The New York Botanical Garden is a museum of plants, an educational institution, and a scientific research organization. Founded in 1891 & now a National Historic Landmark, it is one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world. http://www.nybg.org/
Is something nibbling on your peas? Put a collar around them! Cut off a bit off a toilet paper or paper towel roll cores and put around the base of the plant, make sure the plant is big enough for the leaves to still get sun. I’m pretty sure that you could do this for other plants as well. Tip from desperategardener.com
This works well for protecting against cutworms. Unfortunately though, if it is your first season gardening you probably will not know that you have cutworms in your garden until you discover that you have cutworms in your garden. Trust me, I speak from experience. They are heartbreakingly awful pests. ~AR
Morning Glory is a plant in the largest flowering genus Ipomoea. It belongs to the family Convolvulaceae.
Morning glory are often grown as ornamental plants due to its colorful flowers. Most unravel into full bloom in the early morning – hence it’s name ‘Morning Glory’.
The root of the morning glory is called ‘John the Conqueror’ in hoodoo. It was used in luck and sexual charms. The tubers are carried as amulets and rubbed to gain good luck in gambling or flirting.
Morning glory was used in folk medicine and herbalism due to its psychoactive compounds and alkaloids. The Aztecs and Zapotecs in shamanistic and priestlydivination rituals used morning glory as a poison to give the victim a horror trip. Morning glory has been used in modern medicine due to the laxative properties of its seeds.
Although Morning glory is a popular ornamental plant and used in medicine, it is a toxic plant as it contains many alkaloids. The seeds may cause hallucinations, neurological damage and severe diarrhoea. Ingestion of the seeds can be particular dangerous if the victim has a history of liver disorders. If accidental ingestion occurs medical attention must be sought as soon as possible!
It is also recommended that you wear gloves, long sleeves, pants, and eye protection when pulling out the vines. As they break they release a milky sap which is also chockfull of alkaloids and can cause headaches, small hallucinations, and other damage if not washed away immediately. Best to just not get it on you in the first place. ~AR
Why space your garden to a rigid grid, with mountains of mulch to fill the gaps? Well, generally speaking, traditional methods persist because they work. Spacing, spacing, spacing, and all that. But Ari LeVaux has another method that’s slightly more… lackadaisical. You can think of it as the “lazy gardener’s” garden, but with a little forethought, it may very well turn out more productive than a traditional dirt square.
“At the core of my low-effort, high-return gardening style is a practice I call throwing seeds at the garden. This technique is exactly what it sounds like: After preparing the soil and deciding what I’m going to plant in a given plot, I blanket the area with seeds cast by the handful. These aren’t seeds for the plot’s designated crops, but seeds for a supplementary blanket of leafy plants to cover the space between the crop plants.”
Of those “mulch” plants, LeVaux suggests mostly edible varieties—carrots, spinach, cilantro—to not only cover, protect, and inject the soil with nutrients, but to fill out your harvest, as well. At this point you’re probably saying to yourself, “How are my main crops supposed to grow to a healthy size with such a crowded plot?” Well, he has an answer for that, too: careful selection.
As some plants, like garlic, tend to have a vertical growing habit both above and below ground, space for wandering leaves and roots won’t be an issue. Just be sure that your main crops are suited for this kind of garden party, and you’ll be okay. Click through for Ari’s individual suggestions when it comes to planting—or throwing. —MN
Spring is really close here in New York City. You can certainly smell it, the ground is thawing a bit and releasing that wonderful, loamy aroma which means that gardening season is around the corner. Time to start planning your front yard display of violas, pansies, and … wait … where are the impatiens? Gone, in many places. Why? Wiped out by downy mildew.
The disease first reared its ugly head in Europe where it literally decimated the industry for these cheery shade-tolerant annuals. And now it’s in the U.S., mainly along the coasts. And it’s not just a problem for those seeking curb appeal, it’s also a problem for the billion dollar industry surrounding our obsession with beautiful yards. What will you substitute if you can’t find impatiens this year? ~AR
And in the spirit of full disclosure: I used to work with and edit one of the writers of this story, Brian Wingfield, and I fully endorse his amazing headline pun.
I am an absolute sucker for the stories surrounding the names of heirloom vegetable and flower varieties. I have, on several occasions, thrown caution to the wind and picked highly unsuitable veggies to grow in my garden simply so I can say “Oh, that? It’s just the wild fuzzy pony geranium heart pea (n.b. not a real thing).” Back in the land of real vegetable varieties, here’s the story behind a particularly rare little bean called La Comtesse de Chambord. ~AR
We got a question about overwintering geraniums from someoneIt’s Teardrop’s World earlier today in our Inbox. Unfortunately, since there is no “sent mail” folder in Tumblr we have since lost your name and original message. Sorry! (I would still like to see a more well-rounded mailbox) Regardless, here is a nice primer on overwintering geraniums from Sonia Uyterhoeven, NYBG’s Gardener for Public Education.
The standard recommendations for over-wintering geraniums are as follows: 1. Prune back geranium by 1/3 in the fall and then dig up and repot. 2. Place geraniums on a bright, sunny window 3. Geraniums prefer cool temperatures (day 65F, night 55F are ideal) 4. Geraniums will get leggy and spindly when its either too warm or not enough sun 5. Water plants only when soil starts to dry out – let the top ½ inch dry out and then water 6. Groom plants as necessary
Regarding the email you got earlier, it sounds like they might have been over-watering. Geraniums are happier with under-watering rather than over-watering. The plant will take some time to readjust and will probably experience die back from the older foliage. The new growth is encouraging. I would suggest he just lets the old foliage naturally die back – groom as the foliage fades and let the healthy baby leaves take over. It is normal to have some of the foliage die back in the winter – the growing conditions are not optimal.
Update Based on Additional Info From It’s Teardrop’s World:
It’s either over-watering or root rot – or a combination of the two.
If it’s over-watering they should get the plant on a regular watering schedule – i.e. less water in this case – and just groom as necessary to clean up the plant but essentially leave it alone to recuperate.
Alternatively, it could be root rot which means there is a fungal problem – the fungus lives in the soil – stems are affected near soil level and foliage turns yellow and wilts and eventually falls off. If this is the case, they should take a look at the root system to see what’s going on – and then depending on the situation either throw it away (not in compost pile) or cut off all the infected parts and see if it recuperates.
Given that you told me it was starting to produce new growth and that he had been over-watering, I would leave it alone and let it do its thing unless the rotting looks like it is starting to spread.
I’m no entomologist, but it looks like a mason bee house. Mason bees are prolific pollinators and fun to observe in close range (they are not aggressive). Unfortunately they do not produce honey, but they will help you have a more productive and beautiful garden! ~AR
I have a serious soft spot for geraniums, especially the scented ones. I can’t pass them up, and I over-winter them, too. It’s so lovely to walk past one and give it a gentle brush so that it fills the room with a subtle aroma. The scented ones are not showy, and the generic ones are easy to take for granted, but I for one simply love them all. ~AR
Who needs curtains when you have plants? “I like the gropey, viney, tendril concept,” Ms. Martin said, standing by the passion vine curling itself around the south-facing window of her bathroom. Harriet Beecher Stowe, she said, used another plant, Bowiea volubilis, the climbing onion, as a curtain substitute. This glorious weirdo thrives at Ms. Martin’s home in the greenhouse.
Tovah Martin’s is one of those comfy little stories, not quite a vignette, that taps the thought of locking yourself away in a farm house with nothing but your potted plants to greet you in the morning. A house full of cats is one thing, of course, but a house full of plants is just good design.
Come next winter, you might be inspired to dig up a few of those yard stragglers and bring them inside while it’s cold out. —MN
We certainly couldn’t keep Annie all to ourselves, not with the knowledge and talent that she has to offer the gardening world. When she’s not enlightening the city’s children as the Assistant Manager of the NYBG’s Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden, she’s greening the rooftops of Brooklyn as one of the most well-respected urban gardeners in the five boroughs.
That said, she knows her stuff! If you ever happen to catch her digging away in the Family Garden, give her a wave for us. —MN
If you follow us on Instagram or on our blog then you’ll already know that we’re huge fans of the winter landscape. In case you thought we were a bit batty, the New York Timeshas our collective back and explains why you should love the starkness of winter, too. Hint: There’s more going on out there than you can ever imagine! ~AR
Front, back, side, or all of the above—if you own a house, there’s a pretty good chance you’ve got a lawn to take care of. But while we Americans in particular pride ourselves on our lush, neatly-trimmed green spaces, increasing suburban sprawl and the rampant rise in fertilizer use have certainly smeared the yard’s image.
So where did our obsession with Kentucky Blue and St. Augustine blades come about in the first place? What drives us to spend $30 billion a year on caring for our yards? Well, the fixation handily predates the picket fences and pushmowers of the 1950s, if you must know. Click through for a short history of the lawn, and thoughts on how it still dominates so much of our property. —MN