The Gardener's Apprentice

New This Month

Poised to give a gift to your favorite gardener?  Make it one that he or she will truly appreciate.  Great garden gifts come in all sizes and price ranges, but it pays to know your gardener’s likes and dislikes before making a purchase.

Tips

Tend holiday plants with care. Water amaryllis and poinsettias when the top of the soil feels dry. Keep water levels topped up in containers of paperwhites being forced over pebbles and water.  Take care that water does not touch the bottoms of the bulbs.



December 15, 2014
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
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Gardener’s Gifts

GARDENER’S GIFTS             Every year at holiday time, gift givers everywhere give thanks for their friends’ and relatives’ hobbies.  Where would we be without culinary gadgets for the cooks, golf paraphernalia for the duffers and Sephora gift cards for those with an unquenchable desire for makeup? Gardening offers the same gifting opportunities.  However, there is a big caveat.  It can be tricky to find gifts that individual gardeners will truly appreciate and actually use. Before you pick presents for gardeners, peak into their garden baskets, tool sheds or garages and take stock of their preferences.  If the garden gloves in the basket look ragged, buy new ones of the same brand and size.  Take a look at the plant ...

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December 8, 2014
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
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Flower Books

Winter has set in for good and even the toughest of the garden flowers have gone the way of all things.  I look longingly on the remains of the last fall-blooming crocuses—two brave singletons that bloomed on a warm day last week.  Having done their duty, they have folded their petals and taken to their beds.  It is time to look elsewhere for inspiration. The indoor plants are busy producing flowers from the buds formed weeks ago when they were still basking in late autumn light.  The holiday amaryllis and paperwhites have yet to bloom.  Branches and store-bought flowers add cheer and will have to suffice until the holiday decorations go up over the weekend.  The house décor has bright spots, but I feel the need of additional inspiration.  ...

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December 1, 2014
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
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Birth of a Terrarium

Nearly two centuries ago, Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward, an English physician and amateur botanist, made a surprising discovery.  Ward liked to study moth chrysalises, which he kept secure in sealed glass containers.  Inspection of one such container revealed that seeds embedded in a bit of dirt inside had germinated and sprouted.  He left the container unopened and found that the plants continued to flourish, without any intervention, for two years, until the container’s seal rusted.  When the little plants were exposed to the outside air, they died quickly. Ward published his findings in an 1842 book titled, On the Growth of Plants in Closely Glazed Cases, and the rest is history.  The sealed glass vessels were christened “Wardian cases” ...

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November 24, 2014
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
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Fragrant Katsura

I have a friend who lost a cherished front-yard tree.  After the tree surgeons removed the remains, he began the hunt for a new one.  The choices were endless.  His lot is large and could accommodate a sizeable specimen.  The old tree was deciduous, rather than evergreen; as a fan of autumn color, he wanted the replacement to be deciduous as well.  After paging through books and catalogs and walking around his neighborhood in search of arboreal magnificence, he fixated on the katsura, or Cercidiphyllum japonicum, a tree that was uncommon in his area.  That was fifteen years ago.  He still hasn’t picked a tree, but his efforts piqued my interest in the noble and ancient species. You may have seen a katsura and mistaken it for a North ...

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