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French fries, baked potatoes, and mashed potatoes are familiar meal time fare but have you thought about trying some totally new potato dish? You might consider one of the unique recipes in Raghavan Iver’s book, Smashed, Mashed, Boiled, and Baked—Fried, Too. Originally from India, Iver brings his knowledge and experience with international cooking to present a diverse collection of recipes from around the world for potato dishes that will tickle the palette and introduce new taste treats.

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Five Best Medium Pink Old Garden Roses

Rose Old Blush 5Picking 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: Alpine Pink Dianthus alpinus)

dianthus_alpinus-2Alpine pink is a short lived, herbaceous perennial native to to the Alps of eastern Austria. It is a member of the carnation family, Caryophyllaceae, that also includes baby’s breath, Lychnis, and soapwort. The plant forms a loose clump of grass green leaves that have a prominent midrib and are one inch long and 1/5 inch wide, The scentless flowers have five fringed petals surrounding a white central disc. They are about 1 ½ inches wide and appear singly in late spring for four to six weeks. The small size of the plants make is a good choice for crevices in pavement or walls, as well as for use as an edging in rock gardens. A white variety is also available. [click to continue…]

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Rabbit Resistant Plants for the Garden: Herbs

herb gardenIt’s bad enough when the rabbits use your vegetable garden as their private smorgasbord but when they start nipping the herbs maybe it’s time to think about focusing on herbs the rabbits will leave along. Yes, there are some popular herbs that are usually ignored by our furry friends but, of course, there are no guarantees as there may be rabbits that like their lettuce or carrots accompanied by the tender leaves of fragrant herbs.
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Euphorbia wallichii 2Wallich spurge is a clump forming herbaceous perennial native the Himalayas. It is a member of the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae, that also includes poinsettia, caster-oil plant, and cassava. The lanceolate leaves dark green with a white midrib before turning yellow or orange in the fall. The flower-like structure appears terminal clusters in early spring and lasts for months. It is four to six inches across, lacks sepals or petals, and consists of three yellow bracts surrounding a cyanthium that is formed by the fusion of a single stamen (male) and a long stalked ovary (female). The stems are coral red and contain a milky sap that may be irritating to the skin and eyes. [click to continue…]

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Book Review: The French Country Garden

The French Country GardenMost American can conjure up a picture of an English garden but how many can do the same for a French garden, especially a French country garden. Louisa Jones’ book, The French Country Garden presents a look at eighteen gardens from all over France. Although the formal look of the gardens a Versailles may linger in our minds, there are far more styles of gardens that make up the French gardening sensibility. [click to continue…]

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kniphofia uvaria 2Also called torch lily, this herbaceous perennial is native to South Africa where it grows on damp slopes as marshy areas. Stiff, semi-evergreen, grey-green leaves up to 36” inches long are sword like and have sharp points. They form clumps that give rise to leafless stems carrying tubular flowers in densely packed terminal racemes six to ten inches long. The flowers face downward and are red when they first open, turning orange and then yellow as they mature. Red, orange, and yellow flowers are all present on the same stem at the same time giving the appearance of a torch or hot poker. Many good cultivars are available varying in color, height, and bloom time so you can have flowers in the garden and for the vase from early spring until fall. The flowers on their long stems are excellent for tall background material in arrangements. The red, orange, and yellow of the flowers goes very well in fall arrangements with flowers like orange dahlias, apricot roses, and autumn colored foliage. [click to continue…]

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Aster divaricatusA native of eastern US, white wood aster is found in open areas of the deciduous woodlands of the Appalacian Mountains from Maine to Georgia. It is a herbaceous perennial and a member of the aster family, Asteraceae, that also includes daisies, sunflowers and lettuce. Wiry black stems carry long petioled , heart-shaped leaves, that are three to seven inches long and have coarsely toothed margins. Starry white flowers with yellow to red centers are ¾ inch long and carried in loose flat-topped clusters that cover the plant from late summer to fall. An excellent choice for dry shade. Plants growing in the South tend to leggy and can be cut back to twelve inches in mid June to encourage bushiness. [click to continue…]

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How to Care for Bonsai: Crabapple (Malus spp)

IMG_4011Crabapples are deciduous trees native to the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere. They belong to the rose family, Rosaceae, that also includes almonds, firethorn, and lady’s mantle. There are many species and cultivars of crabapples that vary in such characteristics as tree size, growth and branching habit, size, color of flower, and color of fruit. The flowers may be white, pink or cerise while the fruits may be green, yellow or red. Crabapples make excellent bonsai because they offer both flowers in spring and fruit in summer and fall as well as good foliage color in fall for some. When buying a crabapple bonsai avoid plants with scars or swellings of the graft union as the problem will only get worse and ruin the over all beauty of the bonsai. If possible buy a bonsai that has been grown from a cutting. The informal style is favored. [click to continue…]

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Plant Profile: Rose ‘Clair Matin’

Rose Clair MatinSmall clusters of three to seven coral colored buds open to salmon colored flowers that slowly fade to pale pink with a mass of golden stamens. The flowers are slightly cupped and have a sweetbriar scent. The new growth is crimson and prickly. ‘Clair Matin’ is a Florabunda style climber and can be grown as a shrub or climber. It is a good choice for a patio because of its fragrance.
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