Photo by Melody

Dave's Garden Articles: By Carrie Lamont

Monday, December 24, 2012

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Seasoned Greetings! Traditional flavors can spice up your holidays this year.
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

When the Christmas tree comes in a box that gets stored in the garage, the cookies come hermetically sealed from a factory and the open fire appears crackling on your flat panel screen, take back the visceral connection to your holidays with the fragrance of spices.

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Saturday, December 22, 2012

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Lady Bird Johnson, First Lady of wildflowers!
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

This woman was born on December 22, 1912 as Claudia Alta Taylor in Karnack, Texas. She died nearly 95 years later as Lady Bird Johnson, one of the most influential First Ladies the United States has ever known. How did the one become the other, and how do beautification and wildflowers fit in? She brought something lovely to the role of First Lady and the country has, thankfully, never recovered.

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Monday, December 10, 2012

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Figgy pudding, English Christmas pudding, and boiled plum pudding for the holiday season
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Figgy pudding: we know we all want some, but what is it? And what was Mrs. Cratchit doing with the Christmas pudding in Dickens' A Christmas Carol? Plum Pudding and other steamed desserts ... we're not talking about sugary gooey stuff from Jello anymore.

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Friday, November 30, 2012

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Sparkling Bottle Trees: an American craft
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Do you collect old and beautiful bottles, or just have a hard time throwing away pretty ones? As kids on Maine beaches, we all collected sea glass, and cobalt blue was the best. When I arrived in the south, I was delighted to discover the regional craft of bottle trees, displaying bottles in the yard or garden on sticks or on a 'tree'. It turns out that blue bottles are the most sought after for bottle trees, too. Plant a bottle tree in your yard or living room to add glitter with no watering.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

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Beautiful, yummy, and good for you too, cranberries are not just for Thanksgiving any more!
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

The humble northern cranberry has been associated with Thanksgiving and turkey since 1620. It is said that Native Americans first taught the hungry Pilgrims how to eat this acidic berry. Now cranberry sauce is a important part of Christmas in English-speaking countries everywhere, as well as a necessary part of Canadian and American Thanksgivings. Cranberries have been touted recently with having innumerable health benefits. To me, cranberries are a local industry and a delicious easy-to-make side dish.

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Monday, November 12, 2012

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Why do trees reject their leaves in the autumn?
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

How did "fall" come to be? I mean, how did it come about that the more evolutionarily successful plants were those that discarded their leaves when the winter equinox approached? How did this whole arrangement get started, anyway? Not all plants lose their leaves, so what is going on?

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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

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Cosmos species from the Americas are easy annuals
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

There are at least four species and dozens of cultivars of annual Cosmos flowers, which are simple to grow from seed and native to the Americas. You can easily grow a whole galaxy of flowers!

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Monday, October 8, 2012

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In 1492 Columbus Sailed the Ocean Blue: The Columbian Exchange
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Most of what we learned in school about Christopher Columbus wasn't true. He wasn't the first person to postulate a spherical world instead of a flat one . He wasn't the first explorer from the Eastern Hemisphere to the Western. The Italian-born Columbus, bank-rolled by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain, did eventually find the Caribbean islands, although he remained convinced that he had found the East Indies. But Columbus set off an era of inter-continental exploration and settlement--and started the movement of plants and other organisms from one hemisphere to another.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

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Ordering Spring Bulbs - my fall resolutions
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Have you already gotten your first catalog of spring-blooming bulbs, to be planted in the fall? Are you drooling? It's hard not to. Take a minute to catch your breath, put away your credit card, and give some thought to your spring and summer bulb display. Planting bulbs is a traditional fall family activity in much of the world, but it pays to take a little time to plan before you dig.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

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Fall Chores for C-c-c-cold Climates
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Autumn means different things to different people, but everyone has a list of fall gardening chores. In New England winter comes on faster every year, somehow, and I feel less prepared every year. Maybe it's as I learn more, the list of things I feel I absolutely have to do gets longer. Here, I humbly offer the wimpy chilly person's guide to fall gardening chores.

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

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Chenopodium quinoa--ancient food of Incan civilization is packed with protein and a delicious, modern choice
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Chenopodium Quinoa is an ancient food that is becoming more and more popular and getting lots of press as a healthy and delicious menu option. Quinoa is packed with protein and important vitamins, so even if you're a confirmed carnivore, you should take a look at this nutritious relative of spinach. Who knew? (And why did Pizarro forbid its cultivation?)

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Monday, August 13, 2012

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Get out the vote, but don't wait for November! Vote on the American Garden Award by August 31, 2012
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

There's a contest and you haven't voted yet! It's the American Garden Award for the best new flower of 2012, and gardeners just like you have the opportunity to vote on the specific annual you think should get this prestigious award. Dave's Garden readers have the numbers to affect the outcome of this vote. Read on for more details...

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

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Lantana--colorful, easy annual, or weedy menace?
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

"THE LANTANA GROWS IN POPULARITY" scream the headlines of the 1937 New York Times Gardening section. "Grow Lantana for Your Butterfly Gardens!" or "Best Lantana Selection in Florida!" announce current gardening resources. If you haven't grown this colorful, easy-care annual, maybe it's time to learn more about it.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

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Plant Perennials in the Fall, Instead of the Spring
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

This autumn, consider planting perennials. There is no reason to wait for spring - fall is a perfect time for planting!

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Friday, June 29, 2012

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Amazing facts about water
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Since my family's move to hot, dry Texas from cold, wet Massachusetts, water and its presence or absence have been on my mind a lot! There's plenty of trivia about water to go around: 90% of our planet is covered with it, our bodies are 60% water (depending on age, gender, and other factors), but what do we really know about it, and why does it matter so much to gardeners?

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

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Buying annual plants (and other stuff) on eBay -- is it a good idea?
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

We all know people who made a killing on eBay. They decorated their house with eBay purchases (and it shows). We know people who are nearly addicted to the bidding process, for whom the chase is more important than the actual item. Then there are the sad cases of folks planning to put their child through college by buying undervalued designer purses at yard sales and reselling them on eBay. But what about plants? Is it wise to purchase them on eBay, especially when we have our own Marketplace right here?

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Monday, May 21, 2012

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Calibrachoa -- have you tried them yet?
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

I fell in love with Calibrachoa the first time I saw them. Of course I bought one or two. They appealed to the container gardener in me: a plant in miniature, where texture happens on a small scale and petite and perky trump brash and bold. "They're miniature petunias" I said smugly to my husband. Smugness didn't get me far with my new plants, and I didn't have my grandmother's luck with petunias (or her hired gardener's). I soon concluded that "miniature petunias" and I were not to be.

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Friday, April 27, 2012

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Allergic and gardening....do you have to choose?
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Those of us with allergies are in a constant battle with those of us with none. But what do allergies say about our gardening style...does a pollen allergy mean you can't (or shouldn't) garden? How do you get around it if you just have to garden?

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

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Olea europeaea--an ancient crop and an acquired taste--olives!
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Many people dislike olives the first time they try them, but oh, once you acquire the taste, you become curious! Would they taste as good on a pizza as they do in that salad? (Oh, yes!) Where do they come from, what makes them so special, and are they a fruit, a vegetable, or what?

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

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Caffeine: the most widely consumed drug in the world
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Caffeine: you can chew caffeinated gum, use caffeinated soap or even caffeinated lip balm. Cosmetics promise you will look brighter and more alert if you use their caffeine-containing creams. More plants contain caffeine than you're probably aware of, some of which you can grow and some of which are found only deep in the Amazon jungle. It is the only known psychoactive drug that can be sold with absolutely no regulation. Caffeine has been keeping humans awake for thousands and thousands of years. Exactly where does this enervating chemical occur, and how does it benefit the plant producing it?

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

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It's St. Valentine's Day - say thanks to plants
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

It's Saint Valentine's Day, February 14! It's a day to give a superhero or princess valentine to everyone in first grade, or to buy your sweetheart at least one rose, if not dozens of them! It's a day to present your significant other with the biggest most ostentatious card you can find, the one that says "for all the million ways I love you...." and then lists them each in great detail (it's a big card). It's DEFINITELY a day to give that special someone chocolate (a known aphrodisiac*). But what happened to St. Valentine, and what is this article doing on a gardening site?

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Friday, January 20, 2012

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Saint Francis of Assisi, beyond the garden statue
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

From mischievous gnomes to laughing Buddhas to bottle trees, we have plenty of choices of what art we put in our gardens. Why on earth would we want a statue of a medieval monk in our 21st century garden? Read more about this visionary figure...

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Friday, January 13, 2012

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Camellia sinensis: January is hot tea month!
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

January is the perfect month to celebrate hot tea! By January, the chill has really started to settle into our bones here in New England (and parts of the world that experience cold winters). Hot tea is the perfect antidote for the inevitable sore throats and icy feet. So lift your mug of chai, green tea, Irish Breakfast or an herbal concoction from your own garden in salute to Camellia sinensis!

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Saturday, December 24, 2011

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An orange in your Christmas stocking?
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Why do we have oranges in the tip of our Christmas stockings, whether it's just any old sock or a cherished, hand-made creation or maybe something store-bought? Why an orange? SPOILER ALERT: If you don't like finding out where traditions originate, read no further. You might find out more than you wanted to about Santa Claus.

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

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Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree! Wherever did you come from?
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

Many of us put up one (or more) decorated and lighted trees, inside our homes and out in December. Lots of these trees have presents under them. Have you ever wondered why? Where, when and how did these curious customs originate?

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

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Will the REAL sugarplum please do a pirouette?
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

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 . . .

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Friday, November 11, 2011

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The Great Black Blizzard - farming techniques and the Dust Bowl of the1930s
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

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!)

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

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Leaf peepers - what are they and what do they do?
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

"Leaf Peeping!" my husband told me, "It's the major source of New England's travel industry economy from early October through mid-November. They come from all over the world!"

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Friday, September 23, 2011

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The Royal Wedding Theme Garden
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

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

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Monday, August 29, 2011

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Storing your harvest - the vegetables!
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

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?

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Friday, August 5, 2011

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Exciting Diascia Varieties You'll "Die" For
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

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.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

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One Bad Apple CAN Spoil the Whole Bunch OR a Brief Guide to Storing Fresh Fruit
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

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?

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

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The Coreopsis Moonbeam that wouldn't go away!
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

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!

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Friday, June 3, 2011

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Contain Your Plants - Teach Your Plants to Live In Pots, and Like It
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

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!

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

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Pruning Your Forsythia - It's Time!
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

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.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

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Think Monet!
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

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.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

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If the world is getting warmer, why is it so cold?
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

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.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

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Sugar on Snow
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

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!

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

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Zone Envy - admit it, you've felt it too!
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

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!)

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

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Bloomsick...
By Carrie Lamont (carrielamont)

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!

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