Nancy Brachey

Take a tour of my favorite gardening Web sites

Is it spring yet? Not hardly, but a tour of Web sites will have you in the mood for it.
Is it spring yet? Not hardly, but a tour of Web sites will have you in the mood for it. Observer file photo

Thinking about spring? I am.

But the weather hasn’t been great for winter digging lately.

So we turn to our computers, where a wealth of information, new and old, awaits. There, we find new plants for this year and more information than we can absorb in a lifetime.

But it is fun to search for ideas and read about new things.

Many Web sites are out there awaiting, but here are my favorites.

Bulbs for all seasons

www.bulb.com

This authoritative site from the Dutch bulb industry covers everything to do with growing flower bulbs, including the most important tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocuses. It includes good directions, inspiring photographs and videos and recipes for combining different kinds of bulbs.

It may show up in a strange language at first. That is Dutch. Just hit translate for perfect English. This site is for learning; shopping is done elsewhere.

Delightful daylilies

www.daylilies.org

The American Hemerocallis Society is an international daylily organization and its web site is useful for anyone interested in this popular perennial. It contains a dictionary of terms, an extensive list of daylily gardens and local societies, and a good set of questions and answers about daylily culture.

Amazing irises

www.irises.org

The American Iris Society’s web site includes articles, good directions on growing irises, information about local and regional organizations and helpful guidance on dealing with pests and diseases affecting irises. There is an impressive database of photographs of the many varieties of irises.

Roses and more roses

www.rose.org

The American Rose Society’s web site offers expert advice on growing roses and dealing with problems. It invites questions from gardeners, presents articles and how-to videos. Click on “Resources” for the most useful information for the general gardening public.

Burpee

www.burpee.com

After 140 years in business, this famous seed company sells all kinds of seeds and plants. From heirlooms to hybrids, there seems to be something for every flower bed and herb and vegetable garden. The web site is well-stocked with information, including videos and articles that teach gardening techniques. Instructions on such basic skills as growing seedlings are straight-forward and specific. There is also good help on plant problems such as the dreaded blossom-end rot on tomatoes.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds

www.johnnyseeds.com

This is a good source for vegetable and herb seeds produced to national organic standards. Hybrid and heirloom seeds for flowers and vegetables are also offered as well as some plants. The Growing Center has a wealth of guidance in articles and videos ranging from tips for beginners such as growing carrots to more advanced topics such as succession planting.

National Gardening Association

www.garden.org

This group encourages many kinds of gardening, including by children. The direct link to the associations special site for children, www.kidsgardening.com, takes you to a wealth of ideas to help children learn and love to garden. Ideas and lesson plans for school gardens are included as well as how-to guides for many garden activities. This is an ideal site for teachers and parents who value gardening as a learning tool.

Rodale’s Organic Life

www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden

Even after broadening its mission to include a range of home and lifestyle topics, gardening remains a big subject for this well-established company. Articles such as mistakes made when sowing seeds indoors and increasing your potato harvest, are down-to-earth as well as enjoyable to read. I even found tempting articles called “8 Weeds You Can Eat,” as well as one called “How Safe is Indoor Beekeeping?”

N. C. Cooperative Extension

gardening.ces.ncsu.edu

The service’s web site possesses many important values but perhaps none is more useful than its database of plants. Click on “Plants.” It includes many categories of plants from annuals to water gardens and wildflowers. Go to Ground Covers, for example and you’ll see a helpful list of more than 100 choices.

Clemson University

www.clemson.edu/extension/hgic/

Clemson’s Home and Garden Information Service offers much general guidance about gardening as well as details on many categories of plant life that will aid selection and use in a home or business landscape. The guide to diseases and pests of all kinds is valuable in helping people identify and deal with these problems.

Nancy Brachey: nbrachey@charlotteobserver.com

  Comments