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Easy To Make Paper Holiday Ornaments

Category: How-To Projects, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

A friend sent me an email last week saying "you will love this" with a link to a website that shows how to make festive paper ornaments.  I followed the instructions and added a few steps of my own, and here is my tutorial on making these pretty paper ornaments. My friend Amie Rennolds was right-- I love this! I used gift wrap that I had purchased from Kate Blairstone. Kate is the Oregon designer who created the "Heirloom Garden"…
A friend sent me an email last week saying "you will love this" with a link to a website that shows how to make festive paper ornaments.  I followed the instructions and added a few steps of my own, and here is my tutorial on making these pretty paper ornaments. My friend Amie Rennolds was right-- I love this! I…

vaccinating a dog

Overwintering Tropical Plants Such As Canna Lilies, Colocasia and Alocasia

Category: 'Dear Ruth' Column, Flower Gardens, How-To Projects, Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener", Tools & Techniques

This year I purchased three popular tropical plants for outdoor containers: canna lilies, Colocasia and Alocasia (aka Elephant ears).  I was happy with all three, though the canna lily was the star performer for me. I love plants that come back each year, even if it means digging them up in the fall and storing them away for the winter.  These plants can be left in the ground if…
This year I purchased three popular tropical plants for outdoor containers: canna lilies, Colocasia and Alocasia (aka Elephant ears).  I was happy with all three, though the canna lily was the star performer for me. I love plants that come back each year, even if it means digging them…

vaccinating a dog

Dominique Charles Loves to Share What She’s Learned About Urban Gardening

Category: Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

Dominique Charles is a woman with a mission. A busy professional living in Washington, DC, she first began gardening in 2014, after her friend Lauren built her a starter garden as a gift. Despite having grown up in New Orleans, and spending summers helping her grandparents - Emmitt and Thelma Muse of Greensburg, Louisiana – with their farm, where her favorite activity was picking blackberries and snapping green beans, Dominique didn’t really believe that she had a green thumb. It…
Dominique Charles is a woman with a mission. A busy professional living in Washington, DC, she first began gardening in 2014, after her friend Lauren built her a starter garden as a gift. Despite having grown up in New Orleans, and spending summers helping her grandparents - Emmitt and Thelma Muse of Greensburg, Louisiana – with their farm, where her…

vaccinating a dog

Natasha Bowens Blair of Native Mountain Farm and Soul Street in Frederick Maryland

Category: Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

Natasha Bowens Blair didn’t believe you could grow plants in a meaningful way that weren’t edible or medicinal until she experienced the joy of growing and arranging flowers at Native Mountain Farm outside of Frederick, Maryland. The farm, situated on a lush piece of landscape at the base of South Mountain in Boonsboro, is operated by Natasha and her mother-in-law Julie Blair on land Julie and her late husband Billy purchased 32 years ago. Natasha on…
Natasha Bowens Blair didn’t believe you could grow plants in a meaningful way that weren’t edible or medicinal until she experienced the joy of growing and arranging flowers at Native Mountain Farm outside of Frederick, Maryland. The farm, situated on a lush piece of landscape at the base of South Mountain in Boonsboro, is operated by Natasha and her mother-in-law…

vaccinating a dog

Chelsea Willis of Sweet Delilah Farm on Sauvie Island Oregon Gets Her Hands in the Dirt

Category: Flower Gardens, Presenting "The Curious Gardener", Strong Women Building A Gentle World

Growing up in Colorado Chelsea Willis’ mother would tell her “get your hands in the dirt. It grounds you.”  Chelsea recognized the wisdom of these words at a young age, and never forgot them. After completing a degree in somatic psychology, a discipline that focuses on processing trauma through movement (body-based therapy rather than talk therapy), Chelsea moved to Oregon and began working with teens who had been incarcerated and were transitioning to semi-independent living. She was also doing some…
Growing up in Colorado Chelsea Willis’ mother would tell her “get your hands in the dirt. It grounds you.”  Chelsea recognized the wisdom of these words at a young age, and never forgot them. After completing a degree in somatic psychology, a discipline that focuses on processing trauma through movement (body-based therapy rather than talk therapy), Chelsea moved to Oregon…

vaccinating a dog

Rebecca Webster, Citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin

Category: Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

Rebecca Webster is not your average attorney, teacher, activist, farmer and mom. She’s a proud citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin whose passion to reignite the traditions of her forebears is evident in everything she sets her mind to. Soft spoken and upbeat, Rebecca tells me in a phone interview that she grew up on the reservation but was bussed to public schools off the reservation. At that time there was not a lot of interest in understanding the…
Rebecca Webster is not your average attorney, teacher, activist, farmer and mom. She’s a proud citizen of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin whose passion to reignite the traditions of her forebears is evident in everything she sets her mind to. Soft spoken and upbeat, Rebecca tells me in a phone interview that she grew up on the reservation but was…

vaccinating a dog

The Art of Bonsai Making is Still Alive Today with Bruce Baker and Goliath

Category: How-To Projects, Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

Bruce Baker has been working on one bonsai project for 12 years -- and he’s just getting started. Taking the long view is part of being a bonsai artist or practitioner. “Bonsai trees can live hundreds of years and they’re always changing,’ he says. “They’re never done,” he adds. The process, as Bruce sees it, is about gradually revealing what is already there, and enhancing or sometimes exaggerating it.  It takes patience, planning and plenty of solitary contemplation—just you and…
Bruce Baker has been working on one bonsai project for 12 years -- and he’s just getting started. Taking the long view is part of being a bonsai artist or practitioner. “Bonsai trees can live hundreds of years and they’re always changing,’ he says. “They’re never done,” he adds. The process, as Bruce sees it, is about gradually revealing what…

vaccinating a dog

Dividing Perennials and Potting Them Up for Plant Sales and Plant Swaps

Category: Flower Gardens, Garden Planning, How-To Projects, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

You volunteered to participate in your local plant sale fund raiser or plant swap, and now it's time to make good on your promise! Many plant sales that were scheduled for spring were postponed until fall, which gardeners know is one of the best times to plant! So go into your garden and dig up some perennials or bulbs, divide them, and pot them up. You can even propagate some houseplants if you leave enough time. The night before you…
You volunteered to participate in your local plant sale fund raiser or plant swap, and now it's time to make good on your promise! Many plant sales that were scheduled for spring were postponed until fall, which gardeners know is one of the best times to plant! So go into your garden and dig up some perennials or bulbs, divide…

vaccinating a dog

Lisianthus, Zinnia, Cleome and Cosmos– Annuals that just want to Please!

Category: Flower Gardens, Garden Planning, Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

Reprinted from a story first published in July, 2019. You can't beat an annual plant for its desire to please the gardener. It has one season to live and it puts all of its energy into producing flowers. If you plant a seed, either indoors or directly in the garden, some annuals will germinate and grow to maturity, producing a flower in as little as 8 weeks. Cut that flower and it takes it as a mandate to produce more…
Reprinted from a story first published in July, 2019. You can't beat an annual plant for its desire to please the gardener. It has one season to live and it puts all of its energy into producing flowers. If you plant a seed, either indoors or directly in the garden, some annuals will germinate and grow to maturity, producing a…

vaccinating a dog

Growing Tall Perennials in your garden

Category: 'Dear Ruth' Column, Flower Gardens, Garden Planning, Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

Really tall plants are show stoppers in the garden, providing a single grace note against a contrasting background or softening a hardscape element behind it. The last time I visited the Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield in Hyde Park, I took pictures of some impressive tall perennials, such as plume poppy, that grow in front of the walls inside the garden.  English walled gardens are famous for using tall plants as a backdrop in this way. …
Really tall plants are show stoppers in the garden, providing a single grace note against a contrasting background or softening a hardscape element behind it. The last time I visited the Beatrix Farrand Garden at Bellefield in Hyde Park, I took pictures of some impressive tall perennials, such as plume poppy, that grow in front of the walls inside the…

vaccinating a dog

Growing Milkweed in Your Garden

Category: Garden Planning, Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

Three of the most popular species of native milkweed are Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed), Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed) and Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed). There are more than 100 native species in all!  (These 3 species are shown in the photo below from left to right) Milkweed is the only plant that monarch butterflies will lay their eggs on, so it's an important plant…
Three of the most popular species of native milkweed are Asclepias syriaca (common milkweed), Asclepias tuberosa (butterfly weed) and Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed). There are more than 100 native species in all!  (These 3 species are shown in the photo below from left to right) Asclepias incarnata (swamp milkweed) in…

vaccinating a dog

Drought Tolerant and Heat Tolerant Perennials

Category: Flower Gardens, Garden Planning, Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

It's been hot and dry here in southern New England this summer, and even hotter in many other parts of the country. I asked horticulturist Ruth Clausen for a list of her favorite heat and drought tolerant perennials. I was delighted to see many of the plants in my garden on her list, and I want to keep adding more of them with the goal of creating a water-wise garden! By drought tolerant we mean they can withstand dry conditions…
It's been hot and dry here in southern New England this summer, and even hotter in many other parts of the country. I asked horticulturist Ruth Clausen for a list of her favorite heat and drought tolerant perennials. I was delighted to see many of the plants in my garden on her list, and I want to keep adding more…

vaccinating a dog

How To Divide Irises

Category: Flower Gardens, How-To Projects, Plant Ideas & Info, Presenting "The Curious Gardener"

Bearded iris (Iris x germanica) is the most commonly grown iris. Its fleshy roots are called rhizomes. The flowers are distinguished by a caterpillar-like fuzzy "beard" that runs down the center of each cascading petal or 'fall'. The "beard" aids in pollination, providing a landing spot for bumble bees and other insects, and supposedly directing them towards the pollen. Iris rhizomes should be divided every 3 or 4 years to maximize vigor and bloom. Two years ago my irises bloomed…
Bearded iris (Iris x germanica) is the most commonly grown iris. Its fleshy roots are called rhizomes. The flowers are distinguished by a caterpillar-like fuzzy "beard" that runs down the center of each cascading petal or 'fall'. The "beard" aids in pollination, providing a landing spot for bumble bees and other insects, and supposedly directing them towards the pollen. Iris…

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