The Cultivation, Issue 16
August 18, 2020
Inspired Ideas for Tending Your Home and Garden
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This week, I am going back to basics and focusing on ideas for greening up your home and tips for handling common August pitfalls in the garden. I'm also including my favorite segment, Plant Lore, as nothing (except maybe my son) brings me more joy.
Faux Indoor Plants
There's been a stigma about faux plants for years—and rightly so. Many were, and are, terribly unconvincing. But lately there's been a resurgence in interest and businesses have responded by crafting much improved synthetic versions of our favorite house plants. So whether you're struggling with an especially dim room or are already maxed out on things to take care of, here are a few of our favorite faux indoor plants and where you can find them.
We're partial to this monstera duo with the mint container. Rejoice in the freedom of knowing you can park this on a table absolutely nowhere near a window!
Small, tabletop succulents like the ones offered by Magnolia are perfect for jazzing up bookcases or the countertop in your window-less bathroom.
If you're looking for a larger floor plant, check out the options at Terrain. This Japanese euonymous is a stand out.
Overcoming Late-Summer Garden Issues
There's no avoiding it: Late summer on the East Coast presents a lot of challenges in the garden. High heat and humidity; crowded, overgrown plantings; heavy rains and dry spells are all only a few of the conditions gardens have to power through at this time of year. Here are a few of the most common pitfalls and how to manage them with aplomb.
One of the most common garden issues from May through September (but especially in August) is powdery mildew. This white fungus coats leaves and stems alike, and while it isn't often fatal, it does weaken growth and looks awful. We recommend using an organic sulfur-based fungicide from Bonide. Don't be alarmed if you smell sulfur after the first use; keep at it. A few weeks of persistent treatment and the mildew will clear up. Also, cut back surrounding plants to improve air circulation. This will help things dry up more quickly between summer squalls.
Scabbed-over cracks on summer tomatoes confounds even the most experienced gardeners. They are typically caused by a dry period followed by very heavy rain or excessive watering, particularly in combination with hot weather. The best prevention is to micromanage the plants watering schedule as best you can. Check out our best practices for successful tomatoes from Issue 10 to learn even more.
But a crack does not mean all is lost! If the tomato is ripe, or even nearly ripe, you can still eat it as long you cut away the blemished area. But be sure to discard those that crack before ripening case of insect or fungal contamination.
In rain-drenched summers like this one on the East Coast, flopped-over perennials are a persistent nuisance. Support stakes leave things looking clunky and unnatural, but leaving them untouched means blocked pathways, smooshed underplantings, or brown grass. We suggest cutting them back and watching them regrow upright and bushy, likely with another set of blooms this season! You'll have about two weeks of a slightly bare spot but will be rewarded with a flush of new growth.
Plant Lore: Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
The name Achilles doesn't conjure up images of delicate wildflowers, but the Trojan hero who is better known for his weak spot, is the namesake of this flowering perennial.
Native to the temperate areas of Europe and Asia, and naturalized in North America, this plant can be easily identified by its fine, fern-like foliage and upright clusters of flowers in white, yellow, pink, and orange.
Appearances aside, it's the plant's medicinal qualities that earned it such a notable name. Achilles is said to have used the plant to help heal and treat his soldiers on the battlefield. And the rest is ancient history!
We hope you enjoyed issue 16 of The Cultivation. If there is a garden you love and want to know how it was done, let us know by emailing us here. Want to catch up on previous issues? Click here to read through all of our prior editions. And remember to follow us on Instagram @staghorn_living!
See you next week.