I have a vivid memory of eating a Red Delicious apple when I was seven years old and, afterward, regarding the dark seeds embedded in the core. [Read more…]
Some interesting revelations in a book I’m currently reading called One Writer’s Garden, which is about the Jackson, Mississippi garden of Eudora Welty and her mother Chestina.
Last night I read this explanation for the shunning of magenta flowers back in Welty’s day (early 20th century, but the magenta aversion continues today for many gardeners):
“Historian Susan Lanman..points out that arsenic was was commonly used in pesticides, giving crops a magenta color that indicated that the lethal poison had been applied. [Gertrude] Jekyll and others distressed by the effects of industrialization eschewed [magenta]for such associations with pollution, and its manufacture from aniline dyes, which themselves were derived from the coal whose smoke blackened England’s skies.”
Ew. So magenta=toxic was part of the reason they didn’t like it.
But also many gardeners and designers just found the color plain nasty. Apparently, Gertrude Jekyll is the one who tagged it “malignant magenta” and another British garden writer called the color “that awful form of original sin.”
Poor magenta. It doesn’t seem fair. Everyone has their tastes, but who wouldn’t want to stumble upon that lovely sweep of Byzantine Gladioli (pictured above) on a drive through the country?
(Source: One Writer’s Garden, by Susan Haltom and Jane Roy Brown.)
More good news for those of us living with Juglans nigra! In his new book The Layered Garden, David Culp describes several genera that he has grown with success beneath these anti-social trees, including:
Smilacina — (Smilacena racemosa — False Solomon’s Seal — an interesting perennial with white flowers in spring followed by green/red berries).
Asarum — (cute little gingers!)
Aucuba — (Evergreen, Gold Speckles. Reminds me of the upholstery on the couch from my childhood family room, circa 1976. What’s not to love?)
Pulmonaria — (I am always reading about how great these are — why don’t I grow them?)
Convallaria — (I actually have Lily-of-the-Valley growing under a Silver Maple, which means they will officially grow anywhere.)
I’ll I’ll be honest. I had a hard time figuring out how to approach this topic. As I have mentioned before, I am New Dirt and not Old Dirt, meaning I do not come from a long line of gardeners, but rather picked up this obsession at age 36 with no influence from parents or grandparents. Like Constantine’s conversion to Christianity, my conversion to a life of gardening was sudden and complete. (Whether or not Constantine was pruning Euonymus at the time of his revelation, as I was, is not clear.)
Folks, it’s not too late to completely re-do your landscape for Halloween!
Whether your goal is just to have a little spooky fun, or to actually terrorize the children so they will not set foot in your yard, here are some “go-to” plants!
1. Poncirus trifoliata
Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Pink Dawn’
Fare thee well, large shrub/small tree. I barely knew ye.
No, those aren’t dirty tennis balls. Those are just a few dozen of the THOUSANDS of black walnuts that rain down on my backyard at this time of year.
Recently I purchased and read Wildflowers and Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachians and Piedmont.
Now, before you go labeling me as a mega-dweeb, you should know that plant communities are super hot right now. All the coolest middle aged suburban garden bloggers are talking about them and how they can be used as inspirations for design.
Where have you been?