If you have ever wondered about the intimate details of an English garden and how the gardener started and maintains it, Monty Don’s book, Gardening at Long Meadow will tell you. Don is a gardening columnist, horticultural writer, author of several books and organic gardener. He began developing his garden at Longmeadow in the early 1990s and has been working on it ever since, considering it a work in progress.. In his book he shares his garden experience at Longmeadow as an inspiration and guide for other gardeners. [click to continue…]
With a fresh crops of apples at hand during the holidays what could be better than an old fashioned apple wine made the way it was done over 100 years ago? Evoking the fashions and customs of bygone days, this recipe comes from my grandmother’s book, Old Time Recipes for Home Made Wine, published in 1909. Grandmother collected the recipes from her friends and neighbors in Massachusetts and I pass the apple wine recipe on exactly as she wrote it. [click to continue…]
Although the common name suggests a relationship to the spring blooming crocus, they are two very separate kinds of plants and are not even in the same botanical family. The autumn blooming crocuses, also called naked ladies and giant meadow saffron, are native to northern Turkey, the Caucasus, and Iran. The generic name, Colchicum, comes from the Colchis, a region on the Black Sea in Georgia. Autumn crocus is a cormous clump- forming perennial that produces its leaves in the spring and its flowers in the fall long after the leaves have disappeared from sight, giving rise to the common name, naked ladies. The strap-shaped leaves are coarse, broad and eight to ten inches long. Each corm produce one to three goblet-shaped, three inch long flowers that are lavender pink with pale green or whitish stem-like perianth tubes. [click to continue…]
Cucurbita (ku KUR bi ta) from the Latin cucurbita meaning gourd.
This Latin word is used as the genus name for summer and winter squash, pumpkins and some gourds. Cucurbitae are native to the New World where they were grown for food for many centuries but were introduced to Europe after the discovery of America. Most are vines and have separate male and female flowers on the same plant. The flowers have five fused petals and are yellow or orange. The fruit a modified berry called a pepo and has yellow or orange flesh. [click to continue…]
This clump-forming perennial is native to northern China and Korea where it grows in moist shady areas. It has large bright peltate leaves up to three feet across that are bright green, lobed and borne on stalks two to three feet long. The small creamy-white flowers are produced in panicles on stalks up to five feet long in early to mid summer and are similar to those of astilbe. Grown for its bold leaves rather for its flowers, shieldleaf adds texture and architectural interest to the garden. It is an excellent choice for a moist shady area or bog garden and is especially appealing around a pond or along a stream.
How many gardeners focus on the garden floor? I for one, take itfor granted and assume it will be grass unless there is a compelling reason to do something else. Nigel Colburn, however, feels differently and considers the garden floor an important feature of any garden. In his book, The Garden Floor, Colburn presents ideas and projects that can help you make the best use of all the open spaces in your garden and make them a major attraction in the garden.
After giving a detailed appraisal of the concept of the garden floor, Coburn turns to methods of evaluating what you have so that you can take advantage of existing features. He considers such elements as scale, proportion of ground spaces, shape, and layout before turning to the heart of the book, the many different kinds of floor material available from brick to chamomile, scree, glass beads, and recycled material. Over a dozen projects are described with step-by-step color illustrations and details on the materials and tools needed to complete the project. Special sections are developed to establish moss gardens, know gardens, and a thyme or chamomile lawn. Final chapters include decorating with plants and maintaining the garden floor. Color photos of gardens featuring different kinds of garden floors supplement the text. An good book for gardeners wishing to create a an interesting garden floor.
This native annual is a common weed in the Southeast and parts of the Mid-West where it is found in disturbed areas such as abandoned fields, meadows, and waste areas. It prefers sunny moist sites but tolerates less and tends to form large colonies that look quite attractive when they bloom in spring. A related species, Valerianella locusta, is native to Europe andcultivated there as a salad green. [click to continue…]
First produced in an Australian nursery in 1973, this semi-prostrate evergreen shrub gives an exotic look to the garden. The shiny olive-green leaves open from silvery-pink shoots, are lanceolate and about four inches. The crimson flowers open from silvery buds in late spring and early summer. They are carried in four to six inch long clusters that resemble bottlebrushes due to their long and plentiful stamens. The specific name, citrinus, comes from the lemony scented oil produced by glands on the leaves. [click to continue…]
Native to hot dry areas of North, South and Central America, yuccas are tough perennial shrubs and trees that have adapted to a variety of conditions and some even grow well in the hot and humid South. The plants form striking rosettes of long thin sword-like leaves and tall, stout, leafless stalks of bell shaped flowers that are usually white. The plants are dramatic as focal points and lend an architectural element to the garden. The famous English plantwoman, Gertrude Jekyll, was especially fond of yuccas and used them with a variety of plants including with Stachys (Lamb’s ear), roses, Kniphofia (red hot pokers), Acanthus (bear’s breeches), Euphorbia characias wulfenni. [click to continue…]
The abundance of deep pink clusters of flowers growing from old wood including the trunk of the tree makes this a dynamic small tree for the garden. The flowers appear before and while the leaves are coming out on the tree and are followed by clusters of pendulous flat woody pods that resemble weaver’s shuttles. The heart-shaped leaves are bronze when they first appear in spring but change to blue-green by summer, and to yellow in the fall. Plants are easily damaged by winds or early frosts, and resent being transplanted. Although myth claims that the name refers to the use of this tree by Judas Iscariot to hang himself, that is not the case. In France the tree is called ‘l’arbre de Judee’ which is translated as ‘the tree from Judeae’ and the common name derives from the French. Cultivars are available with light pink, purple,magenta, and white. [click to continue…]