Kris Wetherbee

Birds at birdfeeder

One of the favorite pleasures of summertime for many backyard and garden enthusiasts is watching the songbirds that arrive for the season.

Feed birds quality food

When looking for birdseed, avoid any containing debris such as empty shells, sticks, or stones. Seed should be as dust-free as possible.

Pass on any birdseed mixes that contain milo, wheat, sorghum, or red millet. White proso millet is the exception — birds that feed on the ground enjoy it — but don’t choose a blend with white millet as the main ingredient. 

A picture of assorted flowers

Looking for a quick and easy way to rejuvenate your garden and generate more plants? Then it’s time to dig in and divide your old or overcrowded perennials. It’s one of the easiest and fastest ways to gain more plants. Division not only helps to control the size of aggressive perennials but will also revitalize new divisions so they bloom more freely and increase the overall performance for years to come.

Lavender grows in a pot.

The late spring and summer season are great times to fill your outdoor living space with the lively colors, textures, and fragrances of herbs grown in containers. Potted herbs bring instant visual attraction to your outdoors, and their portability allows you to position plants where they grow and look their best.

Just about any herb can be grown in a container, as long as the pot is sized right for the plant. Most culinary herbs are prime picks, especially familiar favorites like chives, parsley, mint, oregano, sage, thyme, rosemary, and basil.

A picture of broccoli.

Many of us gardeners have our vegetable favorites, but truth be told, I’m a bit biased when it comes to broccoli. Not only do its flowers attract beneficial insects, but its culinary versatility and ease of growing make this cool-season favorite one of the most desirable vegetables to grow in the kitchen garden. When grown in the cool weather of spring or fall, the result is a sweeter-tasting head with gourmet flavor. Growing broccoli with sweet, tender, tasty heads is all about getting plants off to a good start, keeping them content, and heeding the signs.

A collection of eggplants in various stages of growth.

Years ago, I discovered that there is a lot to like about eggplant.

Aesthetically captivating, the plant’s gorgeous lavender flowers, followed by a glistening display of purple to purplish-black fruit, are a striking addition to the garden. Additional fruit color options include pearly white, soft orchid, and bright orange. Some varieties also produce fruits in various interesting shapes, from the classic oval to an elongated teardrop to long and slender or curved like a banana and even round balls that are the perfect size for shish kebabs.

A basket containing vegetables, including corn, green beans, tomatoes, and peppers.

Kitchen gardens are sprouting up more and more as folks take the farm-to-table practice into their backyards — and now’s the time of year when the first signs of spring have many of us eagerly anticipating those tasty tomatoes, juicy melons, fresh salad greens, crisp cucumbers, and other fresh edibles that come from our own gardens. These tips will help power up your planting and maximize your yields for a tastier, more productive kitchen garden.

Houseplants are a widely popular addition in many homes. For some people, though, the thought of growing a houseplant has them seeing only brown instead of green. They may think their indoor growing conditions are less than optimal, or maybe they simply think that houseplants are too fussy or take too much time.

A dragonfly lands on a plant.

Dragonflies have long been considered a sign of good luck — and it seems with good reason. Much like hummingbirds, dragonflies are quite agile. They can fly both forward and backward with lightning speed, and can hover, dart, or change direction with ease. That aerial agility makes dragonflies highly efficient carnivores, with voracious appetites that help keep fly, gnat, and mosquito populations in check. They have even been known to snatch winged termites as they fly out of the ground.