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the daily gardener

how to make honey

First, you have to be a bee. I was curious, so I looked up how bees make honey and wished I never found out. The process requires two bee stomachs, saliva and prolonged mastication of the nectar to make it gooey. We’re basically enjoying twice regurgitated bee spit mixture. Read more…

salamander

Old lore says that the salamander is a creature of fire. It is said to be renewing its scales in the flames and even to be nourished by them. I don’t know if this myth was born of the salamander’s habit of hide under rotting logs and jumping out of the flames when the logs were set on the fire or of its unusually bright markings which glow in the sunlight with an almost flame-like intensity. Read more…

cure for the unrelenting blah

In anticipation of good weather I’m already planning some gardening activities, there are summer bulbs to be planted and perennials beds to be cleaned up for spring.

Plodding through day after day bullied by cloudy skies and bone chilling temperatures, I almost forgot how beautiful the garden is, how exhilarating it is to feel it warm up and try to guess the fresh growth right under the soil surface, almost ready to breach it. Read more…

the potted cat

In line with the gardening theme, even during the winter season, I give you the potted cat. It was really warm that December day in the southernmost island of the Florida keys, so this gracious host found a cool place in the shade where it wouldn’t be bothered. The ratio of people to cats at the Hemingway House and Museum is reasonably low, they like to keep the kitty population to around 50 at all times, but not all of the felines are the gregarious kind. Read more…

painted trees

For the less romantically inclined among us, who don’t get misty eyed over nature’s autumnal carnival of color but would like to know why the leaves turn, here is the full prose version of it.

Foliage comes with three pigments: green – the chlorophyll, yellow-orange – the carotenoids, and reddish-purple – the anthocyanins. Read more…

cottage garden roses

When a cottage garden is well designed it makes you forget the planning that went into creating it and takes over by establishing new hierarchies, thriving on apparent randomness and developing a personality of its own. Read more…

painting with light

It is not the change of the seasons or the succession of blooms that keep your garden always new, but the light. It completely re-frames the views making you see familiar places for the first time again. Read more…

charming blue

Gardens have personalities, just like people. You can plant your garden, but it will decide what stays and what goes. Mine decided it likes blue flowers. Maybe it is the clay soil that gives the plants the alkaline mix they need, maybe it’s the dappled shade that promotes the growth of woodland bulbs, I don’t know, but my plants tend to shift to the blue-violet end of the spectrum. Read more…

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summer flowers

I can’t tell you how many times I walked through the garden enchanted by the abundance of flowers and wished I could share its beauty, but the pictures didn’t reflect it. The blooms were too far, the angle was too wide, the light shone the wrong way, I could never capture the charm, not until this photo.
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every shade of purple

Changing the color of the ground is another great way do delineate a space: a mass planting of orange flowers, a field of yellow tulips, a delicate cover of blue plumbago.

My garden decided to paint an entire flower bed purple this year. I’ve got every shade of purple, from mauve to indigo; low growing bugle weed, tall wavering alliums, delicate sweet violets, intense grape hyacinths, real navy blue hyacinths, and crocuses. Read more…

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