Garden Alphabet: Kniphofia “Red Hot Poker”

Garden Alphabet: Kniphofia "Red Hot Poker"

Link: Kniphofia from
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Interesting Plant: Black Forest Calla Lily

Quite a striking flower. Even though it is more deep purple than true black, it certainly makes a statement. Not sure why I am on such a black plant kick in these first two entries in the Interesting Plants series, but these are simply what caught my eye.

I am looking for new, interesting plants to add to my garden after 16 years of basically living with what I inherited from the previous owners. Something like this would certainly fit the bit. I wonder if I could do a bed of calla lilies of varying typing, including my most interesting finds. Hmmm…thinking, thinking, thinking.


Source: via Vanessa on Pinterest


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Video: The Peterson Garden Project in Chicago, Illinois


The Peterson Garden Project is a not-for-profit organization (Chicago, IL) looking to inspire everyone they meet to grown their own food and community. If you love the taste of a homegrown tomato, are curious about growing food yourself, and would like to make urban gardening the norm, not the exception — then they’re looking for you!

For more information visit

Interesting Plant: Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra)

I came across this photo of Black Bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) on Pinterest and was immediately taken with it. It looks so dramatic with its dark canes against the green foliage. Unfortunately, as it grows to over 30 feet tall, I don’t think I have a spot for it in my garden. Still, I wanted to pass along this picture for those of you who might be interested in it. I will definitely store away this idea for future reference should I ever start a garden where it mint fit in.

As with all bamboos, Black Bamboo can be invasive and needs to be well managed to keep it in control. There are lots of gardener reports on the plant in the link below from You’ll also find more pictures and info in the links below.


Source: Uploaded by user via Janet on Pinterest


For more information on Black Bamboo:


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Garden Alphabet: Orange

 Alphabet orange

Link: Orange from

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Top Gardener’s Notebook Posts for 2012

Here are the top blog posts of 2012 by number of views for A Gardener’s Notebook…

Garden Vocabulary: Conifer

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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!


“The conifers, division Pinophyta, also known as division Coniferophyta or Coniferae, are one of 13 or 14 division level taxa within the Kingdom Plantae. Pinophytes are gymnosperms. They are cone-bearing seed plants with vascular tissue; all extant conifers are woody plants, the great majority being trees with just a few being shrubs. Typical examples of conifers include cedars, Douglas-firs, cypresses, firs, junipers, kauri, larches, pines, hemlocks, redwoods, spruces, and yews.[1] 

Read the entire article on Wikipedia, Pinophyta (Conifer)

I never knew that confreres was such a diverse set up trees and shrubs. Wikipedia redirect conifers to an entry on Pinophyta, a large division in the new scientific naming system that, frankly, is a bit confusing to me. I think I will have to study up on the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN). It has changed greatly (not just in name, either) over the years since I was in college. I always just considered conifers  the opposite of deciduous trees, but there is so much differentiation between the various types of conifers. There are several different types of leaves in the confer family including needle0like, awl-like and scale-like. After seeing some of the examples in the Wikipedia article, I realize I have seen many of these types, but never really thought about how much the conifers differ while still being the same.

Photo: Douglas E. Welch

For my own part, I love conifers of all types. The smell , the sound of the wind in their needles and the lovely bark have always attracted me. I distinctly remember a State Park we often visited, Findlay State Park in Ohio, that had several large groves of pines. In the hot Summer it was always much cooler under its branches and you were simply overwhelmed with the pine smell.

I recently lost several pines here in my own garden to drought and beetle, but I still have a cedar and a large redwood that I hope to keep for a long time to come. I’ll be covering the redwood in an upcoming entry in my Garden Inventory series. Watch the blog for more information.

Video from YouTube User Larry Nau

Further reading on Conifer:

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Garden Alphabet: Eucalyptus

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Link: Eucalyptus Information from Wikipedia

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Garden Alphabet: Bougainvillea


Link: Bougainvillea information from Wikipedia

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Video: Digs: 3 fruit trees for small space yards and patios

I found this on a recent Google+ posting and wanted to pass it along. Check out their YouTube Channel and Subscribe!

Can’t see the video above? Watch it on YouTube by clicking here

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