Betty Mackey has written over 100 articles for HowStuffWorks, mostly on gardening topics. She was also the lead writer for "The Gardener's Home Companion,"‚Äč an award-winning general guide to gardening published by Macmillan, and co-wrote "Gardening Made Easy" for Publications International. She holds a B.S. in humanities/technology from Drexel University.

Recent Contributions

Your garden is a wonderfully complex place. The tips in this article will help you with all aspects of controlling growth of a complex and beautiful garden, including pruning, staking and preparing for winter.

By Betty Barr Mackey

Track developments and changes in your garden with a log, and gain a handy tool for years to come. Learn to keep a garden journal and fully maximize the potential of your garden.

By Betty Barr Mackey

Water is as important as sunlight and good soil to your garden. Plants need water in just the right amount to grow and thrive. We'll explain when and how to do it right.

By Betty Barr Mackey

Advertisement

Garden soil provides nutrients, moisture, and support for the plants in your garden. For a successful garden, the content of your soil must be balanced. Learn all about preparing your garden soil.

By Betty Barr Mackey

Planting your flower or vegetable plants isn't the first step you take when getting a garden started, but it's the most important. Learn all you need to know about planting a garden.

By Betty Barr Mackey

Sunlight, soil, and water are the big three essentials when it comes to gardening. Every plant needs adequate light, moisture, and nutrients from the soil to thrive. Learn how to assess your garden conditions.

By Betty Barr Mackey

Alstroemerias, or lilies of Peru, are lilylike perennials with trumpet-shaped flowers. Flowers come in pink, rose, purple, yellow, cream, orange, and white and are great in garden containers and flowerbeds. Learn about these showy flowers.

By Betty Barr Mackey

Advertisement

Ginkgo, or maidenhair tree, is a now-extinct oriental tree. Its seeds, which smell like rancid butter, are used in herbal tonics. This flowering plant is a good city street tree. Learn about the ginkgo.

By Betty Barr Mackey

Camellia is a shrub with pink flowers, red flowers, and white flowers. Camellias come mainly from China and Japan. Blooms appear in fall, winter, and spring. Camellias are great accent plants. Learn about the camellia.

By Betty Barr Mackey

The American beech is a tall shade tree that can grow larger than 80 feet. Its leaves are green in summer and golden-bronze in fall. It has edible nuts. Learn about American beech tree.

By Betty Barr Mackey

Crape myrtle tree is a flowering tree. This specimen plant has large, showy flowers in electric colors that sizzle across the branches: great splashes of pink, purple, red-violet, and white. Learn about the crape myrtle tree.

By Betty Barr Mackey

Advertisement

One of the most popular flowering trees, the dogwood is a medium-sized deciduous tree with large blossoms in spring. This accent plant is a great tree for small yards. Learn about the dogwood.

By Betty Barr Mackey

Rosemary is a shrub that comes in all sizes, is rooted easily, and can be grown from a seed or sold while small. Learn how to grow it in containers or gardens.

By Betty Barr Mackey

Rhododendrons offer a lot of landscape appeal because of their diverse sizes, shiny leaves, and colorful globes of flowers. Learn to grow them for use in woodland gardens, shubbery borders, and foundation plantings.

By Betty Barr Mackey

The pieris remains a popular shrub because it has almost every landscape use in borders and as a background plant. Learn to care for and combine this small-flower plant with spring bulbs.

By Betty Barr Mackey

Advertisement

Juneberry tree offers color in all seasons -- white flowers and green leaves in spring, red berries in summer, orange-red leaves in fall, and gray bark in winter. Learn about this small tree.

By Betty Barr Mackey

American linden tree is the native eastern North American species of linden, also known as basswood. It is a stately, tall tree, growing to more than 100 feet. Learn about this tree.

By Betty Barr Mackey

Honey locust tree is a tall deciduous tree with ornamental, lacy foliage. The shade tree grows up to 70 feet, produces yellow-green fall foliage, and is a pod tree. Learn about this tree.

By Betty Barr Mackey

The sugar maple tree, also called hard or rock maple, has spectacular red, orange, and yellow fall colors. Native to the northeastern United States, it produces maple syrup. Learn about this tree.

By Betty Barr Mackey

Advertisement

The white oak grows to become a massive sized tree. It can also reach a great age: an 800-year-old tree is not uncommon in nature. The white oak is a perfect specimen tree for parks. Learn about this classic tree.

By Betty Barr Mackey

The leucothoe is a low-growing evergreen shrub that is native to the southeastern United States. It is a good ground cover and is excellent for mass plantings. Find out about this shrub.

By Betty Barr Mackey

The redbud, a native North American tree, has striking reddish-purple flowers. The redbud is a graceful and small tree, with spreading and slightly drooping branches. Learn about this flowering tree.

By Betty Barr Mackey

The Norway spruce tree, with its perfect, pyramidal shape, makes a fine Christmas tree. Its needles are dark green year-round; the cones, borne sporadically, are large for a spruce. Learn about the Norway spruce tree.

By Betty Barr Mackey

Advertisement

Weeping willows are wide, tall trees with curtains of drooping branches. Their small, narrow leaves appear late winter. Plant these trees near a pond or lake. Learn about this beautiful tree.

By Betty Barr Mackey

The sycamore is a very tall tree native to North American forests. This deciduous tree's white bark flakes off to reveal green, gray, and brown bark. Learn about this noble tree.

By Betty Barr Mackey