Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dig In- Pinching 101

This is the perfect time to pinch back certain perennials like tall varieties of Aster, Garden Phlox and Beebalm. Pinching or snipping the plant back by about 1/3 results in a fuller, bushy plant that is self-supporting. It will push the bloom time out a few weeks, so if you're going to try this technique do it before the middle of June. Late bloomers pinched after that may not have time to set bud and flower. For lots more info on manipulating height and bloom time via pinching see Tracy DiSabato-Aust's excellent book The Well Tended Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning techniques, Timber Press, Portland, OR, 1998.

For more gardening tips from Nettie at Uncanoonuc, click here.

To learn more about Uncanoonuc Mt. Perennials, visit their website at www.uncanoonucmt.com

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Gallery

Lilac by Pierre-Joseph Redoute' 1759-1840

After posting Rachel's wonderful drawing of her bright red poppy on Saturday, I thought about how most of us spend a great deal of our childhood practicing the art of "botanical illustration" and then, for some reason at a certain age, give it up. Remember all those drawings of trees, grass and big, bright-faced daisies you did as a kid? What better way to bring us closer to nature and teach us the intricacies of the plant world!  I seem to be reverting to childhood in more ways than one these days and so I am now vowing to dust off my watercolors, buy a new brush or two, and have at it once again!  Care to join me?

Luckily for us, one person who never gave up on the fine art of botanical illustration was Pierre-Joseph Redoute'.  Although Redoute' was famous for his detailed illustrations of roses, I chose his illustration of a lilac as an example of his work. Lilacs are one of my favorite spring flowers and we try to extend their season as long as possible here at Juniper Hill as you'll see in an upcoming post. For more detail on Pierre-Joseph Redoute', please read on.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Rachel's Garden- My Poppy

For more art from Rachel's Garden, click here.

To see what this is all about, click here.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Out Now

Malus 'Donald Wyman'
The Crabapples Are Singing

We have over twenty crabapples scattered throughout the garden and right about now, when their flowers are in full bloom, they are all buzzing. Loaded with bees, you can't walk by any one of them without it sounding like an experiment in electricity gone haywire.

English Gardens

We just returned from several weeks of visiting gardens in England.  It was an incredible trip!  I had the opportunity to see some of the great gardens in that country, I learned a lot, and met some wonderful gardeners.

I am just now sorting through the thousand images I brought back with me and, over the course of the following weeks, will be posting my impressions of gardens such as Hidcote, Sissinghurst, Great Dixter, Bourton House, Snowshill, Kiftsgate, Highgrove, The Courts, as well as some surprising gems we found along the way. Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Guest Blogger -Tovah Martin

photo by Steven Clar
Even if the only gardening you've ever done was to hang a pot of petunias on the side porch, you have probably heard of Tovah Martin.  She is a legendary and passionate gardener with experience that runs deep.

For 25 years she was with the famousLogee's Greenhouses in Connecticut and then with White Flower Farm.  She is the author of over a dozen gardening books, including the best-selling Tasha Tudor's Garden, and her latest book, The New Terrarium, has been recommended reading by the New York Times Book Review.  

She is a prolific writer and contributes to many of the top-selling home and gardening magazines, including Country Gardens, Horticulture, Garden Design, and Country Living.  She also writes her own gardening blog, Plantswise, and is a regular contributor to the popular blog, Gardening Gone Wild.

When she's not writing, lecturing, or appearing on TV and radio, she is singlehandedly maintaining her own 7-acre organic property that includes perennial borders, berry, vegetable and herb gardens.

In the entry below, Tovah describes that wonderful interplay between light, shadow and the mid-season garden.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Heritage Breed Livestock

A critically endangered Randall Ox.  One of
only approximately 200 worldwide
In several blogs that I read regularly, there has been an ongoing discussion about the importance of heirloom plants. On the one hand, there are those who believe that heirloom varieties of vegetables, for example, not only provide better taste and nutrition but, more importantly, are better adapted locally, promote biodiversity, and therefore help protect our food supply by maintaining genetic diversity in the world's food crops. Then, on the other hand, there are those who believe that many food and environmental activists are overly nostalgic and living in the past. They maintain that modern plant hybrid crosses produce more vigorous and disease resistant plants and that, in the end, these varieties are better suited to feed the world.  

I thought this might be a good time to extend this discussion to the world of animal husbandry through the following post on heritage breed livestock, portions of which I originally wrote for Monadnock Living magazine.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Dig In- Staking Peonies

Peonies are coming up, and we are starting to put support rings on the doubles. The peony rings keep the heavy flowers from flopping after rain storms. It is much easier to insert the supports early before the plants have fully leafed out. Start by inserting the three legs in a triangle around the plant.Then thread the two rings through the loops on the legs. Hook the ring ends together where they meet.

For more gardening tips from Nettie at Uncanoonuc, click here.

To learn more about Uncanoonuc Mt. Perennials, visit their website at www.uncanoonucmt.com

The Green Grass of Home

With this beautiful Spring weather, I think the grass has grown an inch a day.  And if you think I'm excited about all this flush of green, you should see the sheep. They don't look sheepish at all.  They are all wearing smiley faces. And every once in awhile all the lambs get happy feet and they jump and hop around like they're on little pogo sticks. This usually starts with one lamb and then quickly spreads to the rest like some sort of Saint Vitus dance.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Guest Blogger -Gordon Hayward

Gordon Hayward, an acclaimed garden designer and lecturer, is the author of over ten books and countless articles on gardening and garden design.  He has been a contributing editor for Fine Gardening magazine and is now a contributing editor for Organic Gardening magazine.  Gordon and his wife Mary also maintain a one-and one-half-acre garden at their home in rural Vermont that's recognized as one of the finest private gardens in the country.

With the upcoming gardening season right around the corner, Gordon urges us to take the time to visit other gardens in order to gain a fresh perspective on our own endeavors.  In this post, Visiting a Garden, he points out that we can get so much more out of visiting a garden if we are willing to set aside preconceived notions and simply open our eyes.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Rachel's Garden- It's Lamb Time

For more art from Rachel's Garden, click here.

To see what this is all about, click here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Window Shopping

I have to admit that, after spending the entire winter driving past all my favorite nurseries and garden centers and seeing them boarded up with signs out front that said things like "closed for the season, reason freezin," this warm spring weather brings out the garden shopper in me.  And let's hope that the warm spring weather continues this weekend.

This weekend is Mother's Day weekend which represents the largest grossing retail weekend of the year for garden centers and nurseries across the country. According to the National Retail Federation, total spending is expected to reach $16.3 billion.  And, although sales of flowers continue to slump, sales of housewares or gardening tools are expected to increase to levels not seen since 2007.  For small garden centers, the weather on Mother's Day weekend can either make or break their business for the entire season.  So, I hope for the best.

For those of you who simply can't get out and patronize your friendly local garden center this weekend, you can do a little virtual window shopping by clicking here or on the photo above.  All of the photographs were taken recently at Terrain, just outside of Philadelphia in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania, by Andrea Geesaman.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Out Now

To see more of what's out right now in the garden, click   read more>>.
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