The Gardener's Apprentice

New This Month

Veteran garden writer Stephen Orr has produced a comprehensive volume of herb knowledge.  The New American Herbal will find its way to bookshelves across the country and the world.

Tips

Take a look at the “bones” or structural aspects of your garden.  Winter is a good time to spot areas that need renovation or new plant choices.  Make note for spring.



January 20, 2015
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
0 comments

Book Review: The New American Herbal by Stephen Orr

An herb is defined as any useful plant.  I grow lots of them, though some are decidedly more useful than others.  I wage constant battles with rambunctious, self-sowing nuisances like perilla mint and lemon balm, which are on a perpetual campaign for garden, if not world domination.  I gladly grow other, better-mannered herbs, including lavender, basil, agastache, thyme, ornamental oregano and poppy.  All of them are slumbering right now, which gives me the time to indulge in a wonderful garden book, Stephen Orr’s The New American Herbal.             Orr, a veteran garden writer , editor and lecturer,  has placed this comprehensive and entertaining reference work within a tradition that goes back to the ancient world.  ...

Click here to read the full article

January 12, 2015
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
0 comments

Tea Olive

For years I have damned osmanthus with faint praise or no praise at all.  Two of the evergreen shrubs stand silently in front of the house, growing nicely and receiving absolutely nothing from me except an occasional, grudging pruning.  When I think of them at all, I think about what I would grow in their place.  If they were sensate beings with a way to remove themselves from the premises, I am sure they would have done it long ago. Why have I been so ambivalent towards innocent shrubs?  For one thing, I didn’t choose them.  They were here when I moved in, along with several shaggy yews and a bunch of rabbit-like roses of Sharon that did nothing but self-seed.   All but one of the yews are long gone and I have developed a fondness ...

Click here to read the full article

January 5, 2015
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
0 comments

Book Review: Lady Mayo’s Garden

On May 1, 1891, Geraldine Mayo, of County Kildare in Ireland, armed herself with a stout pair of loppers and climbed a ladder—long skirts and all.  “I got on the top of the Yew hedge in the garden at the risk of my life..,” she wrote later, adding that the risky yet satisfying hedge pruning operation was “the first clipping it has had.” Geraldine, more formally known as Lady Mayo, was born Geraldine Ponsonby and became the wife of Dermot Bourke, 7th Earl of Mayo, an Anglo-Irish aristocrat.  The yew hedge was part of the garden at Palmerstown, the Bourke family home, to which Geraldine came as a bride in 1885.  Her garden diary is the nexus of Lady Mayo’s Garden by Kildare Bourke Borrows. The best garden history books are ...

Click here to read the full article

December 29, 2014
by The Gardeners' Apprentice
0 comments

Solstice Thoughts

Every year in late December scores of visitors make their way to Stonehenge, the ancient earth and stone monument near Salisbury, England, to celebrate the winter solstice.  The enormous stones are arranged on a solstitial axis, meaning that at the winter solstice, the sun sets directly over the stones at one end of the axis.  When the Summer solstice rolls around, the sunrise aligns perfectly with the stones at the other end of the axis.  Many people feel uniquely compelled to witness these phenomena. The winter observance at Stonehenge is in keeping with the tradition of staging December gatherings and festivals to invoke, mark or celebrate the light’s return.  Early solstice festivities included elements still familiar today: slaughtering ...

Click here to read the full article