The Gardener's Apprentice

New This Month

High temperatures, low cash reserves and a sad garden area do not have to add up to inertia and disappointment for the gardener. Creativity–when applied intelligently–can even trump humidity.

Tips

Start thinking about fall-planted bulbs. Many vendors offer early-bird discounts.



July 28, 2014
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
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Hot Gardening

Some days you feel as creative as a lump of wet clay. Other days, the creative juices flow. For unaccountable reasons, mine have been flowing, though the days have been hot and sticky. The present creative burst is a good thing, because my garden is in need of a considerable amount of attention. I have a patch of raised bed that is doing nothing except serving as a setting for a large groundhog hole. I am going to remake the bed even though conditions outdoors are miserable. What’s more, I am going to remake it with supplies on hand. At this time of year I always hear the siren song of garden center plant sales, but at the moment the ready cash supply is low. The garden thrives, but the computer, dishwasher, washing machine and string ...

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July 21, 2014
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
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Chelsea Fringe

For the past hundred and one years, the Chelsea Flower Show has celebrated the best in English horticulture and garden design. Sponsored by the Royal Horticultural Society, it is a much-anticipated five-day plant extravaganza that attracts thousands of people. While not nearly as fusty as it once was, it is necessarily bound by a certain amount of tradition and structure. Regular people, especially those with modest incomes, can only gaze with awe—or other emotions—at the sponsored exhibition gardens, which cost a great deal to design and build. The Chelsea Flower Show is a glorious spectacle, with something for everyone; but several years ago, garden writer Tim Richardson came up with an idea for an event that was complementary, but ...

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July 14, 2014
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
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Flashy Cat

I have been swept off my feet by a flashy cat, appropriately named ‘Blue Dreams.’ The cat in question is botanical rather than feline, but it has many feline qualities. Like pedigreed, four-footed cats, ‘Blue Dreams’ has a fancy proper name—Nepeta subsessilis ‘Blue Dreams.’ Its stems arch gracefully, reminiscent of a cat’s back and, like every feline I’ve ever known, it favors sunny spaces. I first connected with ‘Blue Dreams’ at a garden center in central New York State, where I went to buy a few new plants for the little beach garden at our summer cottage. ‘Blue Dreams’ was lolling on a pallet in the perennials section, waving its large, blue-purple flowerheads alluringly at customers. The bright green, ...

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July 7, 2014
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
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Remaking a Garden

Eleven years ago I bought a beautiful garden book with an intriguing title: The Laskett. Subtitled, “The Making of a Garden,” the book chronicled the creation of a horticultural masterpiece that was also the unique manifestation of the bond between the author, Roy Strong, and his artistic and talented wife, Julia Trevelyan Oman. Sir Roy Strong, also a person of many talents, is a scholar, historian, critic, former director of England’s Victoria and Albert Museum and one of those freelance intellectuals that England seems to produce in every generation. I read The Laskett from cover to cover, drawn to the intricate, themed gardens that were inspired by great classical and English landscapes and informed by history, art, literature ...

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