Garden Fundamentals - Learn about plants and gardening

Water Lilies: Hardy and Tropical Water Lilies for Ponds

Water lilies (Nymphaea species) are extremely valuable to the pond. They not only look great and flower well, but the floating leaves provide shade, eliminating the light needed by algae. They also provide a hiding place for fish and other water creatures. Water lilies should cover half of the open water space to help maintain a balanced ecosystem. They do best in quiet water, so keep them away from fountains and waterfalls.

Water lily pond at Longwood Gardens, by Robert Pavlis

Water lily pond at Longwood Gardens, by Robert Pavlis

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Lamium orvala

Lamium orvala: photo by Robert Pavlis

Lamium orvala: photo by Robert Pavlis

Mention lamium to most gardeners and they run for the hills. Some lamium spread so fast they are thugs in the garden. Others, like L. maculatum, spread but can be controlled. A few are excellent, well behaved, garden plants and this includes Lamium orvala, which forms a nice non-spreading clump. It might seed around a bit, but it is easily pulled out if you get too many.

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10 Reasons for Adding Art to the Garden

Art is a very important addition to any landscape design. In many ways the addition of art makes the garden, but few people think about this aspect of gardening. In this post I will give you 10 reasons for adding art to the garden.  What purpose does it serve? How does it enhance your garden design. How can it be used to make your garden more interesting?

Sculptures at the Cornell Arboretum, by Robert Pavlis Adding Art to the Garden

Sculptures at the Cornell Arboretum, by Robert Pavlis

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Fall Cleanup Advice – Be Good to the Environment

Cleaning up the garden in fall is a tradition as we get ready for winter. Rake the leaves, cut back perennials, cut the grass short – there is lots to do in the fall. The reality is that most of the fall cleanup jobs are not good for the environment. People clean up their gardens in fall for aesthetic reasons, not because it is good for the plants or the garden.

It’s time to rethink the whole process of fall cleanup.

Aspen Grove Gardens, by Robert Pavlis, fall garden clean up

Aspen Grove Gardens, by Robert Pavlis

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Arisaema franchetianum

Arisaema franchetianum‘Hugo’:photo by Robert Pavlis

Arisaema franchetianum‘Hugo’,photo by Robert Pavlis

It is late June in the shady garden and out of nowhere appears a spotted finger sticking out of the ground. It grows quickly unfolding a huge tripartite shinny leaf. Each lobe is almost as large as my hand. But the real treasure is hidden below the leaf – a striped cobra that needs to be seen to be believed.

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