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cranesbill & star of persia combinationTwo shades of purple make this a striking combination border during late spring and early summer. Armenian cranesbill produces dark magenta-purple cupshaped flowers with black centers on a large loose mound of deeply dissected mid-green leaves. Star of Persia’s huge balls of violet star-shaped flowers are up to 12” across and emerge from blue-green strap-shaped leaves that begin to disappear before the flowers are fully open. Even after the flowers fade the spherical seed heads remain attractive all through the growing season into winter. Plant in well-drained soil and full sun. [click to continue…]

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Polygonum amplexicauleMountain fleece is a clump forming herbaceous perennial native to the Himalayas and Pakistan where it grows in moist areas. It is a member of the knotweed family, Polygonaceae, that includes rhubarb, buckwheat and some infamous weeds. The heart-shaped leaves have wavy margins are five to seven inches long and slightly puckered. The red to pink flowers are ¼ inch wide and carried in thin, six inch long spikes from mid summer into fall. Although some species of Polygonum can be invasive, this one is not and several good cultivars are available. They tolerate wet soils and are a good choice for a bog garden, along streams and around ponds as well as in a border. The genus name Polygonum comes from the Greek words poly meaning many and goni meaning knee or joint and refers to the swollen nodes on the stems of some species. The specific epithet, amplexicaulis comes from Latin words ampliexus meaning clasped, and caulis meaning stalk or stem and refers to the way the leaves join the stem. [click to continue…]

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Book Review: Foodscaping

FoodscapingAs more people want the freshest produce possible, interest  in growing food in the home garden is on the rise. Some people have gone so far as to turn their property into and edible landscape but that is not necessary, as Charlie Nardozzi shows in his book Foodscaping. Nardozzi takes a milder approach and offers suggestions for integrating edibles into the garden without sacrificing beauty so you don’t sacrifice anything. [click to continue…]

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Best Climbing Miniature Roses

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Picking the “best” roses is an objective process and in this case, the ratings of the American Roses Society have been used. Every year the American Rose Society enlists the help of people all over the country to evaluate the roses they grow. Each rose cultivar is evaluated on a number of characteristics including garden performance which considers such factors as vigor and growth habit, number of blooms, how quickly the plant repeats, the beauty and lasting quality of the blooms in the garden, fragrance, resistance to mildew, blackspot and rust, winter hardiness, and quality of the foliage. The results of this survey are published in an issue of American Rose and ratings are published in the ARS Handbook for Selecting Roses. [click to continue…]

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Plant Profile Hollyhock Mallow (Malva alcea)

Malva alceaHollyhock mallow is an herbaceous perennial native to Europe and southwestern Asia. It is a member of the mallow family (Malvacae) that also includes hibiscus, hibiscus, cotton and okra. Stout branched stems carry downy, light green leaves that are rounded, up to six inches long, and have toothed margins and five shallow lobes. The pink to light rose-purple flowers have five notched, two-lobed petals and bloom over four to six weeks beginning in early summer They are two to three inches wide and are carried both along the stem and in terminal spikes. Plants do best in zones six and cooler, as they are susceptible to a bevy of insects and diseases in warmer climates. [click to continue…]

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Rabbit Resistant Plants for the Garden: Annuals

rabbit2Rabbits can devastate a garden as they eat their way through the summer. No mater how much you like to see the fury darlings hopping across the grass and darting into the beds, the damage they can do can be sobering. There is no sure way to prevent rabbit damage but avoiding plants that rabbits love and selecting ones that are known to be unappealing is a good way to start. Here are seven annuals that are commonly found in garden centers, easy to grow, long blooming and are not attractive to the average rabbit. All like full sun, moderate moisture, and well-drained soil. [click to continue…]

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Plant Profile: Rose ‘Rosarium Uetersen’

Rose_Rosarium_Uetersen_Named for the famous rose garden, Uetersen, near Korde’s nursery in Holstein, this shrub type climber produces large clusters of dark pink flowers that have an old-fashioned form, an abundance of petals, and are loosely quartered. The ruffled petals are silvery pink on the underside and fade slightly as they mature. The flowers are produced in profusion in spring and intermittently after that. The large leaves are mid-green and glossy. The plant can be grown as a shrub or trained as a climber.
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Book Review: Fanny in France

Fanny in FranceAlice Waters, owner of the famous restaurant Chez Panisse and early advocate of organically grown,, fresh, local produce, shares the stories of the culinary adventures her daughter, Fanny, in France. Written in the voice of the young Fanny, the stories give a homey picture of the everyday experiences especially cooking that Fanny shared with French families and friends. The second half the book presents forty one of Fanny’s favorite French recipes. [click to continue…]

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Nepeta x faassenii SuperbaThis herbaceous perennial is a sterile hybrid from N. racemosa and N. nepetella and although variable in habit is usually upright and billowy. The narrowly ovate leaves are 1.5 inches long, wedge-shaped at the base, aromatic, and gray-green in color. The lavender-blue ½ inch flowers are carried in large clusters on well-branched n stems well above the foliage in spring. As the common name implies cats love to roll in the plants so keep the cats away unless you are OK with squashed Nepetas. The plants are often cited as a good companion plant for roses and they serve well in this regard in both the garden and vase. They are a good choice for background material for many arrangements that can use the lavender blue color and the air of delicacy. [click to continue…]

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Plant Profile: Borago laxiflora (aka B. pygmaea)

Borago laxifloraThis herbaceous perennial is native to Corsica and Sardinnia where it grows shady, rocky places and is particularly abundant after forest fires. It is a member of the borage family, Borginaceae, what also includes Virginia bluebells, forget-me-nots, and lungwort. The stems are branched and may be creeping or ascending. They have backward-pointing bristles and carry 0bvate to oblong leaves. Coarse basal leaves are four to six inches long and are coarsely hairy. The nodding pale blue flowers appear in late spring and persist for about a month. They are bell-shaped, 3/4″ inch across, and carried in loose racemes. Plants readily self-seed. A good choice for a wall or rock garden. The specific epithet, laxiflora, comes from the Latin words laxus meaning loose, and flora meaning flower, and refers to the inflorescence. [click to continue…]

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