Monday, September 30, 2013

Harvesting and Using Rose Hips for Tea

Rose hips, or rose haws are the fruit that forms from a pollinated rose. They are high in Vitamin C and antioxidants and many gardeners love to use them in teas, marmalades and oils.

Rose hips or rose haws have been used by people around the world for centuries. They are high in many nutrients and their use is a great preventative of colds and respiratory ailments. Since the early days of history, rose hips, in one form or another were used as laxatives, astringents, diuretics, nuitrients and love potions. During WWII wild rose hips were gathered by the people of England and Scandinavia and made into syrup to replace the Vitamin C rich citrus fruits that were unavailable because of the sea blockades. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Unexpected Places to See Beautiful Fall Foliage

The shortening days and lengthening nights of autumn set off a series of events that result in the beautiful fall foliage many of us enjoy each year. A moist growing season followed by a dry fall, warm days ending with cool nights, and plenty of sunshine also play a role in the amount of striking colors we see.

Our country has some exceptional spots for fall color: Vermont, New Hampshire, Virginia's Skyline Drive, and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, for example, all offer magnificent displays. However, there are many other options for viewing fall colors in America. Here are five places in five different parts of the country you may not have considered.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Matchstick Bromeliad

Many times I chance upon a plant that provides beautiful surprises. Such is the case with matchstick bromeliad. I had always thought bromeliads were tropical beauties that required special care and protection. Most of my bromeliads are put in containers and moved to the greenhouse come winter.

One winter quite by accident, I left the matchstick bromeliad outdoors. I found it the following spring, all healthy and undamaged by the ravages of my Zone 8B winter. With this encouragement, I planted the bromeliad outdoors underneath a tree. Even now, ten or so years later, the matchstick bromeliad flourishes. Very little damage has been inflicted on the foliage, but the flowers are sometimes damaged by a freeze. This is unfortunate, for late fall and early winter is when the flowers bloom.