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61sxN+UqPTL._AC_US174_In her book, Mediterranean Landscape Design, author Louisa Jones explores gardens and landscapes in France, Greece, Italy, Morocco and Spain to explore the relationship between man and nature in the Mediterranean area. The chosen areas are all site-specific and dynamic, and were created with a sense of place The work is organized around themes such as mountains, clipped greenery, and moderation, and each theme includes a visit to at least two different sites. [click to continue…]

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peach-kernelsAccording to Wikipedia noyau is a liqueur made from brandy flavored with fruit kernels. In my paternal grandmother’s book, “Old Time Recipes for Home Made Wines, it is included in the section on wines rather than liqueurs and made with peach kernels bitter almonds and French brandy. In the liqueur section of the book another recipe appears for noyua but it contains substantially more ingredients. [click to continue…]

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Asarum europeumEuropean wild ginger is a low growing evergreen herbaceous perennial native to the of forests and woodlands of eastern Europe and western Asia. It belongs to the pipevine family, Aristolochiaceae, and is not related to true ginger in spite of its common name that it acquired because its rhizomes taste and smell like ginger root when crushed or bruised. The heart-shaped, dark green leaves are two to three inches wide, glossy and leathery, and may be slightly mottled. They are produced in pairs on petioles five to six inches long on prostrate stems. The inconspicuous greenish-brown flowers are solitary, urn-shaped and nodding. They appear in late winter to early summer but are usually hidden by the leaves. The rhizomes of European wild ginger grow slowly to form dense mats of leaves creating an excellent ground cover in shady cool areas. Unfortunately, it does not do well in the heat and humidity of the South. [click to continue…]

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bugleweed-hakone grass combinationThis gold and purple combination offers long season interest for a shady spot. It depends on the foliage of these two plants and begins in spring when the variegated hakone grass emerges and the evergreen ajuga warms up and takes on his new coat. The dynamic pairing continues into the fall when the grass foliage takes on a pink tinge and ceases when cold weather and frost push the plants into dormancy. An added bonus is the spikes of blue flowers that emerge from the low growing foliage of ajuga in late spring to early summer. Both plants do well in sun in cool climates to light shade and moist, well-drained soil. [click to continue…]

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Aquilegia canadensisNative to Eastern US where it grows in moist shady sites, wild columbine is a herbaceous perennial and a member of the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae, that also includes clematis, delphinium, and hellebores. The leaves are three inches long, form attractive mounds, and are biternate with deep lobed leaflets. The unique flowers are nodding, one to two inches long, and feature straight red petal-like sepals, and yellow petals with long red nectar spurs. The spurs are short, slightly curved, but lack hooks. The anthers of the stamens are yellow and exerted. Plants begin blooming in late spring and continue for about a month. They reseed and can form colonies. Unlike many other species of columbine, the foliage of wild columbine is resistant to leaf minors. It is an excellent choice for cottage, woodland, and wild flower gardens with the bonus of attracting hummingbirds and butterflies. The genus name, Aquilegia, comes from the Latin word aquila meaning eagle and perhaps refers to the resemblance of the spurs to the talons of an eagle.

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Book Review: My Pantry

My PantryAlice Waters, known for her use of organic, locally grown ingredients shares her home experience in her book, My Pantry, written with her daughter, Fanny Singer. Believing that a well stocked pantry of home made ingredients leads to cooking creativity and better impromptu meals, the authors provide recipes for a wide variety of staples that Waters uses in her everyday cooking. Written in a warm personal style, the book is informative as well as very enjoyable. [click to continue…]

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Rose IcebergWe all love fragrant smelling roses but unfortunately many of them are not easy to grow. Here are five that are considered especially fragrant but also do not need pampering. They come in a variety of colors and are moderately hardy and repeat bloom all through the season. Some have abundant flowers and are almost constantly in bloom.

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Convolvulus-Cneorum2Silverbush is a fast growing evergreen shrub native to coastal areas of Spain, Italy, Croatia and Albania. It is a member of the morning glory/bindweed family, Convolvulaceae, that includes many weeds as well fine garden plants. Plants form dense rounded mounds of one to two inch long, lance-shaped leaves covered with fine silky silver-grey hairs. Panicles of funnel shaped white flowers white yellow centers, l.5 to 2 inches wide, open from pink buds from early spring to late fall. Although not hardy in zones colder than 8, silverbush makes a good container plant that can be wintered indoors. The genus name, Convolvulus, comes from the Latin verb, convolvere, meaning to roll together referring to the twining nature of most of the plants in the genus. [click to continue…]

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P1010223Start the gardening year with these easy to grow white spring blooming perennials. Their white flowers brighten a gray landscape and look good with any other plants that come into bloom with them. Alternatively, use white flowered plants as transitions from one color to another or plant a garden featuring white flowers all through the gardening season [click to continue…]

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Plant Profile: Rose ‘Royal Sunset’

Rose Royal SunsetLong buds carried singly or in small clusters (usually three) open to cup-shaped flowers with twenty petals. Each petal is pale orange and has hints of gold and yellow at the base. The plant is vigorous with strong stems and many prickles. The large leaves are leathery and dark green. Although not well known in most of the world, ‘Royal Sunset’ is popular in the US especially in California. Flowers do well in the vase.
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