The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things. – Véronique Vienne
If November begins in autumn it ends unambiguously in winter. The days become shockingly short and the chances of frost – or worse – are real enough to make the business of protecting and tidying the garden urgent, so it is a busy month, especially as bad weather can bring work to a juddering halt for days or even weeks at a time.
– One of India’s best-kept secrets
One of the rarest flowers in the world, the Neelakurinji blooms just once every 12 years in India’s south-western state of Kerala.
BBC Reel; video, 1:43 mins.
– Experimental mini-greenhouse plays host to urban plants & bees
Located in the middle of a busy, “exposed and harsh” intersection in Copenhagen, right beside a three-lane road and a train station, it’s not exactly the most hospitable place for greenery to grow. However, that is the point of this three-year experiment, which will see this ecosystem hopefully thrive without any human interference whatsoever.
– Growing the World’s Food in Greenhouses
For this project, Mattson’s team studies the use of LED lights. LEDs are significantly more energy efficient than legacy lights and also have more control capabilities—such as adjusting light intensity and spectrum—whereas legacy lights can only be turned on and off.
– Mespilus germanica
If, like me, you are a fan of the word “bletting”, then medlar is the fruit for you.
UBC Botanical Garden
– The Garden History of Thomas Edison
He used soil from the adjacent Caloosahatchee River to enrich his fourteen acres, and one of the reasons he originally bought the property was that it was already established with bamboo. Carbonized bamboo was one of the first lightbulb filaments, lasting over 1200 hours before burning out.
Garden History Girl
– Gardening for the Common Good
Victory gardens (originally called war gardens or liberty gardens) made their first appearance during World War I (1914–1918). President Woodrow Wilson called on Americans to plant vegetable gardens to ward off the possible threat of food shortages. Americans took up the challenge as a civic and patriotic duty.
Smithsonian; Cultivating America’s Gardens
– It’s about the plants, honey!
People pooh pooh crevice gardens as stark, and rock gardens as artificial in urban settings. But if you want to grow treasures like these, this is the way to do it.
– Gymnosperms and Fleshy “Fruits”
Many of us were taught in school that one of the key distinguishing features between gymnosperms and angiosperms is the production of fruit.
In Defense of Plants
– Moving On To Fallen
A whole bunch of leaves fell in the last wind and rain. More of that is incoming for Monday and Tuesday. By Wednesday it could be all over. The mountains are already naked up top and I see a possibility of the first snow for the weekend.
– Last Load?
A basic requirement for a woodland garden is a thick cover of rotting hardwood leaves.
Plants and Stones
– Working with Variegated Plants
Spots, splashes, streaks, and margin markings: These and other sorts of variegation add an extra element of interest to lovely leaves. The visual effect can range from subtle to gaudy, and from elegant to somewhat sickly, depending on the pattern, intensity, and colors.
– Closing Time: Goodbye to Hummelo
After nearly 40 years of welcoming the world through its gates, the private garden of Piet and Anja Oudolf at Hummelo will close to the public for good at the end of this month.
The New Perennialist
A garden must combine the poetic and the mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy. – Luis Barragan
DAD VISIT 9/17 – 9/27
Downtown Los Angeles, Little Tokyo, Donna and David.
On the drive from LAX to Little Tokyo, once we got on surface streets near downtown, three things struck me: the increase in destitute people, used to be confined to cardboard night cities around the Mission on Main Street; the increase in yuppies (still a viable descriptor); the increase in trees. A limo will pull up in front of a hot shitty restaurant and You Tube stars will pile out, influencers dressed and plucked, barely stepping over the skinny old woman collapsed on the sidewalk. Tall planter boxes of Equisetum are the standard street space definitions. I lived downtown 1982-1986, in the Jewelry District at 7th & Hill. The Garment District was seven blocks West. Most of the high-rises downtown were empty above the third floor or renting to garment manufacturers, sweat shops. In 1982, I paid $200 mo. for the entire second floor of an old department store. I had to build in my own place, 2000 square feet, luckily encompassing the old men’s room. I had fourteen-foot ceilings, four toilet stalls, four urinals and four sinks, all with good pressure. For an American male, a glimpse of Paradise. Now, 600 square feet of level drywall and flat eggshell paint, some kitchen granite, and a bidet-toilet starts at $3,000 a month, before coop fees. So much money is pouring downtown, so many more people are slumping on the streets. But plants are everywhere, there has been plenty of funding for greenery. Used to be only Spring Street had trees.
Donna walked me over to Olvera Street, where “El Pueblo de Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles” germinated, just across from Union Station. Had coffee and guacamole for breakfast, fed chips to the same bold sparrows. Caught the Pacific Surfliner south at noon.
Dad’s roses, mostly Tea, all unknown to me.
Growing Tea roses against a wall in any climate is said to encourage black spot. These poodle roses must have good wind.
Enough for now. Part 2 in a few days.
A final note about Ambrosia trifida: It blooms at the same time as Goldenrod, Solidago sp., and because the Goldenrod is showier, it is falsely accused as the allergen. Ragweed makes you sneeze, Goldenrod feeds the bees.
For the third year in a row, Spring is getting shorter, June and July are much hotter, August wetter. Bitter cold last Winter but only three inches of snow. More bugs, more rabbits, busier voles, and poison ivy everywhere, even in gravel. Lantana over-wintering at minus 15.
We’re all talking about the heat. Unprecedented fire and drought all over the world. We all can’t afford my spending as much water next year as I did in 2018. On July 30, my accounting confirmed that my vegetable garden expenses exceeded the cost of buying the same produce from the farmers market. That’s a moot argument: it isn’t the gardening game and there aren’t enough small farms. We have to become sincere phenologists, we have to think ahead. I’m planting Forestiera, Opuntia and Portulaca for 2019, and reading up on swales and dry farming.