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November 2009
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  • The Wildlife Nursery July 22, 2014
      Gardening often provides the closest encounters we ever have with wild creatures.  It is a solace and a distraction in bad times, and a shared joy in good ones.  ~Ursula Buchan     When you establish a wildlife garden, you need to be aware that at some point in the spring, summer or fall you will […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all t […]
    Donna Donabella
  • The Good in Grapevines July 18, 2014
    I am sometimes dismayed by the rapid growth of my Muscadine grapevines (Vitis rotundifolia).  Then I spot a bird picking through them and I relax and am glad that I procrastinated on cutting back. Heck, this southeastern native vine can be cut back at any time. This past week I watched the cardinals dancing in […] We love hearing from you! Please click here […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • A Monarch Waystation in a Mall’s Landscaping July 17, 2014
    At the Healthy Living Market, which occupies the old JC Penny’s space in the Wilton Mall of Saratoga Springs, NY, there is a new Monarch Waystation site. I had the privilege of doing a landscape renovation to the surrounding island beds and sidewalk gardens this spring. We included many native perennials, and cumulatively the site […] We love hearing from yo […]
    Jesse Elwert
  • Smooth Sumac July 15, 2014
      Just a couple weeks ago, some of the bushes along my woodland edges were abuzz with pollinator activity. The flowers of Smooth Sumac, Rhus glabra, were the magnet.   Butterflies, including this Red-banded Hairstreak, Calycopis cecrops, were part of the crowd.   Honey Bees, gathering nectar, to help some bee keeper with his honey supply were also attracted. […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • Sweet as honeyvine July 14, 2014
    This “weed” is a host plant Honeyvine milkweed (Cynanchum laeve) is a vigorous, perennial trailing vine that is native to our eastern and central states.  Some people consider it to be a nuisance “weed”, but I call it Monarch caterpillar food. Hardy hearts I like the honeyvine’s heart-shaped leaves and the fact that I never […] We love hearing from you! Plea […]
    Judy Burris
  • Yellow and Blue make Beauty in the Garden July 11, 2014
    When I see the bright yellow flowers of the Partridge Pea (Chamaecrista* fasciculata) I tend to think of Sulphur butterflies because it is a larval host for several members of the Sulphur butterfly family. The other day I was out enjoying the diversity of insect activity on the Partridge Pea plants back in my pond […] We love hearing from you! Please click h […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Tracking Down a Lonesome Dove July 11, 2014
    Boy, were husband Matt and I baffled when a friend sent us this picture of a bird nest on the ground, with chick and egg. “What is it?” he wanted to know. “Precocious young?” That was our first thought when seeing a feathered youngster next to an egg—that “precocial” youngster already had feathers when it hatched. […] We love hearing from you! Please click h […]
    Sally Roth
  • What Native Plants Will Stay Green In Summer Drought? July 10, 2014
    In Southern California, we have a problem: There’s no green stuff in the summertime.  Many of our native perennial plants die back and leave you with a garden that is, well, lacking for the color green.  Most of us have this ńeed to see green in the garden, so much so that we would go […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautiful p […]
    Kathy Vilim
  • Vital Velvet Mesquite II July 9, 2014
      In this summer month when the mesquite pods begin to ripen, I have been discussing mesquite in a number of my blogs (see list at the end of this article). The naturally sweet seed pods of the native velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina) are a valuable source of food for numerous desert dwellers. Two-legged desert […] We love hearing from you! Please click he […]
    Jacqueline Soule

#GardenChat

Weekend Update

Another busy weekend in the indoor garden. A Saturday check of the plants revealed herb roots peeking out of the sage and basil pots, lavender sprouting (The envelope said 21 days for germination, it’s been one week.), and FRAGRANCE! The scent of Thai basil was lingering in the air as I entered and, for a moment, I forgot I was inside in November. Add to that the scent of Silver Fir Tree tomato foliage as I rotated the pots and I was reminded this truly is a garden, regardless of location.

silver-fir-tree-leaf-heirloom-tomato-seedling

Silvery foliage of heirloom tomatoes.

organic-Thai-basil-seedling

Thai basil seedling.

organic-creeping-thyme-seedling

Purple creeping thyme.

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Wrinkled foliage of common sage.

Saturday also brought the mailman to our door with books. The weather is quickly changing and a few new reads aren’t as much a luxury as a necessity when the snow flies. New to the bookshelf:

  • “Second Nature” by Michael Pollan. Chosen by the American  Horticultural Society as one of the 25 greatest books ever written, it is (to quote Frank Levering) “…Part autobiography, part gardening book, part intellectual odyssey…”. A quick flip through the book and I’m already convinced Mr. Pollan and I share a gardening spirit.
  • “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan. The entire book expands on seven simple words delivered at the very start, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” A revelation of how food was reduced to only selected nutrients and the effects it’s had on society.
  • “Food, Inc.” a guide by Participant media. The movie will change the way you look at food.  This book re-caps the movie’s messages as well as providing 13 original essays by experts illustrating the issues and providing challenges for the consumer to promote change.
  • “Restoring American gardens” by Denise wiles Adams. A hardcover encyclopedia of heirloom ornamental plants from 1640-1940. Full of vintage photos and glossy pictures as well as the history and culture of over 1,000 plants including trees, roses, annuals and perennials. Invaluable and beautiful.

pollan-schlosser-adams-books-organic-gardening

This weekend also blessed me with a gift from my hubby, a membership to Seed Saver’s Exchange. I’m thrilled to be a part of a network of grower’s all over the world dedicated to collecting, conserving and sharing heirloom seeds. Please consider joining a reputable seed saving organization or co-op or giving a membership as a gift. Help protect bio-diversity and our gardening heritage for our future and the future of our children.

seed-saver-exchange-membership-pamphlet

seed-savers-exchange-inside-membership-pamphlet

Finally, Sunday was jam-making day with fresh cranberries mixed with frozen strawberries saved from summer for Christmas Jam.(Recipe here.) Bright red and sweetly tart it’s perfect for toasted home-baked bread on snowy winter mornings. I like to tuck a few jars away for a delicious handmade gift. Now that I think about it, everything here would be a welcomed gift. They were for me!

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