Garden Decor: Stone walkway with river rock

Stone walkway with river rock

Japanese gardens and design have always fascinated me and this amazing pathway I discovered on Pinterest is a great example of the best of that craft. The stone, the moss and the other plantings seamlessly connect into a lovely whole that holds more impact than any of the elements would separately. 

Garden Decor: Stone walkway with river rock

Discovered via Pinterest User Patricia Goins

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Previously in Garden Decor:

Noted: 13 Vintage Photos of Combines via Modern Farmer

13 Vintage Photos of Combines via Modern Farmer

13 Vintage Photos of Combines via Modern Farmer

Combines have been saving the day for farmers since the mid- 1800′s. Even before the advent of those modern-day automated versions of this machine, combines pulled by a fleet of horses were sent to the fields to help make the harvest quite a bit more efficient.

Named for combining the three-step harvesting process (reaping, threshing and winnowing) into a single speedy technique, combines have completely transformed the face of commercial agriculture and have helped farmers to maximize the potential of their land. We turned to the Library of Congress archives to for old photographs of this classic farm machinery.

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Interesting Plant: Chestnut (Castenea)

Chestnut (Castenea)

I am going to guess that these photos shows a Castenea saliva or Sweet Chestnut as they are older trees in rural Sicily, on the flanks of Mount Etna. We were visiting and old farmhouse that once was surrounded by orchards midway up the flanks of the volcano. These chestnut trees were quite large and producing a bountiful crop.

Chestnuts have often been staple food of the poor throughout Europe. People would eat both the whole nuts, roasted, but they could also be ground into a nearly gluten-less flour which could be backed into flatbreads, fritters and cakes.

Interesting Plant: Chestnut (Castenea)

Chestnuts growing in mid-summer, Mount Etna, Sicily

Interesting Plant: Chestnut (Castenea)

You can see one of the chestnut trees in the background of this photo

 The name “Chestnut” is derived from an earlier English term “Chesten nut”, which descends from the Old French word “chastain” (Modern French, châtaigne).[11]

The trees’ names are virtually identical in all the most ancient languages of Central Europe: in Breton kistinen for the tree, and kistin for its fruit, in Welsh castan-wydden and sataen, in Dutch kastanje for both the tree and its fruit, in Albanian gështenjë, and many others close to the French châtaigne and to the Latin name chosen for the genus, Castanea.[12]

The name Castanea is probably derived from the old name for the sweet chestnut, either in Latin[13] or in Ancient Greek. Another possible source of the name is the town of Kastania in Thessaly, Greece;[5] more probable, though, is that the town took its name from the most common tree growing around it.[12] In the Mediterranean climate zone, chestnut trees are rarer in Greece because the chalky soil is not conducive to the tree’s growth. Kastania is located on one of the relatively few sedimentary or siliceous outcrops. They grow so abundantly there, their presence would have determined the place’s name.[14] Still others take the name as coming from the Greek name of Sardis glans (Sardis acorn) – Sardis being the capital of Lydia, Asia Minor, from where the fruit had spread.[15]

The name is cited twice in the King James Version of the Bible. In one instance, Jacob puts peeled twigs in the water troughs to promote healthy offspring of his livestock.[16] Although it may indicate another tree, it indicates the fruit was a local staple food at that time.[12]

These synonyms are or have been in use: Fagus castanea (used by Linnaeus in first edition of Species Plantarum, 1753),[17] Sardian nut, Jupiter’s nut, husked nut, and Spanish chestnut (U.S.).[18]

The sweet chestnut was introduced into Europe from Sardis, in Asia Minor; the fruit was then called the ‘Sardian nut’.[18] It has been a staple food in southern Europe, Turkey and southwestern and eastern Asia[8][29] for millennia, largely replacing cereals where these would not grow well, if at all, in mountainous Mediterranean areas.[30] Evidence of its cultivation by man is found since around 2000 B.C.[31] Alexander the Great and the Romans planted chestnut trees across Europe while on their various campaigns. A Greek army is said to have survived their retreat from Asia Minor in 401–399 BC thanks to their stores of chestnuts.[32] Ancient Greeks like Dioscorides and Galen, wrote of chestnuts to comment on their medicinal properties—and of the flatulence induced by eating too much of it.[33]To the early Christians, chestnuts symbolized chastity.[16] Until the introduction of the potato, whole forest-dwelling communities which had scarce access to wheat flour relied on chestnuts as their main source of carbohydrates.[8] In some parts of Italy, a cake made of chestnuts is used as a substitute for potatoes.[5] In 1583, Charles Estienne and Jean Liébault wrote that “an infinity of people live on nothing else but (the chestnut)”.[34] In 1802, an Italian agronomist said of Tuscany that “the fruit of the chestnut tree is practically the sole subsistence of our highlanders”,[35] while in 1879 it was said that it almost exclusively fed whole populations for half the year, as “a temporary but complete substitution for cereals”.[36] – Wikipedia.org

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Plants and Seeds:
 
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Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas

There’s is a new movement afoot here to convert lawns into gardens, grass into vegetables… — From A Gardener’s Notebook

There's is a new movement afoot here to convert lawns into gardens, grass into vegetables and -- From A Gardener's Notebook

There’s is a new movement afoot here to convert lawns into gardens, grass into vegetables and thirsty gardens into sippers more appropriate to our natural climate. Front yard vegetable gardens were unheard of when I first moved to LA in 1986. In many places, they were banned by homeowner associations and restrictive covenants. That’s why it was such a pleasure to see a nearby streetside gardens. Over time I watched as their plants burst forth with broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, herbs, tomatoes and more — all in a garden more beautiful and productive than any expanse of manicured lawn.

From A Gardener’s Notebook by Douglas E. Welch DouglasEWelch.com 

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Previously from A Gardener’s Notebook:

Noted: Living on the Edge of the Wild via Houzz

Living on the Edge of the Wild via Houzz

Traditional Landscape by Winchester Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Matthew Cunningham Landscape Design LLC
 
Living at the edge of a wide-open ocean vista or a secluded forest is a dream for many people who want to get away from it all. Whether it’s your “forever” home or just a seasonal getaway, here are some tips for living next to wild areas in a way that respects the site and creates a landscape that blends with its context.
 
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Noted: Great Design Plant: Butterfly Milkweed, a Beacon in the Prairie via Houzz

Great Design Plant: Butterfly Milkweed, a Beacon in the Prairie via Houzz

Landscape by Minnetonka Landscape Architects & Landscape Designers Holm Design & Consulting LLC
 

Butterfly milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa) is a magnet for bees and butterflies in early spring — often providing an important source of nectar when other sources are scarce. What other perennial can rival its bright orange flowers, low mounding habit and high tolerance for drought? Although by August it has finished flowering in most of its range, it is an important plant to consider for a fall planting for next year’s butterfly garden or if you specifically want to plant something to help monarch butterflies or pollinators in general.

Combine this prairie perennial with any other medium-height perennial that offers a contrast in flower color and form. Use this plant massed in perennial gardens, butterfly gardens, informal prairie plantings or xeric landscapes.

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Garden Alphabet: Rosa ‘JFK’ from my garden

Rosa ‘JFK’ from my garden

These JFK roses were planted by the previous owners of the property and we have kept the going in the ensuing 18 years. We also have Mikado roses and another hybrid which I can’t remember off the top of my head. I’ll have to do some searching on the blogs and see where I mentioned it previously. It is a large purple rose.

Garden Alphabet: Rosa 'JFK' from my garden

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 John F Kennedy is part of the Rosa genus and is a Rose variety. Its scientific name isRosa ‘John F Kennedy’. John F Kennedy is a hybrid variety. Blooms appear in these approximate colours:   Floral white and   Antique white.

 

‘John F Kennedy’ is a double hybrid tea rose that produces white / off-white dense blooms (26-40 petals) with a strong fragrance.

It grows mainly as a Perennial, which means it typically grows best over a long period (from 3 years+). John F Kennedy is known for its Shrub habit and growing to a height of approximately 1.20 metres (3.90 feet).

United States is believed to be where John F Kennedy originates from.

John F Kennedy Rose needs a moderate amount of maintenance, so some level of previous experience comes in handy when growing this plant. Ensure that you are aware of the soil, sun, ph and water requirements for this plant and keep an eye out for pests. – MyFolia.com

More information on Rosa ‘JFK’:

 
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Previously in Garden Alphabet:

Audio: Your Garden – Inch-by-Inch from A Gardener’s Notebook – Dog Days of Podcasting 2014 – 8/30

Audio: Your Garden - Inch-by-Inch from A Gardener's Notebook - Dog Days of Podcasting 2014 - 8/30

Your Garden – Inch-by-Inch from A Gardener’s Notebook

Listen to this podcast

Often we look at our gardens plant by plant – worrying over which is doing well, which is doing poorly, which one needs to be moved.  At other times, we try to take in the big picture.  We map, we plan and try to create one seamless whole.  There are times, though, when inch-by-inch is the way we see it, and it brings a unique viewpoint.

The Edging

Recently we started a new edging project in the garden.  Beginning with the smallest rose bed, we decided to use old wine and other glass water bottles to surround the bed.  Previously we had used limbs from tree pruning, but these were now several years old and had deteriorated almost completely.  I did a bit of research online, including looking for images of bottle edging, to make sure we wanted to proceed.  It certainly seemed worth a try.  The pictures looked attractive and it didn’t seem like a lot of work. We would do this small bed first and then decide if we wanted to continue it in others.

Of course, doing an edging project like this means getting “down and dirty” with your garden – usually on your hands and knees.  You notice immediately how the soil differs from inside the bed to the hard, compacted soil of the surrounding paths.  You get a clear view of the quality of the soil in the beds as you dig the trench alongside. You notice insects – good and bad – weeds, and maybe even the rust that is forming on the lower leaves of the roses that you hadn’t noticed before.  Oh, oh, are those aphids?!?  Ah, but then you also notice the ladybug larvae and adults ready to eat them up.

Your garden takes on a different meaning on this micro scale.  You don’t notice the thistles and bindweed as much, but the blackspot and Japanese beetles really catch your eye.  You don’t notice the bad pruning on the box hedges, yet the quality of the soil as it sits in your hand makes you sit in wonder for just a moment.

A project for you  

If all this sounds very foreign to you, I am going to charge you with a project the next time you are in your garden.  Take a 1-meter-square area of your garden and mark it off in some way.  Use a piece of rope or string to outline the area. If you have seen archaeologists working in movies or on TV, think about what their digs look like — a series of neat squares marching across the landscape so they can catalog their finds. While this 1 meter can be a patch of lawn, consider placing it over the junction between a bed and the lawn.  You’ll get better results in your experiment.

Now that you have marked out the area, sit down – better yet, lie down on your belly – and start to take note of every living thing you see there.  First off you’ll see the grass, the daylilies, the small weeds.  Then look deeper.  You’ll see ants, aphids, beetles and a host of other insects.  Keep looking.  Dig down and turn the soil over a little or pull up a piece of turf. Now there are worms, spiders, sow bugs, spider mites and more. I can guarantee you that you will notice more than you ever thought possible in your small 1 meter area and all of it is there, teeming with life, all day long, every day.

I know that, for me, observing my garden in this macroscopic way brings a deeper appreciation and deeper understanding of my garden when I look out from my back door each morning, coffee cup in hand.  I never see just the paths and the plants anymore. In my mind I see it all – everything that exists down there among the roots, as well as everything on the surface. This also leads me to think differently about what I might do in my garden — what I might add, what I might remove, what I might want to change. It is quite amazing how a small garden project can lead you down the merry path of deep thoughts, but, then again, isn’t that one major reason we garden in the first place?

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Noted: Old Time Farm Crime: The Cutthroat World of Victorian Orchid Hunters via Modern Farmer

Old Time Farm Crime: The Cutthroat World of Victorian Orchid Hunters via Modern Farmer

Old Time Farm Crime: The Cutthroat World of Victorian Orchid Hunters via Modern Farmer

Wilhelm Micholitz was half-starved, his clothing continually damp from the incessant Sumatran rains and he ached from the exertion it took to gather the precious specimens that clung on solitary cliffs and high up on the ancient trees of the deep forest. Add to that the fact that his boss was sometimes slow to send funds and it was no wonder his letters to Frederick Sander, “The Orchid King” back in England were often full of grumbling complaints.

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Video: In the garden short…August 5, 2014: Starting another strawberry runner propagation

Agn artwork

The strawberry runner we potted up on July 31, 2014 is already growing on its own, so I moved it to the potting bench and started the same process with another runner today. I hope to create at least 4 plants to start filling in one of our newly retrofitted garden beds.

In the garden short...August 5, 2014: Starting another strawberry runner propagation

 

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Music: “Whiskey on the Mississippi” by Kevin MacLeod (http://incompetech.com)

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“In the garden…” is a series for A Gardener’s Notebook highlighting what is happening in my garden, my friend’s gardens and California gardens throughout the seasons.