Showing posts from April, 2015

Seeking Enchantment in the Garden

The best place to seek God is in a garden. You can dig for him there.
~ George Bernard Shaw
We now no longer see the natural world as something to be tamed or conquered but, rather, as something to be revered.

And we understand Chief Seattle's 1854 admonition:

“Man did not weave the web of life: he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself.”

This ecological awareness has compelled us to seek a more meaningful connection to the earth which, in turn, has led some of us inevitably to gardens and landscapes. This is the impetus behind this blog.  I have a strong desire to share my lifelong landscape design experiences in order to inspire others to ‘touch the earth’.

by Jan Johnsen
I aim to promote a reverent way of looking at the green world which sees the piece of ground outside our door as an ‘everyday conduit’ to the energy of life that flows within plants, water, trees, sunlight, rocks, birds and assorted creatures.

 Indeed, it is in a garden, as George…

Great Mother's Day Gift - A Knock Out Rose and Rose Pruner

I love Knock-out Roses...I know they are becoming almost too popular but there are good reasons for this:

They are disease free, bloom extra long and are cold hardy.

They bloom the first year you plant them and are heat tolerant.

And best of all, there is no need to deadhead Knock Out -- the flowers will continue no matter what!

I normally plant the Double Knock OutRose. The flowers have 25 petals per bloom! Flowering begins in early summer and continues til heavy frost ( it was still blooming in NY in mid November).

Prune them in late winter or early spring or trim them right after the first bloom flush in early summer. Follow with some rose food. Epsom salts too!

A great rose pruner is the Corona Long Reach Pruner.  It cuts and holds so you don't have to touch thorny branches. Click on the name for more info.  It makes rose pruning and other tree and shrub pruning so much easier because it gives you extra reach.

A new Knock Out I want to try is the 'White Out' Knock Out…

Hellebore - A Great Plant for Shade that Deer Don't Eat

What is evergeen, deer resistant, thrives in shade, has flowers and comes back every year?

You could answer Andromeda (Pieris) - but it doesn't really like shade. Perhaps you answered Hakonechloa (Japanese Forest Grass) but it doesn't have flowers. Barberry (berberis) and Daffodils are not evergreen. Grasses, Boxwood and sedges don't meet this criteria either....

The problem free, shade loving Hellebore (Helleborus) is the answer. They are a perfect plant for a shade garden in deer country ....

The Perennial Plant Association's Plant of the Year for 2005, Hellebores bloom from winter to spring across the United States, depending on USDA zone and variety. They like light to moderate shade, with sun when they flower and protection from summer heat.

Hellebores sport drooping, buttercup-like flowers colors of pink, mauve, white, green, burgundy, yellow, black-purple, bi-colored, speckled and more. These flowers last into the summer, becoming greener or darker with maturity…

Solomon's Seal - Deer Resistant, Shade Lover

I was talking to someone in my town who had shade in their yard and deer  problems..and I suggested Variegated Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’) to them...

It was the 2013 Perennial Plant of the Year is Award. It is deer resistant and loves shade.
This woodland gem grows 18 to 24 inches tall.

It is a great companion plant to hostas, brunnera, dicentra, ferns, and astilbes. 

The sweet fragrance of its small, bell-shaped white flowers will enhance your walk along a pathway on a spring morning. You can use its variegated foliage in spring floral arrangements. And it offers yellow fall foliage color.

photo by George Weigel
It will spread by rhizomes to form colonies. Increase by dividing clumps every two to three years.

photo by Rush Creek growers
I grow this in my yard and every year it spreads and looks so wonderful. 

Click here for a list of all the Perennial of the Year winners from years before.

Tulips in a Row - Garden Photo of the Day

There is nothing as evocative of spring as tulips planted along a picket fence....
 it is especially fun if they are different colors.

Limelight Hydrangea and 'little Lime' Hydrangea - Great Plants!

I love the tall 'Limelight' Hydrangea (Hydrangea paniculata 'Limelight')  for its beautiful and reliable white/lime green flowers, fast growth and easy care. You cannot go wrong with this plant if you have room for it.

It is hardy to Zone 3, can grow to 10 feet tall and thrives in full sun or partial shade. It makes both a wonderful cut flower and landscape plant. Looks great in October when it turns a pinkish hue:

Now there is a dwarf form called 'Little Lime' from Proven Winners which also grows in full sun or part shade.  Its final height is 3-5’ tall and wide, about a third to half as big as Limelight.

This hydrangea blooms from midsummer to frost. Like its bigger sibling, Little Lime’s flowers gradually change from lime-green to pink and make wonderful bouquets, fresh or dried.

It will flower every year and will fit in any yard. It looks great with snowdrift roses and low grasses in a white garden....

What's not to love?

Robot Lawnmowers are here!

So here we are - robots mowing the lawn. Click here if you want to see how you can grab one of these little guys....

The Worx Landroid lets you customize daily mowing schedules. 

It runs 7 days a week giving your lawn a trim on a routine basis as opposed to traditional mowers that take off substantial amounts of grass on a less frequent basis. 

Landroid navigates narrow passages, cuts with precision on slopes angling up to 20 degrees and does it all with zero emissions! (it runs off of a 28V rechargeable battery)

Your lawn should be under 10,750 square feet for Landroid to work precisely for you. 

The keypad makes it easy to customize a mowing schedule. The low noise allows you to mow during the day or night. 

Makes a great Father's Day gift...more time for him to sit in front of the TV.  :-)

Create a Yoga Garden

Would you like to make your garden a place for Yoga Practice?
Check out this article on Making a Yoga Garden -  Click Here. 

Deer-Resistant Shade Plant - 'Luxuriant' Bleeding Heart

If you love the lacy look of deer resistant Bleeding Hearts but wish that they lasted beyond spring then you are in luck!  The cherry-red hearts of 'Luxuriant' Fringed Bleeding Heart will dangle on arching stems above mounds of graceful, fern-like foliage from May to October (in cooler climates).

This prolific bloomer prefers shade but can be grown in partial sun. 

It comes back every year and looks so wonderful in large drifts with deer resistant ferns and Ladies Mantle.  Its blue-green foliage is also quite attractive and can be planted in pots or as a ground cover.  Butterflies like it too. 

The Fringed Bleeding Heart is smaller  in size than its showier cousin, Bleeding Heart, but it lasts longer and has such great foliage. Easy to grow, fast growing, sells out....

The Iris Walk in Giverny - Garden Photo of the Day

(I don't know who took this wonderful photo)

The Wonderful Fortex Pole Bean

Do you, like me, have limited space for a vegetable garden? Then pole beans are the answer and Fortex is the one I suggest to start with.

 This extraordinary French slender 'filet' bean grows over 10 inches long and has a delicious nutty flavor. It starts yielding early and the pods are completely stringless.

Best of all it can be harvested early or late, small or large, and still be as super tasty as ever.  So early beans at 6" long are delicious and so are the more mature, longer ones!

Fortex offers long harvest periods and is very productive. You can keep picking right into the fall!

The reason they are good for a small space is that pool beans grow up on strong trellises, a sturdy fence or supports. One idea is to create a 4-legged tipi out of poles, fence posts or small saplings. You can wire the poles together which makes a great entry into a garden. 

Beans germinate when soil temp is at 60 - 80 degrees F.  

Water well during hot dry periods anddo not over fertilize which…

My One Day Class on Water in the Garden, 4-17-15

“If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.” - Loren Eiseley
I am teaching a one day class on Water in the Garden on April 17, 2015 - I have developed it to inspire, provoke and stimulate you to think about including some water - in one of its many forms - in a garden.

It is at the NY Botanical Garden in the Bronx, NY. I offered it last year and the response was so positive that they want me to offer it again. 
Hope you can come! GO HERE to register. CEUs provided.

Spicy Wasabi - cool summers required.

Wasabi has found its way into a broad range of culinary applications, lending zing to traditional sauces, dressings, rubs, cocktails, even ice cream! Have shade? Not to fear - Wasabi (Wasabia japonica) grows on cool, shady river banks high in the Japanese mountains so it has evolved to survive in very low light levels. Thus, wasabi makes a striking feature in a shady spot. The heart shaped leaves die back in winter and the plant's energy travels down into the  swollen stems that carry the plant through winter. Cool summers are key. Hardy to 27 degrees Fahrenheit. Protect it from cold nights with some straw covering the the plant. or dig up and pot up for winter.... Leaves and stems are edible and these can be picked in small numbers throughout spring and summer to spice up a salad. In March and April long stems hold a cluster of delicately scented white flowers - these can be eaten raw or fried in tempura batter. Plant into a 3" pot with compost to help it establish a good root s…

Dandelion time - Detox Tea, Wine and boiled

The dreaded Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), for which we spend tremendous amounts of weed killer money to eradicate, has been prized over the years for its medicinal and nutritious properties.

In fact, dandelion roots, flowers and "dandelion greens" (leaves) are all edible!

Dandelions, with their deep roots, mine the soil and are called “earth nail” by knowing gardeners. Its tenacious taproot, like a carrot but creamy-white under its light-brown skin.

Dandelions are a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. Dandelion has been traditionally used for hundreds of years to give your liver a little love and support kidney function by increasing the flushing of waste from the kidneys.

Native Americans used dandelion decoctions (liquid made by boiling down the herb in water) to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and stomach upset.

• Dandelion roots can be roasted as a coffee-substitute, or boiled a…