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Baptisia bracteata var. leucophaea syn. B. leucophaea at James Woodworth Prairie Preserve, Glenview, IL, USA, 9 May 2006. Photo Frank Mayfield, WikiCommons.

Baptisia bracteata var. leucophaea syn. B. leucophaea at James Woodworth Prairie Preserve, Glenview, IL, USA, 9 May 2006. Photo Frank Mayfield, WikiCommons.

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

Hidcote Manor, April 30 2014. Photo HARTLEPOOLMARINA2014, via Wikimedia Commons.

Hidcote Manor, April 30 2014. Photo HARTLEPOOLMARINA2014, via Wikimedia Commons.

U.S. beekeepers lost 40 percent of bees in 2014-15
The survey is part of a larger research effort to understand why honey bee colonies are in such poor health, and what can be done to manage the situation. Colony losses present a financial burden for beekeepers, and can lead to shortages among the many crops that depend on honey bees as pollinators. Some crops, such as almonds, depend entirely on honey bees for pollination. Estimates of the total economic value of honey bee pollination services range between $10 billion and $15 billion annually.
Science Daily

Onagraceae – The Evening Primrose Family
In the site we present a full checklist of all taxa within each of the 18 recognized genera as well as diagnostic images for as many taxa as possible.
Smithsonian 

Nice and Naughty Knautias
Occasionally, one has a nice plant that does well in your garden but is overlooked by many gardeners.  Such plants often serve the triple purposes of a conversation piece, an educational opportunity, and a bragging item.  Such is the place occupied by Knautia macedonia in my garden.
Garden Musings 

May Rain
We have had an astonishing amount of rain in the past three weeks. Steady and generous rain. Lately that rain has been accompanied by very warm temperatures.  Timing is everything-as someone once said.  I am watching what regular spring rain and a little heat is meaning to my plants. All of my evergreens, shrubs and perennials are putting on a lot of weight.  I am delighted with the look.
Dirt Simple

The Toronto Botanical Gardens – Part Two
As mentioned in my previous blog, the TBG is a botanical garden still in its infancy. It covers only a small area around the entrance to the building, and this is divided into even smaller, pocket gardens. I suppose this is almost unavoidable for public gardens like the TBG whose mandate it is to educate – they try to have a bit of everything in an attempt to satisfy every kind of visitor.
The Garden Wanderer

Regal Rheums
I love rhubarb. This perennial vegetable thrived in the temperate New England climate in which I grew up, and one of my earliest garden memories was in a rhubarb patch. I remember running into the vegetable garden every summer to select the fattest, reddest stalks, and, after peeling away and discarding its poisonous leaves, I would chew on the raw stems until the acidic flavor became too astringent.
In Season

‘Thérèse Bugnet’ Rose in Bloom
The wisdom of growing plenty of plants that think that even your worst Winters are an insult to real Winters everywhere has never been clearer. Rosa ‘Thérèse Bugnet’ is so hardy it thrives in sub-Arctic Canada. No cold weather in the Lower 48 will faze it.
Louis The Plant Geek

It’s Not All About the Plants
I’d seen a cardinal flying through the narrow space between the potting shed and greenhouse but just thought she was passing through. Then one day I was working in the potting shed with the doors open and I kept hearing this one note call. As I peered through the door I saw a female cardinal was busy building a nest on the little espaliered yaupon holly growing up the side of the greenhouse.
Rock Rose

Pacific Bulb Society
The Pacific Bulb Society (PBS) was organized in Spring 2002 for the benefit of people who garden with bulbs. This includes both cold hardy and tender bulbs, and all the bulbs in between. By ‘garden with’ we also mean to include plants, shrubs, and even trees that we grow as companions to our bulbs. Membership in PBS is open to bulb lovers around the world.
PBS

Hidcote Manor Garden – Paradise Lost and Found in the Cotswolds
When I first visited Hidcote Manor in Gloucestershire several years ago on a hot summer morning in June. It was nothing short of a nightmare! The car park was heaving with coaches, it was over-run with visitors and I came away feeling that I’d been short-changed at a garden theme park … But if you consider that Hidcote and Sissinghurst are to England, what Giverny and Villandry are to France in terms of drawing garden visitors, it is not surprising.
The Galloping Gardener/Charlotte Weychan

Feeding Tomorrow’s Billions: Lab-Grown Meat Products, Vertical Farms, AI-Designed Recipes, and More
Food and agriculture accounts for about 5.9% of the global GDP. Global food retail sales alone account for about $4 trillion/year, and food accounts for 15% of what American households spend each year. It is an industry ripe for disruption.
Singularity Hub

Baptisia bracteata var. leucophaea
Cream false indigo is an exquisite perennial, 1-2 ft. tall with a wide, bushy habit. The branches cascade under the weight of the sometimes foot-long flower spikes. The leaves are alternate, 1 1/2–4 inches long, divided into 3 distinct segments; but the stipules are so large that they are sometimes mistaken for leaves.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Rosa 'Therese Bugnet'. Photo Ulf Eliasson, WikiCommons.

Rosa ‘Therese Bugnet’. Photo Ulf Eliasson, WikiCommons.

When people will not weed their own minds, they are apt to be overrun by nettles. ― Horace Walpole

Rheum officinale, Polygonaceae, Chinese Rhubarb, habitus. Karlsruhe, Germany. Photo H. Zell via WikiCommons.

Rheum officinale, Polygonaceae, Chinese Rhubarb, habitus. Karlsruhe, Germany. Photo H. Zell via WikiCommons.

A spectacular aurora photographed by Ryan Fisher in Canada's Northwest Territories on January 11, 2015. Click image to link to the aurora gallery at Spaceweather.

A spectacular aurora photographed by Ryan Fisher in Canada’s Northwest Territories on January 11, 2015. Click image to link to the aurora gallery at Spaceweather.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

House sparrows bathing. Photo Zachary, Creative Commons.

House sparrows bathing. Photo Zachary, Creative Commons.

Cat Grass for Cats – good or bad?
Though no one can deny that cats eat grass, there are only theories as to why they do. Some claim it is to get extra niacin, a B vitamin abundantly available in most fresh young grain grasses. Perhaps cats eat it to make themselves vomit. Some people believe cats eat it to help pass fur balls along while others say they just need the fiber for other nutritional purposes.
Geoff Stein/Dave’s Garden

Rise in mass die-offs seen among birds, fish and marine invertebrates
An analysis of 727 studies reveals that there have been more instances of rapid, catastrophic animal die-offs over the past 75 years. These mass kills appear to have hit birds, fish and marine invertebrates harder than other species.
Science Daily

Unusual number of UK flowers bloom
Botanists have been stunned by the results of their annual hunt for plants in flower on New Year’s Day. They say according to textbooks there should be between 20 and 30 species in flower. This year there were 368 in bloom.
BBC

Together, humans and computers can figure out the plant world
As technology advances, science has become increasingly about data–how to gather it, organize it, and analyze it. The creation of key databases to analyze and share data lies at the heart of bioinformatics, or the collection, classification, storage, and analysis of biochemical and biological information using computers and software.
EurekAlert

The Sustainable Sites Initiative
Landscapes are considered sustainable if they reduce water demand, filter and reduce stormwater runoff, provide wildlife habitat, reduce energy consumption, improve air quality, improve human health, and increase outdoor recreation opportunities.
United States Botanic Garden

Nectar of the Gods
The Exotic Love Vine (Ipomoea lobata) is proving to be the most vibrant and heavy bloomer in my fall garden — just when I think it can’t possibly get any better, it does.
Great Stems

William Curtis and “The Botanical Magazine, or, Flower-Garden Displayed”
The world’s longest running botanical magazine was (eventually) named after its founder William Curtis (1746–1799), who was an English botanist and entomologist. From 1771 to 1777 Curtis worked as demonstrator of plants and Praefectus Horti at the Chelsea Physic Garden…
New York Public Library

A Garden Aristocrat
The U.S. National Arboretum’s National Boxwood Collection is one of the most complete collections of boxwood in the world.  There are around 150 different species and cultivars planted in this verdant corner of the Arboretum.  Some have blue-green leaves, others have leaves variegated with splashes of cream or yellow.  Some are dwarf and mature at a height of less than two feet.  One variety, ‘Graham Blandy’,  grows upward in a narrow column like an exclamation point in the garden.
United States National Arboretum

Search the Botany Collections
The plant collections of the Smithsonian Institution began with the acquisition of specimens collected by the United States Exploring Expedition (1838-1842). These formed the foundation of a National Herbarium which today numbers over 5 million historical plant records, placing it among the world’s largest and most important.
Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

20 gorgeous peonies
Our guide to favorite varieties in pinks, reds, yellows, and more.
Sunset

Designing with Dwarf Conifers
My tiny lot did not afford much space for full-size trees and shrubs, but I knew I could make room for a few dwarf conifers, which usually don’t get taller than 1 to 6 feet in 10 years.
Fine Gardening

Horticultural Artists Grow Fantastical Scenes at the Montréal Botanical Garden
The process works a bit like this. To start, horticultural artists build metal frames for their sculptures. They cover the frames with soil netting and then plant seeds of different flora in that soil, much like a ceramicist lays tiles in a mosaic.
Smithsonian Magazine

Sex and the single evening primrose
Sex or no sex? Using various species of the evening primrose as their model, researchers have demonstrated strong support for a theory that biologists have long promoted: Species that reproduce sexually, rather than asexually, are healthier over time, because they don’t accumulate harmful mutations.
Science Daily

Detail of the roof of the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California. Photo Almonroth, Creative Commons.

Detail of the roof of the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, California. Photo Almonroth, Creative Commons.

Green fingers are the extension of a verdant heart. ~Russell Page

Limonaia in Tower Hill Botanical Garden, Boylston, Massachusetts. "Preservation of citrus and other tender plants started out as crudely as building a pergola over potted plants or beds or simply moving potted plants indoors for the cold season. Known in Italy as limonaia, these early structures employed wood panels in storerooms or open galleries to protect from the cold," says Wikipedia. Photo Muffet, Creative Commons.

Limonaia in Tower Hill Botanical Garden, Boylston, Massachusetts. “Preservation of citrus and other tender plants started out as crudely as building a pergola over potted plants or beds or simply moving potted plants indoors for the cold season. Known in Italy as limonaia, these early structures employed wood panels in storerooms or open galleries to protect from the cold,” says Wikipedia. Photo Muffet, Creative Commons.

 

"The Explanation," Rene Magritte, 1952

“The Explanation,” Rene Magritte, 1952. Click image for more about Magritte.

“Reason uncorrected by instinct is as bad as instinct uncorrected by reason.” – Samuel Butler, Erewhon.

"The Anatomy of Plants," Nehemiah Grew, 1682

“The Anatomy of Plants,” Nehemiah Grew, 1682. Click image to learn more about Nehemiah Grew.

Save our small nurseries from the European Commission
“It would be the death of 95 per cent of all nurseries,” said the Dutch nurseryman. He was referring to some legislation proposed by the European Commission, which would make it mandatory for all plant varieties to be supported by a detailed description.
Telegraph

Acorns: The Inside Story
During World War II Japanese school children collected over one million tons of acorns to help feed the nation as rice and flour supplies dwindled.
Eat The Weeds

Ricinus communis, Castor Oil plant
Around one million tons of castor beans are processed each year for castor oil production leaving the waste pulp with up to 50,000 tons of ricin in it. And, yet, finding instances of ricin poisoning is not an easy task. So how is it that this exceptionally toxic substance fails to achieve its harmful potential?
The Poison Garden

Figs and Mulberries, Inside and Out
Figs and mulberries are both gorgeous, sexy fruits, but in very different ways. At first blush a mulberry could be the hot-mess cousin of a blackberry, while figs are classically sensual fruits, like marble nudes teetering on the edge of vulgar.
Soiled & Seeded

Pawnee Buttes Sand Cherry: the scoop
Pawnee Buttes is quietly becoming “bread and butter” (i.e., a universally grown, serviceable shrub),and yet it has become an emblem of sophisticated xeriscapes and connoisseur’s gardens in our region as well…not many plants can straddle both rather contradictory realms!
Prairiebreak

Red Tulips, Green Garden
Red tulip flowers have dramatic impact in spring when surrounded by their complementary colour green, and tulips in whatever colour have to be the ultimate complementary plants to add to a perennial meadow and awaken your gardener’s spirits in early, mid and late springtime.
Perennial Meadows

Karl Foerster’s gardens in Potsdam
The place could be divided in 4 sectors: the nursery, still up and running, the back garden, the sunken garden (front garden) and the house with a part of private garden. The house is actually owned and inhabited by Karl Foerster’s daughter, if I got it right, although I did the math and I guess she ain’t a kid anymore.
AltroVerde

Freedom Plaza 30 Years Later: Nothing Left to Lose
I’ve made the pilgrimage to see the work of the late Wolfgang Oehme and James van Sweden at the Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC three times in the last ten years. Each time, I have been sadly disappointed.
The Gardener’s Eye

Seed trade/sale list
This is my current list of seeds I have to trade. I also keep a copy up at Gardenweb during the trading season (roughly, September through December). If you see some varieties you’d like, shoot me an e-mail trade request.
Rob’s Plants

Short Dictionary of Specific Epithets
Included are epithets referring to structure, form, habit, color, habitat, and other descriptive terms. Still the list is hardly begun after 702 items. I feel some resistance to continue, because you should have no need to discover these meanings if you accept my argument that plant names are just names. What is important is that those names be unique. Unfortunately, it is too much to hope for them to be unchanging.
Tom Clothier

The Carosello Massafrese
For those of you who are not familiar with what a Carosello is, Carosellos are cucumbers that are are a melon botanically and a cucumber agriculturally. This means that they grow like a melon but taste and are eaten like cucumbers – only better!
The Scientific Gardener

Kansas Peonies—From Russia with Love
Russian peonies still bloom in Kansas wherever the Mennonites and their descendants settled, towns like “Newton, Hillsboro and Gossel.”
Human Flower Project

In search of evergreens for Kansas
Kansas is the only state in the Lower 48 that doesn’t have a native pine tree. We’re not the icy-cold tundra of the Upper Midwest, where native pines can take the cold winters, and we’re not the desert Southwest, where native pines can take the hot wind. “We’re both,” said Jason Griffin, director of K-State’s John C. Pair Horticulture Center in Haysville.
Wicihta Eagle

Northumberlandia
The prone female figure of Northumberlandia shares some of the swoops and surprises of that garden, but is altogether rougher and less refined. She forms the centrepiece of a new, privately funded, but very public, park, and is apparently a quarter of a mile long, with 100ft (30m) high breasts, and a body made from 1.5m tons of rock, soil and clay.
Landscape Lover

Bras in Space: The Incredible True Story Behind Upcoming Film Spacesuit
It turns out that the 21-layers of gossamer-thin fabric in the Apollo spacesuits that kept Armstrong and Aldrin from “the lethal desolation of a lunar vacuum,” as Nicholas de Monchaux puts it in his remarkable book “Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo,” was created by the same people who made your grandma’s bra. Playtex.
The Credits

"The Dream," Henri Rousseau, 1910. Click image for more on Rousseau.

“The Dream,” Henri Rousseau, 1910. Click image for more on Rousseau.

“Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them.” – Bill Vaughn

"Le Jardinier," Paul Cezanne, c 1886. Click image for more on Cezanne.

“Le Jardinier,” Paul Cezanne, c 1886. Click image for more on Cezanne.

"The Botanist"; sculpture by Emil Alzamora. Click image to link to his remarkable website.

“The Botanist”; sculpture by Emil Alzamora. Click image to link to his remarkable website.

Seeds of Dipsacus fullonum aka Teasel sprouting within the seedhead. Photo by Maggie Tran. Click image to link to her blog, "A Year at Great Dixter."

Seeds of Dipsacus fullonum, aka Teasel, sprouting within the seedhead. Photo by Maggie Tran. Click image to link to her blog, “A Year at Great Dixter.”

“Go see gardens. Every garden you can. Absorb from them what seems pertinent. Take home what works, and do better.”Deborah Silver

How to Pronounce Botanical Names
Relax! The good news is there is NO “correct” way to pronounce them! You may pronounce them any way you wish, and you will be just as “correct” as any Ph.D. botanist.
J. L. Hudson, Seedsman

Saving chilli pepper seeds to grow again
To ensure the best chances of obtaining viable seed, you must ensure that the pods selected have fully ripened, before harvesting the seed. It may take several months for a pod to mature.
The Chileman

Creating a New Kind of Night Light: Glow-in-the-Dark Trees
San Francisco-based entrepreneur Antony Evans has come up with a radical idea for curbing power usage: “What if we use trees to light our streets instead of electric street lamps?”
Smithsonian

Why Don’t We Just Kill All the Mosquitoes?
Don’t have type O blood, don’t be a large person, don’t exhale, don’t exercise, don’t get hot, don’t be pregnant, don’t drink even one beer, don’t have parents who got a lot of mosquito bites when they were your age, and don’t wear bright clothing or otherwise call attention to yourself.
The Atlantic

One Plant, Three Seasons: Patrinia scabiosifolia
Is it possible for any gardener to have just one favorite plant? For most of us, I imagine, it’s tough to get closer than a top 5 or top 10. But if you asked me that question at this time of year and insisted on one top pick, I wouldn’t hesitate to choose Patrinia scabiosifolia.
Hayefield

When Lettuce Was a Sacred Sex Symbol
Lettuce has been harvested for millenia—it was depicted by ancient Egyptians on the walls of tombs dating back to at least 2,700 B.C. The earliest version of the greens resembled two modern lettuces: romaine, from the French word “romaine” (from Rome), and cos lettuce, believed to have been found on the island of Kos, located along the coast of modern day Turkey.
Smithsonian

Stone Age Farmers Showed Sophisticated Use of Fertilizers
As early as 8,000 years ago, Stone Age farmers across Europe were working their crop lands intensely, irrigating and strategically applying manure, according to new research published in today’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings also call into question previous estimates of how much protein in the Neolithic human diet was derived from animals rather than plants.
Discover

Griffith Buck Rose Chart
I spent most of yesterday working on a talk I have to give in late September at the annual Extension Master Gardener state continuing education conference, and I put together a handout listing the Griffith Buck roses that I’m pretty proud of. …It lists what I think are all the roses (99?) bred by Griffith Buck and introduced to commerce either prior to or after his death.
Kansas Garden Musings

Living Fences: How-To, Advantages and Tips
A living fence is a permanent hedge tight enough and tough enough to serve almost any of the functions of a manufactured fence, but it offers agricultural and biological services a manufactured fence cannot. For instance, it provides “edge habitat” that supports ecological diversity. As more species (insects, spiders, toads, snakes, birds and mammals) find food and refuge in this habitat, natural balances emerge, yielding, for example, a reduction of rodents and crop-damaging insect populations.
Mother Earth News

Diversity Does Not Mean “Native Only.”
There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that pollinators are drawn to areas with a diverse variety of flowering plants they enjoy dining on. The National Academy of Sciences recently released a report on the matter, and the findings further underscore the importance of plant diversity for encouraging pollinator subsistence and survival. However, some have seen fit to take this evidence and create a causal relationship that the research conclusions do not: plant only native plants, as if ‘diversity’ and ‘native plants’ were one and of the same. They are not.
Prairieform

Are Weeds Healthier Than Farmed Veggies?
…The same wild edible plants that we call weeds tend to be loaded with phytonutrients—the “arsenal of chemicals” that plants synthesize to fend off “insects, disease, damaging ultra-violet light, inclement weather, and browsing animals.” Recent studies suggest that eating phytonutrients helps humans fend off four of what Robinson calls “our modern scourges”: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and dementia.
Mother Jones

Tales of the Alhambra
25 years ago I made my first pilgrimage to Spain, and that was largely due to my desire to visit the Alhambra. This place was built to be extraordinarily beautiful, melding man, nature, and art in to a heavenly abode.
Jeffrey Bale

Top Five Regrets of the Dying
A nurse has recorded the most common regrets of the dying, and among the top ones is ‘I wish I hadn’t worked so hard’. What would your biggest regret be if this was your last day of life?
The Guardian

Catbird and Parthenocissus, William Sprague, American illustrator.

Catbird and Parthenocissus, William Sprague, American illustrator.

you're not deep

The desert lily,, Hesperocallis undulata, blooming in the Anza-Borrego desert, March 2013.

The desert lily,, Hesperocallis undulata, blooming in the Anza-Borrego desert, March 2013. Photo Fred Melgert; see Anza-Borrego clip below.

The roof at the south end of the Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England, photographed by Bertie Bainbridge. Bertie is a diploma student at Kew, also an excellent writer and photographer. Click image to link to Bertie's post about the Palm House.

The roof at the south end of the Palm House at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, England, photographed by Bertie Bainbridge. Bertie is a diploma student at Kew, also an excellent writer and photographer. Click image to link to Bertie’s post about the Palm House.

“In season, all is good.” – Sophocles

Wildflower Updates, Anza-Borrego desert
March 13, 2012: This great photo of a desert lily was submitted today by Carla Hoegen and Fred Melgert.  They found it off to the side of the S22, between mile posts 38 and 39.  Absolutely beautiful flower!
Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association

How to keep perennials in check
The Molly-the-witch has broken ground, each of its spears a meaty-red wick bright against the mulch. The peonies are early to rise, and already the shoots have ruptured to reveal a cluster of carmine-pink leaves.
Dan Pearson, The Observer

Molly the Witch
Affectionately known as ‘Mollie-the-witch’, Paeonia mlokosewitschii makes up for its somewhat awkward name by being one of the loveliest and best tempered of herbaceous perennials in the garden.
Paradise Garden

Beans and Greens: A Power Couple
If you’ve been a longtime follower of Recipes for Health, you know how much I like combining beans and greens. They make a good, nourishing couple and every peasant cuisine in the world seems to know this.
New York Times

Tomatoes That Mimic Actions of Good Cholesterol Created
After the tomatoes were eaten, the peptide surprisingly was found to be active in the small intestine but not in the blood, suggesting that targeting the small intestine may be a new strategy to prevent diet-induced atherosclerosis, the plaque-based disease of the arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Science Daily

Imaginary axis … garden structure at Federal Twist
The shape of the axis is not arbitrary. It follows the pattern of storm water flow around the house and across the garden to the long slope down to Lockatong Creek.
View from Federal Twist

Aster Evaluation
I just got done reading the latest plant evealuation notes from Chicago Botanic Garden.  This issue: Asters.  With 116 taxa, this was the largest comparitive evaluation trial they’ve done to date.  The trial list uses the current nomenclature, which I’m still adapting to.
Confessions of a Plant Geek

Boxwoods
There were boxwoods here since I knew this place. They used to march up each side of the front walk. There was a fire one year when the woods across the road burned and fire crossed over.
Secrets of a Seed Scatterer

The Ongoing Saga Of Geranium ‘Brookside’
At that point, they had resided in my garden for a few years and I wasn’t the least bit impressed. Even in full bloom, they looked messy and out of control; and not in a cottage garden like good way.
An Obsessive Neurotic Gardener

Eriobotrya japonica; my favorite plant in the garden this week…
I feel a special sort of attachment to this loquat. I watched it at a nursery for over a year before I finally bought it. During that year I purchased another loquat (less expensive, more the shape I needed for the available spot) but I never stopped thinking about this one.
Danger Garden

The 2013 Espaliers
It is no secret that I am very fond of espaliered trees. Espaliers? These are trees or shrubs which are pruned to a 2-dimensional shape.
Dirt Simple

One of Us
These are stimulating times for anyone interested in questions of animal consciousness. On what seems like a monthly basis, scientific teams announce the results of new experiments, adding to a preponderance of evidence that we’ve been underestimating animal minds, even those of us who have rated them fairly highly.
Lapham’s Quarterly

Psychopathy’s Double Edge
Over a 28-year-old single-malt scotch at the Scientific Study of Psychopathy’s biennial bash in Montreal in 2011, I asked Bob Hare, “When you look around you at modern-day society, do you think, in general, that we’re becoming more psychopathic?”
The Chronicle of Higher Education

“Only a man can draw a self-portrait, but only a man wants to.” – Georg Christoph Lichtenberg

Could this green meteorite discovered last year in Morocco be from Mercury? Scientists want to know. Click image to link to space.com.

Could this green meteorite discovered last year in Morocco be from Mercury? Scientists want to know. Click image to link to space.com.

Satoyama is a word that describes the farming landscape near the hills and mountains in Japan, where water is abundant and farmers for a long time have maintained the soil for rice and vegetables. Click image for more at Treehugger. Photo Namazu-tron, Wikimedia Commons.

Satoyama is a word that describes the farming landscape near the hills and mountains in Japan, where water is abundant and farmers for a long time have maintained the soil for rice and vegetables. Click image for more at Treehugger. Photo Namazu-tron, Wikimedia Commons.

Edgeworthia chrysantha, a winter-deciduous member of the Thymelaeaceae family (Daphne, Camellia), in discreet and powerfully fragrant winter bloom. Photo by Daniel Mosquin via Botany Photo of the Day. Click image to link to that excellent site.

Edgeworthia chrysantha, a winter-deciduous member of the Thymelaeaceae family (Daphne, Camellia), in discreet and powerfully fragrant winter bloom. Photo by Daniel Mosquin via Botany Photo of the Day. Click image to link to that excellent site.

Eschsholzia californica, the California Poppy. In the Antelope Valley of southern California, these beautiful poppies cover the landscape as far as the eye can see. Photo Johnathan Stegeman. Click image to link to Wikimedia Commons.

Eschsholzia californica, the California Poppy. In the Antelope Valley of southern California, these beautiful poppies cover the landscape as far as the eye can see. Photo Johnathan Stegeman. Click image to link to Wikimedia Commons.

“Earth laughs in flower” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Lady Bird Johnson, our former first lady, and actress Helen Hayes founded an organization in 1982 to protect and preserve North America’s native plants and natural landscapes. First as the National Wildflower Research Center and later as the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, this special place exists to introduce people to the beauty and diversity of wildflowers and other native plants.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
California poppy is often used in wildflower mixes. It is easy to grow, drought tolerant, and reseeds so readily that is can become weedy. In natural conditions, it blooms most heavily from March to May. This bloom period can be extended with supplemental water.      Native Plant Database, LBJWC

The Fortingall Yew
The Fortingall Yew is an ancient yew (Taxus baccata) in the churchyard of the village of Fortingall in Perthshire, Scotland. Various estimates have put its age at between 2,000 and 5,000 years; recent research into yew tree ages suggests that it is likely to be nearer the lower limit of 2,000 years.     Wikipedia

Box and Yew at Tremolat
Someone is doing a good job of clipping perfect spheres. I love the ‘green’ in the garden at Le Vieux Logis, a grand old hotel in Tremolat, Dordogne.   Our French Garden

Le Parc du Bois des Moutiers, Normandy, France
The partnership between Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll ranks as one of the most famous in gardening. He was the architect, she the gardener. He provided the garden layout and designed the structures and spaces, while she filled them in with billowing herbaceous plantings that have become synonymous with the “English garden”.      The Garden Wanderer

Wigandia Garden, Australia
Wigandia is the name of William Martin’s four-acre garden, which he calls his “private adventure ground,” in Victoria, Australia. A one-of-a-kind garden, Wigandia is an astonishing, otherwordly place where foliage trumps flowers and water is never wasted.     Wigandia

Plants With Stinging Trichomes
About ten years ago, a small specimen of Wigandia caracasana was planted by Mr. Wolffia in an unlandscaped area between the Life Sciences Greenhouse and the Staff Building at Palomar College. The hard, sun-baked ground was devoid of topsoil and it was doubtful that this little plant could survive in its new home. But to the astonishment of the Life Sciences staff, survive it did.
Wayne’s Word

Moving mature lilacs
Lilacs, even 40-year-old plants, can be transplanted at most any time of the year if done properly. The best time, however, is when they are dormant or not growing, generally in the fall, late summer or early spring (in that order of preference).     John L. Fiala, Lilacs: A Gardener’s Encyclopedia; via Google Books

That Cuddly Kitty Is Deadlier Than You Think
“We were absolutely stunned by the results.” The study appeared Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications. The findings are the first serious estimate of just how much wildlife America’s vast population of free-roaming domestic cats manages to kill each year.     New York Times

In Defense of Garden Cats
As a gardening veterinarian, I feel obligated to defend our feline friends against the recent onslaught of poor publicity directed towards them.  I’m referring of course, to news reports that stem from a January 29, 2013 article by Scott Loss, et al in Nature Communications, titled “The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States”.     Garden Musings

Stink Bug: Combating a Top-Ranked Invasive Insect
First detected in the United States a decade ago, the brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is now in at least 39 states, wreaking havoc in homes and gardens, and is a major economic threat to orchard fruits, garden vegetables and row crops.     Science Daily

Exactly what wildlife do we want overwintering in our beds?
What beneficial or pesky critters and diseases could be encouraged by a nice thick layer of leaf litter among perennials?  Inquiring gardeners want to know!     Garden Rant

Home movie (01:33:18)
Spectacular aerial photography of our changing planet. To disseminate their message, the producers placed the film in the public domain, available through the Internet Archive. Surprisingly, this high-budget film was funded by major international fashion and apparel corporations.     archive.org

“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful: they are sunshine, food and medicine to the soul.” – Luther Burbank

Aerial view of glacial flow in Greenland. Screen shot from movie "Home," in the public domain.

Aerial view of glacial flow in Greenland. Screen shot from movie “Home,” in the public domain.

 

Aerial view of cultivated fields in Bangladesh. Screen shot from movie "Home," in the public domain.

Aerial view of cultivated fields in Bangladesh. Screen shot from movie “Home,” in the public domain.

 

Aerial view of cultivated Eucalyptus forest in South America. Not a good thing. Screen shot from movie "Home," in the public domain.

Aerial view of cultivated Eucalyptus forest in South America. Not a good thing. Screen shot from movie “Home,” in the public domain.

 

Aerial view of Arctic ice cap. Screen shot from movie "Home," in the public domain.

Aerial view of Arctic ice cap. Screen shot from movie “Home,” in the public domain.

Manganese dendrites on a limestone bedding plane from Solnhofen, Germany. Scale in mm. A crystal dendrite is a crystal that develops with a typical multi-branching tree-like form. Click image for Wiki.

Manganese dendrites on a limestone bedding plane from Solnhofen, Germany. Scale in mm. A crystal dendrite is a crystal that develops with a typical multi-branching tree-like form. Click image for Wiki.

Meet the Jagger Flower aka Hot Lips. Yes, its real. This is the sluttish blossom of Psychotria elata, a native of tropical America. Combined with Kiss-Me-Over-The-Garden-Gate and Love-In-A-Puff? Photo nalhuerayen via Flickr. Click image for Psychotria elata's Facebook page.

Meet the Jagger Flower aka Hot Lips. Yes, its real. This is the sluttish blossom of Psychotria elata, a native of tropical America. Combined with Kiss-Me-Over-The-Garden-Gate and Love-In-A-Puff? Photo nalhuerayen via Flickr. Click image for Psychotria elata’s Facebook page.

“No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden.” – Thomas Jefferson

Bonfante Gardens
The park, which has trees and gardens as its central theme, is the realization of a 20-year dream for Michael Bonfante, the former owner of Nob Hill Foods. He wanted to share his passion for trees with people, especially children, his hope being that if children learn to appreciate trees at an early age they will “have their whole life to enjoy them.”     MV Voice

Iris x robusta ‘Gerald Darby’
Iris x robusta is a designation for hybrids of two native American irises (Iris versicolor x Iris virginica). ‘Gerald Darby’ is a marginal aquatic hybrid cultivar that is noted for its attractive violet-blue flowers and variegated spring foliage.     Missouri Botanical Garden

Le Rouge et le Noir: Where the black dahlia gets its color
…A study published in BioMed Central’s open-access journal BMC Plant Biology reveals for the first time that the distinctive black-red coloring is based on an increased accumulation of anthocyanins as a result of drastically reduced concentrations of flavones.     PhysOrg

Wim van Wassenhove’s Garden, Belgium
As I discovered soon after moving, the most important criteria in shaping the Belgian landscape are neatness and practicality. What the Belgians seem to love more than anything else are immaculate lawns, tight hedges, and all manner of pruned, trellised, pleached and espaliered plants.     The Garden Wanderer

Stitchwort in the Backyard
My gut feeling told me, “That’s a food plant.” It looked like a kind of chickweed, but I knew it wasn’t. It was obviously perennial, and chickweed is annual. I knew chickweeds: mouse-ear chickweed, starry chickweed, common chickweed, giant chickweed. This wasn’t one of them. Another kind of chickweed?     Forager’s Harvest

How to grow: Patrinia scabiosifolia
It may not have the impact of some plants, but Patrinia scabiosifolia is a gem that ought to be much more widely grown. In fact, it is precisely this lack of substance that endears it to gardeners who like plants that mingle well with others.    Telegraph

Blue Notes
The winter here in southeastern Pennsylvania has been relatively mild, but we’re still a long way from the lushness of summer, so it’s a good time to be looking at pretty pictures. Here’s a sampling of some of my favorite blue and purple-blue flowers and combinations.     Hayefield

Digitalis ferruginea “Rusty Foxglove”
This unusual variation will add height to a shady corner of the garden and looks lovely dotted among ferns or other woodland plants and spectacular at the back of a border. Considered a robust biennial or short-lived perennial, given the right conditions it will perpetuate by self-seeding. The blooms are and are extremely attractive to bees.     Seedaholic

Design Elements: Garden Hideaways
Do you wish for a special little hideaway in the garden where you can get away from it all?  …If so, here are a few garden houses that perhaps will give you some inspiration to construct your very own.     Juniper Hill

Fasciation: Fascinating distortions of the plant world
Fasciations are widespread phenomena reported in more than 100 vascular plant species affecting dicots and monocots in 39 plant families and 86 genera. The term refers to a flattened or ribbon-like appearance.     Colorado State University Extension

L.A. arboretum turns wind-toppled trees into artistic windfall
It was almost one year ago when wicked Santa Anas sent hurricane-force winds through Los Angeles County, whipping off roofs, snapping power lines and leaving 350,000 residents in the dark for up to a week. …When the staff at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden arrived back at work in Arcadia, they found 235 trees destroyed and 1,000 damaged.     Los Angeles Times

As Not Seen on TV
A well-deserved smackdown. Restaurant Review: Guy’s American Kitchen & Bar in Times Square.     New York Times

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.” – Abraham Lincoln

The beautiful Ocotillo (Fouqueria splendens), a common sight in the Sonoran Desert. In Spring, the branches are tipped with brilliant red flowers. Click image to learn more at Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers.

The beautiful Ocotillo (Fouqueria splendens), a common sight in the Sonoran Desert. In Spring, the branches are tipped with brilliant red flowers. Click image to learn more at Southeastern Arizona Wildflowers.

Ocotillo in bloom. Photo Basin and Range Watch.

Ocotillo in bloom. Photo Basin and Range Watch.