Gazania Flowers

Gazania

Gazania Flowers

Outside the doctor’s office yesterday.

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The Bold Dry Garden: Lessons from the Ruth Bancroft Garden [Book]

The Bold Dry Garden: Lessons from the Ruth Bancroft Garden

by Johanna Silver (Author), Marion Brenner (Photographer)

If you truly want to know and understand a garden, you need to walk the garden with the owner, the creator, the designer or the head gardener. They can show and tell you small things that you might not notice on your own or explain grand themes and plans which are only subtly visible in the garden but underpin everything.

Books like The Bold Dry Garden are the next best thing to walking the paths with the owners and hearing the stories of how the garden was created, how this plant or the other was acquired, the grand successes and dismal failures. You get a sense for all these in The Bold Dry Garden.

The author and photographer seek to make the garden accessible to anyone no matter where they might be in the world. Even though I only live 5-6 hours drive from the Ruth Bancroft Garden I had not heard of it and, of course, have never visited. This book has changed that th0ugh. Now I am intimately familiar with creator Ruth Bancroft’s history, the evolving garden design and even particular specimen plants included in the garden.

The Bold Dry Garden begins with “Meet Ruth”. This recounts Ruth’s early history from her childhood to the point where, at age 63, after most of the surrounding farmland had been sold off for subdivisions, she started to build the garden. From this start in 1971, the garden grew and changed until it became part of the Garden Conservancy in 1991. This addition helped to preserve and maintain the gardens for generations to come.

The bulk of The Bold Dry Garden is the section entitled “Signature Plants of the Dry Garden.” Here you find detailed accounts and photos of many of the plants in the garden including agaves and aloes, echeveria and sempervivum, euphorbium and crassula. This is a veritable encyclopedia for succulents lovers and an excellent reference book, as well as one to simply read from cover to cover as if you were walking through the garden itself. The descriptions and photographs can give you both interesting ideas and detailed information for seeing how these plants might fit into your own garden.

Now that I have read The Bold Dry Garden, I plan on visiting the next time I am in Northern California. In fact, I will probably go out of my way to visit, even if I am just passing through. A garden like The Ruth Bancroft Garden is always a treat to visit and my appetite has been whet with this amazing, written and photographed, introduction.


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A Botanist’s Vocabulary: 1300 Terms Explained and Illustrated [Book]

A Botanist’s Vocabulary: 1300 Terms Explained and Illustrated

Susan K. Pell and Bobbi Angell

Exactly what it says on the cover, A Botanist’s Vocabulary defines and illustrates 1300 botanical terms from abaxial (lower surface) to zygomorphic (having a single plane of symmetry). The definitions are short, clear and to the point while the excellent line drawing clearly illustrates many of the terms.

It was fun as I randomly flipped through the book, learning new things on every page. In fact, though, this book shines as a reference book — a gardening dictionary — that sits close to where you do your other reading. Having it at hand as you flip through plant and seed catalogs and other gardening books, gives you an instant resource for those unknown and/or unusual terms you sometimes come across in your reading. Sure, you can always “Google it”, but there is something to be said for the convenience of reaching out and having the answer at your fingertips.

A Botanist’s Vocabulary is for anyone who wants to expand their botanical knowledge beyond a few, well known, Latin names and dig deeper into the world of botany and horticulture. It could also be of great use when you are trying to identify or “key out” an unknown plant both in your garden and in the wild. I know that for myself, reading and working through plant identification keys is fraught with unknown and unusual terms that often stop you in your tracks, so adding A Botanist’s Vocabulary could certainly ease your way to figuring out just what that new plant is.

As usual, I checked out my copy of A Botanist’s Vocabulary from my local library — my typical way of reading new books and deciding whether I want to add them to my own personal collection. There is, after all, a hard physical limit on how many books you can have in your living space. You might be able to find a “review” copy there, too. Regardless of how you read it, though, I highly recommend you give it some of your attention. I think you will be amply rewarded by the new knowledge you find there.

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Paperwhites in Watercolor

Paperwhites in Watercolor

One of my older photos converted to Watercolor using @waterlogue.

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Garden Vocabulary: ICN – International Code of Nomenclature

Garden Vocabulary LogoGarden Vocabulary: ICN – International Code of Nomenclature

Someone has to manage all those latin names that pot up in books, nurseries and, more importantly, in our gardens. Who decides that that plant is a Clytostoma callistegioides and not a Ficus benjamina? Ever notice when plants change their Latin names. Moraea isn’t Moraea anymore. It’s now a Dietes.

Species plantarum 001.jpg
By Carl von Linnébibbild.abo.fi, Public Domain, Link

These names, formalized in the International Code of Nomenclature, is controlled by the International Botanical Congress which held its first congress in Vienna in 1905.

You can find more information on the ICN using the links below.

The International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN) is the set of rules and recommendations dealing with the formal botanical names that are given to plants, fungi and a few other groups of organisms, all those “traditionally treated as algae, fungi, or plants”.[1]:Preamble, para. 8 It was formerly called the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN); the name was changed at the International Botanical Congress in Melbourne in July 2011 as part of the Melbourne Code which replaces the Vienna Code of 2005. As with previous codes, it took effect as soon as it was ratified by the congress (on Saturday 23 July 2011), but the documentation of the code in its final form was not finished until some time after the congressional meeting. Preliminary wording of some of the articles with the most significant changes has been published in September 2011.[2] — Wikipedia

What can you share about this Garden Vocabulary entry? Help educate us all in the comments!

More information on ICN – International Code of Nomenclature:
Garden Vocabulary is inspired by

This Garden Vocabulary series seeks to introduce and explain to you — and in many cases, myself — words and terms associated with gardening. Please let me know if there are any terms you would like me to explore. You can leave your ideas in the comments section and we can learn together!

Bee on Aeonium Flowers

Bee on Aeonium Flowers

Bee on Aeonium Flowers

The neighbor’s Aeonium flowers are in full bloom and yesterday, as I walked by, they were covered in honeybees. So much so It was difficult to take a picture without a honeybee somewhere in the frame.

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Noted: Free Nesting Box Plans for Wild Birds – Empress of Dirt

Create some new homes for the birds in your garden with these plans and information — Douglas
 

Leonotis Flowers

Leonotis Flowers

Leonotis Flowers

I’ve been seeing more and more of these showy flowers around town lately. Their size and bright color are perfect for the growing number of drought-tolerant gardens being created here in Los Angeles. 

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Learn more about gardening in these books from Amazon.com
 

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Noted: The Netherlands to Produce Two Billion Tulips in 2017

Just where do all of your spring tulips come from? — Douglas
 

Red and Yellow Bells (Abutilon)

Red and Yellow Bells

Red and Yellow Bells

Striking red and yellow flowers spotted at the nursery. Unfortunately, I didn’t take a photo of the pit label as Usually do, so I have no idea what this plant is.

Any ideas?

Updated: Further research seems to indicate this is an Abutilon.

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Learn more about gardening in these books from Amazon.com
 

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out!