perennials

Composting Tips – Tricks for Creating Nature’s Black Gold

Compost pile

If you enjoy vegetable gardening or growing flowers, adding compost will give you great results.  Have you always thought that making compost is difficult?  These Composting Tips will take the mystery out of it for you. Composting may seem like something that only our ancestors did, but many modern gardeners take advantage of its benefits.…

Borax Weed Killer for Creeping Charlie

Borax weed killer

Are you looking for an effective weed killer to control Creeping Charlie? Instead of resorting to chemical herbicides or Round Up, why not try this Borax Weed Killer? Established lawns are tolerant of Borax and this formula works well on them. Glechoma hederacea, also known as Creeping Charlie, Creeping Jenny or ground ivy, is a common…

Bleeding Heart – How to grow Dicentra spectabilis

There is something so romantic about the look of a Bleeding Heart* plant. After all, what is more romantic that the heart shaped flowers of this amazing plant? If you love growing perennials, this plant is a must have for your shady garden spot. Dicentra Spectabilis is a clear favorite among American gardeners. It is…

Mosquito Repelling Plants – Keep Those Bugs Away!

Mosquito on a leaf

With summer comes lots of outdoor living.  Sadly, that can mean lots of mosquitoes. I don’t like to use chemical products but, thankfully, Mother Nature has the perfect answer – Mosquito Repelling Plants! We can grow annuals and perennials that will keep the bugs away naturally. With all the hype about West Nile Virus, it…

How to Grow Lamb’s Ear – (Stachys byzantina)

Stachys byzantina is also known as Lamb's Ear.

Remember going to the petting zoo with your kids and touching baby lambs? This the feeling of the leaves of Stachys byzantina, also known as Lamb’s Ear. If you love growing perennials, you need to give this hardy plant a try. It is easy to grow, has a lovely texture and the prettiest flowers on…

Transplanting Monkey Grass – Division is Simple and Easy to Do

Liriope is commonly known as monkey grass or spider grass. It is a versatile and easy to grow ground cover that tolerates heat well and can be divided easily. Transplanting monkey grass is a simple process if you keep just a few things in mind. As far as growing perennials is concerned, it is one of…

Growing Strawberries -Tips and Tricks for Best Success

One of the joys of summer time is the flavor of home grown strawberries.  Growing strawberries is very easy as long as you understand the type of plant that you are trying to grow. Of all the fruit plants, strawberries are one of the easiest to grow and so rewarding.  The taste of the berries makes…

Summer Garden Tips & Garden Tour

Tips for making the most of your summer garden

Life is meant to be lived outside! We spend so much time outside during the summer, and having a great looking lawn and pretty gardens makes sure that time will be far more pleasurable. These summer garden tips will ensure that you have an endless supply of color and lush green lawns all summer long.…

Red Hot Poker – Growing and Caring for Torch Lilies

Red hot pokers are also known as torch lilies

The red hot poker is a showy and dramatic plants.  If you love growing perennials that give color all summer long, this is the plant for you. Other names for this showy plant are torch lily and poker plant. The botanical name for this plant is kniphofia uvaria and there are more than 70 known species…

Astilbe Companion Plants – What to Grow with Astilbe

Companion plants for astilbe

Astilbe is a gorgeous perennial that is right at home in a shady moist garden.  You can grow it alone, but a well designed garden looks better with more than just one type of plant. These astilbe companion plants like the same moisture and light conditions and will make a beautifully coordinated garden bed. Selecting companion…

Chocolate Cosmos – One of the Rarest Flowers

Chocolate cosmos flower buds

There are many chocolate colored flowers available, but Chocolate Cosmos gets a special boost.  I give it this rating because, not only does it have a lovely dark chocolate fragrance, but it is also one of the top 10 rarest flowers in the world. The plant is a perennial and is easy to grow and…

How to Grow Astilbe – Perfect for Shade

The perfect plant for shady spots - Astilbe

One of the stars of a shady garden bed is astilbe.  It has a feathery leaf structure and gorgeous flower plumes that sit above the plant majestically. These tips will show you how to grow astilbe and bring color to your shady perennial garden beds.My mother had a lovely garden set up until she died.…

Spring Blooming Plants – My Favorite 20 Picks for an Early Bloom

My 20 favorite spring blooming plants

After a long and cold winter, most gardeners are really looking forward to the first signs of spring in their garden.  Growing perennial plants and bulbs is a great way to get that color without extra work in the spring. Thankfully, Mother Nature does not disappoint us. There a many Spring Blooming Plants that arrive…

Seed Types: Open Pollinated, Heirloom and Hybrid.

Types of seeds

The vegetable and flower growing season is getting closer with each passing day. Here in NC, we have had unseasonably warm weather.  It SEEMS that spring has sprung but I still don’t dare really get gardening in full steam in case we get a bit of a cold snap.  Are you an avid gardener? If…

Tips for Growing Forsythia Bushes

Forsythia bush

Nothing screams spring in your garden quite like Forsythia. With their vibrant yellow color, these perennials are one of the first bushes to flower in the spring. The shrub is very hardy, and relatively easy to grow.  These tips for growing forsythia bushes will make sure that your garden is a delight to behold in early…

Astilbe Colors – The Stars of a Shade Garden

Astilbe colors photo gallery

Astilbe is one of my favorite perennials for a shade garden.  There are not many plants that really like the shade that also flower beautifully, but Astilbe is one of them. Astilbe colors could even be called the stars of a shady garden. Astilbe makes a wonderful border edging plant for a large garden bed.…

Biltmore Estate Gardens Tour

My husband and I recently spent several days in the mountains of North Carolina with our daughter.  The highlight of the trip was a tour of Biltmore Estate. We enjoyed the tour of the estate, for sure, but what really impressed me was the perennial gardens and conservatory.  I thought my readers would enjoy reading a…

My Favorite Daylilies – A Garden Tour

Banana Boogiebait Daylily

When it comes to versatility, blossoms and easy of care, very few perennials can match daylilies.   They give a magnificent show of flowers, sometimes more than once during the summer season, can be managed by inexperienced gardeners and multiply like crazy to give more plants as the seasons progress. I thought it would be…

Daylily Photo Gallery

Daylily photo gallery

If you are fond of growing perennials, you really should try daylilies. They are one of my favorite perennials.  I started my collection with the common Stella D’oro that is seen by all the road sides in North Carolina and have moved on to more and better flowers.  There is such a variety of bloom…

The White Garden – Raleigh Botanical Gardens

This white gazebo is a perfect place to sit and admire the white garden in Raleigh

The JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh is a wonderful place to spend a day.   We recently had visitors from the UK who are gardeners, so we took them for a visit. One of my favorite parts of the gardens is The White Garden.  It has a plethora of white annuals, perennials and bulbs growing.  There is…

14 Best Hardy Perennials

14 of my favorite hardy perennials

Budget conscious gardeners have a very good friend when they turn to growing perennials. What is not to like about a plant that comes back year after year and needs very little care and watering after the first year?  There are many types of perennials, from tender types, which need to be grown in the…

25 tips to Get Your Garden Ready for Spring

Garden Tips for Sping

Many areas of the country are still under a blanket of snow, but it won’t be long for most of us to do things to get your garden ready for spring.  Here in NC, depending on how late our winter lasts, that time is almost here!  It is time to start thinking about ways to…

Plant Propagation Tips – New Plants for Free

Plant propagation tips - thegardeningcook.com/

If you garden, you will know that the cost of buying new plants can get very expensive over time. But you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a wonderful garden.  Just follow some of these plant propagation tips and you will have both perennial garden plants, as well as indoor plants for…

How to Grow Helleborus Perennial – Lenten Rose

Helleborus perennial

 I first heard of Helleborus perennial several years ago when I spent a season trying to grow some uncommon plants from seed.  I didn’t have any luck with them, but the idea of a flowering plant blooming in my garden where there is still snow on the ground stuck in my mind.  The botanical name…

My North Carolina Winter Garden

Sun peeking through the frozen trees in North Carolina

My North Carolina winter garden is a wonderland this week. Winter storm Jonas has been all in the news this week.  It left a blanket of snow and ice from the South in the US right up the corridor to New England.  My North Carolina winter garden is a sight to behold. Winter storm Jonas…

14 Tips for a Successful Garden Make Over

14 tips to a successful garden makeover

This post brought to you by Gilmour. The content and opinions expressed below are that of The Gardening Cook. Get A Successful Garden Make Over With 14 Easy Tips. It’s that time again. Time to transform one of my garden beds that just won’t seem to keep to a single design. I call it my…