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

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

Why Didn’t Macon, Georgia Learn This Lesson from History?

Monoculture shouldn’t be encouraged the way this one has been.

Listen patiently, quietly, and reverently to the lessons, one by one, which Mother Nature has to teach, shedding light on that which was before a mystery, so that all who will may see and know.

Luther Burbank

If you violate Nature’s laws you are your own prosecuting attorney, judge, jury, and hangman.

Luther Burbank

a color photograph of double white cherry blossoms against a clear blue sky with tiny green leaves and dark branches nearly blackAs spring arrives, communities nationwide are holding blossom festivals that of course have no connection to the pagan cultures we often rebuke and nature worship that predates Christianity. No, they’re about tourism and promoting the local economy. They’re also about bringing people together, creating unity rather than division based on wealth, religious beliefs, and politics that often yield acrimony.

As we crown blossom queens and spoof kings who were added not long ago to remedy the inequality and sexism of a beauty pageant (note to self: watch Drop Dead Gorgeous again), there’s a glaring problem behind some of these festivals that many people in the community aren’t aware of Read more