Showing posts from May, 2016

PURSLANE - The Incredible, Edible 'Weed'

What was one of Mahatma Gandhi's favorite foods?  What did Henry Thoreau eat while residing at Walden Pond? 
PURSLANE. Purslane, long considered an obnoxious weed in the U.S., is, in fact, full of vitamins, minerals and fatty acids!  And now this overlooked gem,

'oneof the most nutritious greens in the world',
is receiving the attention it is due.
Usha Palaniswamy of the Department of Plant Science, University of Connecticut, reports that,
"Purslane is receiving much attention for cultivation by the United States Department of Agriculture as part of their effort to bring about a modification in the western diet with increased intake of fresh fruits and vegetables."
Purslane contains a high concentration of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), one of the highly sought-after Omega-3 fatty acids. It has several times the concentration of ALA than is found in spinach.  So throw away those fish oil capsules and grow your own Omega-3 fatty acids! It literally grows like a w…

The Restful Call of Green

Green in all its shades and tones is the tranquil color of Nature.

 It wraps us in a multi hued cloak in a garden, twining lime green together with moss green, spring green, fern green and deep pine green to create a feeling so luxurious that we can forget all our cares. 

This is the siren call of a serenity garden at its best and it begins with the natural world’s ever changing show of green.

If you love gardens you probably love green...

While some gardens seek to stimulate the senses, a predominantly green garden promotes relaxation and quiet contemplation.

The best model is the classic Japanese garden which uses striking plant textures and forms rather than myriad colors to create an oasis of green peacefulness. 

In such a serene landscape, pine, holly, azalea, ferns and junipers display the passing of each season in verdant contrasts.

 In summer, lush foliage play against deep shadows; in winter, variegated greens, evergreen boughs and the tracery of bare branches offer an austere and…

Circles in the Garden

Our natural inclination, when in a group, is to gather in a circle.

The ineluctable unity of this shape gives each person equal standing, equal voice and equal support. It is a perfect shape for expressing ourselves to others.  The result? A unified purpose or intention arising from talking and listening, in turn.

Yay for the circle!

Like theater in the round, no one has a better seat than anyone else. It is no wonder that circular gathering spaces are popular for group activities and in various spiritual traditions.

The Contemplative Mind is enhanced through circular gatherings

This is why I advocate Circular Peace Gardens wherever people may gather.

A circle is a nurturing form that invites us in - there are no hard edges, corners or angles.

So what is the perfect size for a circular 'people space' outdoors?

 It is all a matter of proportion, scale, context and intended use.  If you are in a dense urban neighborhood - the size of the circle may be decided for you by what is …

Garden Photo of the Day - and a Quote

“In every man’s heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty.” – Christopher Morley

Butterfly Gardens - Open House for Butterflies

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp,  but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you. - Nathaniel Hawthorne

This is why a butterfly garden should be in everyone's life.   In the photo above, I planted 'Lucky White' Lantana and purple Callibrachoa to attract the summer butterflies....they love lantana! Plant lantana in all its ice cream colors and you will have an open house for butterflies.

Also perennial coneflowers, agastache, bee balm, chrysanthemums are butterfly attractors.   These all have nectar, a butterfly's delight.  So if you have a sunny open spot, some shelter from wind and fresh water (butterfly puddles) then plant some butterfly flowers and enjoy a bit of happiness.

Fothergilla- A Deer Resistant, 3-Season Stunner

"Fothergillas, ask so little from gardeners,  yet give so much;  all friends should exhibit this kind of relationship."
 -  Michael A. Dirr

I adore Fothergilla gardenii Mt Airy.

Fothergilla is native to the Appalachians, is deer resistant  and sports fragrant, honey scented, early spring flowers before the leaves come out.

The flowers are white, short bottlebrush spikes that light up a sunny to partial sun woodland corner. The flowers are followed by blue green, heavily textured foliage.

Photo from Robs Plants Website -

'Mt Airy' is a dwarf form and got its name from the Mt. Airy Arboretum in Cincinnati, Ohio. When compared to the native species, Mt. Airy Fothergilla has more vibrant multicolored foliage in shades of yellow, orange and red in October through mid-November.

This fall color is the best! It is spell binding in the garden....

 Photo for Monrovia by Doris Wyjna

Photo by Plant Introductions, Inc
 I like to use 'Mt A…

Dandelion Love - Early Spring Greens

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 are a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. And in traditional medicine, dandelion roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. 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 and stir-fried as a cooked vegetable.

• Dandelion flowers can be made into a wine.