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rosemary

When you start looking into its qualities, rosemary can be quite intimidating, it seems to be good for everything: it makes hair grow strong and shiny, rejuvenates skin, boosts memory and concentration, sharpens eyesight, thins the blood and helps lower the risk of cancer. The impressive resume is due to the fact that this blessed plant is rich in iron, calcium, phosphorus, vitamins A, C and B6, folate, and some other plant specific compounds that act synergistically. Read more…

water harvesting

Harvesting the rain doesn’t stop at installing rain barrels, it involves the entire garden and its principal goal is to keep the water from running off the plot onto paved areas, only to eventually end up in the storm drains.

Careful planning can create places for the rain water to slow down enough to percolate into the soil, as well as ways to move it through the landscape and places for it to settle in. Depressed spots are not desirable features, since nobody wants to end up with a lawn full of puddles, so the water catchment area needs to blend naturally into the design and be populated with rain garden plants. Read more…

soil types

At the most basic level there are three types of soil: sand, loam and clay. Most soils are a combination of the three, in various proportions. Every soil type has qualities and defects.
Sandy soils drain very well, they are easily tilled and provide optimal conditions for the development of root vegetables. They are nutrient poor and dry up easily. A variation of this soil is silt, which is the worst of both worlds: it has the small particle size of clay and the looseness of sand, all the defects and none of the qualities. This soil is practically unworkable unless amended. Read more…

snapdragons

If you ever create a garden for children don’t forget the snapdragons. The little ones love to pinch the “dragon mouths” to make them snap open and at times the plant looks like it’s pouting with indignation against the uninvited pestering. It releases delightful fragrance as it snaps back shut, relieved to be finally left alone. Read more…

perennial groundcovers

On 18, Jul 2016 | No Comments | In plants | By All Year Garden

I can’t figure out the precise point when a fast spreading plant becomes a ground cover. Some, like ivy, periwinkle and the beautiful blue flowering plumbago in the picture, are quite obvious, others, like lily of the valley and sweet violets, take you by surprise, starting with a shy little clump in spring and filling the garden with their prolific progeny in one season. Read more…

yarrow

A resilient weed, native to the northern hemisphere, yarrow grows wild in open fields and along the sides of the roads, and had only recently gained the privilege to be cultivated in flower gardens.
Don’t judge this humble herb to be ordinary, Achillea millefolium is a well documented medicinal plant, astringent, anti inflammatory and tonic, but above all it has a special gift: it is a hemostatic agent. Read more…

tending the herb garden

All the medicinal plants are in bloom, a rare sight for the herb patch, whose blossoms are usually scarce and short lived.
One might think the herb wheel is a happy go lucky mish-mash of perennials that take care of themselves and require minimal interaction, when in fact it is the exact opposite. You can’t grow an herb garden without giving it your whole heart and your full attention. It needs meticulous care, constant trimming and weeding, it needs to be pristine. Read more…

the fountain at the center of the garden

The fountain at the center of the garden was a staple of medieval landscape design. Its simple yet powerful symbolism was derived from necessity, but speaks to that part of the soul that envisions water as healing and life giving. Nowhere is a tiny fountain more at home than at the center of a medicinal herb wheel. Read more…

garden imagery

There are the rare moments when simple images like these are more than enough to justify dripping sweat over organic fertilizer in 100 degree heat.

It rained last night, it was a powerful and earth drenching thunderstorm, like only summer knows how to bring. The sky was ablaze with white lightning and thunders boomed so strong they made the earth tremble. Read more…

persnickety roses

Roses have earned the dubious privilege of being considered sensitive and difficult to grow. This is not entirely true of course, a rose planted in a climate that favors its development requires a lot less maintenance than your average perennial. They do have a list of things they absolutely will not put up with, and whose lack can’t be supplanted by any amount of doting and support. Read more…