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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.

peach

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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.

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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

Galtonia
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

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Hedgehog House, Leicestershire, UK.

 

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

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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.

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“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.”
Smithsonian

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.
Forbes

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.

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

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Simon Beck, made with snowshoes.

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Simon Stalenhag.

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

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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.
Smithsonian

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.
Hayefield

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
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

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Virginia Bunchflower, Melanthium virginicum. Photo Kansas Native Plants.

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Hibiscus coccineus. Photo i_am_jim, Wikimedia Commons.

 

 

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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.

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“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

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

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

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Basket of Medlars. Photo jorgen.mi, Wikimedia Commons

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Neelakurinji, Strobilanthes kunthiana, Anamudi Shola National Park, Kerala, India. Photo Vinayaraj, Wikimedia Commons.

The only difference between an extraordinary life and an ordinary one is the extraordinary pleasures you find in ordinary things. – Véronique Vienne

November
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.
Monty Don

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.
Treehugger

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.
Cornell Research

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.
Prairiebreak

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.
Outside Clyde

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.
Hayefield

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

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Segment of Piet Oudolf’s planting design for Hauser & Wirth Somerset garden. Photo John Lord, Wikimedia Commons.

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Dahlia ‘Thomas Edison’. Photo Mark Twyning, Wikimedia Commons.

He has found his style, when he cannot do otherwise. – Paul Klee

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Beatrix Farrand. Photo: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library archive.

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Thomas Church. Photo: The Cultural Landscape Foundation.

Archaeologists discover bread that predates agriculture by 4,000 years
The findings suggest that bread production based on wild cereals may have encouraged hunter-gatherers to cultivate cereals, and thus contributed to the agricultural revolution in the Neolithic period.
Science Daily

Mouse Melon or Mexican Sour Cucumber, Melothria scabra
The white, crisp interior flesh has a crunchy texture. The flavor is generally described as cucumber-like with a hint of sourness.
Master Gardener Program, University of Wisconsin Extension

Toxic Nectar
I was introduced to the concept of toxic nectar thanks to a species of shrub quite familiar to anyone who has spent time in the Appalachian Mountains. Locals will tell you to never place honeybee hives near a patch of rosebay (Rhododendron maximum) for fear of so-called “mad honey.”
In Defense of Plants

Jamaican Ackee, Blighia sapida
Consumers of the unripe fruit sometimes suffer from ‘Jamaican vomiting sickness syndrome’ (JVS) allegedly caused by the unusual amino acid components, hypoglycin A and B.
Department of Chemistry, UWI, Mona, Jamaica

The case of the spiny eggplants
My first experience with this botanical genre came early in my gardening career. I had just taken up seed-starting, and had yet to discover the wonderful world of online seed trading. …Among the many curiosities I ordered were balsam pears, hairy-leaved chiles, and bundleflowers, some of which still inhabit our garden. But the one I remember best was Solanum atropurpureum, whose description included a quote from a botanist proclaiming the majesty of this ferocious plant, ending in, “I call it ‘Malevolence’.”
Rob’s Plants

Olea europaea
Olive trees (Olea europaea) have long represented wealth, abundance, power and peace. The olive has been a symbol of the Mediterranean since time immemorial and has a reputation for long life, nourishment and its ability to thrive in tough conditions.
Kew Science

American Elderberry
As with many underutilized fruit crops, relatively little breeding work has been done with American Elder. There are few named cultivars, and those that exist are not genetically diverse. But this may change through a concerted breeding effort at the University of Missouri.
Uncommon Fruit

Okra, or “Gumbo,” from Africa
One of the earliest accounts of okra is by a Spanish Moor who visited Egypt in 1216. He described the plant in detail, as cultivated by the Egyptians, and stated that the pods when young and tender were eaten with meal. (Southerners in our own country know how to cook it with corn meal — slice the pods, dip the pieces in meal, and fry them.)
Aggie Horticulture

A Bloom Day Walk About
I have a lot of ground to edit when the entire three plus acres of wild cultivated gardens are taken into account. So it’s ok with me that the leeks went wild in the roadside vegetable garden.
Outside Clyde

Perennials Proliferate in Three Year Old Garden
Summer is generally not considered a time to work on garden planning, but it is in summer that many of the problems of our plant arrangements reveal themselves with painful clarity.
Commonweeder

Sound waves reveal diamond cache deep in Earth’s interior
There may be more than a quadrillion tons of diamond hidden in the Earth’s interior, according to a new study from MIT and other universities.
phys.org

Astronomers discover 12 new moons orbiting Jupiter – one on collision course with the others.
Astronomers describe the twelfth new Jovian moon as an “oddball”.
The Guardian

Botany, the science of the vegetable kingdom, is one of the most attractive, most useful, and most extensive departments of human knowledge. It is, above every other, the science of beauty. – Sir Joseph Paxton

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Rosemary Verey. Photo: WBUR Here and Now.

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Russell Page. Photo: Landscape Notes.

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In 2014, Matt McConkie’s 1,817 pound pumpkin set the Utah state record. McConkie estimates the weight of this year’s pumpkin at between 1,900 and 2,000 pounds. Photo and story at the Salt Lake Tribune.

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Hesperaloe parviflora, also known as red yucca and hummingbird yucca, is native to the Chihuahuan desert of west Texas. Photo taken in Arizona by Fritz Hochstatter via Wikimedia Commons.

A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in. – Greek proverb

The Secret to Growing the World’s Largest Pumpkin
The current world record is held by Beni Meier, a Swiss accountant by day, who grew a pumpkin that weighs in at 2,323.7 pounds, roughly the same amount as a small car.
Smithsonian

Genomic study reveals clues to wild past of grapes
“Like most plants, grapes are typically considered to have been cultivated around 7,000 to 10,000 years ago, but our work suggests that human involvement with grapes may precede these dates,” Gaut said. “The data indicate that humans gathered grapes in the wild for centuries before cultivating them.”
Science Daily

Chanticleer Garden: A Hidden Gem Outside The City of Brotherly Love
Chanticleer’s six staff horticulturists are each responsible for the design, planting, and maintenance of particular areas of the property, including 15 distinct garden “rooms”, each on a scale of a good-sized residential garden, and each with its own look and feel. They all flow together and are seamlessly woven into rolling lawns, curving pathways, gentle hills, and woodlands.
Garden Collage

Harvesting and Storing Green Tomatoes
Just as I do at the beginning of spring, I begin to watch the weather in October.  If the night-time temps start to drop in the low 40’s, I go ahead and remove all the tomatoes left on the vine and bring them in the house.
The Blonde Gardener

Insects are In Serious Trouble
Insects are the lynchpins of many ecosystems. Around 60 percent of birds rely on them for food. Around 80 percent of wild plants depend on them for pollination. If they disappear, ecosystems everywhere will collapse.
Atlantic Monthly

Doing Time in the Gardens of Alcatraz
The image of inmates in faded blue dungarees tending to roses and cutting long-stemmed gladiolus for floral arrangements is extraordinary, bearing in mind the violent histories that cast these men out onto the island.
The Planthunter

Citrus in pots: how to grow, and overwinter it, with Four Winds growers
“How can I overwinter my potted lemon tree indoors?” It’s the question of the moment from readers, as cold weather comes on.
A Way to Garden

Solar ‘smart’ greenhouses produce both clean electricity & food crops
“We have demonstrated that ‘smart greenhouses’ can capture solar energy for electricity without reducing plant growth, which is pretty exciting.”
Treehugger

Vikings Razed the Forests. Can Iceland Regrow Them?
The settlers slashed and burned the forests to grow hay and barley, and to create grazing land. They used the timber for building and for charcoal for their forges. By most accounts, the island was largely deforested within three centuries.
New York Times

Wild Poinsettia
Euphorbia cyathophora never fails to get a compliment and a second look when it begins to bloom in late summer or early fall. That’s also when the innermost parts of each bract turn a vibrant red giving rise to the common name of fire-on-the-mountain.
Clay and Limestone

Colors of Autumn
In my garden, the colors of fall have come into full force, and there’s even some left after the atmospheric river that brought heavy rains and winds to the Pacific Northwest.
The Practical Plant Geek

Purple and Gold
I first saw American beautyberry 30 years ago when we visited the Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo. I was floored when I first saw them. I had no idea we had a native shrub with such gorgeous royal purple berries.
Sweetbay

Early bloomers: Statistical tool reveals climate change impacts on plants
“My mum reports her snowdrops are blooming earlier each spring in her English garden,” says Utah State University scientist Will Pearse. “Are her observations, like those of thousands of citizen scientists across the world, indicating unpredictability in temperature, precipitation and other weather patterns?”
phys.org

Top 10 Foods for Winter Bird Feeding
The following ten foods are extremely popular with backyard birds all across North America.
Bird Watcher’s Digest

A garden really lives only insofar as it is an expression of faith, the embodiment of a hope and a song of praise. – Russell Page

northern cardinal male wiki commons

Male Northern Cardinal, Cardinalis cardinalis. “The male Northern Cardinal is perhaps responsible for getting more people to open up a field guide than any other bird.” – All About Birds, Cornell University. Photo Wikimedia Commons.

giant sequoia

Giant Sequoia, Sequoiadendron giganteum, in Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park, near Visalia, California. Photo National Park Service.

tropidogyne pentaptera

Tropidogyne pentaptera. 100-million-year-old fossilized flower identified and named by OSU researchers George Poinar Jr. and Kenton Chambers. Photo George Poinar Jr., Oregon State University. See article from Science Daily below.

seseli gummiferum moon carrot rotary botanic wisconsin

The marvelous Moon Carrot, Seseli gummiferum. Photo Rotary Botanical Garden, Janesville, Wisconsin.

Botany is the school for patience, and its amateurs learn resignation from daily disappointments. – Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to Madame de Tessé (25 Apr 1788). From Thomas Jefferson Correspondence: Printed from the Originals (1916).

Seven complete specimens of new flower, all 100 million years old
“The amber preserved the floral parts so well that they look like they were just picked from the garden,” Poinar said. “Dinosaurs may have knocked the branches that dropped the flowers into resin deposits on the bark of an araucaria tree, which is thought to have produced the resin that fossilized into the amber.”
Science Daily

Step Inside the World’s Most Dangerous Garden (If You Dare)
The duchess thought she might want to include an apothecary garden, but a trip to Italy set her on a slightly different course. After visiting the infamous Medici poison garden, the duchess became enthralled with the idea of creating a garden of plants that could kill instead of heal.
Smithsonian

Moon Carrot
Seseli gummiferum is quirky, and definitely not quotidien.  There are only so many plants that look like endearingly awkward craft projects that any one garden can handle.
Louis the Plant Geek

The Missouri Elderberry
Nearly 2,400 years ago, Hippocrates called the elder plant “the medicine chest of the country people.” In fact, the elder leaf, flower, and berry can be used in salves, infusions, and syrups to relieve coughs, colic, diarrhea, sore throat, asthma, and the flu. And get this: You can chase mice away with an infusion made with fresh elder leaves or use elder flowers to soothe a burn. It’s a talented plant. And it’s native to Missouri.
Missouri Life

Midsummer at Chickadee Gardens
Peak flower season is upon us and, as I see the temperatures rising to record highs, I am reminded to observe what the garden has to offer. These flowers might not last long if our predicted 108 degree temperatures are realized this week, so it is time to enjoy.
Chickadee Gardens

The Wild Desert Garden
This past spring I witnessed the superbloom in the California deserts. It was a sensation.
Gardening Gone Wild

A Secret and Possibly Non-Existent Garden
For various reasons (which I frankly didn’t quite understand) the man who created this garden is no longer tending it: there was construction taking place in part of it. Maybe it had been sold? All I know is that the pictures you’re saying may be some of the last taken here, which should give them a certain added poignance…
Prairie Break

The Scientific Feat that Birthed the Blue Chrysanthemum
To make chrysanthemums blue, researchers from the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization inserted a gene from the bluish Canterbury bell into red mums. The presence of this gene modified anthocyanin in the mums, producing purplish flowers. To achieve a truer blue, the researchers added a second gene from the butterfly pea into the mix. That did the trick.
Smithsonian

11 Things to know about this year’s Harvest Moon
All full moons are special, but the Harvest Moon has some unique features that make this month’s moon a marvelous must-see.
Treehugger

Telling the Tales of Trees Around the World
Trees can live without us, but we cannot live without trees.
New York Times

As the Garden Grows
Looking at old photos of the garden can really bring home how much has changed in just a few years.
The Practical Plant Geek

It’s humbling to think that all animals, including human beings, are parasites of the plant world. – Isaac Asimov

scutellinia scutellata botany photo day

Scutellinia scutellata. Eyelash pixie cup, eyelash fungus, eyelash cup, scarlet elf cap, Molly eye-winker–all are common names for this diminutive fungus. …This species is common across North America and Europe, and recorded from every continent (yes, even Antarctica). Photo and text via Botany Photo of the Day, UBC Botanical Garden.

amaranthus caudatus

Amaranthus caudatus “Love Lies Bleeding.” Photo AnRo0002, Wikimedia Commons.

jefferson

photinus pyralis photo terry priest american museum of natural history

Firefly, Photinus pyralis. “Fireflies flash to signal that they are ready and willing to mate. But in some species of fireflies, the females are known to take advantage of this display of eagerness, using their flashes to lure males and then attacking and eating them, a practice known to researchers as ‘hawking.’” Photo Terry Priest, American Museum of Natural History.

Ornamental Fillet with Thistle Motifs by Daniel Hopfer (1471-1536, Germany) Image Wikimedia Commons

Ornamental Fillet with Thistle Motifs by Daniel Hopfer (1471-1536, Germany). Image via Wikimedia Commons.

The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture. – Thomas Jefferson

14 Fun Facts About Fireflies
What’s more magical than a firefly light show on a warm summer night?
Smithsonian

15 of the most remarkable trees in America
They stand witness to history, being rooted in place sometimes for thousands of years, as generations of people come and go. They act as landmarks; they are the centers around which stories take place. They are workhorses for the environment and give us shade and food. We would be nowhere without them; yet sadly they’re not always recognized as the living monuments and eco-superheroes that they are.
treehugger

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Europe’s Huge New Vertical Farm
Outside the growth room is a winding, humming network of pipes, screens, and dials. Van der Feltz pulls back a large sandwich panel door, and when we step inside, the air is noticeably warmer and more humid. It smells like a farm, except without the manure, and it feels a little like being on a spaceship—trays of plants are stacked four levels high, hundreds of blue and red pinpoints of light beaming down on them from above.
Singularity Hub

The Lurie Garden in July
If you plopped the Lurie Garden down in some suburb it would still be a wonderful garden, but it wouldn’t be as exciting if it weren’t surrounded by the Chicago skyline.
gardeninacity

Days Of Whine And Desert Roses
Iguanas do not eat Desert Rose!
Nitty Gritty Dirt Man

Order of the Thistle
There are gardeners who regard the giant cotton thistle, Onopordum acanthium, as a weed, but I love them and carefully dig up the seedlings where they pop up in clusters and redistribute them for better effect.
Monty Don; The Guardian

The Evolution of American Landscape Art
The Hudson River School emerged out of a sense of disenchantment with the unchecked growth of crowded, dirty industrial cities in the Northeast. Artists traveled up the Hudson in search of pristine wilderness, documenting the remnants of a natural world that was fast disappearing.
New York Times

July Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day (in the Philippines)
The most durable plant in my garden is the blue Duranta erecta. It is already as tall as around 10 ft and don’t stop flowering even during the dry season. It serves as the butterflies’ nectar source all year round.
Pure Oxygen Generators

Beekeepers Feel The Sting Of California’s Great Hive Heist
Literally billions of bees are needed to pollinate California’s almond crop. …Earlier this year, around a million dollars’ worth of stolen bees were found in a field in Fresno County. Sgt. Arley Terrence with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department says it was a “beehive chop shop.”
NPR

Rare corpse flower begins long-awaited bloom late Tuesday afternoon in K-State greenhouse
One of the rarest, largest flowers in the world, which earned the nickname “corpse flower” — because it emits a dead-animal stench — began to bloom late Tuesday afternoon at Kansas State University.
Topeka Capital-Journal

Seriously Asian: Perilla Leaves
Right now the Korean ladies are selling stacks of perilla leaves, though if you go to any Korean grocery store, you’ll see them being sold as sesame leaves. I don’t understand why they refer to perilla leaves as sesame leaves, but they do.
Serious Eats

Chefology: Rethinking the Cucumber
There are many more cucumbers than your average English variety. Here, a primer.
Boston Magazine

Sweet Alyssum, Lobularia maritima
The sweet smelling flowers have a honey-like fragrance and are very attractive to bees, flower flies, sting-less wasps and butterflies. It is a particularly good nectar plant for beneficial insects as those tiny insects can easily access the tiny nectaries of the small flowers.
University of Wisconsin, Master Gardener Program

The greatest fine art of the future will be the making of a comfortable living from a small piece of land.― Abraham Lincoln

sweet alyssum lobularia maritima photo Dosiero Wikimedia Commons

Sweet Alyssum, Lobularia maritima. Photo Dosiero, Wikimedia Commons.

perilla

Perilla frutescens, Shiso, Beefsteak Mint. “Annual herb with purple foliage, spikes of lavender flowers in summer. It self-seeds abundantly in our garden, which makes for quite a display of massed plants. It’s easy to pull up, though, and doesn’t spread itself very far from the mother plant, so it really never becomes a nuisance.” Photo and text from Rob’s Plants.

LINCOLN BY GARDNER

Red_Clover_10

Red clover, Trifolium pratense.

aji amarillo yamashiro

Aji amarillo, Capsicum baccatum, a staple in Peruvian cooking. “In Spanish, “Aji” means chili pepper and “Amarillo” means yellow, translating the name to literally mean “yellow chili pepper.” Although this slightly fruity, medium to hot pepper begins with a yellow coloration, the tinge changes as it matures and it actually becomes a vibrant orange.” Photo and text via Yamashiro.

To see a world in a grain of sand and heaven in a wild flower. Hold infinity in the palms of your hand and eternity in an hour. – William Blake

Permaculture Plants: Red Clover
Red Clover is one of the most popular green manure, fodder, and cover crops grown in the world. As a legume, it puts atmospheric nitrogen into the soil. …There are a number of varieties available, but they can be grouped into two divisions: early-flowering and late-flowering. Typically, late-flowering (also known as Mammoth) Red Clovers are used in more northern climates.
Temperate Climate Permaculture

Fermented red clover extract stops menopausal hot flushes and symptoms
Fermented Red Clover extract is demonstrated to decrease significantly both the number and severity of daily hot flushes. The study also found that the extract prevents the normally accelerated menopausal bone loss affecting one in three women over the age of 50. These findings are very promising as the benefits take place without any of the side effects of traditionally proscribed hormone therapies that increase the risk of cancers and cardiovascular diseases.
Medical Xpress

– Blanket Flowers: Plant Care and Collection of Varieties
Produced above a clump of hairy, narrow, gray-green leaves, the blossoms of perennial blanket flower have petals that may be solid colored shades of yellow, wine red , orange or peach, or may be banded in combinations of red or orange with yellow. The petals of some are frilled, while others have a unique, tubular shape.
The National Gardening Association

Why No Dig
Save time and effort by helping natural processes to work with you: undisturbed soil can develop its own aerated structure so vegetables/flowers grow more easily and weeds grow less.
Charles Dowding

The Rambling Rose and the Climbing Rose. What’s the Difference?
Ramblers are distinctly different from the Climbing Roses in that they have blooms in clusters of seven (the climbers have clusters of five) and their leaves are in groups of seven (the climbers have groups of five). The other difference is that the Ramblers will only flower once eg. the Banksia Rose,  whereas the Climbers will flower repeatedly eg. Madame Alfred Carriere. However, two ramblers do flower repeatedly – ‘Malvern Hills’ and ‘Snow Goose’. Ramblers also have very few thorns compared to the Climbers.
All My Favourite Flower Names

– Verily Robot Will Raise 20 Million Sterile Mosquitoes for Release in California
Alphabet’s life sciences arm, Verily, says it has built a robot that can raise a million mosquitoes a week and has used it to produce infertile male insects. The company has started releasing the first batches of what will total 20 million sterilized mosquitoes in Fresno County, California.
MIT Technology Review

Passiflora incarnata; Purple passionflower, Purple passion vine, Maypop
Purple passion-flower is an herbaceous vine, up to 25 ft. long, that climbs with axillary tendrils or sprawls along the ground. Intricate, 3 in., lavender flower are short-stalked from leaf axils. …The name Maypop comes from the hollow, yellow fruits that pop loudly when crushed.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Discovering Aji Amarillo Peppers
In 2012, we were asked to grow Aji Amarillo peppers for one of our customers. They are used extensively in Peruvian cuisine, but here in the U.S. they are often in short supply. It is now almost 3 years later and we still haven’t been able to deliver the Aji Amarillo for the customer who requested them. Paradoxically, Aji Amarillo has become one of our favorite peppers, although it feels like we are only scratching the surface of its potential.
Mother Earth News

Fish Pepper: A Peculiar Pepper With Deep Roots in African-American History
Fish peppers are a mutation of serrano or cayenne peppers (history has never been certain), bearing the recessive gene that causes albinism. They start as pale cream-colored fruit, gradually maturing into light green with dark green striations, then orange with brown striations, and then finally red, at which point the peppers are at their hottest.
Garden Betty

How the transgenic petunia carnage of 2017 began
Two years ago, plant biologist Teemu Teeri was walking by a train station in Helsinki when he noticed some vivid orange petunias in a planter. The flowers reminded Teeri, who has studied plant pigments at the University of Helsinki, of blooms created in a landmark gene-engineering experiment some 30 years earlier. As far as he knew, those flowers never made it to market. But he was curious, and he stuck a stem in his backpack.
Science

Charles Jencks: The Garden of Cosmic Speculation
It all started with a swimming hole.
Symmetry

Eight dreamlike abandoned settings being reclaimed by nature
Eventually, abandoned structures become completely swallowed up by vegetation and the earth itself, leaving few traces of our human footprint.
treehugger

Weeds are flowers too, once you get to know them. – A. A. Milne

passiflora incarnata

“Passionvine blooms spring through fall, and the flowers are 6 to 7 centimeters across and extremely fragrant. The vine spreads by seed and root and can become hard to contain in one area. After planting Passionvine you may begin to find it jumping the borders of your flower beds and sometimes springing up many feet away from where it was originally planted. Individual vines can grow up to 36 feet in length.” Photo and text via the Museum of Science and Industry, Tampa, Florida.

centranthus tunnel photo messy nessy

Red valerian, Centranthus ruber, reclaiming the “Little Belt” railroad tracks (La Petite Ceinture) in Paris. The line was closed in 1934. Photo Messy Nessy.