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Showing posts from January, 2011

Save Our Woods - A UK Initiative

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The UK government is planning a massive sell off of their publicly owned, ancient forests. Around two-thirds of the UK woodlands are privately owned already. The remaining 33% is publicly owned, managed by the Forestry Commission (FC) and other public agencies.

National treasures like the The Forest of Dean, Sherwood Forest and The New Forest could be sold off. Once they are gone, they will be lost forever.

from save our woods credit: Pablo - Woodlife
The UK public is widely against this and they have started a group called 'Save Our Woods' and a petition drive to force the government to rethink its plans. If they can prove how strongly the public is against this, then maybe the gov't will back down.
Since some of my readers are from the UK I thought I should publicize this...so go to this site ( click on 'save our woods') and check it out:

Save Our Woods from Save Our Woods
This is what they write in their site:
We believe our trees, woods and forests are too important…

AGardener's Little Obsession...

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Gardening is a kind of disease.
It infects you, you cannot escape it.
When you go visiting, your eyes rove about the garden; you
interrupt the serious cocktail drinking because of an irresistible
impulse to get up and pull a weed.

 ~ Lewis Gannit


My New Fave Native - Pink Muhly Grass (Muhlenbergia capillaris)

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from High Country Gardens

Since Honeysuckle is the color of the Year I decided to share a pink blooming native grass with you.
Pink Muhly Grass!...it is a native 'fave rave' of mine (or, as I call it, a 'fave rave nave'.) Muhlenbergia capillaris ' Lenca', known as 'Regal Mist' Pink Muhly Grass, is an extraordinary ornamental grass plant for many reasons: 
from Monrovia
Its flower heads appear in the fall as a frothy haze of deep pink. It is low maintenance and virtually pest free. It is deer resistant. Its deep roots makes it a tough, drought tolerant plant suitable for erosion control on slopes and useful in xeriscapes (Although regular irrigation and fertilization will encourage the best bloom). It grows quickly to three feet with narrow glossy green leaf blades.
from Wayside Gardens
It is not hardy in my area as its native range extends from the south Atlantic Coast down into Texas and Mexico (zones 7 -10). Some people in zone 6 can grow it but it is iffy,…

Cosmic Circles in the Landscape 2010 - a Video

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Matt asked me about examples of circles in the landscape...and I figured this is the best example of circles in the landscape there is.

made with Plywood Planks and tape measures? in the hours between 2 am and 4 am?
 I will let you decide. They appear overnight.

Honeysuckle - The Pantone 2011 Color of the Year - Goldflame, anyone?

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Honeysuckleis the official Pantone color of the year. You will see this color everywhere for the next 12 months... in ads, fashion, housewares, etc. So how does Pantone choose the 'Color of the Year'?

Do they drink several glasses of wine and look swooningly at lush Pantone color swatches and say, 'That's it -  that's the color!"....?
Or maybe they say, "We have all this pink colored inventory that we can't sell because no one wants that color...why don't we make it 'The Color of the Year'?"
But I think I know the real answer - some discerning landscape designer planted a Goldflame Honeysuckle (Lonicera heckrotti 'Goldflame') on a trellis for someone in Corporate....and the 'dye was cast'. :)

They saw the magnificent 'Goldflame' Honeysuckle and wanted to share it with the world. It is a fantastic vining plant that  I use often on trellises.
image courtesy of Monrovia

Of course there are other plants that sport this …

Sustainable Backyards - Things You Can Do

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oakleaf hydrangeas, hosta by a drystream
The first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them. ~ Paul Hawken Last night I attended a talk by Cornelia Hahn Oberlander. She is the grande dame of ecological landscape design.  She told us how, in designing for a school up near the Arctic Circle, they collected seeds from the native plants and propagated them and then planted these babies after the construction was completed.  Now that is sustainable!

Dicranella heteromalia

Sustainable landscapes promote a healthy environment and biosphere:
frogs don't dieplants thriverainwater seeps back into the earthlawns are kept to a minimum No pesticides - integrated pest management (IPM) is favoredBees and butterflies have the native host plants around to keep them well fed and breeding
So how to create beautiful outdoor settings that meet these criteria?

photo by Jan Johnsen all rights reserved

Here are my suggestions for a sustainable backyard approach …

Breath in that Forest Air! The healing practice of 'FOREST BATHING'

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Every morning, early, I walk for an hour in a forest near my house.
Right now, my 2 walking partners and I leave our homes when it is dark and cold and we return when it is light. 
We walk on paved streets to reach this forest trail, take rapid strides, breath in the cold air and marvel at the sunrise through the trees. Truly wonderful.

Now I find out that our little morning reverie has a name: ' forest bathing' or, in the original Japanese, 'Shinrin-yoku.  This relatively new therapy, the Japanese tell us, literally instills peace, calms us and promotes immunity to disease! Like a walking healing meditation, "forest bathing" coordinates breath and movement in the presence of the scent of forest trees to uplift us.
Ever since a Japanese government agency coined the term, 'forest bathing'  in 1982, 'shinrin-yoku' has slowly made its way into the vernacular in Japan  It has a great many Japanese fans who now can visit forty two 'forest therapy'…

My Blogoversary - The Moon Gate at Naumkeag, Stockbridge, Ma.

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My first blogoversary (that has to be the 'new word of the year') passed and I didn't notice! So in the spirit of belated celebration, I am reprinting one of the very first blog posts I wrote. Its fitting since the snow is about 10 inches high where I am right now.

Two evenings ago, driving along a road in open farm country, I watched as the January full moon rose over a snowy landscape....the large white disc shining brightly in a liquid gray sky was spectacular! I now understand why animals howl at the moon - it must be a sympathetic show of appreciation and awe...

The grandeur of the full moon made me reflect on moon gates, the traditional Chinese circular entryways that lead into contained gardens and cities. The rounded opening alludes to the full moon and the Chinese adage that says, 'Flowers are more beautiful when the moon is full.'
Stepping through a round portal is symbolic of so many things. Like our entrance into this world, an enveloping enclosure cal…

E. Fay Jones and his Ethereal Pinecote Pavilion

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The Crosby Botanic Arboretum contains a Mississippi Landmark, as designated by the Department of Archives and History of Mississippi.
It is a 'symmetrical shed' (as described by its designer) that is set upon on a base of brick, surrounded by trees and facing out to a still lake.  It is called the Pinecote Pavilion and was designed by the Arkansas architect, E. Fay Jones in 1987. He was a master in the true sense of the word. He died in 2004.


Jones' Pavilion is an inspired piece of architecture.... Imagine being asked to design a open air garden pavilion for an arboretum in Mississippi, and instead of the normal gazebo or pergola, you take it upon yourself to design a soaring, captivating open air structure that seems to float on the water. In a way, it is very much like the ancient Golden Pavilion  of Kyoto (Kinkaku-ji).

But the true inspiration was 'a higher order' as Jones described in a radio interview in 1994,


"I like to think of myself as being concern…

Fine Gardening Magazine Website and my Blue Gate, Grass Steps

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Welcome Fine Gardening Readers! 
I say that because yesterday I got so many new visitors here due to my garden photo on the fabulous Fine Gardening Magazine website. For those who don't know it, check it out - it is full of all manner of things horticultural - very inspiring and informative.

Yesterday they featured a shot of a lovely blue gate entrance in one of my gardens: click right here for the link.  


And today they featured my signature Grass Steps and garden. Click here for that link.

The Great Photo of the Day site is run by Michelle Gervais, who has an extensive hands-on knowledge of plants, gardens, nurseries, etc. She even worked in my neck of the woods for a time. You can subscribe to her photo of the day. Click here for that.