Horticulture Tip January 2017
“A Gardener of Sorts”
I use to garden. A lot. I often think about the hundreds of plants I’ve planted, the few that might exist and some that flourish, either at home or somewhere I was lucky enough to spend time in the dirt. Beautiful gardens are wonderful and the joys of gardening is filled with contemplation for imagined spaces inspired by gardens we’ve seen and plantings admired. It can be a fierce addiction. Winter can be a time to ponder much of this, another growing season filled with vision. I am a grateful gardener. Aside from a few annoying invasives, I have grown to appreciate the beauty of common plantings that thrive in my landscape. I am no stranger to the disappointments all of us experience. My lilacs are spindly with a few blooms at the top, my spireas glorious. I have fifty year old mock orange that fill their flowering season with scent and next generation plants that have no fragrance at all. A half century old Osmanthus blooms profusely in November and its sweet scent is amazing. Everything that is old and blooms at my house is white, as intended by its original gardener. I’ve regrettably disrupted that time and again and I’ve resolved to correct it time and again. In years past, I have spent many cold evenings thinking about that next growing season, just as I hope that you will. I have compiled a list of white flowering favorites. Mostly harder to find seeds that are tried and true for me, in my garden spots. They are annuals that complement my white flower fetish and enhance the bulbs, perennials and shrubs that bloom year after year. While I still dream of fields filled of larkspur, I’m happy with a few baptisia and columbine that reseeds nicely in every pastel color. That clump of red tulips that appear every year in the bed of white scilla is really only there for a short time and each spring that I’m tempted to dig them passes by and they come again. And so it goes for a gardener of sorts, white gardens and winter thoughts.
January and February is the best time to seed search and buy hard to find favorites.
Keywords include heirloom flowers, rare seed, old fashioned flowers or search by flower names.
Cypress Vine, White- Ipomoea guamoclit
Love in a Puff- Cardiospermum halicacabum
Moonflower- Ipomoea noctiflora
Cup and Saucer Vine- White Cobaea scandens
Flowering tobacco- Nicotiana alata and Nicotiana sylvestris
Cleome, White- Cleome hassteriana
Hesperis, White- Hesperis matronalis
Love in a Mist, White- Nigella damascena
Cosmos, Psyche White
Money Plant, White-Lunaria annua alba
Larkspur, White King-Consolida ajacis
Horticulture Tip September 2016
If you love to use your homegrown herbs in the kitchen, September is a great time to harvest and dry for winter use. Wait until the dew has dried to cut a few stems, tie a string around this little bouquet, and hang in a cool, dry place until completely dry.
Crumble the leaves and place in a jar for use during the winter. Herbs can also be dried in a microwave. Remove leaves from stems and lay them out between two paper towels. Heat for one minute. Remove them from the microwave, let cool, then test to see if the leaves are crisp. If not, return them to the oven for a few more seconds. Store in jars in a dark place to retain their color and flavor. The tender leaves of basil, parsley, mint, tarragon and lemon balm are susceptible to mold and should be dried with care, while the strong and easily dried leaves of bay rosemary, thyme and and sage are fairly foolproof.
Its also a great time to make herbal vinegars which are super easy! Looking for tarragon vinegar for Ina Garten’s blue cheese dressing? Snag that tarragon before frost and make your own! Keep in mind that a great vinaigrette dressing is simply one part vinegar (use the herbal vinegar you create), to two or three parts good olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.