Experience Nature’s Radiant Beauty Through An April Sonnet

white anemones blooming in a woodland setting, with leaves just starting to come out on the trees and shrubsNo days such honored days as these! While yet
Fair Aphrodite reigned, men seeking wide
For some fair thing which should forever bide
On earth, her beauteous memory to set
In fitting frame that no age could forget,
Her name in lovely April’s name did hide,
And leave it there, eternally allied
To all the fairest flowers Spring did beget. Read more

The Ornamental Cherry ‘Okame’ Offers a Celebration of February Plus Symbolic Luck and Happiness

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branches of the ornamental cherry 'Okame' loaded with pink flowers in late February 2017

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.

So who or what is Okame? Read more

The Many Ways Gardening Teaches History and Culture

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an image of the Chicago skyline in the evening with lighted streets and skyscrapers near the coast of Lake Michigan

Plant emblems and associations are everywhere–and often “below the radar.” In fact, it’s only by paying attention that we might realize–even in cities–how many and how pervasive they are. Starting with cities, have you ever eaten scallions? How many people realize their name comes from the Mediterranean city Ashkelon, an ancient metropolis Read more

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