Taking Root: A Garden Blog

American Holly

January 10, 2014

American Holly, Ilex opaca, is a familiar broadleaf evergreen found throughout Bucks County.  It is one of those native evergreens we have grown up with.  Its glossy green leaves and bright red berries grace the winter landscape and are used to decorate homes and greeting cards for Christmas.

American Holly

January 10, 2014

 American Holly, Ilex opaca, is a familiar broadleaf evergreen found throughout Bucks County.  It is one of those native evergreens we have grown up with.  Its glossy green leaves and bright red berries grace the winter landscape and are used to decorate homes and greeting cards for Christmas.

Hydrangeas

August 10, 2013

In my garden, Hydrangeas are the gift that just keeps giving.  From June until frost there is always a Hydrangea in bloom here.  Once you start growing Hydrangeas you just can’t stop adding them to your garden.  Just ask Michael Dirr, the famous plantsman, who has written an entire book on Hydrangeas, “Hydrangeas for American Gardens”.   While researching for his book in England, Dr. Dirr visited a garden with approximately 360 cultivars of Hydrangea macrophylla.  In his words, “The mind became mush, the knees buckled, and the camera imploded.”  And that was just one species!

Hydrangeas

August 10, 2013

In my garden, Hydrangeas are the gift that just keeps giving. From June until frost there is always a Hydrangea in bloom here. Once you start growing Hydrangeas you just can’t stop adding them to your garden. Just ask Michael Dirr, the famous plantsman, who has written an entire book on Hydrangeas, “Hydrangeas for American Gardens”. While researching for his book in England, Dr. Dirr visited a garden with approximately 360 cultivars of Hydrangea macrophylla. In his words, “The mind became mush, the knees buckled, and the camera imploded.” And that was just one species!

Andalusia

July 22, 2013

 I joined the Martha Washington Garden Club for a tour of the house and grounds at Andalusia recently.  They remembered that I had been the head gardener at Andalusia during the 1980’s and thought I might enjoy seeing the place again.  It was better than returning to my alma mater.  Improvements have been made everywhere.  The gardens and house are more charming and more interesting than I remembered.

Andalusia

July 22, 2013

 I joined the Martha Washington Garden Club for a tour of the house and grounds at Andalusia recently.  They remembered that I had been the head gardener at Andalusia during the 1980’s and thought I might enjoy seeing the place again.  It was better than returning to my alma mater.  Improvements have been made everywhere.  The gardens and house are more charming and more interesting than I remembered.

This month my cottage garden is in full swing. Some of my favorite native plants are playing star roles. Orange Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberose), False Yellow Lupine (Thermopsis villosa), Coreopsis (Tickweed) and Stokes Daisy (Stokesia) sing soprano to rest of the choir. Filling the musical gaps are the non-natives; Happy Returns and Stella Dora Daylilies, Red-hot Poker (Kniphofia), Catmint (Nepeta) and Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'). It is a symphony of sunset colors.

This month my cottage garden is in full swing. Some of my favorite native plants are playing star roles. Orange Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberose), False Yellow Lupine (Thermopsis villosa), Coreopsis (Tickweed) and Stokes Daisy (Stokesia) sing soprano to rest of the choir. Filling the musical gaps are the non-natives; Happy Returns and Stella Dora Daylilies, Red-hot Poker (Kniphofia), Catmint (Nepeta) and Feather Reed Grass (Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'). It is a symphony of sunset colors.

Iris

May 30, 2013

Irises are the cornerstone of my May garden. Because of their diverse forms, color range and bloom times, Irises can be used multiple times in one garden without creating stagnate duplication. Their strong stems need no staking. And except for occasional dividing and deadheading their care is minimal.   That is a pretty good track record for a plant so provocatively beautiful.

Iris

May 30, 2013

Irises are the cornerstone of my May garden. Because of their diverse forms, color range and bloom times, Irises can be used multiple times in one garden without creating stagnate duplication. Their strong stems need no staking. And except for occasional dividing and deadheading their care is minimal.   That is a pretty good track record for a plant so provocatively beautiful.

Dawn Redwood

May 05, 2013

My interest in horticulture began on a cross-country road trip with a high school friend in 1973. Nancy Jansch, and I had been planning the trip ever since her graduation the year before. In order to earn money for our adventure Nancy worked days for County Line Nursery, while I worked nights at a local factory. The day after my June graduation, we loaded up Nancy's VW Bug with camping gear, two guitars, a Golden Gate Passport and headed west.

Eastern Redbud trees, Cercis canadensis, have been one of my favorite trees since 1981. That was the year I rented a cabin on an idyllic homestead in Tylersport. I traveled each day from my little cabin, crossed a trout stream, and then drove to Warminster. There I worked as horticulturist for W. Atlee Burpee Seed Company, in a windowless building with cinderblock walls. My boss greeted me every morning with a “hello darling!” while she blew a big puff of smoke into my face and critiqued the typing errors I made with a sticky-keyed typewriter answering customers’ letters.

Eastern Redbuds

May 01, 2013

Eastern Redbud trees, Cercis canadensis, have been one of my favorite trees since 1981. That was the year I rented a cabin on an idyllic homestead in Tylersport. I traveled each day from my little cabin, crossed a trout stream, and then drove to Warminster. There I worked as horticulturist for W. Atlee Burpee Seed Company, in a windowless building with cinderblock walls. My boss greeted me every morning with a “hello darling!” while she blew a big puff of smoke into my face and critiqued the typing errors I made with a sticky-keyed typewriter answering customers’ letters.

Cuisine Gardens

April 20, 2013

A cuisine garden is a group of vegetables and herbs grown together as ingredients for ethnic recipes. Growing in individual raised beds makes the perfect setting for a collection of world cuisines. I meet cooks from many cultural backgrounds and am always jotting down new ideas for recipes that I am translating into gardens. Since we have not reached the last frost date it’s a good time to plant cool crops. What better than a spring Asian cuisine garden?

Asain Cuisine Garden

April 20, 2013

A cuisine garden is a group of vegetables and herbs grown together as ingredients for ethnic recipes. Growing in individual raised beds makes the perfect setting for a collection of world cuisines. I meet cooks from many cultural backgrounds and am always jotting down new ideas for recipes that I am translating into gardens. Since we have not reached the last frost date it’s a good time to plant cool crops. What better than a spring Asian cuisine garden?

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