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Book Review: Living with Japanese Gardens

Living with Japanese GardensAuthors, Chadine Flood Gong and Lisa Parramore, draw are their wide experience designing Japanese gardens to show readers how the Japanese aesthetic can be used to create their own garden space. By carefully choosing and placing rocks, water, plants and ornaments, the garden can be integrated with the home so that the gardener feels safe and protected as well as connected to nature. Neither the size, shape, or topography of the space nor the budget or life style of the homeowner is important to the process of discovering the essence of the landscape and Living with Japanese Gardens will show you how. [click to continue…]

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parsley.leaf_curlyParsley is a biennial native to the Mediterranean area where it grows wild from Sardinia east to Lebanon. It is usually grown as an annual by those who just want the greens but allowed to grow a second year and flower if seeds are desired. The seeds are small and have a thick seed coat containing furanocoumarins, growth-inhibiting compounds, so can take up to six weeks to germinate. Two varieties of parsley are commonly grown: Italian with flat leaves, and curly with frilly leaves. Parsley flowers are cross pollinated by insects so grow varieties that bloom at different times if you want to protect the purity of certain strains. Parsley likes full sun, and fertile, moist well-drained soil. It is hardy in USDA zones 3-9. [click to continue…]

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Plant Profile: Rose ‘Alain Blanchard’

Rosa-Alain-BlanchardThe flowers are borne on thin stems in twos or threes and are a mix of crimson and purple. As the flowers mature they become more purple with paler blotches and mottling. The flowers have a cupped bloom form and open flat with a golden yellow center of bushy stamens. The bushy vigorous bush has small, dark, rough leaves and stems covered with short prickles. The stems are thin and tend to fall over unless pruned back or supported. The rose is named after a French soldier who was beheaded by the British in 1418 after the siege of Rouen during the 100 Years War. [click to continue…]

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Shakspeare’s Garden: Myrtle

myrtus_communisCommon myrtle (Myrtus communis) is an evergreen shrub native to the Mediterranean area. It grows up to fifteen feet high but takes well to shearing and so is often kept smaller and used as a hedge. The dark green leaves are fragrant and one to three inches long. The fragrant flowers appear during the summer and have five white or pink petals around a large number of stamens that create a soft fuzzy look. Plants like full sun and moist, well-drained soil. They are hardy in USDA zones 8-9. [click to continue…]

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Plant Profile: Rose Felicite Parmentier

Rose Felicite ParmentierRound buds with long sepals open to lightly cupped flowers that are usually quartered and may have a button eye. As the flowers mature they go from light pink to creamy white and become reflexed and form a pompon. Flowers are carried in clusters of three to nine and last for an exceptionally long bloom time (up to six weeks). The plants are dense, compact, upright, and stiff, and carry gray-green leaves and lots of thorns.

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Book Review: Lily

LilyReading a whole book called Lily may not intrigue you at first glance but take a look and you will be amazed at how interesting the subject is. Author, Marcia Reiss, starts out by telling us that if the lily were a person it would be diagnosed with multiple personalities and she proves her point as she traces the cultural and social impact of the lily in art, literature, mythology, religion, horticulture, and popular culture from ancient to modern times. Although focusing on true lilies, she includes plants that bear the name lily such as water lily, calla lily, and lily of the valley. [click to continue…]

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Edible Flowers: Lilac (Syringa vulagaris)

LilacSyringa vulgaris is a deciduous shrub in the olive family (Oleaceae) and is native to the Balkan Peninsula but is widely grown in Europe and the US. It can grow up to twenty three feet tall and has simple oval light green leaves and lilac to white very fragrant flowers that are carried in dense terminal clusters (panicles).  According to Greek myth, the nymph Syringa turned her self into the bush which bears her name in order to escape from the Pan, the god of fields and forests, who had the legs and horns of a goat. [click to continue…]

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Plant Profile: Plectranthus argentatus

Plectranthus argentatusSilver spurflower is a tender evergreen subshrub in the mint family (Lamiaceae) and native to eastern Australia. The downy pink-purple stems carry gray-green ovate leaves up to six inches long and with scalloped margins. The leaves are covered by fine silvery hairs and are lighter on the top than the bottom. In mid- to late summer flowers are produced in twelve inch long terminal racemes and are bluish white. Good choice for borders, beds, containers, and houseplant. Plants are easily grown from cuttings.

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Six Best Narcissus for the South

Daf Trevithian 2Call them narcissus, daffodils, or jonquils, if you want them in your garden and live in the South you have to pick carefully. Not all narcissus grow well in South both because of the warm winters and hot summers. By picking the correct varieties, however, most gardeners in the southern states can have a beautiful spring bloom of these cheerful, colorful bulbs. [click to continue…]

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Galega orientalisThis herbaceous perennial is a member of the legume family (Fabaceae) and native to the meadows and open forests of the Caucasus but is grown elsewhere as a fodder crop. The tall stems branch at the middle and carry pinnately compound leaves withovalleaflets. The violet blue pea-like flowers are carried on spikes of 25-70 from mid to late summer and give way to seed pods containing eight small seeds. It has a taproot and rhizomes and can spread quickly is favorable sites. Like many other legumes it fixes nitrogen in the soil. Although tolerant of diverse conditions it does not tolerate acidic or waterlogged soil. [click to continue…]

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