Monthly Archives: January 2010


We rarely get snow that amounts to anything here in Lexington.  When we do its a lot of fun.  With temperatures as low as they are the snow also serves a dual benefit of acting as a layer of insulation for some of the more tender perennials.  Here are a few pictures that I took around the office today.  With all of the ‘beds’ covered up and from a distance it is starting to look like there may be a garden developing.

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Indoor bulbs

It is so hard to find color this time of year.  Forcing bulbs inside is one of the fews ways without constant fresh flowers to make that happen.  Most of us are in the habit of starting Paperwhites and Amaryllis so that they are ready for Christmas.  I do this as well but I also make sure that I start a few things in the middle of December so that I have some color now as well.  My great aunt Anna Bain Earls always advised us to add 10% Gin to the water for your paperwhites which stunts their growth (really…hope that isn’t all inclusive) and keeps them from getting so leggy and falling over.  I also have a lot of fun looking for different containers for the bulbs.  My new office used to have a tissue culture lab on site and I have inherited hundreds of beakers and glass jars.  They are working out perfectly for my paperwhites.  So time to break out the Gin and Soda and bring some color into your weary winter.

If you are really interested in the subject look into a book called Bulbs in Containers from Timber Press.  I don’t have it yet but am anxious for my own copy.

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Baptisia australis Perennial Plant of the Year

Every year the Perennial Plant Association and its members select a plant that they feel is worthy of the title Perennial Plant of the Year.  Please have a look at their website and if you have a passion for perennials and aren’t a member please join.  It is membership in associations that helps keep this information flowing and new research continuing.  Here is this years winner……

Baptisia australis also known as False Indigo

2010 Perennial Plant of the Year ™

Light: Plants thrive in full sun. Plants grown in partial shade may require staking.

Soil: This North American native is easily grown in well-drained soil and is drought tolerant after establishment.

Uses: This spring flowering shrub-like perennial may be used to fill the back of the border or in the wild garden.

Unique Qualities: The combination of flower and leaf color is dramatic in the early blooming season. Flowers are followed by inflated seed pods that are useful for dried flower arrangements.

Hardiness: USDA zones 3-9

This is a great plant that I have been growing for years.  There are many new cultivars in use.  This is a perennial that everyone should try in their garden.

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It’s Complicated

I can’t claim to be the source for identifying the Kitchen Garden from ‘It’s Complicated’ as blog worthy (I haven’t even seen the movie), that would go to Dana Frigerio who has a wonderful blog that you can check out here.  After I saw her post on it though I felt it needed to be shared with my readers as well.  This is a wonderful example of the clean lines and organization that make a kitchen garden work.  Not only do they make it more aesthetically pleasing but it also makes it easier to work in and harvest.  The potting shed doesn’t look to bad either.

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peaceful simplicity

I have had the chance to visit Italy several times now.  Over time they seem to have mastered the beauty of both the insanely expensive and minutely detailed design work that is awe inspiring as well as taking something very humble and turning it into somewhere you never want to leave.  This picture is a great example of just that.  The table is set to receive diners or the harvest of the day and the containers which I would normally consider diminutive are perfectly in balance with the scene.  I could sit here and drink and ready for hours and never want to leave.  I had a friend in Italy tell me that the greatest difference in Italians and Americans is that ‘ in america you all live to work; in italy we only work so we can live.’  Profound advice we should all pay attention to.

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Archives of American Gardens

The Smithsonian has an amazing horticulture division that until recently I didn’t know existed.  You should take some time to look through their webpage and see what all they have.  One of the things that I found really interesting was the ‘Archives of American Gardens.’  Here is their “mission statement”……

The Archives of American Gardens (AAG), founded in 1987, offers landscape designers, historians, researchers, and garden enthusiasts to approximately 80,000 photographic images and records that document a wide variety of historic and contemporary gardens throughout the United States.

The mission of the Archives of American Gardens is “to collect and make available for research use unique, high quality images of and documentation relating to a wide variety of cultivated gardens throughout the United States that are not documented elsewhere since historic, designed and cultural landscapes are subject to change, loss and destruction. In this way, AAG strives to preserve and highlight a meaningful compendium of significant aspects of gardening in the United States for the benefit of researchers and the public today and in the future.”

There are some really great images that they have available on Flickr, I have posted some of them here for you.  These are all old glass lantern slides from the 1920’s and 30’s.

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Filed under Archives of American Gardens, Garden History

T+L (not T+A)

This came out of a copy of Travel and Leisure which is always a great magazine to look at.  Their stories are always well styled and photographed.  I love the simplicity of this; yet, when you look closely there is a level of detail you don’t see right away.  Look at the light, within the cages, within the cages.  I think it gives a depth that can really be appreciated when you look at the details.

I also like the idea of the seating area set up in the grass.  People worry too much about their lawns, these are things to be walked on and lived in and to have chairs moved around on.  All of our gardens have peaks in different areas, why not move you’re cocktail area around the yard and appreciate it from new views throughout the year.

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Filed under Photo of the week