Showing posts from February, 2016

Gardening : Writing

Is gardening like writing? This is what Carl Lennertz of HarperCollins Publishing wrote in his blog  Publishing Insider : "....every 5 years or so, I get a truckload of topsoil dropped off so I can elevate a corner of the yard or start a new flower bed.  And it occurred to me, sleepily, that the sound of a shovel going into dirt is one of the most satisfying, tangible sounds, of all.  'shoosh' The shoosh of metal on dirt, then the creation of something new.  And then it hit me that writing was like that, too . The sound of writing, the sense of building something, measurable bit by bit, and most of all, the going back and reshaping and redoing. " Jan Johnsen - garden path I wholeheartedly agree! For me there is nothing more satisfying than physical creation: seeing a swimming pool and garden emerge from nothing more than a drawing. Or a Japanese stream evolve from orange paint lines on the ground. Or a delightful cascade develop

Coleus - Gorgeous, Versatile and Easy to Grow

'Pineapple Splash' Coleus - photo by Jan Johnsen I have had a love affair with  coleus  ever since I grew it in plastic pots on a windowsill in a small New York city apartment as a teenager. Back then there were maybe 6 varieties of coleus available and I got mine as cuttings from adult friends. They were my introduction to plants ( followed by the hanging 'spider plant' - remember those denizens of all 'homey' restaurants in the 1970s?....) Kong Coleus - photo by Jan Johnsen Well, I have grown up and so has coleus... The colorful foliage of coleus is making a comeback as breeders introduce new varieties to supplement the old faves.  The diversity of foliage color, leaf shape, and growth habit  - and the fact that coleus tolerates both full sun and part shade  - make them a great addition to any garden. Coleus are great both in beds and containers...There are so many varieties to choose from - where to start? I say look at 'Pi

Secrets to a Successful CHILD'S VEGETABLE GARDEN

 I reprint this post every year with new suggestions...time to plan  3 secrets to a successful  CHILD'S VEGETABLE GARDEN: They should not be too demanding,  They should offer fairly quick results  The must not  require too much maintenance. But how to achieve this in a garden in the short few months before school is over in June?  Go to  and also check out the wonderful post on Yardday (click on name) then, prepare, prepare, prepare. 1 .  First, your veggie garden site has to have full sun for over 6 hours a day. This is a must! And morning sun is preferable over 6 hours of late in the day sun. 2.  It must be relatively level and have soil  deep enough  to sustain plant roots and facilitate adequate drainage (about 16 inches deep at least). No 6" to bedrock or placed atop asphalt. The soil has to be  prepared beforehand - not by the kids, but by adults.  The quality of the soil decides the success of the garden. Little