Plant Profile: Rose: ‘The Pilgrim’

by Karen on November 26, 2014

The_Pilgrim-For a huge production of flowers you can’t go wrong with ‘The Pilgrim’! When in bloom the bush is covered with large, flat to cup-shaped flowers produced singly or in small clusters. Ovoid, rounded deep yellow buds open to flowers made up of a mass of small tightly packed petals. The flowers are quilled, may have a button eye and are good in arrangements. The color is somewhat dependent on the climate but is a shade of yellow fading to cream with the outer petals lighter in color. The upright bush bears bright green leaves and some large prickles, and in warm climate can reach 10’ so can be grown as a climber. Plants are vigorous but are susceptible to mildew. [click to read full post]

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Least flycatcher Empidonax-minimus- WikipediaTyrant flycatchers belong the the family Tyrannidae, the largest of all bird families, and are found through out North and South America. The family includes pewees, phoees, and kingbirds as well as birds we call flycatchers. Most of these birds are plain in appearance, occur in areas where flying insects are found, and are unlikely to be seen in backyards, with a few exceptions such as phoebes, the great crested flycatcher, and the eastern western kingbirds. Tyrant flycatchers depend on insects for food, eating a small amount of fruits and berries, so migrate south when the weather turns cold and the insect population declines. In addition to insects, tyrant flycatchers need a firm perch from which to survey the insect population. They tend to sit on their perch, dart off to snatch an insect, and then return to the perch, repeating this pattern over and over. [click to read full post]

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sweet pottoYou don’t recommend sweet potatoes for Thanksgiving, right? Many American families all over the United States, but especially in the South, have a sweet potato side on the holiday table, often with tons of brown sugar, nuts and marshmallows. But there are lots of other ways to serve sweet potatoes and only some of them are casseroles. If you are tired of the same old sweet potatoes that are traditionally served, branch out and try something different. [click to read full post]

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Book Review: About Hummingbirds

by Karen on November 21, 2014

About Hummingbirds SillHumingbirds are always welcome in the garden and many of us grow plants just to attract them. Cathryn Sill’s book, About Hummingbirds, is a very nice way to introduce young children to these fascinating birds and perhaps inspire in them a love of birds in general. Aimed at children from pre-school and up, the book covers the characteristics common to all humming birds as well as the unique attributes of many of the different species of hummingbirds. [click to read full post]

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1aCorvids, as members of  the family are called include ravens, magpies, and nutcrackers as well as crows and jays. They are large, highly intelligent, unafraid of humans, and have stout beaks, strong legs and feet, and a large wingspread. There is at least one species of this family in every part of the United States with the western part of the country especially well endowed. Corvids tend to like trees or brush but enjoy daily visits to backyards. Conifers are popular with most of the corvids for both the food and nesting sites they provide, but many corvids can find less apealing habitats satisfactory. With their stout beaks, corvids are omnivores and eat nuts, fruits, seeds, insects, small animals such as snails and frogs. Blue jays and crows are sometimes guilty of nest robbing. As unpleasant as this habit might be, jays are also known for their alarm calls when danger threatens so are also a positive force in the life of other birds. [click to read full post]

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Achnatherum calamagrostisThis cool weather grass is a native of the mountains of southern Europe where it is found in forest openings. In addition to cool temperatures it likes low humidity. It is grown primarily for its showy, long lasting flowers that appear in June on two to three foot upright spikes that are at first yellowish-white but mature to cream and persist into winter. The attractive foliage is medium green to grayish, eight to twelve inches long and ¼ to 3/8 “ wide, and forms a clump. In fall the leaves turn orange-yellow. The plant spreads slowly and forms dense colonies but is not considered invasive. It looks best when grown in masses and is effective used as a background for perennial borders. Give it room to show off its very attractive flowers, which can also be used in both fresh or dried arrangements. [click to read full post]

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How to Care for Bonsai: Olive (Olea europaea)

by Karen on November 18, 2014

Olive common O europaeaThis evergreen tree or shrub is native to the Asia,, Africa, and the Mediterranean. It is known in literature from Homer’s time, is important in Greek mythology, and is one of the most mentioned plants in western literature. Famous for its oil and wood, the plant is very long lived and is still an important agricultural crop in the Mediterranean as well as in parts of the United States. The narrow, leathery leaves vary in length depending on the variety and have dark green tops and grayish-green undersides. Whitish-yellow flowers are borne in the leaf axils on the previous year’s growth and are followed by green fruits that ripen to black in late summer to fall. The trunk is usually twisted and gnarled, and develops fissured bark when old. Olive is suitable for all bonsai styles. [click to read full post]

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Torreya_californicaIndemic to forested areas of California, California nutmeg is not related to the spice nutmeg, Myristica fragrans. It is similar, however, to some of the plum yews and podocarps in regard to its foliage and fruit. The persistent leaves are linear, 1-3 inches long, dark yellowish-green maturing to reddish brown and have a shiny upper surface and two distinctive white bands on the lower surface. Sharp spines emerge from the tips of the leaves and a pungent odor results when the leaves are crushed. The fruit is drupe-like, similar to an olive, with a fleshy green covering over a thick walled seed. Male cones are larger than female cones and are on different plants. The crown of the tree is conical or rounded and the branches occur in open whorls and may be somewhat drooping. The thin, smooth bark is grayish brown tinged with orange. Californai nutmeg is grown as an ornamental tree. It grows best where temperatures are cool but tolerates some heat. [click to read full post]

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Book Review: Southeast Home Landscaping

by Karen on November 14, 2014


Southeast Home landscaping
A country as large as the United States includes many different climate zones so a book dealing with a specific area has great potential for planning a garden. Heat combined with humidity can make gardening very challenging so familiarity with plants that can do well with both is necessary for success. Southeast Home Landscaping, by authors Roger Holmes and Rita Buchanan, offers a multitude of ideas for designing and creating beautiful gardens in the special growing conditions of the Southeast area. [click to read full post]

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Garden Pests: Chipmunks and Their Control

by Karen on November 13, 2014

ChipmunkChipmunks can be an amusing asset to a garden. Their small size, attractive coloration and frenetic search for food make them very entertaining as they dash around stopping only to sit up on their hind legs to look around or fill their checks with seeds. Unfortunately, chipmunks as cute as they are, can cause damage to home and garden. They tend to be more of a nuisance, however, than a serious threat. [click to read full post]

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