Sunday, December 27, 2009

Book Review: Amazing Rare Things

Amazing Rare Things: The Art of Natural History in the Age of Discovery by David Attenborough, Susan Owens, Martin Clayton and Rea Alexandratos

This book focuses on the natural history drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, Alexander Marshall, Maria Sibylla Merian and Mark Catesby as well as the collections of Cassiano dal Pozzo. The introductory chapter introduces and summarizes the work of these artists and is written by David Attenborough. Each chapter is beautifully illustrated with a selection of plates from the artists, the originals of which are all held in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Book Review: The Plants that Shaped our Gardens

The Plants that Shaped our Gardens by David Stuart - the title describes the book very well. Each chapter focusses on the history of a different type of garden: the bedding garden, the American garden, classic herbaceous borders etc. Details of the travels and writings of many plant explorers are given, along with the plants that they discovered. The book is very readable although a little confusing in that the history is not given chronologically. Organizing the material by garden type necessitates a certain amount of cross-referencing between chapters since one explorer typically found many types of plants and therefore should appear in several chapters. Sometimes the allocation of an explorer to a particular garden type seems arbitrary. Despite this, a worthy book with an abundance of information about the plants and the men behind today's gardens.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Mark Catesby's Plants

I finished my work on Mark Catesby's plants from his Natural History of the Carolinas, Florida and the Bahamas. I posted it under Distinctive English Gardens. Also posted the talk "Something Old, Something New" that I did for Cherokee Rose Garden Club in November.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Book Review: The Collector's Garden

The Collector's Garden by Ken Druse is, as with all his books, beautifully presented. There are 4 types of collectors according to Druse: hunters, missionaries, specialists and aesthetes. He organizes the book along these lines, which at times seem arbitrary and perhap more convenient for the author than the reader. The information is, however, very interesting to those who love plants and gardens. I came away with a long list of plants to research further, with the objective of growing them myself. The historical section, 'hunters', was particularly interesting for me. In general, a good pick for the plant enthusiast.

Friday, December 4, 2009

McCorkles Christmas Sale

McCorkles has opened for Christmas - today and tomorrow only. I went this morning. They had great deals on large Leylands, Magnolias and Cryptomerias. Unfortunately I don't have room for them. I did get two replacement Daisy Gardenias (3 gallons) and a replacement August Beauty Gardenia and Helleri Holly (both 1 gallons) and a little treat - an Ilex Highlander. I need to do research on that one but it was only $2.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Book Review: Classic Garden Plans

Written by David Stuart

Each chapter represents a different garden type e.g. Meditation Garden, Quintessential Cottage Garden. There's a little background information and then the author draws up a plan with suggested plants, building and maintenance tips. It is an interesting exercise, beautifully illustrated, but not particularly useful. For me the book is more for browsing than any practical purpose. If you really wanted to use the plans, a lot of extra work would be necessary to choose appropriate plant material for your region.

Friday, November 13, 2009

J&P outlet in Greenwood

Went to the Park Seed/Wayside/J&P outlet store in Greenwood today. It is on the Bypass (72). Good selection of gardening related items - I got gloves andd a 60" round frame for a vine. Not a bad selection of plants although many had seen better days. 1 gallons and 6" pots were $5, smaller $2. I got a Magnolia Butterflies, Colorguard Yucca and Carolina Silverbell. Apparently they have to sell out what they have before more stuff comes in.

While in Greenwood we also went to the Park Seed gardens - interesting although not in their prime - the garden center is closed until spring.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Nurseries Caroliniana Plant Sale and Talk

"Come help us celebrate our 36th Anniversary.
Lots of trees and shrubs are 25% off, so take advantage of the cooler weather and recent rains and start planting.
Sale runs through November 7th.

Please join us on Saturday November 7th at 10:30 AM to hear Ted Stephens speak on some of the new and unusual plants we are introducing. There will be a some rare new plants available for sale, for the avid collectors."

Here's the full scoop:
50% off Bengal Tiger Canna, Gardenias and Grace Hendrick Phillips Boxwood
25% off Aucuba, Abelia (some), Holly, Hydrangeas, Boxwood Winter Gem and Green Beauty, Tulip Poplar, some Japanese Maples, Osmanthus - orange, Blue Leaf Isu, Chinese Pistache, Cleyera, Crape Myrtles, Arborvitae, Bamboo Rivieriorum, Banana, Green Liriope, Maples - Chalkbark, Trident, Southern Sugar, Palms, Weeping Mulberries, Yucca, Knockout Roses.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Book Review: The Passion for Gardening

The Passion for Gardening by Ken Druse is not a must read but a mildly entertaining read. I may be doing it an injustice, following hot on the heals of The Brother Gardeners and Planthropology, but it did not have the appeal of either of those books and I was a little disappointed. At one point rather preachy, and generally rather wordy, I got the feeling "so what" after 30 or so pages. The photographs were good, but not as stunning as those in Planthropology by the same author.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Book Review: The Brother Gardeners

The Brother Gardeners: Botany, Empire and the Birth of an Obsession by Andrea Wulf is a wonderful book. It tells the story of a group of men who changed the plant world and made England the center of horticulture in the 18th century. Starting with Thomas Fairchild and his nursery, the author then introduces us to Peter Collinson and John Bartram and their lifetime correspondence and exchange of plant material between England and North America. Also included is Philip Miller, the head gardener of the Chelsea Physic Garden and author of the Gardeners Dictionary which was the first book written for the average gardener and listed all the plants currently grown in England. Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist who introduced the binomial nomenclature, Jospeh Banks and Daniel Solander come next. Banks and Solander were responsible for introducing new species from Australasia, as part of the Endeavour expedition. The history of these men and their interactions, and the details of the plants they introduced are fascinating.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Layman's Plant Sale

The prices had dropped this week - perennials mostly $2 each - and they are staying open for one more week - Wednesday to Saturday October 14 - 17.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Nursery Tour

Betsy and I went on a trip today - buying plants. First stop was at Gary's Nursery in Greensboro, GA. I got a cute dwarf holly (Ilex x 'Rock Garden'), a Juncus effusus 'Spiralis' for the wet area by the fountain and a very nice pot (on sale for 25% off). Gary's is a great place to visit - lots of plants and also accessories - pots, fountains, bird baths etc.

Next we went to Evergreen Nursery which is a wholesale nursery where I have bought a lot of perennials and groundcovers in the past, when doing business in North Carolina. This time we picked up Muhlenbergia capillaris, Liriope muscari 'Variegata' and Acorus gramineus 'Ogon'.

The final stop was Thyme after Thyme, where I purchased a Foxtail Fern (I had been looking for one all year) and Euphorbia x 'Blackbird'.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Book Review: Planthropology

Planthropology: The Myths, Mysteries and Miracles of My Garden Favorites by Ken Druse

I hit on a real winner here. I had not heard of Ken Druse but now I intend to read everything he has written. He is a passionate writer and the photography is amazing. Planthropology is the anthropology of plants; it deals with the origins, physical and cultural development, and characteristics of plants. That may sound a little dry, but the book is full of wonder and the style is very readable. The book is split into four parts. I most enjoyed 'Discovery' in which we look at plant exploration, historically and from the point of view of a child. We learn the origin of terrariums, of plant names and of herb gardens. We read about poisonous and medicinal plants. Part 2, Attractions, gives a fascinating view of the techniques plants use to attract pollinators. The pages on fragrance are particularly evocative. Elegant Design takes us from strange numerical relationships in sunflowers to planting in odd numbers, to giant water lilies and beyond. Finally in Growing Forward, the author writes about more of his favorite plants, with asides on deer resistance and growing trees from seed. This book is highly recommended, not only is it a great read, but you pick it up again anytime and browse the incredible photographs. If you don't know what to put on your Christmas list, ask for Planthropology.

Book Review: In a Southern Garden

In a Southern Garden: Twelve Months of Plants and Observations by Carol Bishop Hipps
Organized month by month, the author (who is based in Huntsville, AL) gives details of plants that you would see in that month. There are some recommendations and a lot of cultivar information. The book is easy and entertaining to read. You don't have to be a fanatical gardener, but of course it helps. There is also an occasional amusing quip. I particularly liked the story where the author asked Allen Bush of Holbrook Farm and Nursery if he knew of any named cultivars of Chrysogonum (Green and Gold), only to discover later the existence of C. virginianum "Allen Bush".

Japanese Holly - Dwarf Pagoda and Golden Gem

I bought these from Nurseries Caroliniana and decided to use them as the subject of my Horticulture tidbit for my garden club this month. Go to the presentation.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Tenth Annual Plant Swap and Sale

Saturday, September 19th 2009 9:00-12:00 at the Savannah Rapids Pavillion near Augusta GA. Parking lot (rain or shine). Admission free. Bring plants and gardening items to trade or sell. Participants provide their own tables. Organized by the Cherokee Rose Garden Club, with the cooperation of the Richmond and Columbia County extension offices and area Master Gardeners.

McCorkles Plant Sale

Friday, Sept 25th from 8-5, and Sat, Sept 26th from 8-3. They are located SE of Dearing at 4904 Luckey's Bridge Rd SE, Dearing 30808. Toll free # 1-800-533-3050.

Layman's Plant Sale

Fall plant sale for four weeks only, September 16 – October 10 (open Wed-Friday, 9 to 5 and Saturday, 9 – 2). Directions: Take exit 5 off of I-20 and turn onto US 25 North. Continue for about 8 miles right after the 4 lane changes into a 2 lane. The nursery sale will be immediately on your left just off the County Disposal Road.

Piccadilly Farms Fall Retail Season

Fridays and Saturday's Sept. 11 - Oct.31, 10 - 4
Educational programs: 11 am, free, reservations not needed, walking required.
Sept. 18 & 19 - annual Conifer Weekend (lectures both days at 11)
Oct. 10 - Neat plants for your garden
Oct. 24 - Drought tolerant plants

We have many wonderful and exciting connifers, hellebores, hardy ferns, shade perennials, unusual shrubs and drought resistant plants, Come and enjoy walking through our display gardens.

We are located at 1971 Whippoorwill Rd, Bishop, GA 30621, south of Athens near Watkinsville off GA 53. Turn off 53 at the Oconee Civic Ctr. and High School on to Union Church Rd, then right on Whippoorwill. Phone 706-769-5616.

Potting Bench

Last week we got all the wood for the potting bench I had been planning. We spent one day putting the frame together and another putting it in place and adding the slats and the backboard. It looks pretty good.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nurseries Caroliniana Plant Sale

The Nur. Car. sale runs from August 20th to 29th. Some items are 50% off including Butterfly Bush, Agapanthus, Forsythia, Daylilies, Anise, Gardenia, Hostas and many perennials. There is also a list of items that are 25% off including Japanese Maples, Abelia, Blue Leaf Isu, Loropetalum, Hydrangeas, Hollies, Tea Olives, Yucca ...

143 Mims Grove Church Road, North Augusta, SC (803-279-2707)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Summerville Tour of Homes

October annually.
2009 October 23 - 25.

Phinizy Swamp Events

First Saturday 2.5 miles hikes. See Phinizy Swamp website.

Gardening at Lunch

July 1 “Water Gardens”
August 5 “Drought & Deer Tolerant Plants”
September 2 “Composting”
October 7 “Fragrant Shrubs”
November 11 “Winter Blooming Plants”
December 2 “Gardening on a Shoestring”
Columbia County Library from 12:10 p.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Columbia County Extension Events

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Holly or Not?

I gave a talk for my Garden Group on Holly or Not? including identification details and differences between Osmanthus, Boxwood and Holly.