"Bread and butter, devoid of charm in the drawing room, is ambrosia eaten under a tree."
Elizabeth Von Arnim
The perfect gift for your favorite gardener on Valentine's Day! Gardens require
planning and cultivation, yielding beauty and joy. This garden journal helps
make planning and organizing easy, and is autographed personally by Paul! The
cover holds a 5x7 or 4x6 photo and a heavy-duty D-ring binder. Includes free
- 8 tabbed sections
- 5 garden details sections with pockets for seeds, tags...
- Weather records page
- 6 three year journal pages
- Insect & diseases page - 3 project pages
- 3 annual checklist pages
- Plant wish list page
- 2 large pocket pages
- Sheet of garden labels
- 5 garden detail sheets
- 5 graph paper pages for layouts
- 5 photo pages, each holding four 4x6 photos in landscape or portrait format
Order early to insure delivery and have Paul sign it for you. Half the price of a dozen red roses--and it lasts for three years! Click here to order online.
In 1968, I came home for spring break in mid-March from college to work at
the nursery where I was to spend the next 18 years working and learning about
the gardening industry. My first job was to help the landscape crew to pot up
2500 rose bushes for the retail nursery. When the week ended, I was glad to get
back to college but the next 6 months of caring for and selling those roses was
an additional learning experience that I will not forget...and want to share
with you today.
First of all, you must know that most hybrid roses are grown on the west coast
and Texas because of the climate and growing conditions. When the plant is mature
it is dug from the growing fields in the fall season, washed of all soil and
pruned to 2 feet and 12 inches of roots. Ten plants are tied together and then
treated with a waxy substance to help retain moisture before being boxed and
put into cold storage for the winter. In March, the roses are shipped to your
local nursery for potting.
This is how I potted my roses. If you are purchasing bare root roses this
year, follow these steps for the best results. First of all, I took as many roses
out of the boxes as I thought we could pot up the next day and set them into
our pond so they could begin to drink up as much water as possible overnight.
I had pre-mixed the soil using: 50% top soils, 25% coarse sand, and 25% compost
and peat moss for the soil mixture. I did also add limestone to the mixture and
a bit of superphosphate for root development.
I always used a 12 inch pot filled with this soil to help the plant get well
established before we sold the roses in the nursery. Next, the rose was cut back
to 12 inches tall, small shoots were removed--and we kept 5 to 7 branches on
the plant. Next, all the tips of the roots were also pruned by an inch to help
stimulate root growth in the pot. The rose roots were placed in the pot and the
pots were filled with soil and firmed in place to remove all air pockets. The
rose was labeled with its name tag, Osmocote fertilizer was added to the pot
and then it was watered well.
At the end of the day, all roses were sprayed with Wilt-Pruf to seal up the
branches and the pruning cuts we made on the plant, to prevent wind damage and
drying out of the plant. Roses began to sprout in May and bloomed in June. One
last thing to remember...all hybrid roses are grafted: which means the roots
are from another rose plant, a plant that can tolerate the weather conditions
where you live--the rose you purchased is grafted to this root stock, so it can
survive in your garden under harsh growing conditions.
Today, I want to tell you about the new thinking about growing roses, especially
in a cold climate like the Northeast or where winter and summer are different--unlike
California or Texas. These new roses are called "Flower Carpet roses" and
they grow on their OWN roots; they are not grafted to make them hardier no matter
where you live in the country--from Maine to Florida and west to California.
Now, 25 years ago a German rose-breeder and grower named Noack Rosen decided
that non-grafted roses were the way to go, because of their hardiness and he
made a commitment to develop disease-resistance hybrids of this type of rose.
My wife said to me one day many years ago: "Why don't you have a big rose
garden in our yard?" and My answer to her was that I never promised her
a rose garden, because they are too much work. All the spraying for disease,
insects--and many die out during a cold winters in Maine.
In 1992, the first Flower Carpet rose was developed and it was "DISEASE-
RESISTANT" to common rose blights such as black spot and powdery mildew!
This means it does not require routine chemical spraying and dusting and to top
this...the plant will bloom for months, not weeks, each year.
Today you have 9 colors to choose from, not just the original red. Now let's
talk hardiness. Some of these roses are hardy to zone 4, which is minus 20 to
30 degrees and the rest are winter hardy to zone 5 (minus 10 to 20 degrees),
something no other family of roses can say! These roses will flower from June
to September in this type of climate; where the weather is warmer, they will
bloom even longer.
A Flower Carpet rose plant will grow low, dense and compact--growing 24 to
32 inches tall and 30 to 40 inches wide. Space plants 24 to 36 inches apart;
once they are established they will bloom from late spring to the fall. The flowers
will develop throughout the plant's thick, dark green and glossy foliage in clusters
of 15 to 30 flowers, depending on the variety you choose. If you can provide
this plant with full sun, keep it well watered, fed monthly, and give it a year
to become established in your garden, you will be rewarded with up to 2,000 flowers
the second year. The first year in your garden only 50 to 75 flowers--but that
is more than the normal mature rose will give you once established. The flowers
are 1.5 to 2 inches across, depending on variety.
The foliage is glossy dark green with medium sized leaves that cover the plant.
No fancy pruning is needed; just cut back the entire plant by 2/3 in the spring
(March in New England) or you can let it grow for a taller growing plant, up
to 3 to 4 feet tall, but it won't be as bushy. Trim to shape any time of the
year, if desired. This unique rose is "SELF-CLEANING," do you know
what that means? No pruning to remove faded roses from the plant, WOW! A few
rose hips will develop, and again no dead-heading is required!
Plant it in a full sun location but it will tolerate a bit of shade. It will
grow with 4 to 5 hours of sun per day but you will have fewer flowers on the
plant. It will grow in most soil types. but prefers a well-drained rich soil
with a lot of organic matter like compost or animal manure added when planting,
and side dresses during the springtime. During the first year, water the plant
well and often--especially during the heat of summer--right up until the fall.
Once the plant is established, this rose will tolerate dry conditions.
This rose family requires less fertilizer and should only be fertilized in
the early spring, May, and again in July. Feed with a balanced rose food with
systemic insecticide if insects come to the plant, otherwise just a balanced
plant fertilizer. Because the foliage has no disease problems, insect problems
are minimal with these roses. I have to say this again: "Can you imagine
growing a rose garden and not having to spray or prune all year long?"
This rose family won over 25 GOLD medals in Holland during the Deutschland
Rose Trials since 1990--a feat matched by no other rose grower. By the way, the
rose trials require all roses entered to go 3 years without being sprayed with
any chemical at all...at all! The Flower Carpet rose family received 18.3 out
of a possible 20 for natural disease resistance. It is the highest score ever
achieved by any rose in this category.
One last thing about these roses--and very important for you to remember,
so save this story because all Flower Carpet roses are grown locally at a nursery
in your area. Not grown in a warmer climate and potted like I used to do back
in the 60's.These roses are grown from cuttings in your climate for 2 years or
more before they are sold to you; this makes them much, much hardier. For more
information about these roses go to www.tesselaar.com.
Click to print this article.
When most of us think houseplants, we think tropical but this plant comes
from the shady forest of the Pacific Northwest. This is a wild plant that grows
on the damp stream banks, where it is a hardy perennial plant, so look for it
if you're ever hiking in Oregon or Washington State.
If you're looking for an easy-to-grow hanging plant for any window that does
not get any mid-day sun, then please consider the piggyback plant. The leaves
are unique because they actually have a small plant that develops on the back
of the mature leaf. Where the stem of the leaf is attached to the leaf is where
the new plant, called a "plantlet" will develop.This unique talent
has given this plant its name, the piggyback plant.
The plant will grow in the shape of a mound in your container. As it ages
and fills the container, the stems of the leaf will grow longer and the weight
of the piggyback plant on the leaf it will cause the leaf to cascade over the
side of the pot, giving the plant additional character. The bigger the piggyback
plant develops on the leaf, the longer the leaf stem will grow with the weight
of the plant on it.
The leaf is bright green and heart shaped. The leaf margins are lobed and
have small teeth on them but the thing you will not forget about this plant is
that the entire leaf and the stem is covered with tiny hairs on them. The mature
leaf will grow to 3 to 4 inches long and just as wide. These tiny hairs on the
plant have cause minor irritation to people who have sensitive skin I have been
told but this irritation is seldom a problem to most gardeners.
The piggyback plant does best in a cool to average room with temperature
55 to 65 degrees during the winter and 70 to 80 during the summer months. This
plant will grow best with humidity in the air, so keep out of rooms with a wood
or coal burning stove. It will not do well in homes heated with forced hot air
heat as the lack of humidity will cause the margins of the leaf to turn brown.
If your room temperature is hot and dry, your leaf can turn brown, become crispy,
and shriveled. Misting is the only solution with these conditions. For the average
home this plant will do very well, and will quickly become one of your favorite
The piggyback plant loves a soil with a lot of organic matter, such as peat
moss or compost blended with the soil. Always use a good quality potting soil
when repotting or starting new plants, never garden soil. Repot your plant when
the pot is filled with roots and then upgrade the pot to a new container 2 inches larger
in size, usually every 2 years.
If the plant becomes tired looking after 2 or more years, remove it
from the container and fill with fresh soil. Cut off 5 to 7 leaves with well-developed
plants on them and dip the stems into rooting hormone. Then push the stems into
the fresh soil and water well. In just two weeks, the new plants on the leaf
will develop their own root system and will begin to grow. When the new plants
have rooted well, the leaf will begin to turn brown and you can remove it from
around the new seedlings.
Fertilize every 2 to 3 weeks during the growing season (May to October) and
once a month the rest of the year. Use a liquid food like Miracle-Gro or Blooming
and Rooting plant food. Keep the plant on the moist side at all times, but water
less frequently during the winter months. If you usually forget to fertilize
your plants, use Osmocote time release fertilizer pellets every 4 months to keep
plants nice and green.
The piggyback plant will also do real well on a screen porch or covered porch
during the summer months, as long as it does not get any direct sunshine on the
foliage. If the leaves become pale green or the stems become elongated--making
the plant look like it is drooping--it is not getting enough sunlight and all
you have to do is move it to a brighter location.
The piggyback plant also comes in a variegated leaf with yellow spotting
on the foliage called Variegated--or just ask for the piggyback 'Taff's Gold'
with both variegated and solid green foliage on the same plant. If your gardening
friends like this plant, just break off a leaf with a well developed plant growing
on its back and give it to them. In just two weeks, they will have a tiny piece
of your garden in their home. Enjoy.
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Rosemary is a beautiful evergreen herb that will grow as large as a shrub
if you live in a warm climate and do well grown in a container and moved inside
for the winter months in a cold climate. The foliage is narrow, like a needle
evergreen, and leathery in appearance. This foliage is used for seasoning all
types of meat and poultry. When added to vegetables, it will create wonderful
flavors for your dishes. Rosemary originated in the Mediterranean, near the seashore
and is grown in gardens and containers all over the world for its magical foliage.
Before I tell you how to grow this wonderful herb, I think you would enjoy
knowing about its history, traditions, folklore, legends, myth, and early uses.
Let's begin with its name, as it came from ancient Latin and the name means "Sea-Dew" or" Dew
of the Sea," because the plant always grew near the seashore and the flowers
on the plant gave it a dew-like appearance from a distance.
Rosemary is a symbol of fidelity and remembrance and is often used in weddings
and funerals. The wedding couple often each wore a sprig of rosemary as a sign to each
other of fidelity to begin their new life together. Rosemary is still used in
a wreath worn on the head of the bride or used in the bouquets she carries down
the aisle on her wedding day. Old records also say that small sprigs of rosemary
were thrown into the grave during a funeral as a symbol of friendship and love
to departed family members and friends.
The wonderful fragrance of the plant was said to protect the home against
evil spirits when planted in a garden near the home. Small branches of rosemary
were often placed under pillows to prevent bad dreams and to protect the home
during the evening hours as the family slept. During the sixteenth century, and
still today, the eosemary plant was used as an air freshener. Herbalists often
prescribe this herb for treatments of depression, headaches, and muscle problems.
Just crush the foliage and smell your hands and in no time at all, your headache
Just think how many bath lotions are available today that contain rosemary
in them to help you relax in that warm bath. If you're feeling tense after a
hard day at work or in the garden cut a couple sprigs from your rosemary plant
and run a bath. As the water fills the tub pull the leaves from the branch and
crush them with your hands and slowly add them to the water. Hop in, soak, and
enjoy the wonderful fragrance as you begin to relax in your homemade bath balm.
Be sure to smell your hands and rub them on your sore muscles too.
It has been said that the flowers of the rosemary plant were always white,
giving it that morning dew appearance. According to legends, that all changed
when Mary was fleeing from Herod's soldiers to Egypt with the Christ child. Mary
spread her wet cloak on some rosemary plants to dry and hide from the soldiers.
When the soldiers passed, she removed the cloak from her hiding place and all the
flowers had turned blue in her honor and remain blue today. And one final story
is that rosemary will grow for only 33 years—that is the time that Christ
lived on this earth--and then the plant will die.
Rosemary is an evergreen plant, rare for most herbs today. It will grow as
tall as 3 to 5 feet and just as wide in your garden, if you select the hardiest
variety for your area, or grow it in a pot to bring inside during the cold days
of winter. The top of the leaf is deep green while the underside will have a
bit of gray cast to it. The leaf will grow about an inch long but less than a
1/4 inches wide and the edges of the leaf will curl slightly under. This leaf
is leathery looking and a bit hairy on the underside where the fragrance is most
The rosemary flowers, lavender and pale blue in color, are numerous if the plant is cared for properly. The flowers develop in clusters along
the branches of the plant where the leaf is attached to the stem. These flowers
are 1/2 inch in diameter and resemble miniature orchids with deep veins of color
running through the flower petals, giving them wonderful character. The flowers develop
in the early spring and last until early summer on the growth made by the plant
the previous year. When the flowers fade the new growth will begin and new foliage
will develop on the plant.
Rosemary can grow 6 to 10 inches in one growing season if you care for it
properly. So begin by selecting a site in your garden with a lot of sun or a
southern exposure. If you live in a cold climate, that location should be protected
from the winter winds with a fence or stone wall behind it or even some large
evergreens. Remember I told you that rosemary grew at the seashore in the Mediterranean
region—well, if you want your plant to grow best, condition your soil so
it is growing in a light soil that is well drained and on the sandy side. Your
plants will develop deep roots once established, and they do not like to be moved
around your garden once planted, so select the right place the first time.
Rosemary will thrive in a drier growing condition than most other herbs you
may be growing, so keep plants away from sprinkler systems that run regularly
each week. When you plant into your garden be sure to add limestone to keep the
acidity level from becoming too low and restricting the plants growth and flower
development. Organic matter like compost is very beneficial to help get the plant
off to a good start. And covering the garden with an inch or two will help to
control weeds and help retain moisture in the soil during the hot days of summer.
This mulch will also help protect the plant roots during the winter months in
a cold climate.
Fertilize spring and late summer with an organic product like Vegetable Tone
or Dr. Earth's Vegetable Food with Pro Biotic. Don't be scared to pick sprigs
of rosemary all year long. The new growth will be more fragrant and richer with
the natural oils in the foliage. If you go to a farmers market and are able to
purchase large bunches of rosemary inexpensively, buy it because it freezes wonderfully
for use during the cold days of winter. The oils will become stronger when frozen,
so use less when cooking with frozen sprigs.
Rosemary is one of the most powerful herbs for flavor so use sparingly until
you become accustomed to its ability to flavor foods. Use it when cooking all
types of meat, chicken, or fish as well as most vegetables. I love it on potatoes,
and in all types of tomato dishes and sauces. Take a few leaves with a bit of
olive oil and rub down your salad bowl before making your salad to give it extra
bang. When I cook on the charcoal grill I will also drop a sprig or two on the
hot coals to make what I'm cooking smell and taste better.
At this time of the year, go to your local garden center or greenhouse and
purchase a small pot for your kitchen window sill. When you get the winter blues,
pick up the pot and hold it close to your nose; the fragrance will help you relax
and think of spring--after all, it is only 61 days away! Enjoy.
Click to print this article.
A Customized Gardening Tour of England and the 2012 Chelsea Flower Show
Paul Parent hosts a tour that includes the Wisley Gardens, the Chelsea Flower Show, Tower of London,
Roman Baths & Pump Room, Riverford Organic Farm, Garden House, Rosemoor Gardens,
Lost Gardens of Heligan, Village of Megavissey, Stonehenge, the Wilton House
Garden Centre and more.
Click here for details.
Trivia will be returning soon.
What You'll Need:
- 1/3 pound sliced pancetta, chopped
- 3 medium red onions, chopped
- 4 celery ribs, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, chopped
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes in juice
- 3 quart hot water
- 5 cups coarsely chopped cored Savoy cabbage (6 ounces)
- 5 cups coarsely chopped escarole (1/2 pound)
- 1 piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind (about 3 by 1 1/2 inches)
- 1 (19-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- Accompaniments: extra-virgin olive oil for drizzling; cooked Ditalini pasta tossed with oil (optional), or grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Step by Step:
- Cook pancetta, onions, celery, and carrots in oil in a wide 7-to 9-quart heavy pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally, while preparing chard.
- Cut out stems from chard and chop stems, reserving leaves.
- Stir chard stems into pancetta mixture with garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and 3/4 teaspoon pepper and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very tender and begin to stick to bottom of pot, about 45 minutes total. (Set aside chard leaves.)
- Push vegetables to one side of pot. Add tomato paste to cleared area and cook, stirring constantly, until it starts to caramelize, about 2 minutes.
- Stir paste into vegetables and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. (Paste may stick to pot, but don't let it burn.)
- Stir in tomatoes with their juice, breaking them up with a spoon, then add hot water (3 quarts), scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pot.
- Bring to a simmer. Stir in cabbage, escarole, and parmesan rind. Simmer, covered, until greens are tender, about 40 minutes.
- Coarsely chop chard leaves and stir into soup along with beans.
- Simmer, partially covered, 10 minutes. Discard rind.
- Season soup with salt and pepper. If using Ditalini, stir in just before serving.
Yield: 8 servings