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Rose ‘Graham Thomas’ and Clematis’ Francizka Maria’ combination‘Graham Thomas’ is an exceptional rose with intense gold colored flowers that fade to lemon yellow. The plant blooms in flushes all summer and makes a striking combination with the purple-blue flowers of Clematis ‘Francizka Maria’ a new cultivar that is known for its long bloom time. Plant in moist but well-drained soil in full sun with the roots of the clematis in the shade of the rose. [click to continue…]

Aster linariifolia2Stiff aster, also known by other names including bristle aster, flaxleaf whitetop, and savory leaf aster, is a clump-forming herbaceous perennial native to eastern and central US where it grows in disturbed sites such as fields, meadow, and grasslands as well as along waterways and in woodlands. It is a member of the Asteraceae family that also includes daisies, sunflowers, yarrow and lettuce. The plants are compact and have stiff unbranched stems that carry rough, stiff, linear ,almost needle-like leaves 1 to 1.5 inches long. The flowerheads appear in late summer to early fall in flat toped terminal clusters called corymbs. Each flowerhead is ¾ to 1 inch across and consists of white, purple or violet ray flowers surrounding a center of yellow disc flowers. The flowers are a nectar and pollen for bees and butterflies find while birds and mammals eat the seeds. An excellent choice for a wildflower or cutting garden The generic name Aster comes from the Latin word aster meaning star, referring to the form of the flowers. The specific epithet, liniarifolius comes from the Latin words linearis meaning linear and folius meaning leaf, referring to the needle-like form of the leaf.

Type: Herbaceous perennial

Bloom: Terminal clusters of flowerheads ¾ to 1 inch across in late summer to early fall consisting of white, purple or violet ray flowers surrounding a center of yellow disc flowers.

Size: 1-2’ H x 1’ W

Light: Full sun to part shade

Soil: Average, dry tomoderately, well-drained, slightly acid

Hardiness: Zones 4-9

Care: Low maintenance

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Division

Companion Plants: Goldenrod, ornamental grasses, sedum ‘Autumn Joy’, blackeyed Susan, hyssop leaved bonset, hardy ageratum

Book Review: Embroidery from the Garden

Embroidery from the GArdenInspired by the flora of South Africa, Diane Lampe’s book Embroidery from the Garden presents forty eight embroidery designs suitable for using in many varied projects. Some of the flowers are unique to South Africa but others like Birds of Paradise, gladiolus, and calla lily, are popular around the world. Designs for a butterfly and two pots as well as directions for several projects are also included along with general embroidery instructions and an illustrated stitch glossary. [click to continue…]

Also called bittercress, herb barbara, rocketcress, winter rocket, and wound rocket, this herbaceous biennial belongs to the mustard family, Brassicaceae, that also includes broccoli, alyssum, and stock. It is native to moist open sites in Europe and North Africa but has naturalized in North America where it grows in disturbed sites such as croplands, pastures, fallow fields, gardens, vacant lots, waste areas, and along roadsides. The genus name, Barbarea, is a reference to St. Barbara, the patron saint of artillerymen and miners because the plants were used to treat wounds caused by explosions. The specific epithet, vulgaris, is the Latin word meaning commonplace. [click to continue…]

Also known as cenizo, purple sage, Texas barometer bush, and silverleaf, this compact evergreen shrub is native to open canyons, arroyos, ditches, ravines, and hillsides in Texas and northern Mexico but is also a popular ornamental plant. It is a member of the figwort family, Scrophylariaceae, that also includes Verbascum, Diascia, and Nemesia. Silver stems carry silvery leaves that are covered with stellate hairs. The leaves are up to 1.25 inches long, and have rounded tips and smooth margins. The pink to violet or purple flowers are bell-shaped, one inch long and wide, and appear singly in the leaf axils. The flowering of the shrub is said to be triggered by rainfall (hence the common name, Texas barometer bush) and occurs intermittently from spring to fall. The fruit is a small capsule. Plants are very heat and drought tolerant and a good choice for hedges, screens, windbreaks, and shrub borders or foundation planting in dry hot environments. The generic name Lecophyllum comes from the Greek words leucos meaning white and phyllo meaning leaf, referring to the silvery appearance of the leaves. The specific epithet, frutescens, is the Latin word for shrub-like. [click to continue…]

Shakespeare’s Garden: Barnacles

Barnacle treeAccording to The Travels of Sir John Mandeville written in the fourteenth century, the barnacle tree, also called goose tree, bore a fruit that became flying birds. These trees were known in Shakspeare’s time and Gerard the English botanist and contemporary of Shakespeare notes that in the northern parts of Scotland and adjacent islands, there are trees that produce white to russet shells that contain living creatures. When the shells mature the creatures that fall into the water become geese while those that fall on land die. Gerard provides detailed descriptions of these trees found in different area of England. [click to continue…]

Plant Profile: Rose ‘Marie Daly’

Marie Daly3A sport of ‘Marie Pavie, “Marie Daly has long pointed buds that open to small medium pink flowers that fade to white. The compact rounded bushes have almost thornless stems that are densely covered with small, dark green, leaves. Designated as an Earth-Kind rose ,‘Marie Daly’ is a tough, low maintenance rose and an excellent choice for a low hedge or in a container. [click to continue…]

Six seasons, you ask? Yes, because when talking about fresh produce you have to consider that the summer must be divided into three parts, early, mid-and late, because of the abundance of different crops that roll in then. In his book , Six Seasons: a New Way with Vegetables, Joshua McFadden provides information and recipes for over thirty five different vegetables with the goal of encouraging and energizing cooks of all skill levels to enjoy seasonal, local food. The recipes highlight the uniqueness of vegetables at their peak and although some are not vegetarian they could be adapted to meet the needs of a vegetarian diet. [click to continue…]

Collecting Seed: Sunflowers (Helianthus spp)

Sunflower_music_boxThe large genus of Helianthus includes bth annualas and perennials but the most commonly grown is an annual, Helianthus annus. The plants are usually tall and bear very large showy flowerheads of yellow, orange or cream ray flowers surrounding a center of dark disc flowers that produce the seeds. A single flowerhead may produce a couple of thousand seeds, all tightly packed in the center. Sunflowers are cross-pollinated by insects so only one variety should be grown at a time if pure strains are wanted for seed collection. Alternatively, different varieties can be planted 1000 feet apart. Even with these precautions insects may cross your sunflowers with wild sunflowers. Hybrids and cultivars will not breed true. [click to continue…]

Buttonbush, also called honey-bells and button-willow, is a deciduous shrub or small tree native to wetlands such as swamps, marshes, riverbanks, and floodplains from New Brunswick and Minnesota south to Florida and Mexico, west to California. It is member of the madder family, Rubiaceae that also includes coffee, gardenia, and Pentas. The The glossy oval leaves are up to six inches long, and emerge late in the spring. The tiny white flowers are tubular, five-lobed, and sweet-smelling. They appear in spherical dense clusters up to 1.5” in diameter in early to midsummer and have long styles that give them a fuzzy appearance. Butterflies, bees , and hummingbirds are attracted to the nectar. The fruit is a spherical hard cluster of nutlets that are attractive to birds.Wood ducks use the plant for nests and deer browse the foliage. Plants are adaptable to a variety of soil conditions except dryness . It can tolerate flooding and can even be used in standing water so is a good choice for wet areas and pond margins as well as shrub borders and woodland gardens. The generic name Cephalanthus comes from the Greek words cephalo meaning head, and anthos meaning flower. The specific epithet occidentalis is the Latin word meaning western.

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