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Dave's Garden Articles: By Larry Rettig

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

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Is This Plant the New Hosta?
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

How would you like to grow a plant in your garden that stays beautiful the whole season; adds dramatic color to the garden the instant you plant it...

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

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Pine Needle Acidity: Myth or reality?
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

"Oh! You want to be careful with those pine needles," a garden visitor once warned me, as he spied the mulch in my salvia bed. "It'll bring your soil pH down to where it's too acid for those salvias."

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

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An Asparagus That Vines
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

Ever on the lookout for unique plants that will grow in my Zone 5a/b garden, I occasionally discover one that I feel other gardeners would like to know about, because of its ease of care and other positive attributes.

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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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Ah, Spring!
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

Those long-awaited harbingers of the spring garden are beginning to make their appearance here at Cottage-in-the-Meadow-Gardens: snowdrops nodding their greetings as I pass by, early species crocuses lifting their tiny yellow chalices in a toast to the warmer weather to come, and winter aconites dancing about in their bright green mini tutus and yellow tresses.

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

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Where do New Plant Varieties Come From?
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

Every year a whole host of new plant varieties is offered to gardeners across the country. Let me introduce you to some of the companies that provide them and the new plants they are offering this year.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

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Pelznickel, Kristkindl, and a Broomstick Tree
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

The sudden commotion outside my grandmother’s living room, where my family and I had gathered for a pre-Christmas get-together, startled me.

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

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Who in the World is Philipp Franz Balthasar von Siebold?
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

Mystery, forbidden romance, intrigue: Philipp F. B. von Siebold’s life story has it all.

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Sunday, October 6, 2013

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A Plant for Your Garden That Does it All
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

When is a shrub not necessarily a shrub? Answer: When it can also be a tree. The best part is that you, the gardener, get to decide which it will be. I'm speaking here of a plant that truly does everything.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

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A Lake of Lotus Lilies
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

Eight miles northeast of my South Amana, Iowa, home lies a 170-acre lake with a unique and somewhat murky history. It was not always there. And when it appeared, it was soon filled with stunning lotus lilies of unknown origin.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

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Boston Ferns and Kidneys
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

What do Boston ferns and kidneys have in common?

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Saturday, June 8, 2013

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Rocket Plants
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

From their earliest use by the ancient Chinese and the Romans of antiquity to modern-day space flight, rockets have captured the imagination of humans everywhere. It’s little wonder then, that they have influenced flower lovers and gardeners as well.

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Monday, April 29, 2013

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Royalty in the Garden : The Crown Imperial
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

One of my favorite flowers of any season is Fritillaria imperialis, the Crown Imperial. Blooming in mid- to late-spring, its tall, ramrod-straight royal bearing, colorful flowers, and leafy tuft for a crown make it an eye-popping standout in any garden. It seems to do best in our roadside flower beds, where it is literally a traffic stopper.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

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Springtime, Summertime, Autumn, Wintertime … Dreamtime: State Flowers
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

With the holidays just a pleasant memory and the year brand new, I look ahead to one more “season” before spring.

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Wednesday, January 30, 2013

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Knowing the Degree of Difficulty When Starting Flowering Plants from Seed: A Beginner's Reference
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

So you've decided to take the plunge and try growing some of your bedding plants on your own from seed. Or perhaps you're already among the initiated, but have had some disappointing failures. I've found that instructions from seed sellers can vary considerably regarding the appropriate germination and growing conditions of a particular plant.

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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

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A Della Robbia Centerpiece for Your Holiday Table
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

What is della Robbia and how is it connected with the holidays? Read on to find the answer and to learn how to craft a unique della Robbia arrangement.

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Friday, December 14, 2012

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Holiday Note on Edible Plants
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

During this holiday season, both food and flowers abound. Did you know that you can serve both? Yes, you can have your flowers and eat them too! Many flowers are a pleasure on the plate and palate as well as in the garden.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

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Mum's the Word
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

The word chrysanthemum comes to us from the Greek chrysanthos meaning "golden flower": chryso "gold" and anthos "flower." The word was coined by Swedish botanist, Karl Linnaeus, who introduced this flower to the western world. Chrysanthemums are the second most popular flower in the floral industry, next to the rose. They are the quintessential autumn flower and are one of the longest lasting cut flowers.

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

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Phytoremediation: Popular Poplars
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

At 45 letters, “Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis” is considered to be the longest word in the dictionary. It’s the name for a disease of the lungs, caused by the inhalation of silica dust. “Phytoremediation” comes nowhere close to this length, but is still a mouthful. It comes from the Greek word “phyto” meaning “plant” and the Latin word “remedium” which means “restoring balance.”

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Friday, August 3, 2012

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Gardening in Utopia: Kitchen Gardens in Communal Amana
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

If you have a vegetable garden, you know how wonderful those veggies taste when they're whisked out of the garden and onto the table in less than an hour or so. Imagine the coordinated effort it would take to accommplish that for an entire village. The Amana settlers did just that and did it well.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

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Of Floods and Fragrance
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

What has flooding to do with floral fragrance? Read on to discover the link.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

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Hostas: It's not Always About the Leaves
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

In his much heralded reference book, "The Hostapedia"*, Mark Zilis lists 7,400 hostas, most differing in leaf shape, size, color, variegation pattern, texture, or some combination of those leaf attributes.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

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The Color and the Plant: What's not to Love about Lavender?
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

What exactly do we mean when we describe the color of a flower as "lavender?" On the color wheel below, where exactly does lavender start and where does it end? And exactly which flower varieties do we perceive as lavender?

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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

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He’s got us Pegged: Karel Capek’s Humorous Tome on the Gardener
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

This is the second in an informal series of articles I will be writing on underappreciated or little-known gardeners who deserve our appreciation and who increase our knowledge and enjoyment of a gardener's life.*

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Monday, March 19, 2012

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Buck Roses (Well, maybe not quite THAT cheap!)
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

All kidding aside, finally, nearly two decades after his death, one of the world’s greatest rosarians is receiving the public recognition he so richly deserves.

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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

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You Can Have Your Canna and Eat it, Too
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

Among all the lists of unlikely edible flowering plants that appear from time to time in garden articles and books, I’d never seen one that includes the canna.

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

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The Garden in Winter
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

Black and white pencil and ink drawings have a distinctive charm all their own, even if they lack color. Think of your winter garden as such a drawing...

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Monday, January 16, 2012

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Ruminations of a Garden Catalog Junkie
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

It’s that time of year again when we gardeners curl up with all those mail order catalogs that seem to multiply overnight in our mail boxes, even before the year is done. The current count at our house is 36 and holding—and that’s not counting duplicates!

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

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Three Distinctive Wreaths You Can Make for the Holidays
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

If you like to make holiday wreaths or even if you've never made one but would like to, here is your opportunity to craft three distinctive ones that may become seasonal favorites, as they have in our family.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

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Twelve Interesting and Unusual House Plants
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

For those of us who garden in temperate zones here in the U.S., the growing season is quickly coming to a close. I find that my attention has already turned from outdoor garden plants to those I will be growing indoors. As I consider what I want to grow on my windowsills this winter, I’d like to share with you some of the plants that I’ve found interesting and relatively easy to grow.

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Monday, November 7, 2011

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Industrial Hemp: Uses Ancient and Modern
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

Industrial hemp (Cannabis sativa) has been an integral part of human cultures for millennia. Some of its uses, especially in more recent times, may surprise you.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

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The Zinnia: A Flower that's Hard on the Eyes?
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

Upon first seeing zinnias in bloom in Mexico, the Spanish conquistadors were not at all impressed, naming it mal de ojos, or "bad for the eye," i.e., so ugly that one would not want to cast one's eyes upon it.

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Friday, September 23, 2011

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Hammered Botanical Prints
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

"So you do this when you're hammered, right?" said my friend, trying unsuccessfully to keep a straight face. I smiled and forgave her for the lame attempt at humor.

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Friday, September 9, 2011

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Velox: A New Plant is Born
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

Thanks to world-renowned horticultural firm, GGG (Unternehmensgruppe Grünewald), based in Europe, an entirely new plant has made its gardening debut. An interspecific cross between annual verbena and creeping phlox, Velox promises to be one of the more exciting new plants available to gardeners in the coming years.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

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My Favorite Perennial Flowering Vines
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

Growing vines in the garden is an excellent way to take advantage of vertical space and increase appeal at the same time.

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Friday, June 24, 2011

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What You Should Know About Big Box Stores as Plant Sources for Your Garden
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

“Yes!!!” I said triumphantly in a loud voice and was immediately embarrassed at my involuntary vocalization as fellow shoppers around me turned to stare.

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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

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Growing House Plants for Better Health
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

In this era of growing emphasis on energy efficiency, many of us who live in temperate zones or colder are seeking ways to better seal our homes to achieve higher efficiency in heating and cooling. But that effort has a downside as well.

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Friday, March 25, 2011

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Wild about Glads: Stalking the Wild Gladiolus
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

After writing an article about gladioli some time ago, I decided to pursue their origins a bit further. I wondered, among other things, whether they were indiginous to areas other than South Africa. Join me on my "expedition" and discover where it leads us.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

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A Forest of Apples
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

Close your eyes for a moment. It’s a beautiful, sunny, warm day in May. You’re standing in the midst of a vast forest of apple trees in bloom. You drink in the intoxicating fragrance of the blossoms and listen to the pulsing hum of busy bees as they go about the business of gathering pollen.

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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A Snowman You Can Assemble in 15 minutes--Without Snow!
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

The holiday season is over. The accompanying decorations are packed away once more in their accustomed places. I find myself wondering: were the walls really this bare before I put up all those decorations? Stripped of its holiday finery, the hallway looks almost gloomy. I decide to make a trip to the basement to check out my cache of craft materials in hopes of finding inspiration there for making some cheery replacements for the long winter ahead. The first thing I come across is a stack of grapevine wreaths of various sizes. Having played with some digital images of snowmen earlier in the day, I decide to build one myself.

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Monday, January 17, 2011

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Trees and Their Veneration in the Western World
By Larry Rettig (LarryR)

What is it about trees that draws us to them?

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