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Landscaping: Most Popular Articles

These articles are the most popular over the last month.
10 Ways to Keep Cats Out of Your Yard
I'm often asked how to keep cats away from yards. The answer lies in cat repellents, whether by wire, water, or just plain understanding how feline pests think.
The Tricks in Hanging Garland Around a Door
Do you wonder how to hang a garland around a door or column (i.e., the best way to attach it)? I discuss a few ways to accomplish this decorating task here.
How to Keep Voles Out of Your Yard
Identification is a first step in vole control (they're distinct from moles). Then you can work on getting rid of these field mice or meadow mice.
How to Keep Dogs Out of Your Yard
A problem with dog repellents sprinkled on the soil is the need to reapply after rain. On the upside, 2 products in this class lie right on the kitchen shelf.
There's a Lot More to Mistletoe Than Kissing
Learn how kissing under the mistletoe originated. History tells us that this practice has its roots in Celtic rituals and Norse mythology.
How Not to Landscape Your Yard
The 10 mistakes I present in my article will help beginners learn how not to landscape a yard. Avoiding these errors means you won't mess things up.
What's a French Drain, and How Can You Install...
Installing French drains is an option for providing yard drainage on land where there is excess water. Learn how to make one in this piece geared to DIYers.
Pictures of Poison Ivy
View my pictures of poison ivy and similar vines for identification. My photos show the plants at different stages of development in the course of the year.
10 Shrubs That Thrive in the Shade
Shrubs that grow in shade are a boon to folks who toil to find bushes to fill shady voids in the landscape. This top 10 list is designed with variety in mind.
How to Determine When to Plant Your New Trees
I am often asked when to plant trees. To answer the question, we first have to know if we're talking about the best time for deciduous or evergreen types.
Weed Pictures
My weed pictures include photos of plants you probably know, but not by name. Here's some help in identifying common types of weeds.
What Is the Difference Between a Mole and a Vole?
Garden pests include the mole and the vole, those subterranean, mouse-like garden pests. But what's the difference between a mole and a vole?
Do You Know the Hidden Meaning Behind a Classic...
The holly and the ivy have been intertwined for ages and not only in the Christmas carol by that name. Their intertwining explains the meaning of an old song.
Easy and Cost-Effective Ways to Remove a Tree...
Removing tree stumps is possible without the aid of stump grinders. You can do it manually with mattocks or by applying nitrogen and waiting, which is cheaper.
Fill in a Bare Landscape Fast with these...
Fast growing shrubs are great for homeowners needing quick privacy hedges. I list several bushes for those who need privacy in a hurry, linking to plant info.
How to Build Beautiful (and Cheap!) Waterfalls...
A simple and cheap way to build outdoor waterfalls is to erect cascading stone spillways that hang right over your pond. I show you how in this tutorial.
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Roses
What do black roses mean? My answer is 1 of 11 facts about roses I give here, ranging from which are easiest to grow to what they have to do with the rosary.
12 Interesting Landscape Designs to Inspire...
Before you contemplate specific backyard landscaping designs, you have to ask yourself some basic questions.
What Shrubs Make the Best Hedges?
Hedge plants serve the practical function of giving a property security and are also decorative. Here I discuss some of the best shrubs to use for hedges.
Your 11-Step Guide to Transplanting Trees and...
I present 5 easy steps in teaching you how to transplant trees and shrubs. Learn how to dig the holes and move the plants; also learn about care after installation.
Gas Snowblowers
Gas snowblowers are available in both single-stage and two-stage models. Learn which type you should buy in regions prone to heavy or wet snowfalls.
5 Points About Poinsettias That May Surprise You
Poinsettia plants are a favorite Christmas flower. Problem is, what we call the flower on these plants is not really a bloom at all.
Don't Know Much About Landscaping? Start Here!
If you're wondering how to get started landscaping your yard, I offer every type of resource available under the sun. See which one is right for you.
How to Get Rid of Crabgrass for Good
What's the best way of killing crabgrass? Using preemergent herbicide is one way to get rid of this weed, but proper ID must come first, so I provide pictures.
Plan Your Garden With This Climate Zone Guide
The definition of planting zones refers to USDA hardiness maps, to which I link. I tell you how to use them but explain why you needn't follow them slavishly.
Meet the Dinosaur Tree
Ginkgo biloba trees are the oldest type on earth and commonly called living fossils. They provide a medicinal extract and fine fall foliage as my pictures show.
How to Control Moles in Your Lawn and Garden
Mole control is an one element of lawn care and garden pest control. But before you can get rid of them, first learn the difference between moles and voles.
Why It's Not OK to Leave Fallen Leaves on Your...
Why is it necessary to rake leaves off the lawn in fall? The reason behind raking them off goes beyond the oft-quoted admonition about smothering.
American Holly Trees and Other Great Winter...
Holly plants vary in size and shape. Some are bushes, but the focus of this article is on the growing requirements and uses of American holly trees, Ilex opaca. Page 2.
How to Incorporate English Ivy in Your...
I discuss growing English ivy plants (picture) as a groundcover here. But my tips come with a warning: they have fallen out of favor due to their invasiveness.
Wondering What to Grow in Your Rock Garden?
My list of rock garden plants focuses on sun-loving perennials. I have organized my list according to plant size.
Care Tips for Healthy, Lush Privet Hedges
Privet hedges (Ligustrum shrubs) are traditional favorites, being amenable to pruning. But these bushes are invasive plants in North America.
Incorporating Red Twig Dogwood Shrubs in Your...
Red twig dogwood shrubs are so named for the color of their bark in winter. But these stunning bushes offer much more than just colorful winter bark.
Snow Shoveling Tips
Snow shoveling can be difficult enough without making the job tougher on yourself. Read these tips to make the job of clearing a driveway easier.
Types of Roses
The pictures in this photo gallery provide examples of some of the types of roses available, by color. All are AARS selections; learn more about these beauties.
Help, My Snow Blower Won't Start Up
Don't you hate it when your snow blower won't start up? But don't reach for that shovel just yet: Ariens offers troubleshooting tips to help you.
What Is the Difference Between Dioecious and...
What's the difference between dioecious and monoecious? Learn what these terms used in reference to plant reproduction mean.
Pictures Illustrating the Concepts Used by...
If you need some ideas for the yard, study these landscape design pictures showing some basic principles and learn about the concepts the pros use.
Everything You Need to Know About Using...
'Emerald Green' arborvitae trees are evergreens. Technically shrubs, they have a foliage similar to Leyland cypress and are sometimes used as privacy screens or in other border plantings.
Are Any of These 12 Poisonous Plants in Your...
Pictures of poisonous plants can help you to identify and avoid them. My list includes more than just toxic leaves, berries, etc. that you shouldn't eat.
Just How "Dwarf" Is Dwarf Alberta Spruce?
Dwarf Alberta spruce trees will eventually reach 12' tall but only over a long period of time. The green needles have a tight, densely-packed growth habit.
10 Ways to Landscape Your Property Lines
In landscaping your property line, are you hoping to minimize maintenance, maximize privacy or enhance the beauty of your yard? I help you with all 3 here.
Lighting the Way to a More Festive Yard
View these pictures of outdoor Christmas light displays to gain ideas for decorating your own yard. My pictures have something for everyone, in terms of style.
Everything You Need to Know about the Rose of...
Rose of sharon bush is a deciduous flowering shrub, sometimes thought of as a small tree. Learn about pruning it and other growing tips here.
How to Store Dahlia Tubers
Learn how to store dahlia tubers for the winter. Being summer bulbs, these tubers have to be dug up for storing in the North, where they are not hardy.
How to Use Vinegar as a Natural Weed Killer
The organic gardener sometimes uses vinegar as a natural weed killer. It's non-selective, so be careful not to spray or pour it on your good plants.
Build a Stone Retaining Wall in 15 Steps
This tutorial deals with building stone retaining walls 3 feet in height or less. When you build without mortar you have limitations but also some benefits.
Poison Sumac Pictures
Consult these poison sumac pictures for identification purposes. My photos include closeups showing what the leaves, etc. of these plants look like.
High on Colorado Blue Spruce
Colorado blue spruce trees are deer-resistant and used as specimens or windbreaks. A classic Christmas tree, they can also be impressive landscaping components.
Everything You Need to Know to Make a Kissing...
This tutorial shows you how to make a kissing ball. Specifically, I focus on how to make one of these Christmas ornaments with mainly natural materials.
Choose the Best Flowers for Your Landscape with...
The lists of flowers (with pictures) here are organized by color. Browse these galleries to gain ideas for creating colorful landscape designs.
What Are Some Common Types of Palm Trees?
Beginners are bewildered by all the different types of palm trees available. To help, I offer a handy list of some of the various types in this introductory article.
Electric Snow Throwers Review
My review of electric snow throwers (snow blowers) compares them to gas-powered models. Electric has pros and cons that distinguishes it from gas.
Landscaping Ideas for the Botanically Challenged
Front-yard landscaping ideas suited to suburbia may not work in rural areas, and vice-versa. But these basic design ideas will point you in the right direction.
What's the Difference Between Annual Plants and...
What is an annual? In distinguishing between annual plants and perennials, it's all a matter of the life cycle; I explain the difference here.
The History of the Christmas Tree
The history of the Christmas tree is a tale of controversy. The story behind decorating with evergreens surprises moderns who take the decorations for granted.
How to Build Great Rocks Gardens for Small Spaces
This tutorial illustrates how to build rock gardens. Their is enhanced if attention is paid to color choices (both for the stones and for the plants).
How Much Slope is Needed Near a House?
Will you be doing any land grading near a foundation to correct drainage issues? To grade properly, you must first know how much slope you need.
5 Good Shade Vines and 5 Shady Characters
Learn about perennial vines for shade, including that rarity, a cold-hardy, flowering one that grows in shady areas. I also warn about invasive vines.
How to Protect Your Lawn from Moss
How do you get rid of moss in a lawn? The real question is what causes it to grow there in the first place.
Everything You Need to Know About Foxglove Plants
Foxglove flowers will thrive in shade and tolerate dry soil but prefer moderate moisture. Digitalis purpurea plants are poisonous but are also used medicinally.
Washington Hawthorn Trees
Washington Hawthorn trees bloom in late spring-early summer. Learn about the taxonomy, care requirements, and landscape uses of Washington Hawthorn Trees.
Types of Plants: Browse My Database
Need to find information about a particular kind of plant? Search my database by clicking on the links below. Search by common name or scientific name.
Try This Project to Increase Landscape Drainage...
Learn how to build dry creek beds for landscape drainage. It's an easy landscaping project if the soil you'll be excavating isn't strewn with roots and rocks.
Think You Know About Living Privacy Fences?...
Options for privacy fences are divided into building hardscape structures vs. using shrubs in hedges as living screens. I list the pros and cons of each here.
All About Japanese and English Yew Bushes
English yew bushes are widely used for foundation plants or in hedges, while a number of cultivars of Japanese yews exist and can serve similar functions.
How to Use Muriatic Acid
Muriatic acid is a great product for cleaning masonry surfaces. Learn how to use it safely to clean that patio, walkway or wall.
Winterberry, a December Favorite
The use of winterberry holly shrubs in yards enhances the winter landscape and entices songbirds, who eat the shrubs' bright red berries.
What Does Poison Ivy Look Like?
What does poison ivy look like? Pictures do the best job of answering the question, thus this photo gallery. Use it for positive identification. Page 5.
Landscaping Articles
Explore my landscaping articles for help on everything under the sun on beautifying yards. My mission is to bring easy-to-understand information to DIYers.
What's the Difference Between Rhododendrons and...
Read this intro to learn how to care for azalea and rhododendron plants. I give tips on planting these popular flowering shrubs, including pruning azaleas. Page 3.
How Do You Drain Water Off of Lawns?
In answering how to drain water off lawns, you need to know not only about water drains, but also what to do with the runoff (dry wells being an option).
Leyland Cypress Trees: A Great Option for...
Leyland cypress trees are often planted for fast-growing privacy screens. These slender trees are generally grown by those seeking a mass of evergreen foliage and who are in a hurry.
The Landscape Design Principles Do-It-Yourselfe...
The basic landscape design ideas (color, form, line, scale, texture) are introduced with pictures to illustrate how they play out in designing a garden.
7 Shrubs That Are Compact but Colorful
I discuss 7 types of small evergreen shrubs perfect for owners of tiny yards who crave big-time color. Consult my list of compact bushes before you shop.
Beginner's Guide to Landscaping
Need some simple landscaping ideas? From designing front, back and side yards to how to start a garden, consult my tips to help with your yard makeover.
Will You Be Pulling Out Bittersweet This Fall...
Are American bittersweet plants benign? How do you remove the invasive Oriental vines? Learn all about these bearers of beautiful berries here.
Go Purple This Fall With Beautyberry
Purple beautyberry shrubs bear beautiful fruit, as their name suggests and my photo shows! The berries of this bush are a striking lilac or light purple.
All About Butterfly-Friendly Milkweed Plants
Learn facts about common milkweed plant (picture), including its uses and growing requirements. Learn what these host plants for Monarch butterflies look like.
Practical Scarecrows, the Modern Version
Scarecrow Sprinklers are better than animal repellents that you spread on the ground (and that you'd have to reapply after a rainstorm), as I say in my review.
Should You Drop the Bomb on Ticks?
One option for tick control in the yard is to spray to kill ticks. There are other options for organic gardeners; I help you pick one suited to your lifestyle.
These Plants Put Your Dog at Risk
Many plants poisonous to dogs are very common in back yards. These bad plants may be only mildly toxic or cause more serious canine health problems.
All About Mountain Laurel Shrubs and Bay Laurel...
My description of mountain laurel shrubs is supplemented by pictures. I distinguish between these shrubs and the bay laurel trees made famous by the Greeks.
Regional Maps to Help Find Your USDA Growing Zone
Growing zone maps are provided by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. They show average extreme minimal temperatures broken down by region.
Pictures of the Flower Buds
This picture is of poison ivy flower buds. Yes, even such troublesome, rash-inducing menaces as this can bloom (not all that blossoms is beautiful). Page 6.
Pictures of Poison Ivy - the Aerial Roots
Have you wondered what those hairy vines are climbing up trees? That's poison ivy, the 'hairs' being the vines' aerial roots. Page 12.
Everything You Need to Know About Canadian...
Eastern or 'Canadian' hemlock trees are long-lived evergreens. Many cultivars have been developed for landscape usage, including more compact ones useful in privacy hedges.
Fence Pictures
These fence pictures illustrate some of the different materials and styles available. Among these landscaping photos are examples of fence plantings.
10 Shrubs You Really Need to Grow
Consult this list of shrubs before you shop at the nursery. This list describes popular and more unique kinds of bushes for the yard.
Pictures of Poison Ivy -- Ripened Berries
My image shows the white berries of poison ivy, their color when they ripen. As this picture shows, the berries come in bunches. Page 8.
Help! My Dog's Pee is Killing My Landscaping!
Landscaping with dogs means compromise. You must alter plans you'd otherwise have for a yard, e.g., avoiding extensive lawns that will only be stained by urine.
Step-by-Step Instructions for How to Lay Your...
Laying flagstone patios in sand is not difficult, although the stone itself can be heavy. This DIY project is like building a puzzle; I show you how here.
How to Grow Elephant Ear Plants
Elephant ear plants are tropical but can be overwintered in cold climates in containers. Keep your plants in a cool, but not freezing basement or garage.
Why Dwarf Trees are the Ideal Choice for...
Dwarf trees (evergreen and deciduous) are popular in small yard design. You can plant them with the knowledge that they won't quickly spike out of control.
What's the difference between "cement,"...
The terms cement, concrete and mortar are used almost interchangeably by laymen in conversations about cement mixing, but they serve 3 different purposes.
It's Not Only Dogs That Are Poodled
Blue Pfitzer Chinese juniper shrubs are known for their jaunty pom poms. The bushes usually come with this poodling, and you just prune to maintain it.
Step-by-Step Instructions for Planting Boxwood...
This step-by-step tutorial walks you through the steps in planting hedges. Through pictures I show you how to plant boxwood shrubs in a straight row.
Tired of Tacky Christmas Decorations?
Some folks insist on using only tasteful Christmas yard decorations (you know who you are!). If that describes you, you'll want to see these 17 ideas.
Ideas for Going Natural at Christmas
There are natural Christmas decorations that you can use outdoors to juice up the yard with color. Here are some alternatives to store-bought ornaments.
Pictures of Poison Ivy -- "Beware of Vine!"
My picture displays poison ivy climbing a clapboard-sided building. The vine's aerial roots allow it to climb structures. Page 13.
Growing Tips for the Popular Hinoki Cypress Tree
Slender Hinoki cypress trees are semi-dwarfs, being more compact than the species trees but not as short as 'Nana Gracilis,' the true dwarf.
Tulip Trees: Tiptoe Through the Fall Foliage
Tulip trees are sometimes referred to as yellow poplars, although they are related to magnolias, not poplars. These tall specimens provide yellow fall foliage.
How to Build Your Very Own Concrete Patio
Learn how to build concrete patios, including forms, installing drainage, using automatic cement mixers and pouring. This tutorial is for beginners.
Use Tree Wrap, Shelters to Guard Shrubs Against...
How do you guard against wind damage to shrubs (winter burn)? In this article I discuss how to use tree wrap and how to shelter plants from snow and ice.
All About Mock Orange Shrubs
Mock orange (Philadelphus coronarius) is a deciduous flowering shrub. This article discusses growing both P. coronarius and Minnesota Snowflake plants.
Pictures of Poison Ivy -- Leaves of Three, Let...
Heard the well-known rhyme about poison ivy, 'Leaves of three, let it be?' This picture provides visual verification, showing the plant with its 3 leaflets. Page 14.
How to Plant the Perfect Flower Beds
Practice layering when planting flower beds, plus preventative weed control. These are just 2 tips I offer here, as we go from back to front row of a sample bed.
How (and How Not) to Use a Leaf Blower
This brief article addresses how to use leaf blower/vacs in the sense of developing a plan for using them as one component in a yard-cleanup arsenal.
Poison Ivy Flowers
As this picture shows, poison ivy flowers are rather unremarkable. But knowing what they look like will help you identify this weed. Page 7.
What the Young Leaves of Poison Ivy Look Like
See my picture of poison ivy leaves to learn what they look like when young. Their appearance in spring is different from what it is in summer or fall.
10 Components of a Beautiful Yard
Home landscaping pictures give numerous ideas for creating your own beautiful yard. My photos illustrate components found in the best landscapes.
Top 10 Trees and Plants That Love the Shade
My list of the 10 plants that do best in the shade includes flowering dogwood trees and one each from all major categories of landscaping plants.
Picture of Poison Ivy Leaf
View my picture of a poison ivy leaf to see how the plant looks in summer. In this example, it's a vine growing on a stone wall. Page 9.
Young Leaflet Picture
Poison ivy leaflets are sometimes notched, a feature that may be especially prominent in young leaves. Variations increase the difficulty in identification. Page 2.
Flowering Ground Covers
Flowering ground covers combine beauty and functionality, giving floral color while fighting weeds and erosion. These pictures help you with selection.
Pictures of Poison Ivy -- Picture of Fall Foliage
Picture of poison ivy with its fall foliage. The leaves turn orange, yellow or red in fall. Page 10.
The Meanings Behind the Different Colors of Roses
Rose color meanings are detailed in this article, so you can look like a smart gift-shopper for Valentine's Day, following a simple, longstanding convention.
Mum's the Word: the Secrets of Selecting and...
The chrysanthemums covered here are hardy mums, a good choice for fall flowers in the North. Learn about their care: dividing, pinching, winter protection.
Will Your Landscaping Have Enough Color This...
Read this intro, with pictures, to discover some common types of maple trees. I focus on the best varieties for fall color, including red ones.
Finish Off Flower Beds in Style With Landscape...
Landscape timber edging installation is simple and looks spiffy. Using photos, I relate how to install it to build an attractive edging with minimal effort.
What is the Up-Front Cost of a Heated Driveway?
Here's an estimate of the cost to build a heated driveway. This cost estimate assumes the snow-melt system will have manual controls.
A Pencil-Thin Shrub That's Popular in...
Sky Pencil holly presents an option for small spaces. These narrow, columnar shrubs lend themselves to usage near house foundations, especially at the corners.
Deadhead
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The Right Way to Care for Your Lantana Plants
Lantana plants are a tropical shrub and a symbol of Florida landscaping, their salt-tolerance making them a favorite flower in seashore communities.
How to Care for Your English Boxwood Shrubs
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How to Grow a Lush, Green Lawn
Is the grass always greener on the other side (your neighbor's)? These tips for growing green lawns will remedy that, putting a green lawn within your reach.
Pruning Shrubs
Familiarize yourself with the basics of pruning shrubs in this introduction, including the proper cutting angle to use when cutting. It's easy once you learn how.
Pictures of Poison Ivy Look-Alikes
Poison ivy weeds have many look-alikes. This picture of Virginia creeper will help distinguish the two and help you with identification. Page 15.
The Natural Way to Kill Grass and Open Up...
Organic gardeners wonder how to kill grass and eliminate lawns without using herbicides. There's a natural way to get rid of it before opening up planting beds.
Grow a Piece of the Ivy League in Your Own Yard
Boston ivy is related to another vine, Virginia creeper, but mature plants have simple, not compound leaves. Learn how to grow this classic vine here.
Build Your Own Floating Deck in 10 Easy Steps
Concrete deck blocks were used to support our small structure. This small 8x10 structure really only requires 9 blocks.
How to Clean Cement Spills Safely with Muriatic...
When cleaning stone walls with muriatic acid, you can dilute the acid with water. Learn how to work with this product safely to clean cement off masonry surfaces.
Should You Grow Ornamental Grass?
Description of the types of ornamental grasses (short, medium and tall), and why they are the best examples of low-maintenance plants.
This Dreamy Guy Is a Perennial Bachelor
I grow perennial bachelor buttons in purple (Centaurea montana 'Amethyst Dream') and in the traditional blue. I tell you how to grow them in this article.
Cultivars vs Varieties: How Do They Differ?
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All About the Lombardy Poplar Tree
Lombardy poplar trees may be planted for quick privacy screens or windbreaks, as they are fast-growers. However, they are not long-lived trees.
A List of the Best Salt-Tolerant Plants for...
Salt-tolerant plants are prized in seashore communities and for roadside plantings in areas where roads are salted in winter. Learn about a variety of examples here.
Pictures of Poison Ivy - Autumn Foliage
My picture reveals the autumn foliage of poison ivy plants. Their leaves' color ranges from orange to yellow to red. Page 11.
What You Need to Know so You Can Choose Between...
Learn the factors that go into selecting varieties of apple trees to grow. Consider dwarfs vs standards, climate zone, taste, disease resistance and more.
Deciduous
To remember what deciduous means, just realize that the Latin root means fall. I explain here in defining this word, which is applied to trees and shrubs.
Death to Dandelions! (or Maybe Not?)
My pictures of dandelions will help you identify them. Then use my tips for their manual removal or killing them with herbicides.
Top 10 Landscape Trees for Year-Round Color
What are the best types of landscape trees, especially for autumn? In this piece I help you make great picks to create seasonal interest year-round.
Vine Plants Similar to Poison Ivy: Virginia...
Virginia creeper is among the vine plants similar to poison ivy. Other vines mistaken for it include bittersweet. Page 16.
Do You Mean Business When Tackling Garden Bugs?...
Neem oil, an organic insecticide, is pressed from seeds of tropical trees of that name. It works as an organic insecticide by disrupting insects' life cycles.
Wooden Decks and Garden Arbors: Design and...
How you install deck railings is not simply a matter of your design tastes, since residential building codes are a factor. Make sure you consult your local building inspector prior to construction. Page 3.
How to Select a Snow Blower
How do you select a snow blower that's right for you? You must ask the right questions (about your climate, your driveway, etc.), as detailed here.
Attract Hummingbirds with These Flowers and...
Grow the top 10 flowers to attract hummingbirds to your yard. Besides attracting the winged jewels, these plants will excite the envy of other gardeners. Page 1 of 3.
Could Your Yard Use a Rug?
Blue Rug juniper plants are sturdy groundcovers for sunny slopes. This article contains growing tips and information on their use as groundcovers.
Natchez Crepe Myrtles
Natchez crepe myrtles (Lagerstroemia trees) are popular in the Southern U.S. Plant information (with picture) is given to tell you how to grow it.
How to Care for Shade-Loving Climbing Hydrangea...
Climbing hydrangeas solve a problem for people with shady areas to plant, being shade-tolerant vines. But they'll flower better if they receive some sunlight.
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