Hellebores – A Surprise and Delight

  • Post published:03/28/2022
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Wintery Hellebores in early February

I allowed all our blown leaves to cuddle with the hellebores I planted in bloom last spring. I appreciated the protection given by the leaves, but I was confused about how dried up the foliage was. (more…)

Pruning with Sara-Evelyn of Broadfork Permaculture

  • Post published:03/22/2022
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Sara-Evelyn Lane with Loppers

Sara-Evelyn Lane of Broadfork Permaculture came to prune my young Redbud tree, as well as giving us advice about other plants like my paniculata hydrangeas.  We started by spending time talking about the different Redbud branches, some very thin, and others larger – or maybe growing in an unfortunate direction. Sara-Evelyn has a good eye and was a good hand with sharp loppers. She told us that she always wipes down her tools with alcohol before she arrives  so that she isn’t bringing any bacteria to the customer’s garden. (more…)

The Crocus – A Golden Spring Has Sprung

  • Post published:03/16/2022
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Golden Crocus

As I opened the car door this morning I saw a golden crocus shining in the sun. I was amazed and delighted. I did not see any other crocus buds, but there were many green shoots making themselves aware. Now I can say spring has really sprung. (more…)

Witch Hazel, Hamamelis, Winter and Spring – and Winter

  • Post published:03/10/2022
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Witch Hazel

This golden Witch Hazel, otherwise known as Hamamelis virginiana, surprises me every year when a neighbor’s  shrub blooms in early March.  I don’t know whether it is one of the well-known varieties, Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold’s Promise’ but it is about as tall as “Arnold’s Promise” grows. (more…)

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…)