After nearly eight years on WordPress, I’m at my limit for free storage space. Thank you, WordPress; you provide an important service. The next step is to sign up for the domain name, an annual fee. I’ll be doing that next month.

I hope everyone is well and happy.

4/11 Gravel Bench facing East. ‘Toronto’ tulips behind.

5/11 Gravel Bench entrance. Chives, ‘Bright Diamond’ lilies, Echinacea purpurea and, dead center, a Dahlia planted two years ago that came up this Spring after a minus 17 Winter.

5/17 Gravel Bench face East.



6/3. Stump pots contain bush beans: haricots verts at left, “Dragon’s Tongue’ sharing the pot at right with Datura. I wonder what will do to the beans.




6/24 Sol y sombra.

down 1

Ice storm last month brought this 30-footer down, just missing the peach tree at left, out of frame. It has to sit for a while–the ground a quagmire. A chainsaw fiesta at the end of the month.



I ordered ‘Conca d’Or’ lily bulbs, arriving in April, to plant along the North fence line, where there is too much sun for Hydrangea quercifolia. My good neighbor is an avid gardener and the friendly lilies will lean to his sunnier garden, an easy color, perfuming the place. Photo Uleli, Wikimedia Commons.


Rachel Carson.

Your question cannot be answered because it depends on incorrect assumptions. Nothing. Un-ask the Question. – (approximately) the concept of Mu.

Climate rewind: Scientists turn carbon dioxide back into coal
Scientists have harnessed liquid metals to turn carbon dioxide back into solid coal, in research that offers an alternative pathway for safely and permanently removing the greenhouse gas from our atmosphere. The new technique can convert carbon dioxide back into carbon at room temperature, a process that’s efficient and scalable.
Science Daily

What is Fynbos?
This region is considered to be one of the world’s six floral kingdoms and is the only one that occurs within a single country. The area encompassed by the Fynbos Biome is known as the Cape Floristic Region (CFR). The Cape Floristic Region is recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site for its rich and diverse flora as well as levels of endemism.
Notes from a Cape Town Botanist

Corsican Plantes des Maquis
A French island off the coast of Italy just north of Sardinia, Corsica is an undeveloped environmental paradise whose highest elevations are dominated by craggy granite mountains skirted by forests of pine, green oak, or chestnut. Lower on the slopes, the middle maquis presents vast acres of heathers (Erica spp.), myrtles (Myrtus spp.) and strawberry trees (Arbutus unedo) growing so closely together that the hillsides are almost impenetrable, save for barely discernible shepherds’ paths.
Pacific Horticulture

Stone Setting in the Japanese Garden
Stones are accorded an almost reverential quality in the garden, and a great deal of care is taken in the selection and placement of stones. They are regarded as forming the essential skeleton of the garden, providing the garden layout with a fixed and subtle framework that will define the overall structure of the garden.
Robert Ketchell

Wildflowers of the Tallgrass Prairie
This collection profiles wildflowers of the tallgrass prairie. Stretching over 250 million acres, the tallgrass prairie was once the largest ecosystem in the United States. Its deep rich soils made excellent farmland. By 1860, most of the tallgrass prairies had fallen to the plow. Today, only about one million acres remain, making tallgrass prairie one of the most threatened natural communities.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Study yields new clues to predict tipping points for marsh survival
Coastal salt marshes provide a long list of ecosystem services that benefit humans, including shoreline protection, pollution filtration, flood prevention, fishery habitat and carbon sequestration.
Phys Org

Plants and Frozen Ground
Plants can grow in extreme conditions, including frozen ground. Plants need sunlight, nutrients from the soil, and water to live. In some places in the Arctic, the ground is frozen most of the year, and months go by without any sunlight. How do plants survive?
National Snow & Ice Data Center

20 Edible Plants and Funghi You’ll Find on the Appalachian Trail
Warning: Make sure, particularly with berries and mushrooms, that you are 100% positive on the identification of the species before you consume them! This guide is meant to spark your interest in studying edible and medicinal plants and should not be used as any sort of scientific identifier or medical advice.
The Trek

How a Rose Blooms: Its Genome Reveals the Traits for Scent and Color
Although the rose genome has been mapped before, a newly published version is far more complete, indicating which genes tend to travel together — scent and color, for instance — and which genes are responsible for continuous blooming, among other traits.
New York Times

Top 10 Primulas for the Garden
Growing different types allows you to stretch the primrose season well into early summer too. From meadows to bog gardens and streamsides, to brilliantly colourful houseplants for indoor windowsills, the primrose family provides solutions for many places.
The English Garden

A friend recently asked me how to tell apart the different species of Galtonia, a South African genus of four species in the Hyacinthaceae, closely related to and sometimes included in Ornithogalum. …The most familiar by far is Galtonia candicans, with abundant, large, pure white flowers: a magnificent hardy bulb for the summer garden.
John Grimshaw’s Garden Diary

The best new vegetables of 2019
For your planning pleasure, we’ll take a look over the next four weeks at what growers, local garden centers, and other plant experts say are some of the best new plants poised to hit the market.
Penn Live

The Wisdom of Wes Jackson, Founder of The Land Institute
In 1976, Jackson founded The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas to research ways to reverse the degradation of our agricultural landscapes. For 40 years, he has worked to breed a commercially viable perennial grain, a key component of his vision for a more holistic agriculture in which annual monocultures are replaced by perennial polycultures – mixtures of complementary crops that have the innate resilience and high biological productivity of natural ecosystems.
Modern Farmer

The Life and Legacy of Rachel Carson
One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?
Rachel Carson

I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, and then it hit me. – Anonymous via Firestar.

Status of Spring
How do you know when spring has begun? Is it the appearance of the first tiny leaves on the trees, or the first crocus plants peeping through the snow?
National Phenology Network

hedgehog house leicestershire

Hedgehog House, Leicestershire, UK.


charles darwin

It is always advisable to perceive clearly our ignorance.

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little… who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, – a mere heart of stone.

Man in his arrogance thinks himself a great work, worthy of the interposition of a deity. More humble, and I believe truer, to consider him created from animals.

Wherever the European had trod, death seemed to pursue the aboriginal.

The very essence of instinct is that it’s followed independently of reason.

In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.

Besides love and sympathy, animals exhibit other qualities connected with the social instincts which in us would be called moral.

Animals may be constantly seen to pause, deliberate and resolve.

foresteria neomexicana

Forestiera pubescens in fruit. Photo Stretchberry Plant Fact Sheet, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.

viburnum opulus wikimedia

Viburnum opulus, guelder rose, snowball tree, cranberrybush, cramp bark, water elder. To 15 feet tall and wide; showy white flowers; bright red, edible berries; bark used to reduce muscle tightness. Photo Jan Mehlich, Wikimedia Commons.

cedar waxwing

“Whether chasing bugs or lazily dining on fruit, Cedar Waxwings are very sociable. Feeding flocks can include several birds or hundreds, and they seldom squabble even while eating.” Photo and article at Pennington.

Live as if you are going to die tomorrow, garden as if you are going to live forever. – Joan Kipling

When it Rains…Garden!
In large volumes, like after a storm, runoff can be very powerful and damage roadways, overwhelm sewer systems, and erode creeks and rivers, and cause flooding. Healthy landscapes with abundant plantings, rain gardens, and bio-swales slow the flow of runoff and allow the rainwater time to be infiltrate into the soil – ultimately filtering the water and replenishing our ground water aquifers.
Mt. Cuba Center

Wednesday Weed – Pansy
I am always impressed by the way that the plants continue to flower even when there is snow on the ground, although my personal taste leans towards the smaller, more delicate viola-type flowers.
Bug Woman – Adventures in London

International garden photographer of the year – in pictures
The international garden photographer of the year competition specialises in garden, plant, flower and botanical photography. It is run in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, where entries are on display until 10 March. The competition is open to everyone, anywhere in the world. Images do not have to be taken in a specified year. There is no distinction drawn between professional and amateur photographers.
The Guardian

Why John Ruskin, Born 200 Years Ago, Is Having a Comeback
Ruskin was appalled by the way industrialization dehumanized workers, stifled creativity and polluted the environment. Using lectures and open letters, he encouraged workers to improve their lives through self-education.
New York Times

Viburnums for American Gardens: Abbreviated Discussion
Viburnums are often tagged as utilitarian, functional, reliable garden denizens without the pizzazz of hydrangea. Viburnums have contributed to every Dirr garden and the newest currently houses 45 species and cultivars.
Michael Dirr’s Plants

Responding to Climate Change in New York City
With global climate change upon us, New York City is already feeling the effects. Rainfall patterns are changing, with more frequent severe storms; the annual mean temperature has risen 3°F in our region since the turn of the 20th century; and coastal areas are becoming increasingly vulnerable to sea level rise.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Inside Las Pozas, Edward James’ Surrealist Garden in the Mexican Jungle
Edward James, one of the most eccentric and interesting twentieth-century collectors of surrealist art, arrived in Xilitla, Mexico at the end of the 1940’s. The British writer was captivated by the splendor of the landscape of “Las Pozas” (The Wells), where he created a fantastic home, which includes a unique sculptural space unlike any other in the world.
Arch Daily

Forestiera neomexicana, Desert Olive
Train Desert Olive as a small tree or shrub. Appealing features include the light gray bark, which contrasts nicely with its bright green leaves. Attractive yellow fall color.
Watersmart Plants

Filoli: Garden of a Golden Age
In 1917, William Bowers Bourn II and his wife, Agnes, stepped across the threshold of the Georgian manor he had built 30 miles south of San Francisco. …He called it Filoli, a name he came up with by combining elements of his life’s credo: “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.”

Maxipiñon: One of the Rarest Pines in the World
The reason for this are its seeds. The maxipiñon is said to produce the largest and most nutritious seeds of all the pines. As such, it is a staple of the regional diet. Conversations with local farmers suggest that it was much more common as recent as 60 years ago.
In Defense of Plants

Cartwright Crocus
Crocus cartwrightianus is an autumn-blooming crocus & believed to be the ancestor of the Saffron Crocus, C. sativus. …Each flower bears the same three enlarged scarlet stigma & three smaller yellow anthers of the Saffron Crocus, but without sufficient flavor of saffron to be a similar source of the spice; so it’s only a False Saffron.
In the Garden of Paghat the Rat Girl

Orach is the new kale!
Jam-packed with vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, anthocyanins, phosphorous, iron, protein, zinc, selenium, tryptophan, vitamin C, vitamin K, carotenes and dietary fibre, orach is a nutrient-rich superfood.
Canadian Living

How Farmers’ Markets Boost Farmers’ Bottom Line
When a sale is made at a farmers’ market, nearly 100% of the income stays in the hands of a producer. Meanwhile, according to the USDA, farmers and ranchers receive less than 16 cents for every dollar generated in revenue through sales at traditional retail outlets.

Helping Nature Re-decorate the Abandoned Homes of Detroit
Welcome to the Flower House. a unique project that will see the walls and ceilings of an old dilapidated house filled with up to 100,000 flowers and living plants.
Messy Nessy

We are alone in the universe, or we are not. Either way, it’s a mighty sobering thought. – Walt Kelley.

red fox yawning commons

Yawning red fox, photo by Peter G. Trimming, Wikimedia Commons. “What sound does a fox really make?” at Popular Science.

simon beck snow art 1

Simon Beck, made with snowshoes.

simon stalenhag 2

Simon Stalenhag.

aurora australis photo kent wellard western advocate

Aurora Australis, Tasmania, April 2018. Photo Kent Wellard, Western Advocate.

snowflakes chemistry world

What makes a snowflake special? Photo and article at Chemistry World.

The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer someone else up. – Mark Twain

Arboreal ‘Snow Monsters’ Overrun Northern Japan Every Winter
Intense, relentless Siberian winds blow clouds and fog over the region’s native Maries’ fir trees, enveloping them in a thick, granular coating of ice called rime. The result: Once-verdant forests are transformed into throngs of “snow monsters,” or “juhyo,” as they’re called in Japan.

Osage Orange In Winter
I seem unable to resist thorny, spiny, and prickly plants not in spite of those painful features, but because of them.
Louis the Plant Geek

Vitis ‘Roger’s Red’
The colorful grape known as ‘Roger’s Red’ has become a popular ornamental vine, valued for its brilliant red fall color, vigorous growth, and ease of cultivation.
Pacific Horticulture

Five Favorites: Black Beauties
There’s such a mystique about black flowers, especially, that it’s clearly very tempting to include “black” in plant names and promotional hype, even when it’s nowhere near the truth, and to be heavy-handed when adjusting colors for catalog photos.

Will Mushrooms Be Magic for Threatened Bees?
Beekeepers in the United States lost an estimated 40 percent of their colonies between April 2017 and April 2018. But we might be able to save honeybees at least from this parasitic scourge without chemical intervention.
New York Times

Acorns: The Inside Story
At least 450 species of oak populate world wide. Some 30 species in the United States have been used for food and oil.
Eat The Weeds

My Favorite (Unexpectedly) Shady Characters
Here in the South, full sun is often too much for some traditionally “full sun” conifers and ginkgos, but they will tolerate and even thrive in part shade (four to six hours of sun each day) or even shadier locations.
American Conifer Society

Garden Edit
This year, perhaps for the first time, I really like my garden.
Rooting for Ideas

Plants can smell, now researchers know how
Plants don’t need noses to smell. The ability is in their genes. Researchers have discovered the first steps of how information from odor molecules changes gene expression in plants.
Science Daily

Melanthium is a genus of four species from eastern North America in the Melanthiaceae family commonly known as bunch flowers. …Species of this genus are considered poisonous.
Pacific Bulb Society

Hibiscus coccineus; Red hibiscus, Scarlet rose mallow
Hibiscus coccineus or Hibiscus coccinea is a vigorous, sturdy, erect, woody-based perennial that typically grows 3-6′ tall and features showy, hollyhock-like, 5-petaled, bright scarlet red flowers (3-5″ diameter) borne in the upper leaf axils of the plant over a long, mid-summer to early fall bloom period.
North Carolina State Extension

Durable, Delectable Nasturtiums
I can’t think of better annual flowers than nasturtiums. Not only are they fast and easy to grow–a bonus where the growing season is short — but they look and taste good, too. In fact, nasturtiums are so easy to grow that many home gardeners overlook them.
Charlie Nardozzi, National Gardening Association

13 Reasons Why Gardening Is Good For Your Health
The results of a multitude of research is now showing what gardeners have intrinsically known for generations – that gardening is good for your health.
Fran Sorin, Gardening Gone Wild

The earth belongs to the living, not the dead.—Thomas Jefferson

melianthum virginicum

Virginia Bunchflower, Melanthium virginicum. Photo Kansas Native Plants.

hibiscus coccineus

Hibiscus coccineus. Photo i_am_jim, Wikimedia Commons.



geoffrey bale palazoo reale genoa 1

Photo by Geoffrey Bale of a tapestry in the Palazzo Reale, Genoa, Italy.

Any close and worthwhile contact with the earth tends to make one original or at least detached in one’s judgments and independent of group control.—L.H. Bailey

*pear tree bed

March 15. New beds keep a gardener happy. Eight years ago, this garden began with a six-foot diameter ring of stones around a dying plum tree.  It hasn’t been easy, it isn’t pretty, it’s the best creative endeavor, it attracts and nurtures life. Nature makes a garden, humans help.

*face west pond back door

March 26, looking West from the back door on a rainy day. Ditch lilies, Hemerocallis fulva, on the rise.

*face west 3

March 28, facing West. Buddy Chamaecyparis, a gallon pot eight years ago, perished in July’s unprecedented heat. I didn’t give enough care, I knew it wanted shade. Farewell, Champ–who will the lilies lean on next year? Maybe something purple. The trellis poles await bamboo, a fresh-cut pile of ten-foot poles stacked by the garage. At the back of the property is the stump of an enormous Mulberry, Morus rubra, decades ago split in half six feet above the ground by a great natural force (lightning the legend, flood likely). The thick laterals extended at least 15 feet on both sides of the boundary line, sprouting to ten feet through a tangled understory of Lonicera maackii and piss Elms, Ulmus pumila. This was the eldest of three Mulberries on the property, by far the most attractive to birds, and officially on the neighbor’s side for removal. It took a crew of five and heavy machinery to do the job. Look at all the new light. This year, the aging Cherry gave a spectacular bloom and a symphony of bugs, faded and gray in this picture.

garage bed 1

April 12. Garage bed facing East. New bamboo and the last year for this old raised bed. Self-seeded wild arugula at right; seedlings of escarole, Calendula and Asclepias center and left; snow peas starting to climb the bamboo. In the trellis beds, seeds of bitter melon, pole beans and cucamelon; and ‘Pintung Long’ eggplant seedlings next to the short bamboos. The barrow and big pots hold tomatoes, ‘Rosita’ eggplants, basil and petunias. Yellow chard and elderberry cuttings in other pots.

garage bed 2

April 12. Garage bed facing West.

main path face northeast 1

April 30. Garage bed from the main path, facing North. Tulips, Salvia and daisies on the left. Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’, golden Creeping Jenny, on the ground. It is a beautiful living mulch, it’s infamous vigor kept in check by our Summer heat, drought and a thick mulch of straw in early July.

*tulip gavota 2

April 30. Tulipa ‘Gavota’, returning for the third year.

*snapper returning to big pond 6

In early May, a couple of snapping turtles migrate from the nearby creek to the big pond on the back patio. The creek usually dries up by the end of June–but in this 2018 garden, August was wetter than April.

**robert burns 2

Robert Burns basking in Summer digs. I saw him last in early September.

**allium christophii 2

May 25, Main path North of Garage Bed. Starry Allium christophii in front; glaucous leaves of Rudbeckia maxima, giant coneflower, at left; tall shoots of Helenium ‘Rubinzwerg’ back left; pink puffs of red clover, Trifolium pratense, weaving. The red patch behind the creeping jenny is self-seeded ‘Hopi Red Dye’ amaranth.

bean pole

May 25. Garage bed facing West. ‘Danish Flag’ poppies in foreground, underseeded with lettuce; marigolds, jalapeno and poblano peppers along the horizontal bamboo. ‘Black Vernissage’ tomatoes in the tall cages. The few fruits harvested were fine in salads, unremarkable from the vine, no fault of the cultivar in this weather.

**trellis seedlings

May 30. Pole Beans on the left, Cucumbers and Bitter Melon on the right. Bush Beans below. I usually plant these crops a week or two earlier–our last predicted frost date is April 21–but my tardiness made no difference this year. We went from Winter to Summer in three weeks, which included a killing frost. Pole beans, usually the most reliable crop in the garden, did poorly.

*entrance 7:9

June 9, Entrance

*ride face west 2

June 6. The Ride facing West, Garage Bed, 8:30PM. Buckets of Aji amarillo and ‘Amana Orange’ tomatoes. Beans along the bamboo look their best here, heat and rabbits soon took them. Until 2018, I counted on a personal Summer’s worth of beans, cukes, okra, a few great tomatoes, mustard greens and amaranth. It flipped this year, amaranth the sole constant; peppers were delicious and abundant–Aji, ‘Fish’, Jalapeno, Poblano, ‘Santa Fe’, Serrano–and I haven’t enjoyed so much pesto in decades. Basil and all the Mediterranean herbs were unusually generous, and the potted Bay grew a foot taller. Two of seven ‘Munstead’ lavenders overwintered, a rare triumph.

*buckets mid-june

June 6. Five-gallon buckets, bottoms removed, filled with loam, manure, compost and worm castings. ‘Amana Orange’ tomatoes in the left row, Aji amarillo peppers middle and right. ‘Will Rogers’ zinnias in between the buckets.

cricket katydid scudderia sp

Katydid on Genovese Basil.

**front elder darlow ninebark

June 10. In front on the creekside, left to right, Burroughs elderberry, ‘Darlow’s Enigma’ rose (fifth year), and dark-leaved ‘Summer Wine’ Ninebark, Physocarpus opulus ‘Seward’ (second year). I seeded white clover as a no-mow living mulch last year and will add more this Spring.

**urn bed herbs dianthus lychnis allium

June 5, Urn Bed face East. Rue; ‘Drumstick’ Allium; tarragon in front; Lychnis coronaria; unknown red-flowered Dianthus; and chives.

lonicera major wheeler

June 1. Lonicera ‘Major Wheeler’–a tough, floriferous and non-fragrant honeysuckle–on the chain-link in front.


**snake path face west 3

June 5. Snake Path facing West.

*linaria maroccana

Toadflax, Linaria maroccana ‘Northern Lights,’ blooming at the beginning of June from a mid-March sowing. I have seen great sweeps of toadflax blooming wild in Spain but this is the first time I’ve had it in the garden. Charming.

gravel bed face east 6:15

June 15. The Gravel Bench, facing East.


Late June. Gravel Bench, facing North. Echinacea purpurea, juvenile Ricinus communis ‘Carmencita’, and red ‘Serengeti’ lilies. Rosa ‘At Last’ and Petunia ‘Ultra Blue Star’ in the bench pots. Elderberry blooms fading in back.

*afternoon light new elders

June 25. Flowers of Sambucus canadensis ‘Bob Gordon,’ collected from the wild in Missouri in 1999. Mr. Gordon encountered his namesake during a routine ramble in the woods, describing it as a specimen of unprecedented size and vigor. He wasn’t kidding: two-year plants from seven-inch cuttings are now eight feet tall. Harvesting elderberries is a fiddly task. After cutting the berry clusters, I put them in the refrigerator for a few days which seems to help loosen the berries from the stalks. All parts of the elderberry plant contain toxic cyanide compounds, only fully ripened berries should be consumed, stems and green berries must be removed. Six hours of careful picking yielded three gallons of useful berries which became one gallon of elderberry liqueur: vodka, elderberries, lemon and orange zests, black peppercorns and brown sugar syrup; strained and aged for at least three months.


“Young Hare” by Albrecht Durer, 1502. Photo Wikimedia Commons.

*small barrows

July 1. The small barrows, home to ‘Cherry Falls’ tomatoes (bred to cascade), bright orange ‘King Theodore’ nasturtiums and ‘Genovese’ basil. ‘Red Globe’ amaranth in the pots. The tomatoes had unusually curled leaves and yielded poorly, which I now know is due to juglone, a growth-stunting compound contained in all parts of black walnut trees. I knew the barrows were under the drip line of the walnuts but I thought juglone was soil-based. Wrong; plus tomatoes are highly allergic to juglone. Even rainwater dripping from the walnut leaves was enough to cause harm, though it didn’t bother the basil at all.

*garden edge face west

July 7, facing West. Green light before a storm. Pale lavender blooms of bee balm, Monarda fistulosa, in the distance. Plenty of bumble and small bees this year but very few honeybees.

*feeling the heat chamaecyparis miscanthus 7:29

July 15.

*lilium ‘scheherazade' 8

July 15. Lilium ‘Scheherazade’. Photobomb Monarda.

*lilium auratum gold band eryngium yuccifolium

July 15. Lilium auratum ‘Gold Band’ with ‘Rattlesnake Master’, Eryngium yuccifolium.

*lilium tiger

July 15. Tiger Lilies budded at once, blooms barely lasted four days.

*little path bedraggled

August 9. Little Path, facing East. Daylilies, asters, snapdragons and lilies in front. Ipomoea ‘Solar Tower Black’ on the pole at left. It really does climb, eight feet by first frost.

*empty bed 7:29

August 12. Seedlings of flowering tobacco, Nicotiana x mutabilis ‘Bella’, on the move, while tender and pinnate-leaved Cassia didimobotrya languishes in the hot semi-shade of the mulberry tree. I’ll replace it with the native and perennial Cassia marilandica in 2019, not as fine in structure but much tougher. A border of catmint in front. self-seeded Leonitis everywhere.


Eacles imperialis on the front screen. Wow! Indulgent of my documentation, measured relaxed wingspan just under seven inches. Shook the screen twice but it hung tight. Early next morning, it was gone.



Lilium ‘Bright Diamond’ and Hemerocallis ‘South Seas’.


Hard storms getting harder.






Main Path facing South. Berberis ‘Tangelo’ front left.



Main Path from the South.


Sparse fruit on native Elderberry, Sambucus canadensis ‘Burroughs Creek’.
















Saturday, January 12, 2019. A winter weather advisory was posted at 2am yesterday, morning rain turned to wet, heavy snow by noon. At 7am this morning, the land was transformed to a sentimental Winter scene, like giant pastry chefs came out at night and frosted everything. Beautiful, got the camera; plants really suffer under such heavy cover. I walked downtown in the morning and saw trees and branches down everywhere. The temperature rose above freezing at 2pm-ish, the snow started to melt; At 6pm, below freezing again. All the water on the branches started to ice up.

back tree down 1

Big tree down on the South line. It barely molested the leaning peach in the foreground.

back tree down 5

Big tree down 2.


Once I took the snow away, the peach popped up two feet. A big Fraxinus 30 feet to the East blocks sun until noon, the peach leans North to more light. I admire the aesthetics of Japanese gardeners; they know how to support trees with consideration and respect. The peach needs good support, that’s a first task for a new year.

front road face south

Front road face South.

front house 1

Front of the house, facing West.

ride face west 2

The Ride face West.

seating 2

Seating. Under the table is snow-free.

creek face west 1


front porch face north

Front porch facing North. Power lines.

woodlot entrance 1

Woodlot entrance.

gravel bed face east

Gravel Bench face East.

six inches

At least six inches on the stump, factoring strong wind.

snake path face east

Snake Path facing East.

back porch 1

Back Porch 1.

back porch 2

Back Porch 2.

I believe 2019 will be better. I think we’ll all be well and happy.

Any close and worthwhile contact with the earth tends to make one original or at least detached in one’s judgments and independent of group control. —L.H. Bailey.


viburnum mum 11:4

11/4, Mailbox. Mass-produced, supermarket Mums usually do well in the rougher parts of this garden. I used to dismiss Mums as gaudy and over-tweaked, as I did with snapdragons and zinnias. I was again happy to be wrong, the best lesson in my gardening life. The larger burgundy Mum hugging the Verbascum on the left was planted in January 2014, a holiday party gift. The temperature was above freezing, the rocky ground was wet and cold, the Mum looked bad; it was a hospice gesture. Third year now, a foot taller, blooming later each season, even flowers through the first snows. Better than the flowers is the dark matte foliage, much easier to shape than box, a tight 2’x 2′ mound with one cutback in late Spring. The savvy Victorians used Mums as hedging in bedding-outs. I put out three more supermarket pots in late September, $2.99 each, two burgundy, one orange. They’ll begin to make a sturdy clump next year.

south learnard color 11:4

11/4. This picture was taken a week too late. You get the drift.

north fence little henry golden rain 11:4

11/4. Golden Rain tree, Koelreuteria paniculata, honey-leaved in back; Itea virginica ‘Little Henry’, red in front. Big Catalpa leaves on the ground, on the box. Once the leaves fall, it takes four three-hour sessions to redistribute them as mulch. There are few truths in human life but here’s one: Never allow a Catalpa three feet from your front porch.

back porch 11:12

11/12. This is the fourth winter on the back porch for Agapanthus, bay, lemon and rosemary. Also overwintering two peppers, Lantana in the bag, ‘Rosita’ eggplant, Pelargoniums.

snowfall second one inch 11:12

11/12 First snow. Back door looking West. Follow the fox footprints.

main path face north 11:24

11/24. Main Path face North.

ride face east 11:24

11/24. Ride face East.

garage bed finished

11/24. Garage West face.

lilies finished

11/24. Done Lilium.

maquis finished

11/24. Done maquis.

klee all revealed 11:24

11/24. Pinus, Juniperus, Chamaecyparis.

blizzard 11:26 2

11/26. Blizzard.

pumpkin 11:26

11/28. The pumpkin is a traditional harvest symbol in the New World. Native to northern Mexico and the southern United States.


lepidodendron stump preserved defense of plants

A preserved Lepidodendron stump. “The Carboniferous was the heyday for early land plants. Giant lycopods, ferns, and horsetails formed the backbone of terrestrial ecosystems. By far the most abundant plants during these times were a group of giant, tree-like lycopsids known as the scale trees.” Photo and text from “The Rise and Fall of the Scale Trees” at In Defense of Plants.

steve geddes pumpkin 2018 boston globe

“The pumpkin grown by Steve Geddes of Boscawen, N.H. tipped the scales at a whopping 2,528 pounds, which earned him a first-place ribbon and $6,000 in prize money, officials said. Geddes also won major bragging rights, as he currently owns the biggest pumpkin ever grown in North America.” Photo and text from the Boston Globe, 9/28/18.

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. – Albert Einstein

The Insect Apocalypse Is Here
We’ve begun to talk about living in the Anthropocene, a world shaped by humans. But E.O. Wilson, the naturalist and prophet of environmental degradation, has suggested another name: the Eremocine, the age of loneliness.
New York Times Magazine

Species Tulips
In my Seattle garden, among those dozen or so species that have returned for three to five years, are the long-lived Tulipa batalinii clan, including ‘Apricot Jewel’, ‘Bright Gem’, and ‘Bronze Charm’. From Bukhara (part of present day Uzbekistan in western Asia), T. batalinii seems to be ready for anything. These eager, apricot or soft, bronzy-yellow, urn-shaped blossoms may actually begin to open while sitting on the soil, impatient for their six-inch stems to catch up with their enthusiasm.
Lee Neff; The Pacific Horticulture Society

New tool to predict which plants will become invasive
The results indicate that a single, easily measurable trait — plant height — can be a highly predictive factor in determining which plants may become invasive in a given environment.
Science Daily

Better “nowcasting” can reveal what weather is about to hit within 500 meters
The results are promising. One important assumption weather forecasters make is that the atmosphere will continue to change in the same way it does now. This is called Lagrangian persistence, and it is often spot on.
MIT Technology Review

Up and Comers for 2019
Hundreds of new variety introductions made their debut earlier this year at the California Spring Trials.
Greenhouse Product News

Horridculture – Well Done Stakes Are Rare
Stakes are temporary. That is what so called maintenance ‘gardeners’ do not seem to understand. Stakes should not stay any longer than necessary, so need to be removed sooner than later, depending on their function. Stakes that are left too long can interfere with the healthy development of the trees and vines that they were intended to help.
Tony Tomeo

Perennial Digitalis
As a group, they are known as the foxgloves, named for their most popular species, the common foxglove: Digitalis purpurea. The genus has recently migrated from the figwort family (scrophulariaceae) to the plantain family (plantaginaceae) – along with its cousins the penstemons – but most references still place them in their former taxonomical position.
Rob’s Plants

Quarry garden sculpture at Pedreres de s’Hostal as an example of the after-use of mineral workings
Quarries are famed for their propensity to create ‘a scar on the landscape’. But they can also produce wonderful results, as land sculpture on a supra-human scale and majesty.
Garden Visit

John Singer Sargent’s Carrara Watercolors
One of the reasons I wanted to go to Carrara, I’m not ashamed to admit, is because James Bond had a car chase there.
Dry Stone Garden

Chesterwood: An Enchanted Space
For 35 years, French summered at Chesterwood and cultivated his garden, imploring colleagues to visit.  “I hope you will come to ‘Chesterwood’ and rest.” he wrote in 1911.  “It is as beautiful as fairy-land here now, the hemlocks are decorating themselves with their light-green tassels and the laurel is beginning to blossom and the peonies are a glory in the garden. I go about in an ecstasy of delight over the loveliness of things.”
Landscape Notes

Status of Spring
How do you know when spring has begun? Is it the appearance of the first tiny leaves on the trees, or the first crocus plants peeping through the snow? The First Leaf and First Bloom Indices are synthetic measures of these early season events in plants, based on recent temperature conditions. These models allow us to track the progression of spring onset across the country.
National Phenology Network

Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. – Frank Lloyd Wright

sargent watercolor carrara

Carrara marble quarry, from a series of watercolors by John Singer Sargent, 1911-1913.

iceberg finder

Track the movement of icebergs around the world at Iceberg Finder.