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plants

garden love

It’s been so warm this week, with temperatures in the sixties and thick summer downpours, that I almost forgot we’re in the middle of December. A few days of rain brought the plants out of their winter slumber, and now everything is lush and green again, under blue skies and sunshine, just like it is supposed to be in spring.

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lunaria annua

On 24, Oct 2016 | No Comments | In plants, shade | By All Year Garden

Speaking of plants for shade, this one kind of is, if you want to call shade the sunlight dappled through a rare tree canopy. Honesty is a biennial plant, but much like the long lasting hollyhocks, it reseeds enough to maintain its presence in the same spot for many years.
I never planted this flower in full sun, so I don’t know how it would behave there, but it performs reliably in part shade and on the north side of the garden. This one is white, but the plant comes in white and purple, like most wild flowers do. Read more…

fall bloomers

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

I’m always in awe of the energy that propels fall bloomers to spring forth flowers, often weeks or days before the first frost. There are so few of them, and understandably so.

I’m not talking about the frost tender plants from warmer zones that act as annuals in cold climates, those whose winters were supposed to be mild but had to surrender their natural growing cycles to the whim of the heartless northern gardener.

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october weather

The weather is fickle, leaning on the side of bright and sunny right now. It rained hard yesterday, and the sky was so dark it looked like dusk in the middle of the afternoon. Sunshine, rain, sunshine again.

The temperatures rose and fell with the moisture levels, trying to stabilize into a more seasonally appropriate range. The days are too short already, passing by faster than the leaves carried by the wind, and in the middle of a somewhat uncoordinated schedule I almost missed the spring bulb planting. Read more…

marigolds

On 03, Oct 2016 | No Comments | In edibles, plants | By All Year Garden

Isn’t this beautiful? Few annuals are easier to grow than marigolds, a quality that makes them so ubiquitous one tends to overlook their genuine charm.

All a marigold needs is sunshine, everything else it will do for itself. Of course, because I planted mine in the vegetable patch, they were blessed with an extra helping of fertilizer and water and that made them extra enthusiastic. Read more…

pumpkins, squashes and gourds

On 27, Sep 2016 | No Comments | In edibles, plants | By All Year Garden

What would fall be without pumpkins, squashes and gourds? This year I learned, to my surprise, that if you leave the squashes on the vine too long, they’ll turn into gourds too.

I don’t have a lot of room for vegetables, and squashes are notoriously sprawling plants, but I still plant a few nests every year, because I like their flowers. Read more…

polianthes tuberosa

On 20, Sep 2016 | No Comments | In plants, scents | By All Year Garden

Aah, the queen of fragrance, Polianthes tuberosa, a joy to gardeners and perfumers alike, probably the most fragrant flower ever. Its heady perfume is sultry and intense, a single flower stem can saturate a room with fragrance.

Tuberosa is a hot climate bulb, and much like show chrysanthemums and long stem roses it is easier to get it as a cut flower than to enjoy it in your garden. Growing these in a pot on the balcony is an extra special indulgence for a northern gardener. Read more…

purple pods

If I knew how much I would enjoy purple beans, I would only have planted those to begin with. Besides being an attractive feature in the garden, they taste better and are not stringy at all, which is a blessing.
Of course the purple color turns green in the pot, but that’s beside the point. Read more…

country gardens

The country garden relies on scent just as much as it does on color and texture. Gertrude Jekyll popularized this garden design, praising the care free style of cottage perennials.

Old country favorites don’t always enjoy the extraordinary blooms worthy of flower shows, but they each have particular qualities that define them and with which they are identified Read more…

how to create rose hybrids

The procedure for creating new roses is lengthy and the success rate is very low, but if you are a really passionate about roses and you must make your own, it goes something like this.

You pick the two roses you want to combine, they have to be almost open, but not fully. With great care and making sure not to lose any of the pollen, snip the stamens from the first rose and store them in a bag. Read more…