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Persicaria Persicaria millettii and bistorta whiteThis clump-forming herbaceous perennial is native to western China and Nepal where it grows in scrub and on cliff ledges. It is a member of the knotweed family, Polygonaceae, that includes rhubarb, buckwheat and some infamous weeds. Most of the dark green leaves arise from the base of the plant and are six inches long by two inches wide. The deep crimson flowers are carried well above the foliage in narrow dense spikes over three inches long during the summer. Plants need an abundance of moisture and partial shade to do well. [click to continue…]

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Book Review: Chez Panisse Fruit

Chez Panisee FruitAlice Waters, owner of the restaurant Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California, brings her considerable experience with fresh, locally grown, organic produce to her book, Chez Panisse Fruits. The book provides over two hundred recipes from desserts to salads and savory dishes using over forty different fruits . Linocut prints add soft colors to the text and enhance the overall elegance of the book. [click to continue…]

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Best Large Flowered Climbing Roses

Rose Royal Sunset

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.
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Artemesia "Silver Mound

Artemesia “Silver Mound

Plants with beautiful foliage fill a special role in gardens and are especially appreciated for the long season pleasure they provide. Unfortunately, rabbits also find some of them tasty treats and nibble away with abandon leaving a ravaged misshaped mound missing leaves or creating an empty space in the garden. And then there are some foliage plants that rabbits hop right by and leave whole and beautiful. You can never be sure that a rabbit will avoid a certain type of plant but there are some that most ordinary rabbits disdain and six are described below. They are all easy to buy and grow. [click to continue…]

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Plant Profile: Rose ‘Colette’

Rose Colette‘Colette’ is part of the Romantica series of roses developed by the Meilland family to capture the shape and scent of old roses with the colors and repeat flowering of new ones. ‘Colette’s’ pale apricot pink flowers have a touch or mustard yellow at the center and fade towards the edges. They are carried singly or in small clusters of two or three, have an abundance of short, broad, wavy petals, and are cupped at first but open to a quartered shape. The plants are vigorous and have a small, dark green leaves and an abundance of prickles. [click to continue…]

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Gardening the mediterrean WayA mediterranean garden has mild, relatively wet winters and long, hot dry summers which offer unique challenges to gardeners that live in such climates throughout the world. Heidi Gildenmeister’s book, Gardening the Mediterranean Way, shows how gardeners can utilize drought-resistant plants and water-wise gardening practices to live in harmony with the climate. By describing specific gardens in mediterranean climates all over the world, Gildenmeister illustrates the techniques, skills, tools that are utilized to produce gardens that are not only respect the virtues and limitations of their environment , but also fulfill the dreams of their owners. [click to continue…]

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Andropogon-gerardii-2When choosing plants for a rain garden you have to consider not only light conditions but the moisture content of the soil. Rain gardens can have parts with 1. shallow water most of the time, 2.wet soil that occasionally has standing water, 3. moist but not wet soil, and 4. dry, well-drained soils. The grasses described below all grow in sun and moist conditions but some can tolerate wetter or dryer conditions, as well as part shade. These variations are noted. [click to continue…]

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Botanical Latin: Fusiformis

Fu si FOR mis: Latin fusus meaning spindle and forma meaning shape

quercus_fusiformis acorn 2Fusiformis is usually a specific name used to describe the spindle shape of some part of an organism. Its use is not confined to living plants and is used for a variety of organisms including a fossil (Bensointes fusiformis), a dinoflagellate (Pyrocystis fusiformis ), and a sting horn (Pseudocolus fusiformis ). Fusiformis is also used in the generic name of group of nonmotile, aerobic, parasitic bacteria (Fusobacterium). [click to continue…]

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White yarrow is a clump-forming perennial native of southeast Europe and a member of the aster family, Asteraceae, that also include daisies, goldenrod, and lettuce. The gray-green foliage is finely pinnately dissected, lobed, and feathery. The flat flowerheads appear in the summer and are three to four inches across. They Achillea-grandifolia-are composed of small tightly packed, white, daisy-like flowers. Although not often used in American gardens white yarrow is popular in England and offers good white yarrow on tall strong stems. Vigorous root may lead to plant becoming invasive. Good in both fresh and dried arrangements. [click to continue…]

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Book Review: One Bean

One BeanMegan Halsey’s book, One Bean, describes the experience of a young boy as he grows a bean. After putting it between wet paper towels the little boy sees it get fat and wrinkled so plants it in a paper cup, watering it when needed until he sprouts. He watches it grow and transplants it to a flowerpot that he puts in the sun so it can grow some more. Eventually the bean forms buds, then flowers, and bean pods that contain beans just like the one he started with. The cycle is complete and the little boy eats some beans.

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