Showing posts from July, 2015

A garden is first and foremost...

“A garden is first and foremost a work of art,  with the garden playing the roles of architect, sculptor,  musician and painter in turn.  A garden should move visitors, setting all their senses aquiver”.
- Dominique Lafourcade

3 Simple Garden Design Tips

Jill Sell of the Cleveland Plain Dealer just wrote a lovely review of my book,  'Heaven is a Garden': 

"As life gets more hectic, we seek homes and gardens that are refuges from the chaos. It doesn't matter if we have a five-acre property, suburban half acre or a balcony off our apartment; a garden that provides serenity is a treasure. 

Jan Johnsen's Heaven is a Garden(St. Lynn's Press) is a gem of a little book that provides both inspiration and practical suggestions for creating our own garden sanctuaries. 

A few of her thoughts:
• A cozy, sheltered corner can be created next to your home by using the rear wall as one side of the corner and a low hedge as the other side. Johnsen calls the result "a wonderful niche for a small table and chairs. "

• Plant beds shaped as spirals are most captivating, according to the author. Try compact herbs, low boxwood hedges or lavender to define the spiral shape. 

• Consider a loop path for your back yard, which "…

Before and After - Garden Photo of the Day

This is a great reminder of how fast plants grow - Golden Majoram is planted in the squares at the base of this Grape Arbor.
The photo at top is taken from one end while the after photo is looking toward the other end...

T. Jefferson's Amazing Vegetable Garden

Thomas Jefferson, the third president, was an ardent plant lover and a pioneer plant distributor. He collected exotic trees and shrubs and investigated new crops to grow in the United States. He was instrumental in introducing many vegetables into the young American culture.
For example, he smuggled rice in a tea canister from his tour in Italy and sent it to South Carolina and Georgia as a possible crop. His attempts to have farmers in those areas sow various varieties of foreign rice, were finally successful  and, in time, it became a flourishing agricultural crop. Jefferson also sent Lewis and Clark off to explore the west and asked them to gather native seeds. He corresponded with many to have them send vegetable seeds from other parts of the globe.  
Nicholas King, mapmaker for the Lewis and Clark expedition explained, “no person has been more zealous to enrich the United States by the introduction of new and useful vegetables.” Peter Hatch, who spent 35 years restoring the 2,400 acr…

Nature has a reminder for you....

Love is everywhere

Children and Hands-On Learning

The fiber artist Renate Hiller was interviewed about handwork and kids. I thought it addressed the value of children and gardening perfectly:

"In the past there were all the professions of the shoemaker and the tailor and so on, and that’s also being lost. 

If you do practical work somewhere on the school grounds, there is practical work going on. The children will all go to that. 

They’re really drawn to that. They want to experience it and however the reality is that there’s less and less of that. In the home, you know you can use already bought vegetables, all chopped up and ready to eat. 

There is very little activity like kneading the bread, and you know children grasp first an item and then they grasp with their mind.

 So if they have very little to grasp other than plastic readymade toys then what their mind grasps is very little..."

Renate Hiller

Removing Invasive Plants : Japanese Knotweed

Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is a highly aggressive and invasive plant.  It is the closest thing that you'll find to Godzilla in the plant world.
It spreads by underground rhizomes, especially in wetland areas and along rivers. 
The plant originated in Asia and was introduced to the U.S. to control erosion on disturbed sites.

And that is where our troubles began:
Japanese knotweed  can grow almost anywhere and spreads like crazy. .
Michael De Rosa writes, "Cutting and removing standing vegetation is a beginning, but without removing the root ball completely, the plant will re-colonize the area within the same growing season. Moreover, the plant will regenerate into an entirely new plant from broken stems, leaves and root parts.
Knotweed will generate new growth from broken stems and rhizome parts. This is what makes knotweed such an insidious plant. It is able to clone itself from broken parts as well as aggressive rhizome growth."

Changing it Up - Garden Photo Title Page

Hello !

I have decided to change the photo that appears at the top of this garden blog often.

I hope it doesn't upset some...Life is changing rapidly these days and I thought, 'Why keep it static? That is 20th century'.

If you like the idea of me changing the title photo often - I would love to hear it...It is an experiment.

BTW, in the same vein, what is it with the coca-cola cans with people's names?

TULSI - India's 'Holy Basil'

I am sitting here, drinking a lovely cup of Tulsi tea, and I realized I should share tulsi with all...Tulsi tea provides a calming effect and its anti-stress properties are well known in India.

Also known as the Queen of Herbs, it is the most important plant in the Hindu way of life.

What is Tulsi (Holy Basil)?

TULSI  (Ocimum sanctum), known as Holy Basil - is the sacred herb of India. (Please note it is a different plant from the pesto variety of Basil, Ocimum basilicum.)


It has been revered for over five thousand years as a healing balm for body, mind and spirit.

The leaves, flowers, fruits, root, branches and the main stem and everything about Tulsi is sacred in India; even the soil under the Tulsi plant is holy. ( Padmapurana 24/2)

The Tulsi Shrub

Vana Tulsi
Tulsi  is indigenous to the Indian subcontinent. It is a bushy shrub about 18 inches high with oval and serrated leaves (the leaf colors range from light green to dark purple, depending on the variety). In the wild, tulsi …

The Plant Finder - A Great Resource!

The Missouri Botanical Garden (MOBOT)  offers an online resource that I love: The Plant Finder. (Click on name for link)

Look up, view a photo and read about the over 6,800 plants which are growing or have been grown in their Kemper Center display gardens by scientific name, common name and/or selected plant characteristics.

TheWilliam T. Kemper Center for Home Gardening opened in 1991 and spreads out over 8.5 acres. There are 23 demonstration gardens filled with ideas for home gardeners.  You can also call their Master Gardeners and get personalized answers to your specific gardening questions, 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday. Call (314) 577-5143.
Kemper Center Plant DoctorsBring in a sample of your sick plant and let the Master Gardeners at the Plant Doctor desk diagnose your problem and provide treatment recommendations. This is a walk-in service from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Service is free with Garden admission. Try to include leaves and flowers representati…

Monet's Giverny - A Quote


Unplug in the Garden - Garden Trends

In 2010 Husqvarna and Gardena released a Global Garden Report and identified the FEEL GOOD GARDEN as one of the top gardening trends in the world...

They wrote:

"...individualism in the garden is on the rise, replacing conformity. 

Gone is the obsession with keeping up with the neighbors’ ... 

it’s now about expressing yourself using your outdoor space, encouraged by on-line friends."

That's me - your on-line friend! And I encourage you to keep expressing yourself in your 'feel good' (FG) garden. 

Here is what the Global Garden Report said specifically about FG gardens:

The Feel Good Garden

"As we continue to live stressful lives, there is an ever increasing need for a safe haven at home. 

Globally more of us are turning to our gardens for the peace and tranquility that nature is perfectly suited to deliver.

...We will be looking to our garden spaces to unwind after work, relax and ‘recharge the batteries’ and most importantly reconnect with nature which traditionally…