level with the surrounding ground. Backfill the hole with the soil removed from the hole. Water deeply. Spread 3 to 4 inches of mulch, like pine chips or leaf mold, around the shrub to hold in moisture and help block weed growth.

Glossy abelia
Faded blooms on glassy abelia.


If planting in the fall, water about every 10 days if there is no rainfall and then stop watering at the first hard frost. In the spring the following year, and if planting in the spring, if there is no rainfall, water every two weeks in spring and fall. Water more frequently in the summer, which may mean watering every seven to 10 days. The following year, rainfall alone should be enough, especially since the abelia shrub is drought tolerant.

Prune to retain a shape by cutting back up to one-third of the shrub after it finishes blooming. Use hand pruners or hedge clippers. As mentioned above, cut the shrub almost to the ground for a fresh start if desired.

9 Self-seeding perennial flowers


Great decision to add perennial flowers to your garden center shopping list. Perennials will provide bloom color year after year in your flower garden. Before you finalize your list of perennial flowers to purchase, consider perennial flowers that reseed, or self-seed or self-sow, increasing your flower power without additional labor.

Perennial flowers that reseed can lend a helping hand to populate an English cottage garden. Sometimes, though, the dropped seeds may be relocated by hard rainfall or the wind. To avoid potential upstarts in unwanted areas, like in the lawn, pick off spent flower blooms before they have a chance to produce seeds. The alternative is to pull the upstarts as you see them. And keep in mind, that you can also propagate most perennials be digging up the root ball about every 3 years to divide it into more plants.

1. Japanese Primrose

Japanese primrose (Candelabra primrose), which is cold hardy in USDA plantings zones 3 to 9, grows 12 to 24 inches tall. Plant Japanese primrose in full to part shade and it will reward you late spring to early summer with whorls of flowers in colors of pink, red, purple or white.

2. Black-Eyed Susan

Placed in full sun, black-eyed Susa (Rudbeckia fulgida) will grow 2 to 3 feet tall. From mid-summer to early fall, black-eyed Susan produces daisy-like blooms of yellow-orange with a brown center. Black-eyed Susan is cold hardy in USDA zones 3 to 9.

3. Tartarian Daisy

The mauve colored petals of tartarian daisy (Aster tartaricus) appear in late summer and into early fall on top of stems 3 to 4 feet tall. Plant tartarian daisy is full sun in USDA zones 3 to 8.

4. Astilbe

The springtime blooms of astilbe (Astilbe x arendsii) display like tiny blooms of white, pink or burgundy on a feathery stem. Astilbe, which is cold hardy in USDA zones 3 to 8, grows in full shade to part sun and reaches 18 to 24 inches tall.

5. Purple Coneflower

Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) grows 2 to 4 feet in USDA zones 2 to 10. This coneflower prefers full sun but can tolerate part shade. The daisy-like blooms of purple coneflower appear from summer into early fall.

6. Winter Aconite

Presenting yellow blooms in late winter to early spring is winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis), which grows to about 6 inches tall. Plant is USDA zones 3 to 7.

7. Grecian Windflower

Preferring light shade, Grecian windflower (Anemone blanda) grows 6 to 12 inches tall. Spring time bloom colors may be white or shades of pink, blue or purple. Grecian windflower is cold hardy in USDA zones 5 to 10.

8. Common Sneezeweed

Common sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) grows 4 to 6 feet tall. They produces blooms of yellow, orange or maroon in late summer to early fall. Plant common sneezewood in full sun in USDA zones 3 to 8.

9. Dame’s Rocket

Dames Rocket drivewayGrowing 3 to 4 feet tall in full sun to part shade and producing white or lavender colored blooms, Dame’s Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) is very easy to grow. In some areas, it is considered invasive. To curb the flower’s enthusiasm to spread uncontrolled, plant in an area surrounded by pavement.

Stargazer Oriental Lily

Star gazer lily close-up

Stargazer lily returns each year to set an explosion of pink and white star-shaped blooms in late spring to early summer. The six petals of the bloom open on stems 2 to 3 feet tall. The blooms can reach up to 8 inches across. The blooms display for about two weeks.

Star gazer lily bunchWhere to plant stargazer

Stargazer lily is cold hardy in USDA planting zones 4 through 9. Choose a well-drained location in full sun. Plant this highly scented perennial along a walkway or close to an open window to enjoy the strong fragrance. In the colder zones, protect the bulb with about 3 inches of mulch, like pine bark chips or leaf mold.

Enjoy cuttings indoors

To gather stargazer lily blooms for indoor floral bouquets, cut no more than half of the stem. The remaining stem and leaves will help nourish the bulb. To increase indoor bloom time and reduce mess by the vase from dropped pollen dust, snip off the orange anther.

Stargazer anthers

The picture above shows the orange anthers that are supported by yellow-white stems called filaments. The color of the anther fades as the flower ages. Together, the anther and filament form the stamen. Sprouting from the center is the three-node stigma supported by the style. Once cut, the flower no longer needs these parts so to make it easier, snip off all the center stargazer lily parts to prevent dropped pollen.

How to harvest yarrow seeds – Collecting seeds from yarrow, a perennial herb

yarrowYarrow (Achillea millefolium), like this Coronation Gold variety, is a sun-loving perennial herb. The easiest way to propagate yarrow is through division of the root ball or by collecting seeds in late summer.

Cutting the stems

Allow the blooms to fade and go to seed while still on the stem in the garden. The shape of the bloom remains the same as the seeds and chaff (the seed covering) turn brown. Once the stem has dried at least 6 inches from the flower-turned-seed-factory (the stem is dark brown to black), the yarrow seeds are ready for harvest. Clip the stem of the dried yarrow and place it in a paper bag or on sheet of newspaper (my preference).

Collecting the seeds

yarrow-seedsYarrow seeds are tiny, smaller than a gnat. To harvest the yarrow seeds, hold the stem and turn the seed-packed flower upside-down. Tap the dried bloom on a sheet of newspaper or push the dried bloom on the the palm of the opposite hand. Gently squeeze the bloom to release the seeds and chaff. Don’t worry about separating the chaff from the seeds; nature takes care of the chaff when it’s planted. Following nature’s pattern, immediately plant the seeds outdoors in a well-drained, full sun location.

17 Companies That Plant A Tree For Every Purchase

It’s International Forest Day and what better way to help the forests than to plant a tree? Here is our favorite list of 10 companies that plant a tree for every purchase you made.

1. Woodchuck USA

Buy One. Plant One. We have a vision of a world more connected to nature. That’s why we have partnered with American Forests to plant a tree for every product we sell. Be a part of this next chapter with us.

2. tentree

At tentree, we’re focused on more than just planting trees. We want to help change lives. Not only does reforestation revitalize dry arid soil and provide a substantial oxygen supply, but it directly benefits locals living in the area by providing wood for fuel, food, and fodder for livestock, as well as permanent and seasonal employment. We have partnered with not-for-profits across the planet to ensure tentree has a truly global footprint, and can identify the regions that will benefit most from our planting.



The brainchild of an Italian watch lover and two eco-smart entrepreneurs, WEWOOD fashions wooden timepieces from mostly scrap-wood and uses state-of-the-art Miyota movements for the guts, a hybrid of technology and nature resulting in a unique watch that’s both handsome and earth friendly. With this cohesive collaboration, the goal is to help restore Mother Nature, one watch at a time, by planting a tree for every WeWOOD purchased. Since 2011, WEWOOD has planted over 420,000 trees with its partners and sets challenging targets for 2015 and beyond. One such challenge is our goal of planting 1 million trees by 2020. Keeping forests healthy and happy keeps us healthy and happy, we like to keep our reminder on our wrist.


4. etnies

The etnies Buy a Shoe, Plant a Tree project started in 2011 when etnies Owner and CEO, Pierre-Andre Senizergues decided to invest in the future by planting a tree in the Costa Rican rainforest for every pair of Jameson 2 Eco shoes sold. The following year, the program expanded to Brazil and the next phase of planting will take place in Africa. Thanks to the help of a partnership through Trees for the Future, the reforestation program has expanded to three continents in five years. etnies is proudly celebrating the milestone of reaching one million trees in the Buy a Shoe, Plant a Tree program. Every time a pair of etnies is purchased, a tree will be planted in the rainforest, representing that individual’s contribution and commitment to the planet. etnies is fighting for our planet.


5. Baron Fig

Creating is at the heart of everything we do. We started Baron Fig to celebrate the creators and their process, which we believe should also consider how we interact with the world around us. It’s important that we leave the earth better than we found it. You’ve shown your support since we launched, now the Buy a Book, Plant a Tree endeavor is our way of giving back in appreciation. It’s our way of showing thanks to you, our customers, as well as to the environment. So far your purchases have helped plant over 39,000 trees since we launched, with more being added to that number daily. For every Confidant you buy, we’ll plant a tree.


Baron Fig

6. GoodSeeds

Good Seeds will plant ONE TREE with EVERY order! With the help from our friends at Trees for the Future, our donations will plant trees with rural communities in the developing world, enabling them to restore their environment, grow more food, and build a more sustainable future. We’re literally ‘planting good seeds’ all over the world, and making a difference! All thanks to you! Plant TREES. Change LIVES.

good seeds apparel

7. Wave Tribe

Through our partnership with Trees for the Future, Wave Tribe will gladly plant a tree in the Brazilian rainforest. We call it, Buy One, Get One Tree. Trees for the Future is an agroforestry resource center, working with people to improve livelihoods and restore degraded lands to sustainable productivity through planting beneficial trees. Planting trees in agroforestry systems provides a myriad of benefits, such as food; forage for animals; sustainable fuel wood and construction materials; increased agricultural yields; improved water infiltration and aquifer recharge; and protection of soils from wind and water erosion.


Wave Tribe

8. Trinity Oaks

Buy a bottle of wine and we’ll plant a tree. It’s just that simple…we will plant one tree for each bottle of Trinity Oaks sold. There’s no limit to the number of trees we will plant, so buy a bottle of Trinity Oaks today and take one small step toward a greener tomorrow. Since 1989, Trees for the Future has helped 1 million people in thousands of communities in over 20 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America plant more than 80 million trees. Trees for the Future focuses their efforts on tropical locations around the globe where trees can have the most beneficial impact on the environment. In the United States, they also provide education to students and communities about the role of trees in the environment, energy efficiency and other global issues.

Trinity Oaks

9. Prestige Decanters

Each year millions of trees fall in natural disasters within the United States. To achieve our goal of restoring Mother Nature, we’re planting a tree for every Prestige Decanter purchased. Our goal is to plant 100,000 trees, right here in America, because every time a tree is planted OUR environment improves.

Prestige Decanters

10. Pacific Shaving Company

Since 2007, Pacific Shaving Company has been working with Trees for the Future, planting a tree for every purchase made. It’s just one of our small but mighty ways of bringing sustainable business practices to the resource-heavy world of personal care products.

Pacific Shaving Company

11. Flagship Bank Minnesota

Flagship Bank Minnes will be planting a tree for every customer that goes e-statements.


They plant 10 trees for every item sold, selling mainly candles.

13. Detox Paddle Co

They plant a tree for every inflatable paddle board sold.

14. The Bountiful Board

Not only do they make awesome cutting boards but also plant trees to make sure they are giving back more than they take.

15. Moon and Jai

At Moon and Jai, we also plant a tree for each ritual kit purchased ~ We are partnering with National Forest foundation to spread tree planting initiatives in areas that need it most!


is a search engine. the company uses at lesat 80% of its revenues to support tree planting initiatives all over the world. To date, it has helped to plant more than 77 million trees!


17. Cardànas Shoes

cardanas shoes

Cardànas is a fair trade brand that care for community employing and working with local providers. They want to spread the love — their shoes are made with, so for each pair they sell, they plant a tree.

Feel free to share any company you know that plant tree for every purchase!