Sunday, September 27, 2015

Garden Flowers, Gardening with Native Wildflowers

The garden flowers of the central U.S. are mostly not native.

The garden store was robbed:  it was a violet crime.
sweet violet, Viola odorata
sweet violet, Viola odorata
Many typical garden flowers are from Europe, grown by Europeans for hundreds of years. Examples of these are bachelor buttons (Centaurea cyanus also called cornflower), daffodils (Narcissus many species), and pinks and carnations (Dianthus many species). And violets. Violets are native all across the world, but the cultivated ones are almost all European. That includes pansies (Viola tricolor) johnny-jump-ups (Viola cornuta), the sweet violet (Viola odorata) and others.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Visiting Philadelphia--Ladew Topiary Garden

It's a vegetable dog! topiary, Ladew Garden

In early September I took a tour of Philadelphia featuring gardens (Road Scholar link). Here is a look at Ladew Topiary Garden

Henry Ladew (1887-1976) loved fox hunting and managed to fox hunt in the United States and England every year for decades. He purchased a home in Monkton, Maryland in 1929 and spent fifty years arranging things. He was very influenced by gardens he saw in England. My pictures feature the topiary, but the garden also has "rooms" where all the flowers are iris, or white or pink, really fun to see. (And, as with any garden, different seasons can be dramatically different.)

The signature topiary, a fox hunt. My photo only captures part of it: there is a second rider. (I don't have a closer picture: the fox, dogs, rider and fence are all shaped plants.)

topiary, Ladew Garden

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Dye Plants--Colors of Red Cabbage Update

I don't see a way to upload a photograph into Comments, so I will respond here to a question on the red cabbage dyed cloth.

The original post: The Colors of Red Cabbage

Saffi commented on 9/11/15 "Lovely post with clear instructions and great pictures. Can I ask how the silk is one year on? Has the colour faded or changed at all? "

I located the silk pieces from that project. Below first, are the pieces photographed dry, from top to bottom they are alkaline, neutral and acid. The rug underneath is beige.
red cabbage-dyed silk rephotographed
red cabbage-dyed silk.
Top to bottom: alkaline, neutral and acid.
photographed dry on 9/17/15

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Plant Stories--The Rise of the Tomato

salad with tomatoTomatoes are everyday foods in the United States. In fact, we often count on them to complete a salad. Years ago, on a business flight, I sat next to a vegetable-broker who told me had made a tidy profit on tomatoes one year when the supplies were limited. He explained that "a salad has to have tomato." Since Americans feel a salad must have a slice of tomato, restaurants will pay whatever it costs for tomatoes. With most vegetables, when the price gets high, they substitute or do without. Knowing that, he was careful to buy tomatoes when a shortage was predicted and happily rode the bidding war that followed.

I do not think it is quite that simple today. Restaurants have created salad options that let them omit  tomatoes if they aren't affordable, but it emphasizes the stature of tomatoes in the American diet.

Thus, it seems puzzling that loving tomatoes hasn't been universal.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Bit About Tomato, the Vegetable asks: What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom?

>Knowledge is knowing that tomatoes are fruits. Wisdom is not serving them in a fruit salad.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Finding Wildflower Seeds to Plant

Gaillardia, blanket flower
Gaillardia, probably the hybrid
I wrote about growing locally-native wildflowers in the Denver Post last week, but provided no sources for the plants mentioned. (link)

Several people have asked about seeds, which led me to spend the afternoon searching the web.

No one seed company has all 12 plants. I am sorry about that:  I checked many things for the article, but not the pattern of seed availability.

Here is what I found on Sept. 1, 2015: