June 27, 2012 |
When devoted gardeners run out space in their backyards, they often tear up the old plantings to make room for the new. But Andrew Bunting, a horticulturist with a magazine-worthy ornamental garden behind his ivy-covered stone cottage in Swarthmore, had a different idea. In January, he asked neighbors Clair and Rob Oaks, with whom he had a cordial but not close relationship, if he could use a section of their backyard for a vegetable garden that they would share. He would design, install, and cultivate the plot, and even pay them $100 a month in rent.
February 12, 1989 |
As you plan your vegetable garden, think beyond lettuce, tomatoes and string beans. Think about the onion. Last year, John Swan grew six varieties of onions in the garden that he and his wife, Ann, tend in Chester County. As an expert cook, Ann Swan welcomes this bounty to use in her kitchen year-round. Even now, the Swans still have a couple of large bags on hand in an outside closet to tide the family over until the '89 harvest starts in mid- July. John Swan used to start most of his onions from seed.
April 7, 1997 |
Rena Ennis can nail a green thumber a mile away. Ok, five feet. It's all in the nails. The longer the fingernails, the bigger the odds they're not a green thumber. "When I see a woman with long, manicured nails, I know she is not going to come out and garden," said the 73-year-old grandmother. "You get a lady with fine nails, you know she's only going to look, not participate. " Ennis has been "digging and planting all over" her West Philadelphia neighborhood for 37 years, mostly as a volunteer with the Pennsylvania Horticulture Society's Philadelphia Green, an urban greening program designed to help residents spruce up their communities with various flowers, plants and trees.
March 23, 2012 |
Howard Brosius is trying to be heard above the buzz of a dozen small children recently liberated from day care. "Who wants some black-seeded Simpson?" he shouts, holding up the ruffled, light green leaves of this 150-year-old lettuce variety. In a room full of veteran vegetable gardeners, this would provoke a stampede. Here, in a small classroom at Awbury Arboretum in Germantown, the kids have no idea what black-seeded means or who Simpson was. But they know whatever "Mr. Howard" is offering, they want.
July 5, 1987 |
My feelings about the garden are divided in July. In some ways I love it for the first beans, for the early tomatoes and eggplant, but sometimes I wish it wouldn't cry out for help on the hottest days of the year. There's a bonus in those hot days, however. They force the gardener out of bed early on the weekend to beat the heat, and I, for one, relish the quiet early mornings with just the dogs and birds as my companions. As you cruise around your garden early on a July morning, look at it with an eye to next year.
September 26, 1993 |
Any garden in good shape at the end of a hot, dry summer has to belong to an ardent gardener. In Marcia Spoor's case, she borders on the passionate side of ardent. With four children under the age of 10, it's amazing that she and her husband, Paul, can find any time to garden, but the two of them make a great team. He wields the tools; she digs and plants. Theirs is a corner lot in Folsom, Delaware County, and when the Spoors moved into the house 14 years ago, Marcia moved from houseplant lover to outside planter.
May 3, 1987 |
May has to be the best of months in the garden. The dogwoods are blooming, tulips and daffodils abound, the first lettuce is ready and by the end of the month there are peas for the table. Like April, this is a wonderful month to plant, because it should be cool, and we hope for adequate rainfall to avoid dragging out the hoses. In the flower garden, you can plant perennials anytime during the month. With annuals, plant the hardier ones, such as alyssum and petunias, at the beginning of the month.
September 22, 1995 |
Thirty years ago, he was an undercover cop in Detroit. His cover? That of a tree trimmer, landscaper and seed salesman. Then an injury forced him out of police work, and Jerry Baker became a gardener for real. And not just any gardener. Baker, 64, styles himself "America's Master Gardener," and his accomplishments - 45 gardening books including two best- sellers, several PBS specials and a bimonthly newsletter with a circulation of more than 100,000 - substantiate the claim.
November 5, 1999 |
Gardeners are beginning to see the humor in their gentle pastime. Folk art, found objects, silly signs, fashionably dressed scarecrows and statues, bizarre birdhouses and brazen Technicolor plant combinations are popping up in perfectly respectable gardens everywhere, just for the fun of it. "It all stems from creativity - and having the courage to do it," says Tovah Martin, who has just completed Garden Whimsy (Houghton Mifflin, $30), a lighthearted but thorough investigation of humor in American gardens.
June 12, 2009 |
Asia Freeman and the other third-grade gardeners at Emlen School may not be certified locavores yet. But after a spring spent planting and tending a vegetable garden outside their East Mount Airy school, they've learned to dig in lettuce and radish seeds, tomato and pepper plants; to water and weed; and to ponder questions of food and nutrition that bedevil some of us for a lifetime. Such as: What did we just eat? What's in it? And, this is a biggie: Why did we eat it? About a dozen kids were involved in the after-school garden club, which just finished its second year.