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plants

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…

sunshine

On 23, Aug 2016 | No Comments | In plants, roses | By All Year Garden

You don’t know how much sunshine means to roses, they make do without anything else if they have eight hours of full sun exposure a day. I remember from my early gardening days watching with wretched covetousness an abandoned rose bush that somebody planted in an empty corner and forgot about. Read more…

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…

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…