Steve Aitken, Cheshire, CT, US

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FG Plus: A new place for gardeners like you

There is a place for people like us. Others might not know why you always hit the brakes when you see a sign with the magic words "Plant Sale." It's OK with us if you show up to work with a little...

Container Shootout

Steve and Michelle turn off their computers and duke it out at the plant nursery. It's container vs. container, and you get to pick the winner.

The Government in my backyard? No wonder it's a mess.

Jeff Gillman, co-author of How the Government Got in Your Backyard, explains the book's nonpartisan approach and what his real agenda is (warning: he wants to make you think!).

Fine Gardening scoops The New York Times -- by 7 years

Anybody who has ever worked with or for Fine Gardening knows we move more like the proverbial tortoise than the hare (and let's remember who won that race). Pictures need to be shot a year in advance...

Shakespeare on pruning

Hamlet uncut Erik Draper’s article on fixing pruning mistakes (“Oh, No! Now What?,” Fine Gardening #137, Jan/Feb 2011,p. 44) addresses the anxiety that gardeners have always felt...

News Flash: Bugs are more wicked than you thought

A new study has shown that bugs are second only to worms as things that make gardeners go "Ewww." But the truth about just how icky (yet strangely fascinating) insects are has been kept secret...

Meet Fine Gardening's New Contributing Editors

Fine Gardening, the nation's leading supplier of useful, trustworthy gardening information, announces the appointment of eight new contributing editors...

Invasive barberries to be phased out by Connecticut nurseries

The Connecticut Nursery & Landscape Association has decided to volutnarily phase out certain cultivars of Berberis thunbergii over the next few years. The move comes after growing concern about...

Encore azaleas are hardier than previously thought

Several cultivars of the popular line of reblooming azaleas known as Encore azaleas are now being rated as hardy to Zones 6A and 6B . Here are the lists as reported in Garden Center MagazineTen...

The First Rudbeckia to Bloom

I should have had an office pool or something where people could have guessed which of my black-eyed Susans would bloom first. 'Tiger Eye' opened its buds first, followed about five days later by...

The latest on the invasive issue

The Utah extension agency is on the forefront in the battle against invasive species. In this video, they bring attention to a new species we all need to watch out...

Starting Rudbeckia from seed: Easy -- sort of

The existing Rudbeckia in my yard re-seeds like crazy, so it can't be to hard to grow them from seed. When I spotted a packet of 'Irish Eyes' seed, I snatched it up. There is something about seed...

Join us at Tomatomania

Come join us at Tomatomania! This unique event brings tomato enthusiasts from all over to White Flower Farm in Litchfield, CT. This year our own Homegrown/Homemade series stars, Fine Cooking's Sarah...

From the editor...

Musings from editor Steve Aitken on the July/August 2010 issue of Fine Gardening: echinaceas, common vs. botanical names, and more.

So far, so good

One week in and I haven’t killed anything yet. This is a good sign. I can’t say there weren’t some close calls: Rudbeckia foliage breaks easily, and I am an oafish fumbler even when...

And so it begins...

Fine Gardening editor Steve Aitken attempts to grow every Rudbeckia he can get his hands on.

The 10 Easiest Plants to Grow from Seed

The top ten easiest plants to grow from seed, according to a list created by the Home Garden Seed Association.

Lawn Problems

Next to invasive plants, lawns have become the most hated thing in gardening. The evidence usually offered against lawns makes sense: They take up too much water, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides...

The furor over school gardens

Are school gardens valuable? Or do they take students' eyes off of more important topics?

My Must-Have Tomato

Everyone has a tomato that they plant year after year. What is yours?

Catalog Review: Bluestone Perennials

On one side of me, a six-year-old is singing the theme to SpongeBob SquarePants as loud as she can. On the other side, an eighteen-month old screams out for "more bah-bo," whatever that is. I am...

My Secret Shame

I kill houseplants. My modus operandi is not to water them. Sometimes, just for a change, I will put them outside--to catch some rain or something--and then leave them...

Take the Fine Gardening survey

Tell us what you thought of our November/December issue

Proof that Fine Gardening Makes You a Better Gardener

We always say that Fine Gardening makes you a better gardener, and there is no doubt that this guy knows how to grow plants. We do not, however, help you escape the law. Watch this video:  

Green Roof Plants Get Put to the Test

Which plants work best on green roofs? Who better to test than The Chicago Botanic Garden. Not only does Chicago sport a huge number of green roofs, but also the CBG is one of the best plant testing...

The Mystery of Sunset Zone 33

Is my Sunset Zone more useful than my USDA Hardiness Zone? Or is that just what THEY want me to think?

The Hard Truths of Gardening

The deer had to step around a couple of shrubs and over two or three perennials they normally devour to get to my bronze fennel, which they hadn’t eaten in all the years I had been growing it...

Maybe lawns aren't bad for the environment

Perhaps the problem is with the person tending the lawn

What are the best hand pruners?

Many gardeners consider Felcos to be the beginning and end of the discussion on pruners. Are they right?

Pick the next cover of Fine Gardening

It's not easy picking a cover for Fine Gardening, nor is it fun (OK it is). But trying to guess what will sell and what won't is almost impossible. Sure, you can weed out the long shots, but when we...

The Worst Plant Tag Ever

Questions for the author of the tag for a plant named "Green Plant."

Can I come in now?

Garden Gnome sprinkler left out in the cold

Gardening, gremlins, curtains: Three things that should have nothing in common

One sign that you might be a gremlin? You don’t like bright light.

Recent comments

Re: Gardens and Cake

James is not permitted to blog about cake anymore unless he gives me a piece.

Re: Galanthophilia can be contagious

I know a lot of people get excited by Galanthus, but I have never known why. I would expect it has to do with being the harbingers of spring, but then why not love the crocus or hellebore instead? Each has much more variety.

Let me be clear: I am not disparaging any current of former members of the genus Galanthus. I do, however, want to hear someone talk about why snowdrops get so fussed over.

Re: Fast-growing Trees to Avoid

As Ruth points out in the beginning of the post, the list of desirable fast-growing trees is in the current issue of Fine Gardening.

Re: Is the coast clear?!

That plant is definitely suspicious. I hope you called it in.

Re: Container Shootout

Lavender, deep steel blue, man-vender, whatever you want to call it, I can work with it.

Re: We're gardeners, too!

It is hard to work at FG and not garden.

Here is a link to some containers Michelle and I did:

And a healthy fraction of the plant shots that show up in the magazine were taken in our gardens.

Re: The Government in my backyard? No wonder it's a mess.

I wonder what everyone thinks is the most important topic: Plant patents? Invasives? GMOs? Pesticides? Biofuel? Organic Food?

Re: Hot Tubbing with Jeffrey Gordon Smith?


You are signing copies of the magazine at the show, right? I'd like a couple for my friend. His name is Steve, too.

Re: Fine Gardening scoops The New York Times -- by 7 years

Leucothoe fontanesiana and Stipa tenuissima covered in frost.

Re: Invasive barberries to be phased out by Connecticut nurseries

Iris, the issue isn't with them being rampant spreaders. It is that birds and other wildlife eat the berries and deposit the seeds throughout the woodlands, where the barberries tend to take up space that potentially could have been used by a native plant.

Morningstar: I really don't know if other states will follow suit.

Re: The First Rudbeckia to Bloom

The project will entail pretty much anything I can think of. I see it as an ongoing thing. This year is heavy on R. hirta cultivars & generally taking a closer look at this plant. I've never really gotten into one plant before, so it sounds like fun to me.

Re: Starting Rudbeckia from seed: Easy -- sort of

Well, feel free to tag along on this Rudbeckia adventure. I would love to hear about what you are growing & how it is doing.

Re: When the Fig Leaf Falls, Sensuous Forms Appears

I would expect this kind of thing to happen in California.

Re: And the winners of the November photo challenge are...

Oh, good. The one I voted for won.

Re: My favorite Fine Gardening articles ever!

They are all my favorites.

Re: My favorite Fine Gardening articles ever!

Michelle, I couldn't help but notice that there is nothing on this list that I either wrote or edited.

Re: Common Name Conundrums

Who is Susan? How did she get the black eye?

Re: Maybe lawns aren't bad for the environment

I think most people who need the lawn that looks like a putting green are doing it for their neighbors. Until we all agree to forgive each other for imperfect front lawns, we will be stuck with these expectations for our lawns.

If it is green and doesn't hurt my feet, I consider it lawn. By the way, my lawn is in bloom right now: zillions of little clover flowers. It is beautiful, and you can't get that look no matter how many bags of Scott's 8-Step Perfect Lawn Product you put down.

Re: My Begonia is Awesome!

That begonia must be a wonderful addition to your colllection of plants named after Neil Diamond songs.