We've all heard of sugarplums; they're part of Christmastime, right? They dance in children's heads, or do they dance in ballets? Let's unravel the confusion surrounding this historical sweet, and try to discover the true sugarplum, both in history and today . . .
On November 11, 1933, the first giant dust storm, dubbed "The Great Black Blizzard," hit the Great Plains. What caused this phenomenon and the increasingly frequent dust storms of the 1930s in the United States? Were they preventable, predictable, man-made, or flukes of nature? A look at United States history from a gardener's perspective can shed some interesting light. (NB: this is NOT your U.S. history class from high school!)
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.
When I was little, my father didn't tell me I was his princess. He told me that when I grew up, I would marry Prince Charles. Failing to realize that I was impatiently waiting, a continent, an ocean and half a generation away, was hardly Prince Charles's fault. So he somehow married Lady Diana Spencer instead. I woke myself at some unmentionable hour of the morning to watch every minute of that Royal Wedding broadcast live on television and became, like everyone else, a big fan of the new Princess of Wales. It was then I started plotting my first virtual Royal Wedding Theme Garden
We've all read the Dave's Garden articles on freezing produce, canning it, making wine or jam or jelly or chutney. (If you haven't, you should! There's a link later on.) We've learned how to make tomato sauce, herb salves, beef jerky and lots of other delicacies with our bounty. But what about fresh garden or market produce that we just want to store? How long will it last and what's the best way to do it?
When I first started gardening semi-seriously, maybe 10 or 15 years ago, there was one beautiful little orange annual that I had right outside my back door in a pot with lots of (blue) lobelia and (white) alyssum. I loved the bright orange and deep blue together, but more than that, this little slugger kept going and going! I didn't even know what it was, but I adored its cheery, tiny orange/red little blossoms poking up above the blue and white. Late that fall, cleaning up, I found the brittle, faded label: DIASCIA. I had been growing Diascia.
You've just come back from your local Farmer's Market. Where should you put those perfect ripe peaches, or the less-than-ripe ones you're hoping will ripen by Tuesday? You'd like to have your own fresh melons, apples and other garden goodies last all winter! Is it possible?
Have you heard the children's song about the cat who always came back to poor Mr. Johnson, who lived all alone? He blows the cat up, he drowns it, he runs it over, but no matter how hard he tries to get rid of this cat, it always comes back. "It just wouldn't stay away -ay -ay -ay." Well, that's how I feel about my Coreopsis!
There are as many reasons to grow plants in containers as there are gardeners. You moved into an apartment - can you still have a garden? You've always dreamed of a whiskey barrel with pink geraniums spilling out onto the deck - but how? I will always remember the first time I saw trailing blue lobelia - in a container, in the Berkshires. It took me years to figure out what that beautiful plant with the tiny blue flowers was!
When to prune your beautiful yellow forsythia (or other spring-flowering shrub)? It blooms reliably every spring, most years that is, well, it USED to bloom every spring. Now it's just not looking as peppy any more. Could it be time to prune it? Here's how to decide.
This is the time of year when all the other, perfect, boring green lawns sport those ominous, little yellow signs that say "warning! keep children and pets off the grass for 48-72 hours! Highly toxic chemicals have been applied to kill all but broadleaf grasses." I wish I had special little signs made for my lawn. Our lawn isn't one of those cookie-cutter lawns you find elsewhere on my street and around all around the country.
This January of 2011, there were a number of times when 49 of the 50 United States had snow on the ground. This is confusing if you listen to those who shout "the earth is getting warmer!" The folks who say "the earth is a self-regulating organism that can take care of itself" are equally mixed-up this year. Maybe the earth is just going through a mid-life crisis.
The first serious snowfall of the year in New England always brought my mother boiling up a batch of maple syrup, just as in Laura Ingalls Wilder's day. Luckily for us, we didn't have to start with the maple tree. We just needed the snow and the jug of maple syrup!
My friend Doss, in California, wishes she could naturalize crocuses - she can't. It doesn't ever get cold enough. And she has to replant new pre-chilled tulips every year. I wish I could find truly cold-hardy gladiolus, or palm trees, or canna lilies that didn't need frost protection. (I planted those "frost-hardy" gladiolus one fall. They were beautiful the following spring. But they didn't come back. Neither did those exciting crocosmia!)
I'm sure you are all familiar with the words homesick and seasick. During the long, gray, snowy winter, we northerners get awfully tired of cold. Here are some of the things we do to stave off insanity. Because when it's so gray, for so long, we get BLOOMSICK!
We've all gotten them, whether or not we grow plants from seeds: mail order catalogs with pictures of bigger, tastier, vegetables with higher yields and prettier, brighter flowers, if only we use seeds from THIS company. How and when did this all start? Let's go back in time together.
Most of us have heard the story of the Wise Men or Magi arriving from the East with gifts for baby Jesus in Bethlehem. "We Three Kings of Orient Are" is a carol my family sings each year. Gold is always a welcome gift but ... what exactly ARE frankincense and myrrh? Well, it turns out that like a lot of good things, they started out as plants!
In the city of Enterprise, Alabama, there stands an alabaster statue of a larger-than-life woman wearing a snow-white gown. She stands in the center of large, circular fountain, and she herself is 13 1/2 feet above street level.. She holds her arms gracefully aloft, and in them is the object of the entire statue's adulation: a boll weevil, the pest that brought King Cotton to his knees... A boll weevil? Huh?
I wasn't raised to be a religious person, although I now go to church fairly regularly. I'm not sure if I believe in God or not; sometimes I do, fervently, sometimes I don't. But when I think about the wonder of a seed ... it's hard not to be awe-struck and amazed.
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.
Most of us know we have to prune forsythia and pinch coleus. But when I said "this tree needs to be pruned" and my darling husband said "but I did that last year," this reporter resolved to learn more about why we need to prune our plants and trees.
In today's sluggish economy, sometimes it feels like the safest thing to do with your hard-earned money is to bury it in the garden. But while stock funds are wilting, your garden can be thriving if you give it adequate water and plenty of horse manure! Read on to find out about some plants you can incorporate to figuratively "be in the money."
I've been thinking a lot about colors this winter - of interior house paint, that is! Rather than be totally distracted from gardening, I've been trying to use what I've learned in one arena to apply to the other. For instance, my house is painted - on the inside - like a plant collector's garden. That's going to change.
Now that you've found your way to Dave's Garden, can you find your way around Dave's Garden? Do you know about all the nooks and crannies here? And how about all those weird acronyms everyone seems to use - SASBE, DH, MIL, and JM? Let me be the first to welcome you and let me give you a brief tour of MY view of Dave's Garden.
Jumpstart your own holiday feelings, and imprint your children and grandchildren with a wonderful and visceral holiday memory they will treasure forever. Pomander balls is not the latest pandemic disease, no, a pomander ball is a gentle fragrant holiday craft to share with small children and a skill you can pass down for generations.
This was my first summer as a serious tomato grower. Well, okay, I had an EarthBox. I had heard all about getting stuck with too many tomatoes and seen the recipes for creative ways to use up extra tomatoes. I had tomato-stars in my eyes with pictures of roasted tomato sauce, salsa, and all the wonderful things you can do with tomatoes, as well as plans for sandwiches, and salads. My imagination knew no bounds when it came to the wonderful things I was going to do with my surplus.
Queen Anne's Lace, or Wild Carrot, or Bird's Nest, are all names for the same beautiful frilly white flower. If you live in the continental United States, this flower grows in your state! It was brought to North America by early European settlers as a medicinal herb. Is it a wildflower, a weed, a useful herb or a dangerous invader? There are certainly arguments to every side of the debate.
Is a CSA right for you? CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture, is an idea, no, a movement that is sweeping the nation's smaller or organic farms. Read on to find out how to participate in this new way of connecting with your food and the land.
The 2009 herb of the year is (drum-roll, please) bay laurel or sweet bay! This woody, aromatic perennial tree native to the Mediterranean has many reasons to be celebrated, both for its historic significance and its usefulness today. But is California bay almost as good? Please, read on.
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.
The Secret Garden - what did it really look like? If you've read the book, you remember the bricked-up secret garden which came to life when tended by Mary Lennox. If you haven't, perhaps I can convince you to pick up a copy somewhere and read it! Although it's a children's book, it has captivated the hearts of gardeners for generations. Here are some photographs of what the adult in me thinks the flowers in Mary's Secret Garden might have looked like.
My darling husband got me a bouquet of red roses the other day! He ordered it through an online company three weeks ahead of time, just to be sure. It was supposed to arrive on the eleventh anniversary of the day we first met—what a sweetheart! Instead, I got a bouquet of red roses the day he ordered it, three weeks earlier than our anniversary. Er ... I guess we won't be using that particular company again!
In fact, many people are better off without wheat in their diet, and most of us would benefit by expanding our palates to include more grains. There are other kinds of nuts, seeds and grains to cook with besides all-purpose wheat flour. My journey began when my daughter was diagnosed with celiac disease, but it taught me about foods I never knew existed, and forced me to reexamine everything in my kitchen.