Responsible Gardening

RESPONSIBLE GARDENING By Dr. Leonard Perry Extension Greenhouse and Nursery Crops Specialist University of Vermont The issue of native plants has been the subject of quite a few articles and seminars these past few years. The issue involves such questions as “What is a native plant?” And, “How far should a gardener go in planting natives to the exclusion of […]

Historical Interest Perennials and Gardens

OF HISTORICAL INTEREST–PERENNIALS AND GARDENS By Dr. Leonard Perry Extension Greenhouse and Nursery Crops Specialist University of Vermont Did you know that some of the plants you have in your garden may have played a role in history? The Native Americans may have used some for medicinal or ceremonial purposes, for example. Other plants were discovered or introduced to this […]

Autumn Decorations

AUTUMN DECORATIONS By Dr. Leonard Perry Extension Greenhouse and Nursery Crops Specialist University of Vermont Autumn is often associated with certain decorations, including cornucopias, garlands, straw or grapevine wreaths, and dried flower arrangements. Although many decorations can be bought ready-made, making your own can be a fun family activity for a fall afternoon. For the cornucopia, which signifies a bountiful […]

FLEUR DE LYS – Gardening

FLEUR DE LYS The big, bearded German iris (Iris germanica) in my backyard are going to need dividing this year. As it is, each plant has a full compliment of muscular sword-shaped leaves, out of which sprout sturdy stalks with bulging buds that are almost ready to open. The show will be tremendous this year, though I have had almost […]


BROTHER CADFAEL I love to read, and I do it as often as the necessary business of life allows. Sometimes when real life is too overwhelming, and I can’t face a literary novel or a meaty biography, I turn to mysteries. As a mystery lover and a gardener, I find particular solace in the Brother Cadfael series, by the late […]

ANDROMEDA – Gardening

ANDROMEDA Legend has it that Cassiopeia, an ancient queen of Ethiopia, bragged to Poseidon, god of the sea, that her daughter, Andromeda, was more beautiful than Poseidon’s sea nymphs. Poseidon was touchy about such things, and punished Cassiopeia by sending a sea monster to terrorize the Ethiopians. Eventually the Ethiopian rulers consulted oracles who told them that Andromeda had to […]

SWORD LILIES – Gardening

SWORD LILIES Sometimes a garden just needs a bit of intensity. For several years my front borders have been full of soothing pastels, with peaches and pale yellows predominating, accented with lots of white. The result is pleasing, but nothing reinvigorates like a little change, so last year I decided to add some gold nasturtiums to the mix. They proved […]

POTS AND PLANS – Gardening

POTS AND PLANS             Gardening fads and fashions are as perennial as gardening itself.  This spring giant plants such Colocasia (elephant ears) and Alocasia are all over the covers of gardening magazines and catalogs.  Next year miniatures will probably return, only to be supplanted after awhile by something else.  Editorial ink always flows like water over Niagara Falls, submerging the […]


MYSTERY CACTUS             Last week I dropped in to see one of my daughter’s former teachers.  The teacher has a warm sunny classroom with an array of flourishing potted plants on the windowsills.  It was a midwinter treat to see such luxuriant geraniums and aloes.  I just missed the blooming period of a large jasmine, but from the size of […]


ANTIQUE PAGES A couple of years ago I met a fascinating woman in her sixties who had made a career as an estate gardener. Working for an assortment of wealthy clients, she spent years weeding, dividing and deadheading her way through all kinds of beds and borders. The work also provided her with opportunities to pursue her interest in garden […]