A Walk in the Garden

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The transformation in my gardens in the past two years has been one of lightening the workload. I’ve grown a bit more accustomed to the spaciousness of a small yard without voluptuous flower beds. In the smallness of it all beauty is more precise, less grand. My photography skills are minimal, but I try to [Read More...]

Celery Stubs, Practical Gardening Fun

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Celery is part of nearly every day in my kitchen. It gets chopped in most cooking, filled with Gorgonzola dolce or peanut butter, dipped in cheesy horseradish spread, or just snacked on with a little salt. I’ve grown celery from plants bought from a local greenhouse and never been satisfied with the results. The other [Read More...]

Darkness and Light, Catholic Photo Challenge

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The Catholic Photo Challenge this week is about darkness and light. Most living things experience a passage from darkness to light. Whether it is in the womb of the body or the womb of the earth, germination takes place in the absence of light. A seed is planted in the dark soil, and with minimal effort [Read More...]

Watering the Birds, Practical Gardening (with a video!)

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Water is a necessity for all life. Birds need water for drinking and preening; it helps keep a bird’s body cool from the inside and out. Water baths remove dust, loose feathers, parasites and other debris from their plumage. Adding a water feature to your garden is an important element, and one of the quickest [Read More...]

Mulch Madness, Practical Gardening

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Applying mulch is the best time-saving measure a gardener can take. This is true for every type of garden—flower beds, vegetable gardens, hardwoods. When you mulch a garden it is healthier, has less weeds, and the mulch helps hold moisture so the garden is more drought resistant and you spend less time watering. Organic Gardening [Read More...]

At the Scent of Water

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Planting fruit trees is not something done lightly. They represent a long term commitment to nurturance and stability of site. Once I felt established in my house, a semi-dwarf Johnagold apple and dwarf Bartlet pear were planted. The dwarf pear tree grew along the west fence that framed the back yard.  It had begun to [Read More...]

The Drama of Hydrangeas, Practical Gardening Series

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It’s hard to beat the beauty of the big late-summer blooms of hydrangeas. With multiple cultivars on the market, with impressive fall leaf color and diverse bloom sets, the options for your garden are many. Hydrangeas are a sturdy shrub and most require little care but light pruning. And since hydrangeas are terminal bloomers, flowering [Read More...]

Irises in the Garden, Practical Gardening Series

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Irises have been a favorite perennial since childhood. They began my gardening and were there when I retired from working the grounds at St. Francis Retreat Center. Over the years I have come to love the wide assortment of Iris germanica. From the earliest blooming dwarfs  to the big boys late in the season. Bearded [Read More...]

Powdery Mildew on my Veggies?! Practical Gardening Series

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Powdery mildew is a general name for a few different species of fungi that infect several ornamental plants, such as zinnias, Monarda, lilacs, and roses. It also affects vegetables and fruits, including beans, grapes, cucumbers, beets, melons, and squash to name a few. It can affect the flavor and reduce yields of some fruits and [Read More...]

Fall Mums in Spring, Practical Gardening Series

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Mentioning hardy mums in the spring may seem like an oxymoron. Let me explain. For years as a garden consultant I’ve heard homeowners say what bad luck they’ve had growing perennial chrysanthemums. They plant the big cushy mums every fall and rarely find that they survived the winter. Tired of failing they stop planting them [Read More...]


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