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 […]

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 […]


Recently a friend who is a great gardener told me about the Garden State Heirloom Seed Society, and its website, 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             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 […]


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             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 […]


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 […]