The Gardener's Apprentice

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Thomas Meehan, botanist, gardener, publisher and writer, produced Meehans’ Monthly over 100 years ago.  Packed with great information, the magazine is still relevant and readily available online and sometimes, in dusty antique shops.

Tips

Good gardeners never wait for sunny days.  Weed in the rain, tend shady beds when it is too hot or sunny. Read garden literature when the weather is too bad to even think of going out.  See the possibilities.



June 29, 2015
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
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Meehans’ Monthly

Back before the dawn of time and the omnipresence of e-Bay, you used to be able to find dusty little antique shops on side streets in towns and cities all over the country.  Those shops were generally filled with equal measures of junk and treasure, though sometimes it seemed that little if any merchandise changed from year to year.  Antique garden catalogs and magazines occasionally lurked among those treasures, saved for decades by gardeners, ultimately moving from attics to estate sales and from there to the dusty antique shops.  I am always on the prowl for those publications.  The number of shops has declined significantly, but occasionally I still get lucky and find a shop that harbors a few old bits of gardenalia.  I revel in the ...

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June 22, 2015
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
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Smoke Bush

Those twentieth century poet/troubadours, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, captured a universal sentiment when they penned the words “I get by with a little help from my friends.”  Most gardeners would agree.  I depend on friends for inspiration and friendly criticism, not to mention timely donations of cuttings, perennial divisions and collected seeds. Last week I was touring a friend’s inspiring suburban garden when I saw a relatively new arrival.  It was a baby smoke bush or Cotinus coggygria, a plant that I have coveted regularly over the years but never managed to acquire. Smoke bush goes by many evocative names: smoke tree, purple mist tree, Jupiter’s beard, Venetian sumach, mist tree and wig tree.  I am not sure what ...

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June 15, 2015
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
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Heavenly Turk’s Caps

Sometimes, in a congested garden like mine, plants get overlooked.  That is, until they announce their presence by blooming, spreading like weeds or exuding a bad odor.  My little white Turk’s cap lily—Lilium martagon var. ‘Album’—was one of those overlooked plants.  I think I planted it last year in a burst of whimsy.  It was also an act of faith, since martagons haven’t always prospered in my little slice of horticultural heaven. In any event, the act of faith was short-lived and I forgot all about the poor little martagon, living its cloistered existence behind the blueberry bush.  Then, a few days ago, I saw a patch of white and there it was—standing about eighteen inches tall, with a large handful of pure white Turk’s ...

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June 8, 2015
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
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Spring Thoughts

If a garden does not look good in May and June, it will never look good. I have heard that particular aphorism at least a thousand times over the years.  Theoretically, at least, it’s true for many gardens.  If your landscape is home to a lot of spring-flowering plants of the flashy variety—roses, peonies, iris and the like—it can’t help but shine when those horticultural divas burst into bloom.  In fact, their great big fluffy heads, bright colors and alluring scents are enough to make garden visitors overlook the chickweed that may be romping at their feet. For many of us, spring is a busy season and a time when even the strongest desire to get out in the garden can’t compete with the responsibilities of everyday life.  ...

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