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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

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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.

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.