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

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

Recognize Earth Day with the Breathtaking and Epic Nature Symphony by Siegmund von Hausegger

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a dramatically-lit image of the Earth from outer space showing the sun just beginning to rise over a crisp blue arc of the atmosphere against a black starry skyNature has inspired humanity for as long as stars have shone in the night sky and the orbit of the earth has caused the seasons. Long before Linnaeus assigned official names and categories to all the living things, many other people gave organisms names and wondered about their relatedness. Millennia before we understood the structure and implications of DNA or first saw our own planet from space, people pondered the vastness of a universe they could only imagine and the complexity of life they undoubtedly knew they could only begin to grasp.

Although nature can be daunting, erratic, and bogglingly complex to analyze, this same recondite, awesome nature has inspired portrayals in many forms of art. One of those, written by Goethe, would enable Siegmund von Hausegger a century later to complete this symphony harnessing the power of the imagination to envision and to escape. Read more

The Tallest Trees in Africa

note: Although this is a little off our usual topic, I thought it would be suitable enough for a plant-oriented audience since it was not widely reported and since there’s not much plantwise in winter.

a view of Mount Kilimanjaro off in the distance, with clouds both above and below the peakThere’s nothing new under the sun, goes the familiar Bible verse, but scientists keep discovering things that have been there all along. After all, it’s their job, and someone’s got to do it! One of the most dramatic of these discoveries took place last year under the equally clichéd snows of Mount Kilimanjaro. Read more