International Women’s Day – #Break the Bias

  • Post published:03/03/2022
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I did not know anything  about International Women's Day before Henry and I spent a year in Beijing. It was an exciting/worrying year. The dark night we got out of our airplane on April 17, 1989 in Beijing, my work unit met us and and took us to the Friendship Hotel where we were assigned a small apartment for the year. Before we went into the building I asked Zhao Hu what was the sound we were hearing. …

Is It Still Winter? Or Has Spring Arrived?

  • Post published:02/23/2022
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It is hard to know  whether it is winter as the calendar says, or spring, which is poking its roots and shoots into the garden. Look at those green shoots. Over in the upper right bed there are two little green mounds – which will soon be home for grape hyacinths (Muscari) shouting  that spring has arrived. The green clumps on the other side of the ‘river’ are very energetic tall cardinal flower. This Lobelia will bloom from July into September. And they make lots of babies too. (more…)

Mid-Winter Frozen Views – and Expectations

  • Post published:02/19/2022
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Snowy Winter Backyard – seen from the upstairs window.

This snowy winter backyard is beginning to melt. And much of that melting stays on top of the frozen soil. This photo was taken on February 3, 2022. It is the wet and icy frozen soil that explains where the water moved around the raised beds. (more…)

The Life and Death of an Amaryllis

  • Post published:02/14/2022
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Amaryllis is such a beautiful plant I wanted to put it in an honored and bright spot. However I was not lucky.  There is not really a good sunny spot in my house for potted plants.  I don't know if the stem needed more sun for strength, but this amaryllis broke off at the bottom of its stem.  It had not yet shown the buds, but I put the stem in  this vase and waited to see  if…

Valentine’s Day – Which Plants of Love are in Your Garden

  • Post published:02/09/2022
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Kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate 'Cerise Pearls' - Periscaria orientalis seeds - Select Seeds

                                    Image from Select Seeds – Annual Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate

There are many stories about Saint Valentine. According to some, during the 3rd century, Valentine was a priest and a physician who was martyred. According to legend, St. Valentine signed a letter “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter, who he had befriended and healed from blindness. Another legend said he married couples secretly so the husbands could then avoid being sent to war. (more…)

Chinese Money Plants – Loved by Scandinavia?

  • Post published:02/04/2022
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Chinese Money Plant prepared for repotting

Our son gave us a Chinese Money Plant for Christmas. We did our research to learn that the Pilea peperomioides plant is originally from the Yunnan province of China.  The Norwegian missionary, Agnar Espergren,  took cuttings home with him and shared the plants, which started friends sharing the plants, and passing them through through Scandinavia, and eventually the rest of the world. (more…)

The Nature of Oaks by Douglas W. Tallamy

  • Post published:01/30/2022
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The Nature of Oaks by Douglas W. Tallamy

Douglas Tallamy is a great man – who is sharing his greatness with all of us in his books that explain how plants feed the natural  world – and us! The Nature of Oaks  – The Rich Ecology of Our Most Essential Native Trees -is the third of his three books about trees and and the creatures that live on them. (more…)

GROW NOW by Emily Murphy

  • Post published:01/24/2022
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GROW NOW by Emily Murphy

I have had a vegetable garden for many years, but the science behind plants is always is always bringing us important new information about how to plant a vegetable garden. Emily Murphy began her gardening when she spent summers  with her grandmother who was an energetic gardener.  Those phrases on the book cover, Go Beyond Organic, Rewild Your Land, Sequester Carbon and Support Biodiversity, suggest that gardens are giving us new ideas,  and new ways to give each of us – and the world – good health. (more…)

The Plant Hunter by Cassandra Leah Quave

  • Post published:01/17/2022
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The Plant Hunter by Cassandra Leah Quave

The Plant Hunter  – A Scientist’s Quest for Nature’s Next Medicines  (Viking-Penguin)  is an fascinating book, coming as it  does in these two years of a pandemic. We  have had doctors and scientists  working to find a cure for COVID-19 and now for variants like Omicron. We do not get to see how the scientists work, but in her book Cassandra Leah Quaves provides great stories and information as well as about her life as a plant hunter, searching  for plants that will heal. (more…)

The New Pie – Modern Techniques for Classic American Dessert

  • Post published:01/11/2022
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The New Pie – Modern Techniques

Christmas brought me wonderful gifts – one of them being a big book of The New Pie: Modern Techniques for the Classic American Dessert. So far I have only made one pie from this book. My pie, Spiced Apple Cider is from the New Fruit Pies category, and there are many beautiful pies to make. (more…)