master the garden: soil basics

Soil. A natural body embracing the topsoil, but also the subsoil and other layers above its parent rock – is a complex material that supports all life on earth and is a product of the environment – of the rock waste which is its parent material, of the climate under which it weathers, of the kind of topography upon which it is situated, of the vegetation and other organisms with which it develops, and of the length of time during which it has been developing. 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock

strawberry blonde: a story of appreciation

Marigolds – perfume to pest repellent – these versatile flowers have a place in the garden

making the cut: fruit trees

For the gardener who grows fruit trees, the purpose is to grow quality fruit in a reasonable quantity, and harvest safely from from healthy trees. Pruning is a management tool that helps align these goals and balances the needs of both tree and gardener.

what the SOM?

soil organic matter as an indicator of soil health So what is SOM? The USDA defines SOM as: the organic component of soil consisting of three primary parts: (fresh) plant residues and small living organisms (active) decomposing organic matter (humus) stable organic matter Most of us understand the importance of sufficient nutrition in the soilContinue reading “what the SOM?”

master the garden: microclimate management

I have lived in 7 different planting zones and not one has been a perfect match for growing what I wanted. I had to get creative. What I learned was some plants will struggle to survive or fail to thrive without a little intervention on my part and just a few subtle manipulations in adjustingContinue reading “master the garden: microclimate management”

master the garden

part four botany basics: stems Stems support buds and leaves with a vascular system that forms a continuous ‘highway’ inside the stem from the root, through the stem and to the leaves – conduits for carrying water, minerals, and photosynthates (food). The structure of the vascular system consists of the xylem tubes that conduct waterContinue reading “master the garden”

latin for the accidental gardener

acer, acris, acre AY-sa Fierce, sharp, irritating, pungent, bitter Origin and history – New Latin, from Latin, maple tree; akin to Old High German, Old Saxon, & Middle Low German ahorn maple tree, Old Danish ær, Greek akastos, a maple tree, akarna laurel, and probably to Latin acer sharp acerifolius a-ser-ih-FOH-lee-us maple-leafed with leaves like a maple Origin and history – New Latin;Continue reading “latin for the accidental gardener”

language of flowers…..Echinacea

In the language of flowers, the purple coneflower denotes skill and resilience – strength and health Echinacea has a long history in folklore, medicine, and tradition. A symbol of strength and healing, it is also associated with spirituality, and has been connected with the shadow side of one’s’ nature and is frequently used in witchcraftContinue reading “language of flowers…..Echinacea”

making the cut

science based pruning: part 2 – what the cut? What’s in your toolbox? tools of the trade Pruning…removing dead, dying, or diseased wood eliminates an entry point or build-up area for insects and fungi to enter the plant and spread to other parts. Gardeners and arborists spend a lot of time and energy in thisContinue reading “making the cut”

master the garden

part two botany basics: internal plant parts In this second installment of botany basics  – Cells: are the basic structural and physiological units of plants and of life in all organisms. They are eukaryotic cells, which have a true nucleus along with specialized structures called organelles that carry out different functions. Plant cells have specialContinue reading “master the garden”