Get Gardening Advice on that New iPad

01/02/2014 | Ken Lain, mountain gardener In the Garden, Tips

ipadThe first seed catalog has arrived in this gardener’s mailbox, and it’s chock-full of creative ideas for this spring’s gardens.  When weather keeps us gardeners from our gardens, we content ourselves by dreaming about gardening.  Even during the festivities of the past week I found myself drawn to thoughts of gardens, gardening, and to my many sources of garden planning inspiration.

This year found a lot of iPads, Kindles, and Nooks under Christmas trees, so this week’s column is about easy surfing and eBook downloads for armchair “winter gardening”.  I’ve listed my favorite online gardening sites, the ones I regularly peruse, even though every site doesn’t have gardening advice applicable to our mountain gardens.   I’ve found that those sites have gardening hints and blogging conversations good for local gardening inspiration.

Experienced gardeners know that gardening is learned and fine-tuned from our mistakes as well as from our successes.  We constantly are learning the limits in our gardens and their soils, shade and sun exposures, and these resources are meant as reference points that can keep us headed in the right direction.

Fine Gardening is a magazine I like to read during a long plane ride.  I think it’s best enjoyed when I can touch its high gloss pages; but, if I can’t bring the physical copy on my flight, it’s comforting that this digital resource is in High Definition.  (  The magazine’s mission statement is to “Search enthusiastically for information that will help you pursue your interests at a deeper level.”  The photos alone can get my inner gardener through the gloomiest winter days!

The National Gardening Association is an E-magazine full of English gardening advice for American gardeners. ( It is a resource with many elements, and its ‘Kids Gardening’ segment is the only resource for those looking for garden projects with children and/or grandchildren.  Over the years many of NGA’s  ‘How To’ videos have been shared on my blog and Facebook pages.

Organic Gardening, successor to the original “Organic Farming & Gardening”, continues the years of providing organic gardening information. ( It continues reinventing itself, which keeps the magazine fresher than other publications.

Gardens Illustrated is a garden magazine from England.  ( Get ready to do some drooling as it is full of beautiful photos of gardens from around the world, English gardening advice, and articles about global plants.  Last month’s article on “9 Paving Stone Choices” is good advice that works locally.

How toGardeners World has one of the best ‘How-To” sections of any online magazine.  (  Its practical advice can be used by everyone.  The projects alone have readers salivating for the next issue packed full of gardening advice.  Check out this month’s article on “How to Extract Seeds from Berries”, and you will be trying to propagate your own red berried holly and cotoneaster!

The English Garden ( is another English publication.  I fancy myself as a flower grower so my bias is strong towards articles about better flowers. This magazine is helpful in that regard.  It abounds in exceptional garden pictures and interviews with gardeners who design, build, or maintain flower gardens.  For you gardeners who like to travel as much as you like to garden this magazine is for you. It is full of articles about gardening in Great Britain and reviews Britons and British stuff.  While it’s cold out in Arizona’s mountains, why not dream about adding more color to your spring garden while planning the next trip abroad?

The Vegetable Gardener is one of the better “edible” magazines online.
(  It offers really good ideas to sustainable vegetable gardeners and lots of tips, tricks, and advice that will work in the vegetable garden.  January sees the start of seed trays, peat pellets, and starting plants on the windowsills.  Look for this month’s issue with the article “Get Ready To Start Your Own Seeds”.

Watters Garden Club has its own blog full of LOCAL photos, advice, gardening successes, and garden fun. (  While it may not be as glamorous as some of the sites mentioned above, it is very helpful in practicable advice that has been tried and tested in our local climate. Look for last week’s posting entitled, “How to Plant an Evergreen in the Winter Landscape”.

Pink flowering heath is one of the few local perennials that bloom in winter.Plant of the Week is the Winter Blooming Pink Heath.  With 2014 upon us, the year might as well start out right for your landscape with one of our area’s few winter blooming perennials. At garden centers now, this heath is starting to show its blooms, the sweetest of bell shaped flowers.  With ferny evergreen leaves topped by bright flowers, this plant is ideal for retaining walls, raised planters, rock gardens, and is pretty enough to be placed in a brightly colored pot right at the front door.  Very hardy, it enjoys our cold winters and keeps on blooming.

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Gardening Classes – Our free gardening classes begin next week. The morning of Saturday, January 4th at 9:30 will find us in one of the garden center’s greenhouses ready to begin our 2014 gardening cycle. The series kicks off with “Advanced Landscape Pruning to Spring Success”.  For your convenience, the entire spring schedule is at

Until next year, I’ll see you at the garden center.