Garden Fundamentals - Learn about plants and gardening

Primula elatior ssp. pallasii

Primula elatior ssp pallasii, by Robert Pavlis

Primula elatior ssp pallasii, by Robert Pavlis

Primulas are great garden plants for part shade and Primula elatior ssp pallasii is one of the best. I normally do not care for pale coloured flowers, but the light yellow of this one, combined with its early flowering, makes it stand out in the garden. It is a real gem that seems easy to grow.

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Dealing with Voles and Moles

Voles or moles – which one is damaging your lawn and garden? They can be tricky to get rid of but before you do anything, figure out which you have and understand these interesting animals better.

Once you understand the problem you can look for the right solution. I’ll discuss some options in this post.

Mole and vole lawn damage, by Tuff Turf Mole Busters

Mole and vole damage to lawns, by Tuff Turf Mole Busters

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Building Natural Ponds Book is Released

Pond building was not entirely new to me when I decided to build a large pond ten years ago. I had built a few small traditional ponds in the past, and my previous project was a large, multi-level waterfall and pond combination. These had all followed traditional designs and used pumps to keep the water clean. My new pond would be in an area that did not have electricity, and I didn’t really want to run a new hydro line to the location. I wondered, is it possible to build a natural pond with no electricity?

After much research it became clear that all of the experts agreed – it was not possible to make a lined pond without pumps and filters. That made no sense to me and I decided to prove the experts wrong. Move ahead 10 years and I have not only built such a pond, but have become somewhat of an expert on the subject. After writing a few articles for magazines like Mother Earth News, a publisher approached me to write the first book on natural ponds.

I am very happy to announce its release; Building Natural Ponds, by Robert Pavlis.

Building Natural Ponds, by Robert Pavlis

Building Natural Ponds, by Robert Pavlis

What is a Natural Pond?

The term natural pond can be defined on several levels. On a very basic level, a natural pond is one that exists in nature – one that is not man-made. That is certainly a very good description, but natural ponds can also be man-made, in which case they exist without the use of pumps, filters or chemicals. The pond may or may not have a liner to hold in water, but other than this everything else about the pond is controlled and managed by nature.

A natural pond is also a pond that looks natural – it looks as if man did not build it. There are many design considerations that go into building a pond that looks as if nature built it. The location, the shape, the type of materials used and even the selected plants are critical.

The real benefit of a natural pond is that it requires virtually no maintenance. After adding water and plants you can sit back and enjoy it. No electricity bills, no weekly testing of water conditions, no filters to clean and nothing to buy. A natural pond will run all by itself.

I hope you will enjoy my new book. For more information see

Growing Subshrubs Like Lavender and Russian Sage

Go into any nursery and try to find lavender and Russian sage; they will be in the perennial section. Check these plants online or in books, and most sources will tell you they are perennials. Lavender and Russian sage are subshrubs, a fancy name for a small shrub. Once you understand they are NOT perennials, they become easy to grow.

Lavender - a common subshrub

Lavender – a common subshrub

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Spring Cleanup Advice – Do it Right

Spring is the best time to cleanup your garden. What do you need to do? How should you do it? What should you not do? In this post I will discuss early spring cleanup and point you in the right direction.

Spring is a special time for gardeners. The world is coming to life, and the warm days get our blood boiling – we need to get out there and do something. The problem is that at this time of year many people do work in their garden that does not need to be done and some of it actually damages soil and plants.

Spring cleanup advice for your garden

Spring cleanup advice for your garden

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