Photo by Melody

Dave's Garden Articles: By Carrie Lamont

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

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A jaundiced view of yellow
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

I like color. No, I love color. Most colors stimulate and excite me, scarlets, corals, indigos and magentas. Unfortunately, yellow puts me to sleep.

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Sunday, June 15, 2014

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Santa Fe, New Mexico and My Father's Garden
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

The weather in New England is never that sunny, dry, searing heat I remember from New Mexico. Still, when it gets hot back here, really hot, it reminds me of how hot and dry it is out there, which makes me think of my father and his surprisingly green thumb.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

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Nicotiana--flowering tobaccos
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Nicotiana species were a big hit in Victorian flower gardens: tall, stately and oh-so-fragrant. They were discovered in South America and by the 1820s were a staple in elegant gardens everywhere, releasing a luscious perfume at dusk from their trumpet-shaped white blossoms. (If you're interested, a trait that happens at dusk but not all night long is a vespertine one. While bats are nocturnal animals, Nicotiana have a vespertine fragrance.)

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

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Arabidopsis thaliana: Lab Rat for the Plant World
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Arabidopsis thaliana is a weedy winter annual that is native to places like Russia and Northern Europe and naturalized through temperate parts of the world. It is not a showy, well-known plant, nor is it an irksome weed. However, scientists in at least three continents can spell its name forwards and backwards. They may even be familiar with its common names, mouseear cress or thale cress. Why is this boring weed so fascinating to scientists and botanists?

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Friday, May 16, 2014

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Golden Rice--what it is and why the controversy
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Whether you are for or against Genetically Modified Organisms (and everyone seems to have an opinion), you have to agree that Golden Rice is a special case.

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Thursday, April 17, 2014

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All Around the Mulberry Bush (or Tree)
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

I grew up with simple children's songs which mention "the mulberry bush." "All around the mulberry bush, the monkey chased the weasel" or "here we go 'round the mulberry bush" are probably the two most common. Imagine my surprise to find out that most mulberry bushes are in fact trees! Let's find out more about the intriguing mulberry tree, or Morus genus.

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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

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The secret identity of those mild-mannered foods: SUPERFOODS*!
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Look, out in the kitchen! It's a berry, it's a seed, it's a Superfood! These ordinarily mild-mannered and familiar foods come to you in their secret identity as Superfoods. Disguised as simple sweet potatoes or normal almonds from a great metropolitan supermarket, these Superfoods fight a never-ending battle for health, nutrition, and the American way, Possibly if you eat enough of them, you, too, can be faster than a speeding rabbit, more powerful than a Roto-Tiller and able to leap tall saplings with a single bound!

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

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Seven ways to sneak bulbs into your landscape without your lawn's mower even noticing!
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

My husband loves his lawn. Oh, he's not as bad as the guy next door, who has a tractor mower for his quarter acre lot, but there is a bit of competition on our street for whose lawn looks the most like a golf course. (We lose.) And my dearly beloved husband won't let me plant crocuses in the lawn! That ripening period when the flowers are gone and the foliage is tall and gangly and he is not allowed to mow is just too long for him. So I've been exploring ways to hide the fact that I am still planting more and more bulbs in our yard.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

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You Must Believe In Spring
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Beneath the deepest snows, the secret of a rose is merely that it knows you must believe in Spring!

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

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Mud Season is the fifth season of the year in the Northeast part of the United States
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

We all know New England is famous for its fall foliage, winter skiing, spring maple-sugaring and summer black flies. But In Vermont and other New England states, Mud Season is longer and almost more important than the other four seasons.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

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Mendel and His Peas
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Gregor Mendel is a name which may be familiar to some. Mendel was born 1822 in German-speaking Eastern Europe. While you may remember that he was a monk-botanist, he was (for much of his life) a church administrator. So what's the big deal about Mendel and peas? Let me explain.

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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

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Big thoughts about little evolution: microevolution
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809, over 200 years ago. His name is closely identified with theories of evolution and the terms like "survival of the fittest" and "natural selection." Usually when you think of Darwinian evolution, you think about things like apes or chimpanzees evolving into humans, and about confusing fossils of skulls and unthinkably long slow geologic time. Today, I will just talk about evolution we can witness, in bacteria and insects, which is called microevolution.

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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

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Sherry--What it is, How it's Made, and How to Use it
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Basic definitions: wine is fermented grape juice, right? So sherry is fermented grape juice that is fortified with more fermented grape juice (like brandy). Sherry is more alcoholic than wine, but its mild warm flavor may virtually transport you to Mediterranean Spain. Connoisseurs consider sherry to be an under-appreciated type of wine. Sherry spans the spectrum from dry, light and crisp to dark and sweet. Maybe it's time you gave sherry a try.

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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

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Hoppin' John or black-eyed peas -- a lucky meal for New Year's Day
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

When my father lived with us, we had rules for everything. One of the rules was that you had to have one bite of every dish served for dinner, no matter how noxious. That rule changed the day my mother served black-eyed peas for New Year's Day. One could hardly expect that a snob like my father would condescend to eat something so mundane as black-eyed peas. He didn't know what he was missing!

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Friday, December 20, 2013

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Molasses, treacle and other sweet sticky stuff
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Molasses started out as a low-cost left-over from the production of white sugar, although currently it is a delicious ingredient in its own right. Learn where it comes from and why it trumps all the other sweet syrups out there. Molasses is the sweet flavor of the season!

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

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The first "Thanksgiving:" what went wrong and what went right
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

The fourth Thursday in November (or second Monday in October, if you're in Canada) is our North American holiday of Thanksgiving. But the first "thanksgiving" that the Pilgrims celebrated in 1621 was not at all like our 21st century Thanksgiving. You may have heard that before, but exactly how did it differ?

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Friday, November 15, 2013

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Salt and Salts: How They Work
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Salt: it's one of the drivers of life on earth. Salt is so important to humanity that it's mentioned in every world religion, wars have been fought over it and salt mines caused great cities to be built and roads to be laid out, Yet salt is now so cheap that it's usually more expensive to buy items without added salt! Think about all the expressions that use the word "salt" for a few seconds: being "worth your salt" or "salting it down" to preserve it and taking it with a pinch of salt, rubbing salt in a wound or reading "you are the salt of the earth" in the Bible. Read below for some of the important little facts you need to know about salt because it is so.... salty!

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

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Boo! A Scary Garden for Halloween
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

On October 31, U.S. children of all ages dress up in costumes and witches and spirits are thought to roam the earth. If you like Theme Gardens, why not consider a Halloween Garden? There are plenty of plants to fill a Halloween Garden in any climate, from "Black Magic Repellant Plant" to numerous cultivars with names like 'Masquerade' and 'Tango Halloween'. You can fill a whole garden with other scary plants and flowers, in any zone, and have a Halloween tango in your garden every summer night, not just October 31, if you're not too spooked by the idea.

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Wednesday, October 9, 2013

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Halloween Pumpkins--Beyond the Old-Fashioned Jack-o'-Lantern, Way Beyond
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

If you've mastered the basic jack-o'-lantern, cutting triangle eyes and nose and a crooked grin into a hollowed-out pumpkin to celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of fall, maybe it's time you started CARVING pumpkins instead. A carved pumpkin keeps its seeds and stringy guts, and lasts weeks longer. Have a look at what my friend Deane Arnold can do with a pumpkin.

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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

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Baptisia australis: Blue False Indigo or Blue Wild Indigo
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

At first glance, those of us who never took Latin might think Baptisia australis is used in Australia for baptism. But this attractive and tough garden perennial is neither. With or without its spires of vivid blue flowers, Baptisia is a handsome and long-lived ornamental plant.

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Monday, September 2, 2013

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Lagerstroemia: Caring for Crepe Myrtles from the Bottom Up
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Lagerstroemia—crepe myrtles—are beloved by southern gardeners and landscapers for their many wonderful qualities. In addition to an unusually long season of brightly colored blossoms, these small, multi-stemmed trees and shrubs can feature gorgeous autumn colors and captivating winter bark. Crepe myrtle hybrids are drought- and heat-tolerant, and although they weren't introduced to the Western Hemisphere until 1790, they are currently absolutely ubiquitous in southern landscapes.

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

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Joy of Sex-ual Reproduction, or Why Plants Don't Look Just Like their Parents
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

You may think you already know about sex and sexual reproduction, but I'm talking about sexual reproduction in plants, which is how we get new varieties of plants with interesting, new features. Sexual reproduction in plants is all about mixing it up....which is sometimes wonderful and exciting and sometimes not what you want. Two Ask-A-Gardener questions prompted the following article.

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

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Growing Freesia at Home
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Freesia are famous for their delectably subtle sweet fragrance and their elegant narrow stems. They are one of the standbys of the florist, showing up reliably in corsages and lovely indoor arrangements. Growing freesia yourself, from corms, is not as hard as you might think. If I did it, then so can you!

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

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Muddling Mint for a Magical Mojito--a Refreshing Summer Beverage from Cuba
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Ernest Hemingway made the Mojito famous in the 1920s. Then it became a modern new cocktail for the international in-crowd. Now that the very hip have moved on the next artisanal cocktails, imbibers the world over recognize the Mojito as a refreshing, low-calorie alternative to sweet, frozen cocktails. Mojitos are especially wonderful made with your own mint!

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Friday, June 28, 2013

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Sipping Cider Through a Straw: The Rise and Fall of the Drinking Straw
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

What did people sip cider through before the drinking straw was invented? The story may surprise you.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

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Attractive, Artistic and Amazingly Adaptable: Amaranthus in the garden
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Amaranthus spp. are a familiar garden ornamental annual for some gardeners. However, these ancient and beautiful pseudo-grains were first cultivated by the ancient Aztecs.

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Friday, June 7, 2013

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It's a Love-Hate Relationship: Cilantro
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Cilantro: love it? Or leave it? Most people who have ever tasted cilantro fall into one of these two categories, they either can't get enough of its citrus-y, spicy, fresh fragrance and flavor, or they can't stand the way it tastes like bug spray!

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Friday, May 24, 2013

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Memorial Day--Summer is Here
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

The last Monday in May, Memorial Day, signals the official beginning of summer in the US, although the end of May doesn't coincide with the beginning of summer on the calendar. That's not until the summer equinox, which is the middle of summer in one way (the longest day--the most hours of sunlight--all year) and the beginning of summer in another (the calendar says "First Day of Summer," after all).

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Monday, May 20, 2013

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Umami, the Fifth Taste
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

If you like tomatoes, cheese or steak, you're tasting umami. We've all heard that sweet, salty, sour and bitter are the only flavors and that they are the building blocks of complex tastes. But in 1909 Professor Kikunae Ikeda isolated a fifth flavor detectable by human tongues. He named it "umami," from the Japanese words for delicious.

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Sunday, May 12, 2013

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Lilac Sunday at Harvard University's Arnold Arboretum
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

There were some lilacs which hadn't even opened yet, a few without even a hint of a bud, and lots - and lots and lots - in full bloom on the day we went. Tall, short, skinny, or fat, lilacs are all beautiful, and most of them are at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

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Nasturtium Garlands Honor Mrs. Gardner's Birthday!
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

At the beginning of the twentieth century, well-to-do widow and art collector Isabella Stewart Gardner had run out of places to put her art, sculpture, and furniture, so she built herself a museum. The center of her museum was a glass-covered courtyard filled with tropical plants which bloomed all year. And every April, for her birthday, let me tell you what eccentric and beautiful Isabella Stewart Gardner did ...

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Monday, April 15, 2013

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Texas Bluebonnets are Here
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Texas Bluebonnets: they may be the most well-known state flower. Look for bluebonnets in Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas....right now!

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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

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Impatiens are in Trouble: Downy Mildew May Affect Your Impatiens
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Gardeners love to grow Impatiens walleriana and its hybrids, garden impatiens. These colorful bedding annuals are available in a huge variety of colors and cultivars, with habits suitable for garden beds, hanging baskets and other containers. They thrive in shady areas (which most of us seem to have) and usually only require regular watering and occasional feeding. But Downy Mildew (Plasmopara obducens) may affect your impatiens.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

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Should Humans Eat Seeds? We're Not Birds, After All!
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Are seeds really that good for us, as humans? Obviously, seeds are what birds eat, and other critters too. But aside from those annoying sesame seeds on the sesame-seed-bun, why do people eat seeds at all, now that we have easier to eat, delicious food like refined sugar and white flour?

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

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The Meaning of "Spring" in Texas
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

In the eastern and northern parts of North America, winter was awful this year. Meanwhile, I spent the winter in Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, where although I personally got quite chilly a few times, the temperature rarely dipped below freezing. Everyone here got excited because there was snow on Christmas, but it was only a few flurries of stray flakes in my book. Spring means something completely different in Texas than it does in New England.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

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Don't Get Burned by "Burning Bush"
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Euonymus alatus is used frequently by landscapers and homeowners in areas with cold or cool winters for its attractive fiery red fall color. However, here are six reasons you should reconsider before purchasing or planting this invasive plant.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

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What You Can Learn from the "Irish Potato Famine"
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

My husband quotes his Irish mother as saying "there are two kinds of people: those who are Irish, and those who wish they were." Ireland, a country of illuminated manuscripts, Latin and Greek scholars, Celts, kings, amazing natural beauty and remarkable literature, was all but toppled by the lowly potato in the 19th century.

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Saturday, February 23, 2013

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Hot Chocolate? Hot Cocoa? The Chocoholic's Guide to the History and Use of Delicious Hot Beverages!
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Is it hot chocolate? Is it hot cocoa, or just cocoa? What's the difference, anyway? When the Spanish added sugar instead of chili to the bitter hot drink they brought back from the New World, it created a sensation in the courts of Europe. Chocolate drinks were believed to have medicinal value in the 16th and 17th centuries, and it turns out, they just might actually be good for you after all! Who knew?

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

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Cumin--A Warm Spice in Every Culture
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Cumin has been used in Indian cooking for thousands of years, and in Latin America ever since it was introduced in the late 15th century. What makes this one seasoning nearly as universal as salt? Read about cumin--its uses, its history, its growing habit and ......... how to pronounce it.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

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Molasses in January--Just How Slow Is It?
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

People who have heard the expression "as slow as molasses in January" may be surprised to learn that on Wednesday January 15, 1919, molasses moved at a brisk pace through the narrow streets of Boston's Italian North End. Read on to learn about the "Boston Molasses Flood" of 1919, almost 100 years ago.

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