Monday, July 13, 2015

Garden Inspiration for Your Children



Our little world is changing. People are giving over their front lawns to growing veggies and herbs. Gardeners everywhere are thinking about growing for the future and doing it organically. If a child learns about gardening at a young age, she will have a healthy future that doesn't involve foods grown with genetically modified seed or with pesticides. Teach them a love of gardening and the healthiest methods will take care of themselves in time. The key is to inspire.

The Kid-Gardener's Planting Book for Parents by Chris Eirschele will show you how to nurture this love of gardening in children. It is filled with inspirational ideas that will spark your child's interest and curiosity.

Eirschele's book makes gardening fun (and not just for the kiddies). I've been a gardener most of my life, but I still  learned a few things from this book, so this might also be a good read for beginning gardeners as well.

This planting book talks about everything from handling small garden tools, to making gardens that will interest children such as fairy gardens, gardens filled with bold-shaped and colorful flowers, indoor gardens. It teaches them a respect for nature, its sounds, touch, scent and taste, along with a respect for the pollinating insects so important to our future. It makes growing veggies fun.

Chris Eirschele is a Master Gardener and respected garden writer with a bounty of plant knowledge. For more information, please see her Stay Gardening blog.

The Kid-Gardener's Planting Book for Parents is published by Decoded Science and is available in print and e-book forms, via Amazon and Smashwords.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

My Rosa Multiflora Sport

The original Rosa multiflora
Rosa multiflora isn't considered invasive in Canada and it's a strong favorite in my Canadian garden. I love it for its scent, vigor, beauty and ease of propagation which is the very reason it's unappreciated in the United States.

I've been propagating it successfully for a few years now by seed and by cuttings. (Many American rose growers cringed when they read those words.) In April of this year I began transplanting the new plants from the nursery bed to the rose walk and one is in bloom. Not only is it in bloom, it is a beautiful sport. It's most curious because I always believed species roses remained true to the mother plant whichever way they are propagated. But I know now there are many sports of species roses, perhaps a different shade of pink, or a double version etc. I'm very excited to see this sport as it's quite impressive. While all the other R. multifloras have tiny pinkish buds, this one has slightly larger and plumper, creamy yellow buds. While the original has single white flowers in clusters, this one has double white flowers in clusters. And the bloom is much larger ... approximately 1-1/2 across.  All the other features of this rose are as one would expect from R. multiflora.

It has the scent and appearance of an old rose, flowering on the previous or first seasons canes.


R. multiflora Sport
Double R.multiflora sport

Because I always believed propagation of species would result in true plants to the original, I didn't think to mark which was by seed and which was by cutting. I regret that now.

The cutting or seed was taken and potted up in the summer of 2013, then brought inside to grow on during the winter. It went into the nursery bed last spring, where it remained with all the other R. multiflora cuttings and seedlings, and it came through last summer and winter outdoors with flying colors. 

A little background. This rose started out as root stock for either a tea or floribunda in my father's garden many years ago. It reverted to root stock probably due to a bad graft. And although this "sport" appears to be an old rose type, I wonder if some of the tea or floribunda genes transferred (this is why I'm leaning to it being propagated by seed) ... keeping in mind that many of the modern roses we have today have long pedigrees, a past which included the crossing of old roses. Sports are gene mutations and I wonder if there is a sort of transfer or passing along. I would imagine the odds of gene transfer are higher when propagated via seed. Time to pull out my books, I think.

I don't know yet how it will grow. Will it send out long canes (it's starting to) like the other R. multifloras I have? Will the little genetic mutation it presently has remain in the rose, or will it revert to its species type? Will it bloom intermittently throughout the summer? I doubt that part, but you never know. As a sport, it's a new rose. Anything could happen.  I'm going to mark it for propagation and hope for the best. It is just ... that ... lovely.



Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Rustic Inspiration for Your Garden: Twig Projects

Put your garden in a forest using rustic and twiggy arbors, arches, gazebos, fences and gates. The wood used is primarily found, although it helps if you have it on your land or at least free access to it. These images inspire.

Lovely arbor walk 


Beautiful twig arbor, gate and garden seat

Lovely open arbor design

Twiggy Bridge of "Sigh"

Rustic garden gazebo

Garden retreat

Stunning twiggy fence

Rustic deck fence
Fallen branches country fence

Rustic Gothic Chair

Branch Rustic Gate

Forest Gazebo




Friday, January 23, 2015

Armchair Gardening with the Best Garden Writers: Vita Sackville-West, Thalasso Cruso and Eleanor Perenyi

 
The author's garden in winter. Copyright L. Syratt 2013


When winter is in its full glory, all a gardener can see of her garden is the skeletal shapes of plants poking up through a blanket of snow. Gardening is out of the question. But reading a good book about gardening written by a garden writer is a pleasurable replacement during the long period between December and March.

A good gardening book can inspire garden designs and plant choices to implement after the great thaw. Some of the best books are still in print and easily ordered through bookshops or found online.


Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden



Green Thoughts, A Writer in the Garden, by Eleanor Perenyi, is a book of first-person essays on gardening, based on the author's own experiences. Readers will learn they should put ash from the fire onto the garden bed for a natural source of potassium, which helps plants become more disease-resistant, as well as strengthen the plants' root systems.

Perenyi's essays are very thorough, provocative and easy to read – written with both wit and charm. Since its first printing in 1981, Green Thoughts has become a classic armchair gardening book – to be read and savored.


To Everything There is a Season: The Gardening Year



To Everything There is a Season, the Gardening Year, by Thalassa Cruso, is another book that belongs on every gardener's bookshelf. It is written in first person, and as with Eleanor Perenyi's Green Thoughts, this too, is filled with helpful essays. The essays are organized by month with related information pertaining to gardening at that time of year. December, for example, includes essays about the waste of discarded Christmas trees, and another essay about holly.


Cruso has written her essays with strong sensitivity toward caring for the natural world. It is full of wise philosophies about gardening as well as offering snippets of her personal journey in gardening and her love of gardens and nature. Published in 1972, To Everything there is a Season, is still an important work for those interested in eco-gardening.


Vita Sackville-West's Garden Book



Vita Sackville-West's Garden Book is a small collection of essays put together by her daughter-in-law, Philippa Nicolson in the late 1960s. The essays in the collection were gleaned from Vita Sackville-West's own books of essays published in the 1950s, including, In Your Garden, In Your Garden Again, More for your Garden, and Even More for your Garden. And these essays were gathered from Sackville-West's weekly articles in Britain's Observer magazine, written from 1947 to 1961. Some of the original collections have been reprinted. First editions from the 1950s are rare, collectible and expensive.

Vita Sackville-West, along with her husband, Harold Nicolson were the creators of Sissinghurst, a world famous garden in Kent, England. Vita was a writer first, having had great success with several novels and poetry since the 1920s. It was only when she and her husband moved to Sissinghurst a decade later and began creating the gardens there that Vita started to write about gardening. She had a brilliant creative mind and offered her ideas readily to her readers every week.

Vita Sackville-West's Garden Book brings together some of those most popular essays and gives the reader a good perspective on English garden style. She writes about her famous white garden, protecting plants against frost, about roses andgroundcover plants, about keeping garden notes, and much more, and she does it with humor and charm.

Gardeners are passionate about their gardens. Writers who garden love to write about their own gardens. A little armchair gardening will help you pass the winter without missing the digging, planting, pruning, watering, weeding and mulching. It will come soon enough.

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