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Dave's Garden Articles: By Sarah Barksdale

Thursday, October 2, 2014

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Around The Color Wheel With Purple Heart
By Sarah Barksdale (barksy)

One of the Top Ten Plants at Daves Garden is Purple Heart (Purple Queen, Tradescantia pallida aka Setcreasea pallida or purpurea). A lanky ground cover with succulent leaves, it is very commonly grown in warmer climates (zones 8a-11), either purposely planted or springing up on its own. This plant is mostly grown for uniquely colored foliage that ranges from purple to reddish purple to green/purple depending on the conditions. To my eye, most Purple Heart is reddish or warm purple but you may see it differently as color perception varies somewhat. The foliage is made more complex by a grayish/blue dusky sheen. Despite its unusual color, Purple Heart is easy to mix into the landscape creating both vivid and subtle combinations of colors.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

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Hackberry - A tasty treat to many
By Sarah Barksdale (barksy)

A couple of years ago, I was searching for a large shade tree that would appeal to wildlife. The information available suggested Celtis occidentalis (also known as a hackberry or sugarberry). This tree forms a small fruit that birds enjoy so much that supposedly none hit the ground. Other attractive features include small, elm-like leaves and an attractive grayish warty bark. The literature I had rated this tree as quite tough, tolerating even urban street tree environments. I purchased a small specimen and planted it in my back yard. So far no fruit have formed so my tree has not fed any birds. However, many other creatures have been enjoying my tree.

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Monday, March 11, 2013

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Mimosa Tree - Treasure or Trash ?
By Sarah Barksdale (barksy)

Several years ago, I commuted from Philadelphia to Newark by train. The train often crawled along at 2 mph or sat motionless. I had ample opportunity to admire the plants tough enough to grow in the blighted landscape alongside the rails. Some plants sprouted through the roofs of abandoned factories. One particularly attractive plant caught my eye; a small tree with feathery leaves and puffy pink flowers.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010

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Bokashi Composting - The Art and Science of Fermenting Kitchen Scraps
By Sarah Barksdale (barksy)

Our family was never that great at traditional composting. Waste left in the kitchen compost container would inevitably grow foul smelling before it reached the compost pile. This reduced enthusiasm and cooperation, even though we agreed the overall concept of composting was worthy. A few years ago I saw a bokashi container in a garden supply catalogue. The ad mentioned that with bokashi composting, all organic kitchen scraps can be composted; not just vegetable waste, but table scraps and meat too. An article I found mentioned that the waste had a pungent, fermented odor, unlike the foul smell of our traditional compost. Would this new composting technique be a success for my family? Curious, we decided to try it out.

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