Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Greater Glory of the Fringed Gentian

Like the lady’s slipper about which I wrote earlier, the greater fringed gentian (Gentianopsis crinita) is one of those wildflowers which should, theoretically, grow in my region. I say "should" because I’ve never seen one! With lovely blue to blue-violet petals edged with long fringes, this wildling frequently succumbs to people’s urge to pick it, and has become endangered in many states.

Its range covers the northeast and northern midwest in the U. S., as well as eastern Canada, though it can grow as far south as the mountains of Georgia. Part of the plant's problem is its finicky nature. It requires neutral, magnesium-rich, almost constantly damp soil in full sun, and doesn't tolerate competition. Since it refuses to grow where large shrubs or trees block its sunlight, it is mostly found in wet meadows and fens or along open riverbanks.

Monday, April 15, 2013

How to Force Spring Bulbs for Winter Color.

Many of us are seeing bags and boxes of spring-blooming bulbs in the stores right now, since autumn is a great time to plant them. While you’re tucking those tulips, daffodils and narcissus in to your perennial beds, why not force some for a bit of winter cheer?

The windfall of a free refrigerator started me thinking; why not force some spring bulbs to brighten up the gray days to come. It was a perfect excuse to indulge in several packages of inexpensive bulbs that had been beckoning me in their colorful kiosks each time I shopped in my local big box store, so I selected a basket full of likely candidates and triumphantly carried them home.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Edible Fall Centerpiece

Gardeners enjoy bringing the beauty of the summer garden indoors. During the fall it is no different. A table centerpiece is a nice way to add a touch of fall to the home. Centerpieces need not be high priced creations bought at the florist. It is possible to create an easy and relatively inexpensive fall centerpiece. Adding apples or other garden bounty will make it an edible display.