January 19, 2015 |
An ancient, highly porous form of charcoal is being touted as a godsend for soil health and fertility - transforming farms, home gardens, and urban and suburban landscapes. It might even combat climate change. Any wonder they're calling biochar a "miracle product"? "It's important not to promise too much, but this is mind-popping stuff," says Dale Hendricks, owner of Green Light Plants, a wholesale organic nursery in Landenberg, Chester County, who talks up biochar to public gardens and local garden clubs, and cooks his own in barrels, kilns, and a wood stove.
August 2, 2014 |
Do not get Allen Lacy going on the subject of Bradford pear trees or forsythia bushes unless you want to get an earful. He considers them common and overplanted, and you won't find a single one in the Linwood Arboretum in Linwood, N.J., which Lacy created five years ago and somehow manages to keep going with his septuagenarian wife, Hella, a half-dozen volunteers, a surfeit of optimism, and hardly any money. Lacy calls it "the smallest arboretum in the world," but its wish list may be the largest.
July 12, 2014 |
William H. Frederick Jr., known as Bill, is 88 now, a little stooped and hard of hearing, a far hike down the road from his 1948 Swarthmore College graduation. But this accomplished garden designer, nurseryman, and author remains an icon in plant circles. Since the 1960s, he has shared his expertise and extraordinary 17-acre garden outside Wilmington with 33 interns and thousands of professional gardeners, landscape architects, and students from around the world. Now, there's a good deed that cannot trump Frederick's half-century of knowledge-sharing, but certainly tops it off nicely: an $800,000 gift to Scott Arboretum, which covers 300 acres of Swarthmore's 450-acre campus.
April 20, 2013 |
'Kale in the serpentine" sounds like the title of a whodunit, but there's no mystery here - just something new and fun that awaits visitors to Chanticleer, the public garden in Wayne that likes to change things up every year. Other Philadelphia-area gardens have added stuff this spring, too, from new tree houses and replenished rose gardens to "steps-free" walkways and giant bug sculptures. But "kale in the serpentine" definitely stands out. First, the serpentine. It's a hillside garden planted every spring with snaking swaths of cool and colorful crops like wheat, tobacco, barley, cotton, flax, sunflowers, or sorghum.
April 4, 2013 |
It may still be cold enough to feel like winter but a sure sign that spring has arrived is upon us. Chanticleer Gardens has opened for the season. From now through November 3, the public garden located on the Main Line will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Wednesday through Sunday. On Fridays during the summer, visitors can stay until 8 p.m. The garden, set on 47 acres in Wayne, will mark two special occasions in 2013. Its will celebrate its 20th year as a public garden and the centennial as the Rosengarten estate.
January 25, 2013 |
One of the first things Jeff Downing tells you about himself is this: "I'm not a plant guy. " Which is a surprise, and not entirely true. Downing is the new executive director of the Mount Cuba Center, the 600-acre public garden just outside Wilmington that's dedicated to native plants in the Mid-Atlantic region. And while he may not be a trained horticulturist, as many of his peers are, he comes to Mount Cuba after 13 years at the New York Botanical Garden, the last five as vice president for education.
November 17, 2012 |
After her husband died suddenly at age 48, Mandy Swope's brain wouldn't stop. The tape loop went like this: "John's dead. John's dead. " Three and a half years later, Swope, now 48 herself and still living in the couple's Malvern home with their 14-year-old daughter, has finally emerged from the deep grief that once paralyzed her emotions. Swope's recovery is due in part to the passage of time and a compassionate therapist. Another part involves flowers - and the friendship of fellow gardeners.
October 13, 2012 |
The garden's "off-season" used to be a time to rest and daydream about next year's triumphs, but for professional gardeners and many an amateur, that's the fantasy now. "The off-season used to be a nice time to decompress, but I'm actually busier then. It's more restful to go out and weed," says Joe Henderson, one of six full-time horticulturists at Chanticleer, the public garden in Wayne, who are expected to take on a creative project every winter. This keeps everyone "focused and busy," to put it mildly, and allows for "time to dream about future designs," according to Chanticleer's executive director R. William Thomas.
April 20, 2012 |
Dump old plastic containers. Many garden centers now have recycling bins where you can drop off or pick up used plastic flower pots and trays. Either way, you're keeping plastic out of landfills. Box stores like Lowe's and garden centers like Primex in Glenside offer this service. For more recycling ideas for the garden, go to http://mypennfuture.org/siteMessageViewer?em_id=40561.0 Try growing hops. The plants, which grow from rhizomes, shoot up about 20 feet a year and the flowers smell wonderfully sweet.
January 20, 2012 |
Eavesdrop in a garden, and what do you hear? Not a lot of narrative. Mostly exclamations over the beauty of something and curiosity about what it is, in and around the absorbing silence. So it is that Paul W. Meyer has "written" a new book about the Morris Arboretum in Chestnut Hill with no text, just photographs, most taken over the last eight years. Its title is a straightforward Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania Through the Lens of Paul W. Meyer. "It's meant to be a walk through the garden," explains Meyer, 59, a self-taught shutterbug who has worked at Morris for almost 36 years, the last 21 as director.