Landscape Design Principles, Plants, and Your Garden

Friendly Neighborhood Gardening Advice Since 1998

Welcome To My Garden Site

Are you a home gardener? Do you want to be, or maybe you are thinking of doing some landscaping around your place? That was me, too!

I started out many years ago with just a little vegetable patch and some bulbs for spring color… then I became obsessed. When starting to write gardening articles, I wanted to be that voice of a neighbor leaning on the fence, sharing helpful info and gardening advice.

If you want the design steps, planting methods, and landscape care that create a truly beautiful yard, Ilona’s Garden offers reliable, high quality, home gardening tips and growing information. – For a productive and soul satisfying garden, designed by you.

I do have lots of opinions, but the only real rules of nature are its own- and our sense of design should mainly serve the way we would like to see it. I do like artistic guidelines, and that is what I like to offer.

Explore the site, and sign up for the newsletter, for what’s new. There is a bit of trivia and garden resources sprinkled generously throughout everything here.

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How To Grow Tulips Reminder

How To Grow Tulips Reminder

Plant Those Tulip Bulbs This site has a number of articles that include this information, but for a quick reminder follow these directions. A list of articles at the end of this post.  What You Need To Know: All the tulips sold in the fall in local stores are likely to be classed as hardy and perennial. They require cold winters and hot summers, and southern climates need the flowers to be forced (which precludes growing as a perennial plant). They require a dormant period of chilling temperatures to bloom – storing them in the refrigerator is a way to force the blooms indoors. For most all of them, the same general rules on how to grow will apply. Two things are necessary with any plant that grows from a bulb: Choose a sunny, well-drained spot to plant them. Care for their needs with a dose of fertilizer during the growing season, allowing the leaves to grow on to provide strength to the bulb, and dig in some long-lasting fertilizer (I like bone meal) around them each year.   What Fertilizer Should I Use? WITH THE RIGHT NUMBERS 3-15-2 Be sure to use long lasting organic boosters when planting bulbs. This helps to feed them through the season when they are growing roots underground. 100 percent natural and organic ingredients including Alaskan fish bone meal, alfalfa meal, colloidal soft rock phosphate, feather meal, and more. Good stuff for our garden soil, and especially formulated for your bulbs. How To Plant Your Tulips How To Plant Fall Bulbs For Fabulous Spring Results Fall planted bulbs are the easiest way to have a...
Time For Daylilies

Time For Daylilies

The Midseason Stalwart As we end June and begin heading into the Fourth of July holiday, it is time for  Hemerocallis, or “daylilies”. They really come into their glory at this time, bridging the rose and the Lilium (true lily) bulbs. From the simple “roadside lily” this plant has become a major landscape component and the Midwestern gardener’s most dependable flowering friend. I can remember my Dad’s excitement when “Stella D’Oro” was introduced, with its promise of all summer flowers (he was a great fan of daylilies). Since then, this variety has become ubiquitous, spawning others with its same qualities, and helping to make the Hemerocallis much more than the sidenote it once was. Heights, Colors, Recipes! For the modern gardener, the varied heights, bloom times, delicious colors, and flower forms help make this one of the top perennials to include in our yards. They have so many uses from color in the border to slope holding plants, to features throughout the landscape, including service as a groundcover. Plus you can eat the budswarning: some people are allergic to them! The taste? A little like squash blossoms, a little like radish. Just saute in some butter. The flowers and tubers are edible, as well. The Look A large mound of arching, lush green straps that last attractively throughout the season. In the Midwest, this stays good looking until hard frost, and arrives each spring just late enough to make cover for bulbs. Early bloomer : June Midseason – July Late: – August-September The flowers are the highlight of this major landscape perennial. They arrive in midseason, according to whether they are early,...
I Can’t Stop Planting Varieties With Variegated Leaves

I Can’t Stop Planting Varieties With Variegated Leaves

Variegation can produce some gorgeous effects in the garden and we instinctively know that by the way our eyes and hearts are drawn to these “color freaks” in the garden centers. Variegation is the effect of two different colors in the leaves and stems of plants, it occurs very rarely in nature. Variegated plants are chimerasin botany: usually single organisms composed of two genetically different types of tissue.. Mutations consisting of the loss of the chloroplasts, with a resulting difference in color is the cause of most variegation. That is the scientific explanation, but the explanation for why we love them in our gardens so much is another type of story. Of professional garden designers, some love them and some hate them, but most of us want at least a few of these accents in our garden. My vote is for a number of these visually captivating plants to find a place in the garden. It must be said, right off the bat, that too many variegated plants ruin the scene. It is too much of a good thing, so texercise some restraint in their use. But there is something so fascinating about the detailed look that the contrasts of variegated plants are quite popular. Because the mutation that gives the look of two and three tones often is the result of a loss of the food making machinery of the plant’s leaves ( cholorplasts) the variegated plant is weaker than the solid green plant. Not all variegation has the same cause, however. There are blister variegations, which reflect light differently, and those caused from masking by other pigments....
Fall Days in Ohio

Fall Days in Ohio

The Fall time is one of the most beautiful in the state of Ohio, where I have my home and garden. For Central Ohio it is “Football Season”, but for gardeners and nature lovers it is the best weather to enjoy the outdoors full of foliage color, purple and pink aster bloom, bright chrysanthemums, and a harvest of apples. Apple cider that is fresh and unpasteurized may be had from certain farm stands and orchards, full bodied and richly flavored. That is one of my favorite things to enjoy in the autumn. Walks in the woods, the wafts of smoke from burning leaves, harvesting the fruits of the summer, cleaning out the vegetable patch, tilling the garden for spring, buying and planting bulbs, fixing apple desserts and cooking up hearty soups. The days are often sunny, and the cooler nights change the leaves into exciting tints before they fall into crunchy carpets for our rakes to gather together. Remember jumping into piles of leaves? It is the changing foliage in bright warm colors that holds center stage now: Include Colors of Fall in Your Garden 10 Best Red Accents There is a poetry to this season, as it bursts from burgeoning summer to the minimalist editing of winter. My original celebration of Autumn is a small compendium, but there are more quotations for the season … Poems and Quotations for September | Poems and Quotations for October Plants of Autumn Interest: ⇒Autumn Clematis – everyone who walks by this vine in bloom remarks on the fragrance. It emits a pleasantly soapy and clean aroma. Butterflies love it! When frosts...
Paint Your Fall Season

Paint Your Fall Season

One thing that sometimes surprises in the fall season is the wonderful leaf colors of many common perennials. Right now, in my garden the platycodons are turning the most wonderful yellows and gold. The hostas also turn this color and they stand out against the purples of shrubs such a the purple sand cherry. Tweet Perennials With Good Fall Color Daylilies (Hemerocallis sp.) and Siberian Irises also have spiky foliage that turns bright yellow-gold. The Siberian Iris, in particular, is pretty year ’round. The blooms have always been my favorites, and the plant is a graceful display all year through, so the golden tints in fall are just one more reason to choose it. Leadwort plants, Ceratostigma plumbaginoides, have the most striking electric blue flowers starting in late summer and blooming well into autumn. Additionally, their foliage turns a lovely bronze color brushed with red. A polite groundcover plant in my garden. Plant profile for Ceratostigma plumbaginoides. Sedums, moss phlox, spurges, all give tones of reds and yellows that are harmoniously beautiful. Some sedums even have names like ‘Autumn Joy’ which clue you into the time when their at their showiest. I have a spurge, Euphorbia polychroma ‘Bonfire’, which is of great garden interest from spring to fall. You can see it in the “Autumn tints” photo in the upper right, the moss phlox showing a pool of deep yellow, and the variegated sedum center bottom of the photo. The shrubs are Physocarpus ‘Diablo’. Strawberry plants turn a mottled red and, as Gertrude Jekyll remarked, they have a lovely scent as the season turns. Roses can have bright foliage,...


Working with nature, caring for the environment, and improving your soil are all important concepts to me, and I hope to share them with you.

A Pile Of Info On Composting

The Good Bugs

Ilona's Garden Journal


Time For A Firepit

Make your yard a fun place to be :)

gardening how-to

Gardening 101

Garden skills clearly explained, friendly advice given, and general how-to for your home garden landscape.


vegetable patch

Grow Food

Make asimple vegetable patch or create a French potager, everything from chores to design ideas to make it productive and pretty.


ornamental flowers

Ornamental Gardening

For those who love a flower garden, plant profiles, garden design principles, planning  ideas …loads of articles for creating your landscape.


Social Media Commons

Where to find me, what I’m posting,  compiled through Rebelmouse.


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