Plain as Dirt: Go to the source for better gardens |

Plain as Dirt: Go to the source for better gardens

Tom Glass Vail, CO Colorado
Tom Glass

This is the time of year when all the gardening columnists write about the burning need to sharpen tools. As putting an edge on two pairs of shears, a shovel and a trowel takes approximately 15 minutes, I’m guessing that upon accomplishing these tasks you will be somewhat less than satisfied.

However, if you’ve got the urge to get into gardening deeper than ever before, now is a great time to begin laying the groundwork for your garden using the Internet as a fertile place to find viable seeds for thought. Furthermore, it is the best place for you to accomplish what you once thought impossible. The Internet offers everything you can’t find here in the valley. And there is plenty to find on the Web that is not available anywhere but the Internet.

If you are fascinated by new varieties of plants and love a good story about plant breeders and their recent trials and successes, I strongly recommend you visit

The site is sponsored by legendary breeder and European perennial importer Darwin Plants. Plantspotters is a great place to find some of the absolute latest in primarily perennial plant breeding and the story behind the plant. If you want to be the first on your block to have the latest in coneflowers, or just about anything else grown under the sun, this is a do-not-miss site that will expand your awareness of what is available ” in, most probably, very limited quantities.

Of course, this spring you’ll drive the staff crazy at your local plant sellers when you ask for the left-handed, perennial begonia that has just been entered into mass production. But, that’s half the fun.

Show no fear. I have a theory suggesting that three phone calls and a credit card limit are all that separate you from whatever plant you desire.

For the latest in annual information, check out This site has the scoop on the latest introductions to the highly successful Proven Winners lines. Plus, you can get a free gardener’s idea book and view a plethora of photos of container combinations that have proven successful in their trials. Using Proven Winners blueprints for success, there really is no need to guess whether a particular combination of plants works well together. Proven Winners only publishes what has worked well in the past for gardeners and growers across the country.

If tools are your thing, quit thinking retail availability and start thinking industrial. Going to the source of supply to professionals at will land you on the MacKenzie Nursery Supply site. Barring a few products, once supplied with the appropriate credit card digits, they’ll take your order for one item and ship it the next day. Plus, their prices often reflect a lack of overhead.

Now that you’ve got the tools, the plants and the blueprints to success, you might want to learn how to actually grow the plants that you have in your garden. Visit to learn how to grow many of the annuals commonly and uncommonly grown in the United States.

To learn more about successfully growing perennials, visit www Click on the “Grower” button, and you’ll unveil a list of technical growers’ sheets that go way beyond “feed your plants regularly.” You can learn more about the effects of temperature, lighting, pH and possibly, with some analytical thought, how to force into bloom that perennial that has been sitting barren at the back of your garden.

The Internet is a wonderful place for gardeners to grow as gardeners. Think like a professional and you’ll be amazed to learn that the answers that typically elude amateurs are available to you. You might also think snow this time of year. It’s a good thing.

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