What Are the Hardiest Gardenia Varieties?

Since January is the month Alexander Garden was born, let’s take a timely look at the popular shrub that commemorates him.

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a photograph of a gardenia plant growing in the snow in January

The Frost of Death was on the Pane—
“Secure your Flower,” said he.
Like Sailors fighting with a Leak
We fought Mortality—

In the past few years, many people who have grown gardenias outdoors have shared Emily Dickinson’s lament for the unspecified vegetable victim from poem F 1130. You may wonder just what the hardiest gardenia varieties are. The answer is developing, so let’s consider what we know about what’s available. Read more

Remember William Sullivant, Who Helped Us See and Know About the Beauty and Variety Underfoot

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A colorful tree diagram by Joachim of Fiore (around 1135–1202) from his posthumous Book of Figures showing the Tree of Humanity: From Adam to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
A tree diagram by Joachim of Fiore (around 1135–1202) from his posthumous Book of Figures showing the Tree of Humanity: From Adam to the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

There’s no more telling way that we’ve ignored the minutia of the world than the announcement recently that 99.999% of all species remain undescribed because they are microscopic. The Tree of Life, that biological concept which Darwin originated around 1837, turns out to be both a lot larger and a lot smaller than we ever knew. Read more

2018 Perennial Plant of the Year: Allium ‘Millenium’

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The 2018 Perennial Plant of the Year as it might appear in a yard. Allium 'Millenium' has very attractive leaves and flowers.
Allium ‘Millenium’ has very attractive leaves and flowers, as you can see.
Photo provided by Walters Gardens, Inc.

I hope this particular variety will be only the beginning for you if you’ve never tried the ornamental alliums before. There are many more, and in fact, I wish I could tell you just how many. Read more

Are You Excited About Beets?

note: The purpose of links is to indicate further information is available on related topics. Most links are independent, which means this web site has nothing to do with them!

a photograph showing several beets on a cutting boardBeets are closely related to the fodder beet, sugar beet, and Swiss chard, all in the Amaranth family, Amaranthaceae. The National Garden Bureau has named beets the Vegetable of 2018, which means at least some of us will be planting and eating more of them.

Having trouble with your enthusiasm? Read more

The Best Resource for January Garden Tips

a snow-covered scene painted in Hungary with open countryside, low hills, and trees in the distance, all under a fresh blue sky; the artist is József Rippl-Rónai (1861–1927)
Winter, also known as Hills in Somogy, Undated
József Rippl-Rónai (1861–1927)

In the past I’ve mentioned the potential value of discarded holiday greens and–if you’re snow-free–to look out for discarded or unwanted mums. There’s always more and more . . . and more timely seasonal advice to say, so that’s why I wanted to let you know there’s a resource that covers it all. Read more

What’s The One Thing (almost) Nobody’s Planting Right Now That Almost EVERYBODY Should Be?

There are many possible answers to this question, and we could gather an assortment, yet no one might mention it. But the best response is so obvious to a few people that it’s really hard to believe it can be an impossible secret to everyone else!

Don’t you hate those kind of secrets? Read more

Sound of the Season: Gary Schocker’s Cherry Blossoms

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a photograph looking at a blue sky through the branches of an ornamental cherry tree in bloom; this pale pink variety is called 'Akebono', which means "dawn"
This is a variety called ‘Akebono’ which means ‘Daybreak’ or ‘Dawn’.

“A simple phrase can say a thousand words that a thousand notes cannot. This is my attraction to Gary’s music. I have always identified with his music; his beautiful, elegant melodies and corresponding harmonies free of excess. It’s my legacy to share his music with the harp world.”

harpist Emily Mitchell,
check out an interview here

Over the past three decades, American flutist-composer Gary Schocker has written well over 100 pieces for harp. Only a small percentage of that abundance has been recorded, but it includes a septet called Cherry Blossoms. Written in 2006 for flute, clarinet, harp, and string quartet, Cherry Blossoms may recall the instrumentation of another piece now a century old. In case the unusual instrumentation seems familiar, that’s because Read more