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Dave's Garden Articles: By Gwen Bruno

Monday, December 15, 2014

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Frankincense, a Christmas Treasure
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

In the Bible’s Christmas narrative, three wise men bear gifts to honor the newborn baby Jesus. Among the treasures bestowed at the manger is something called frankincense. Once considered a tribute fit for a king, this aromatic resin still retains a reputation as a precious substance.

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Friday, December 5, 2014

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Happy Fruitcake Month
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Fruitcake lovers, unite! Serve this traditional Christmas treat with pride, because December is National Fruitcake Month.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

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The Herbs and Spices of Thanksgiving
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

What would Thanksgiving be without herbs and spices? Imagine turkey and stuffing minus the fragrance of sage, thyme, rosemary and marjoram. Pumpkin pie wouldn't taste as rich without cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and allspice. Among the many blessings of today's cooks and bakers is the ease with which we obtain and use these delicious seasonings.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

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A Short History of the Chrysanthemum
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Reflecting the spicy scents and mellow colors of autumn, chrysanthemums are a beloved component of the fall landscape. Introduced to the new world during colonial times, the mum now reigns as one of America's favorite flowers.

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Monday, November 3, 2014

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Garden Visitor: The Red-Bellied Woodpecker
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Among the collective names for a group of woodpeckers is a “drumming”. This seems especially appropriate for the red-bellied woodpecker, a species with its own special form of percussion.

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

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A November Almanac
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

“No warmth, no cheerfulness, no helpful ease, no comfortable feel in any member -- no shade, no shine, no butterflies, no bees, no fruits, no flowers, no leaves, no birds -- November!” Poet Thomas Hood’s clever summary of the month notwithstanding, the eleventh month offers many delights, not least of which are the sights and scents of autumn turning to winter.

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

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Prunes or Dried Plums: By Any Name, A Healthy Treat
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

In an attempt to shrug off the negative connotations of the name “prune”, this dried fruit has undergone something of a public relations makeover during the last decade or so. Now marketed as “dried plums”, the product is touted as a nutrient- and fiber-rich addition to a healthful diet.

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Sunday, October 12, 2014

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Full Moon Names of the Native Americans
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

When colonists settled and began farming in North America, they adopted the full moon names of the Algonquian tribes who lived throughout New England to Lake Superior. These moon names, and numerous others used by many other Native American tribes, are poetically descriptive and evocative of the seasons and of nature’s gifts. They also reflect the sometimes harsh climate of the North American continent, and the traditions and ways of life of its first people.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

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Garden Visitor: The Tufted Titmouse
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Among the most acrobatic of foragers among the treetops, the tufted titmouse can often be seen clinging upside down on a tree in search of insects hidden behind bark or leaves.

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

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Colorful Kale: Using Ornamental Kale To Brighten The Fall Landscape
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Kale is a popular vegetable, but it is also a great decorative plant for autumn. It thrives in cooler weather and the foliage lasts for weeks.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

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Raisins and Raisin Pie
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

One of the world’s oldest sweet treats, the raisin is the dried fruit of the grape. A good source of fiber, iron and certain antioxidants and phytochemicals, raisins are easy to eat out of hand and add delicious texture and flavor to many recipes.

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Monday, September 8, 2014

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Leadwort: A True Blue Fall Friend
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

This easy-care creeper sends up dainty blooms in the fall, when most other perennials are winding down. In addition to its intensely blue flowers and long bloom time, leadwort has the added benefit of color-changing foliage.

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Friday, August 15, 2014

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Garden Visitor: The Blue Jay
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Few song birds command attention quite like the blue jay. With its handsome blue-gray feathers and striking markings, this fearless, noisy marauder catches both the eye and the ear.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

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Cup Plant: A Prairie Giant
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

With leaves that serve as a tiny well, the cup plant offers a summertime oasis to all sorts of birds and insects. This imposing native of the Midwestern tallgrass prairies makes a bold statement wherever it grows.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

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Garden Visitor: The Red-Winged Blackbird
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

With his distinctive markings, the male red-winged blackbird is instantly recognizable. He calls attention to himself, not only by showing off his bright epaulets, but through his ostentatious behavior and constant song.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

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Monarda: Fireworks in the Garden
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

With leaves redolent of mint and long-blooming flowers in jewel-like shades, monarda refreshes the senses throughout the high days of summer. Resembling tiny explosions of color, the nectar-rich blossoms are irresistible to bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

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Monday, June 23, 2014

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Garden Visitor: The Rose-Breasted Grosbeak
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

The rose-breasted grosbeak is one of the most handsome birds to visit backyard feeders. Unusually tame and unafraid of humans, these birds can be coaxed into eating sunflower seeds from your hand.

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Monday, June 9, 2014

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Scabiosa for Summer-Long Bloom
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

An old-fashioned favorite, perennial scabiosa adds color and charm to the garden in early summer and beyond. As an added bonus, the lightly fragrant, nectar-rich flowers attract hummingbirds and beneficial insects like bees and butterflies.

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Friday, May 30, 2014

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Lily of the Valley, Symbol of May
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Birth flower for May babies, lily of the valley has long been a welcome sign of spring in many cultures. It’s also said to bring luck in love, making it a popular wedding flower.

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

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Garden Visitor: The House Finch
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

With his rosy red breast and happy song, the house finch is a welcome sight at many backyard feeders. This native of the Western US is now common across the entire continent.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

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Garden Magic: Alchemilla
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Some perennials have a reputation for lovely flowers, others for handsome foliage. Alchemilla earns its keep by delivering on both counts.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

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Garden Visitor: The House Wren
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Its nondescript appearance belies the house wren's special talent -- each spring, this tiny brown bird delivers serenades worthy of an opera star.

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Friday, April 4, 2014

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Heavenly Hyacinth
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Originally a rather humble spring bulb, hyacinth’s history can be traced back to the time of the ancient Greeks. Markedly improved in form, size and color, today’s hybridized hyacinth has fortunately retained a heavenly scent. As few as three of these classic beauties can perfume a spring garden or walkway for weeks.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

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Know Your Narcissus
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Few flowers better signify the triumph of spring over winter than the narcissus, or daffodil. Perky, hardy and often delightfully fragrant, these flowers are a cheerful reminder that warmer weather is on the way.

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

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Shamrock, Symbol of Ireland
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

The association of Ireland and the shamrock is an ancient one. It may have begun when a 5th century Christian missionary named Patrick visited the island to spread the gospel.

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Monday, February 17, 2014

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Garden Visitor: The Dark-Eyed Junco
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Cold weather brings its own delights for bird watchers. Now is the perfect time to observe the handsome little dark-eyed junco, whose contrasting colors sparkle against the winter backdrop.

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Monday, February 3, 2014

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Sansevieria, the Beginner's Houseplant
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Want to add some green to a room, but afraid you have a brown thumb? If so, the sansevieria is for you. Few other houseplants are as adaptable or as willing to endure neglect.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

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Garden Visitor: The Chipping Sparrow
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Chipping sparrows are among the most commonly seen and heard North American songbirds. They take their name from the sharp chip sound they make as they call to their flockmates. During the winter, as many as 25 to 50 chipping sparrows may forage together as a group.

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Monday, January 6, 2014

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Amaryllis on the Rocks: Growing Hippeastrum in Water
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

I recently decided to try growing an amaryllis (Hippeastrum) in water. I was so happy with my first attempt that I began preparing a new bulb every two to three weeks. With nothing more than a glass container, a bulb and a few stones, big beautiful blooms can be yours with a minimum of muss and fuss.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

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White House Christmas Trees
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Millions of holiday trees are cut and sold every year in the U.S. But only one magnificent evergreen is chosen to adorn the Blue Room in the president's Washington, D.C., residence. What began as a festive decoration intended for the enjoyment of the First Family has today become a symbol of the season for Americans across the country.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

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Garden Visitor: The Northern Mockingbird
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

That the northern mockingbird is the state bird of Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas attests to its popularity. Although its coloring is fairly nondescript, the boisterous song of this avian entertainer is anything but ordinary.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

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A December Almanac
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

For gardeners in warmer zones, the month of December offers an opportunity to grow cool season annuals and vegetables. Those in more northern areas must content themselves with end-of-the-year chores as they make sure their borders and beds are ready for winter. Indoor gardeners everywhere enjoy amaryllis and other bulbs prepared for forcing, as well as holiday houseplant favorites such as poinsettia, Norfolk Island pine and Christmas cactus.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

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Over the River and Through the Wood: A Thanksgiving Tradition
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Many of America's Thanksgiving holiday traditions are rooted in colonial and post-colonial New England. The state of New York was the first to officially declare an annual Thanksgiving celebration, and by the mid-19th century, other states had begun adopting the practice.

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Friday, November 8, 2013

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Garden Visitor: The White-Breasted Nuthatch
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Bird watchers are far more likely to spy the white-breasted nuthatch hanging upside-down than perching right-side up. That’s because it travels head-first down tree trunks, stopping periodically to investigate crevices in the bark.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

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The History of the Bayberry Candle
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

One of the most important autumn tasks of the colonial American housewife was candle dipping. Probably few candles were as pleasant to work with as those made from bayberry wax.

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Monday, October 7, 2013

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Garden Visitor: The Northern Flicker
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Next to the friendly downy woodpecker, the most common woodpecker visitor in American back yards is the northern flicker. These percussionists of the bird world are best known for their loud drumming.

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

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An October Almanac
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

Crisp October's shorter days and cooler nights elicit a last hurrah from many flowers, shrubs and trees. But what a hurrah! This month offers up some of the year’s most lovely weather, and gives us a brief opportunity to enjoy the sight of brilliant red, orange and gold leaves standing against bright blue skies.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

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Osage Orange, an American Original
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

At one time, the osage orange tree grew solely in one distinct area of North America -- the Red River Valley of southern Oklahoma and northern Texas. Named for the Osage tribes of that region, the tree’s range has extended far beyond its original home within the span of only a few hundred years.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

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Garden Visitor: The Indigo Bunting
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

With its deep blue plumage and melodic voice, the indigo bunting is among the most dazzling of North American songbirds. Whether singing high in the treetops or foraging close to the ground, this bird always catches the ear and eye.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

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Garden Visitor: The American Goldfinch
By Gwen Bruno (gwen21)

The cheerful yellow plumage and happy song of the American goldfinch brighten a garden on even the grayest of days. These songbirds are faithful visitors to any backyard feeder dispensing nyjer seed.

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