We have all seen garden gnomes that resemble one of Disney’s seven dwarfs but have you ever wondered how gnomes entered the garden scene? Gordon Campbell’s book, The Hermit in the Garden, will answer your questions and more. He traces the history of having an ornamental hermitage and hermit in the garden from Hadrian’s villa in Imperial Rome to its heyday in eighteenth century England, and to its decline in modern times. Carefully researched, the book is illustrated with numerous black and white photos and a few in color. [click to continue…]
Taken from the pages of my grandmother’s book published in 1909, this blackberry wine recipe is one of four that Grandmother Wright collected from friends and acquaintances on the Eastern seaboard. She comments that “the following is said to be an excellent recipe for the manufacture of a superior wine from blackberries”, while the other three have no comment on their quality. [click to continue…]
A native of China, the peach is a small deciduous short lived tree in the rose family, Rosaceae, and in the same genus as plums, cherries, almonds, and apricots. Nectarines are the same genus and species but a different variety.The trees have upward reaching branches that form an open rounded crown. New growth is red and green turning gray-brown with maturity. The shiny dark green leaves are lanceolate, pinnately veined, and three to six inches long. The flowers appear singly before the leaves in spring and may be single, semi-double, or double. They are one inch across, have five petals, and are white to red. The fleshy edible fruits ripen in mid-summer, are three inches across, and have a single brown seed with a woody husk. The flesh of the peach can be white or yellow and the seed may stick to the stone (clingstone) or be free from it (freestone). Peach trees are grown for both the beauty of their bloom in spring and for the fruit they produce but they are difficult to grow well. They need hot summers and cold winters and suffer damage from many pests and diseases. Many varieties are available and care should be taken to select the ones that are known to do well in the area. Most varieties are self-pollination. [click to continue…]
There are many botanic gardens all over the world that contain a wealth of wonderful experiences. They vary in size from small five acre gardens to huge gardens that cover whole mountain sides. Regardless of the size, however they share the goal of growing and displaying a plant collection. These collections may feature a botanical group such as orchids or agave, a type of garden such as an herb, a habitat such as tropical rain forest, or the plants of a certain country such as Japan or Australia. A single botanic garden may have some or all these special features and perhaps more. Plants are usually well labeled and planted in attractive and appropriate settings. Greenhouses, open-air performance areas, art exhibits, sculpture, bookstores, tea houses and other amenities add to the ambiance and enjoyment. No two botanic gardens are the same and all are worth visiting. Many are free. To entice you to visit a botanic garden, take a look at this article written by Emily Moore, writer for the garden website sproutable.com.
Formerly called ‘Direktor Benschop’ this Floribunda type large flowered climber bears small clusters of buff colored buds that open to small creamy white cupped shaped flowers with prominent yellow stamens. Although the flowers are small they cover the bush creating an eye caching display in spring with a few flowers later in the season. The dark green leaves are glossy and leathery. The bush is vigorous, disease resistant, and prickly. [click to continue…]
If you are a vegetable lover as I am, Alice Water’s book Chez Panisse Vegetables, will appeal. Known for her focus on fresh locally grown food, Water’s presents over 375 recipes for both popular and less well-used vegetables. Grow your own vegetables or buy them at the local Farmer’s market and then indulge yourself in the these recipes that bring out the pure goodness of fresh food. [click to continue…]
The American Rose Society has announced two selections for the Award of Excellcne among minature and miniflora roses. Eligible roses are evaluated for two years (three for climbers) growing in test gardens across the country. The qualities evaluated include novelty, bud form, flower form, opening color, finishing color, substance, habit, quantity of flowers, vigor/renewal, foliage, and disease and insect resistance. The winners are ‘Cutie Pie’ and ‘Houston Levee’.
and is closely related to Senico (ragworts and groundsels). It has light green heart-shaped to triangular one to two feet long leaves that have toothed margins and are carried on long petioles. The small yellow flower heads are 1-1 ½” wide and are carried well above the foliage on long slender racemes that are twelve to eighteen inches long and have purplish stems. Each flower head consists of yellow ray flowers surrounding brown to yellow disc flowers. The most popular cultivar is ‘The Rocket’ which is more compact and has smaller flowers carried on eighteen to twenty four inches racemes. It is sometimes listed as a cultivar of Ligularia pzrewalskii, a species that is generally less likely to wilt in summer heat. Although the species can be propagated by seed or division, ‘The Rocket’ should be propagated only by division. Both the species and ‘The Rocket’ are eye-catching plants in the garden especially when massed but must have plenty of moisture and afternoon shade to do well. An excellent choice for a woodland garden in a cool climate with consistently moist soil and some shade. Not recommended for areas warmer than zone 6. Genus name, Ligularia, comes from the Latin word ligula meaning strap and refers to the shape of the ray flowers. [click to continue…]
Abronia (a BRO ni a) from the Greek word abros, meaning delicate
The bracts beneath the flowers of this group of plants is delicate, giving them this generic name. Abronia is a genus in the four o’clock family (Nyctaginaceae) that also includes bougainvillea. The genus is also known as wild lantana and sand verbena although it is not related to either lantanas or verbenas. It includes about twenty speices of annuals and herbaceous perennials native to western North America where they grow on dry sandy soil. Many are rare and some are endemic to a small area. [click to continue…]
‘Moonshine’ yarrow is a compact, clump-forming herbaceous perennial and member of the aster family, Asteraceae that also includes goldenrod, daisy, and lettuce. It is a hybrid between A. clypeolata and A. taygetea and is one of the best yarrows available. The fern-like leaves are gray-green and deeply dissected. The small sulphur-yellow flowerheads appear in dense, flat-topped clusters (corymbs) two to three inches in diameter. Flowering begins in early summer and may continue until fall in mild climates but tends to decline and melt out in hot humid ones where the plants may last only a couple of years. If grown in overly moist or fertile soil, plants may become leggy and require staking. Flowers are good for fresh or dried bouquets but must be cut when the pollen first appears for maximum longevity in the vase. [click to continue…]