Outdoor Plants

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…

Start Seeing Monarchs the First Saturday in May

Colorful Monarch Butterflies

The first Saturday in May is marked as the day to Start Seeing Monarchs. What an appropriate national day for this time of the year!  Have you seen any monarch butterflies in your yard this year?  I’ve been seeing them in my garden for a few weeks This day was chosen to raise people’s awareness…

Growing Sunflowers – How to Grow and Care for Sunflower Plants

Sunflowers come in many colors

Growing Sunflowers is one of the really fun parts of summer time gardening.  These big annuals are very easy to grow, which makes them a very popular plant to introduce children to gardening.  Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) are a member of the Aster family. The sunflower is the state flower of Kansas.  It is native to…

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…

Using Candles in Your Home – It’s Time for Some Decorating Ideas

It's bath time. Prepare to relax with a good book, a glass of wine and an aromatic candle.

This post is sponsored by Chesapeake Bay Candle, but all opinions are 100% my own. Let’s get some tips for using candles in the home. There is just something really warm and inviting about a room with the look of a flickering candle in it.  Using candles in the home creates an intimacy that sets a mood to…

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…

Garden Sheds

14 charming garden sheds

If you have been gardening for long, you will know that tools and gadgets soon start to take over your yard. Garden Sheds have become a fixture in many back yards. But your garden shed doesn’t have to be plain and boring, as these great looking buildings will show. Your garden shed can be as…

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.…

Osiria Rose Photo Gallery of This Hard to Find Hybrid Tea Rose

Osiria Rose is a hard to grow and VERY hard to find rose. I have started an Osiria Rose Photo Gallery on my site. If you have grown the rose, please share you photo for my readers.

Osiria Rose is a hybrid tea rose that was first hybridized in Germany by Mr. Reimer Kordes of Germany in 1978.  The rose was introduced in France by Willemse France under the name ‘Osiria’.  Photos of the rose that have made their way around the internet are highly photo shopped. Several of my readers have grown the rose…

Winter Garden Views in January

These winter garden views, from the USA, Canada and the UK show that there are some stark differences and lots of similarities when you look outside your window in winter. These photos are shared by readers of my blog. Why not share your photo too?

The weather outside does not lend itself to gardening right now. We recently had a snow storm that dumped about three inches here in North Carolina.  Looking over my snow soaked garden gave me the idea to have a share day on my Facebook page. I asked my Facebook fans to share their Winter Garden Views and…

My 10 Most Popular Posts of 2016

See what made the list of the most famous posts of 2016 for The Gardening Cook. This year, household tips, gardening tips and one great recipe made the top 10!

Each year, at the end of December, I take stock of what worked (and what didn’t!) on my blog.  Sometimes, I am surprised when a blog post makes my top 10 list for the past year when I wasn’t expecting it.  Other times, I think “not you again” when a tried and true favorite post…

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…

Creative Metal Yard Art – Bugs – Flowers – Critters

Metal yard art daisy

Decorating your yard with creative metal yard art can add a wonderful touch of whimsy to your outdoor garden space! I recently spent a week in a lovely cottage in the mountains of North Carolina.  It was a great get away with my husband, daughter and her boyfriend. We spent the time driving around the…

Creative Garden Art

Spray and old watering can purple and plant with pretty flowers for easy garden art

Garden art can cost an arm and a leg if you purchase it from garden centers.  But this does not have to be the case.  It is easy to create instant interest in the garden by making use of recycled or common household items and turning them into garden art. It is easy to create 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…

Coleus Plants – One of my Favorite Annuals for Color

How to grow coleus.

You Can’t Beat Coleus Plants for Summer Color I am always looking for plants to give my garden a burst of color which will last throughout the season.  I plant the normal flowering annuals such as pansies, petunias, zinnias and others.  But there is one variety which gives huge color impact, and is one of…