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Long known as “The Dear Leader,” Kim Jong-il was from 1980 a member of the Presidium of the Political Bureau of the Workers’ Party of Korea, from 1991 the Supreme Commander of the People’s Army, and from 1993 Chairman of the National Defense Commission of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea until he died in 2011. That’s an assortment of important names, isn’t it?
From February 1988, added to this array was a new variety of begonia to reflect them, ‘Kimjongilhwa.’
In the second act of a play you might have seen or read, Juliet Capulet asks her boyfriend, “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / By any other word would smell as sweet.” Although they can be arbitrary or intentional, there is much to a name indeed. Read more
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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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
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Over most of its range, this tree comes into bloom before March. In the area around Philadelphia, where it was introduced to this country, it is also among the first trees to flower, usually between late March and mid-April. ‘Okame’ will grow as far north as zone 5 although it’s not commonly sold some places where it would grow. Since the flowers open so early, you might be worried about their ability to withstand late freezes. Worry not! Like other plants of very early spring, it can take a night or two below 32 without harm in bud or in bloom. In fact, I’ve seen it endure 17 degrees after flowering just ended.