Mistletoe: The Poisonous Plant We Hang At Christmas

For centuries, people have hung mistletoe as a symbol of love and romance. But regrettably, the plant doesn’t share the same feelings. Why?  Because mistletoe contains a Christmas cocktail of toxins that when ingested can harm humans and pets. I advise keeping it out of reach if you’re planning on hanging it this season. Continue reading

5 Top Christmas Tree Types: A Guide To Finding Your Perfect Match

Every year is different when it comes to Christmas. But in my home, there is one thing that remains constant. When I shop for a tree, I always head straight for the Fraser firs. These are the trees I grew up with, and their fragrance reminds me of my childhood. And as we all know, memory is a key component in any holiday décor. Continue reading

How To Cope With Boxwood Blight: An Expert Weighs In

It’s not every day you get to discuss your problems with an international expert. But Lynn Batdorf is the real deal. Batdorf is the world’s top resource on everything boxwood, including all of the diseases and pests that affect this diverse species. Recently he spoke to me about how to deal with the latest threat to our gardens, the dreaded boxwood blight. Continue reading

The Best Hellebore Varieties For Your Winter/Spring Garden

February can be a bleak time on the East Coast. Days are short and the sky hangs low on the horizon. But there’s a small-sized perennial whose early, colorful blooms never fail to lift my mood. It’s the lovely, cup-shaped flower called Helleborus orientalis, commonly known as the Lenten Rose. Continue reading

12 Great Holiday Design Ideas From Longwood Gardens

This week I’ll be writing about Longwood Gardens and my annual visit to its spectacular holiday display, A Longwood Christmas. I was thrilled to discover that this year’s show is dedicated to France. Entitled ‘C’est Magnifique!’, it was inspired by founder Pierre S. du Pont and his vision for the property, which was named after his great-great-grandfather, a French economist and writer who immigrated to America at the end of the French Revolution. Continue reading

Why Christmas Trees Smell So Good

 

When I was a teen, a French girl came to live with us for the summer. She caused quite a stir in conservative Delaware with her cigarette jeans, lace-up wedge espadrilles and oversized red glasses. That being said, what I remember most was her preference for a men’s cologne named Pino Sylvestre. Whenever she brushed past, a wisp of fresh, forest smell followed in her wake. Continue reading

Boxwood Care: How To Identify And Treat 4 Common Pests and Diseases

Boxwood balls in the landscape

Boxwood has been a garden staple for centuries. Not only does it add structure to outdoor spaces, but its dense, evergreen foliage can be sheared into almost any shape imaginable. For those of us on the East Coast, the fact that deer won’t eat it only heightens its appeal. There’s just one problem: boxwood is often plagued by a host of pests and diseases. Continue reading

Christmas Tree Memories: Why I’ll Always Pick A Live Tree

chr tree cover 1

According to the latest statistics, 2015 has so far been a big year for the purchase of live Christmas trees. This is interesting data given the fact that more and more people are turning to artificial trees for their holiday decor. Yes, I’ve been tempted, but I still prefer the smell and touch of a live tree. To me, there is nothing like the deep earthy aroma of a fresh Douglas fir to liven up my holidays. Continue reading