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 – Gardening

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 […]

PAGING THROUGH THE PAST

Recently a friend who is a great gardener told me about the Garden State Heirloom Seed Society, and its website, www.historyyoucaneat.org. According to its founders, the website is devoted, to “New Jersey heirloom fruits and vegetables, and their culinary, medicinal, and historical value, to food and history-lovers around the globe. The site is fascinating. An essay written by Joseph Cavanaugh, […]

SHADY CHARACTERS

SHADY CHARACTERS             Lots of people, including gardeners, regard trees the same way they regard health food–good for you, but likely to produce undesirable side effects.  And the side effect that some people have the smallest tolerance for is shade.  Before the advent of air conditioning, shade was a desirable thing.  Tall trees kept people, animals and dwellings cool in […]

SHOWHOUSE FLOWERS

SHOWHOUSE FLOWERS             If you ever thumb through the pages of a “shelter magazine” such as House Beautiful or House & Garden, you will see photographs that contain very few human beings and lots of flowers and plants.  This focus on greenery is not restricted to the one or two feature articles that such publications generally devote to gardening.  Growing […]

TROPICAL DREAMS

TROPICAL DREAMS             A slow spring is absolutely painful.  After waiting all winter for the warm soft breezes and pollen-induced sneezes that herald spring in this part of the world, it is awful to have to put up with cold rainy weather.  It seems to dampen the spirits without appreciably diminishing the pollen count.             Still, there are compensations.  The […]

GREEN UNDERPINNINGS

GREEN UNDERPINNINGS             I always feel badly about removing an established plant.  I am not talking about uprooting something so that it can be moved to another place in the yard or even given away to a friend.  I am referring to the situation where a plant is not going to be salvaged unless someone picks it up off the […]

Twining and Vining

Twining and Vining             I started thinking about vines when I found a turn-of-the-last-century photograph of my house, and noticed that a vine used to climb up the pillar to the right of the front door.  The large front porch, so beloved of realtors, was, at the time, almost completely obscured by a curtain of vines.  They must have been […]