Sunchokes – Trendy food from flowers

During the summer, a giant found a home in my garden. Standing tall near the back gate of the house, the green giant reached at least 12 feet in the air — sticking its arms out wildly and looking like it could use a good tidying up. Sure, my giant was unwieldy and perhaps not all that attractive, but it gave me some great treasure … Continue reading Sunchokes – Trendy food from flowers

Good eats or evil spirits: Origins of the pumpkins we eat and the ones we don’t

Some of our pumpkin consumption is purely ornamental — pumpkins to decorate our porches and to carve into spooky or cute characters (more on that in a bit), but 80 percent of the crop grown in the United States is meant for processing into canned pumpkin, manufactured pumpkin foods and more. So only 20 percent of the annual crop doesn’t go into the food system. Continue reading Good eats or evil spirits: Origins of the pumpkins we eat and the ones we don’t

Celebrate Gardening on May Day

Most of us who have watched old movies may have heard the term “mayday” being used as a distress call. While the pure, unending frenzy of spring and the beginning of the garden season may have this extension agent screaming “Mayday! Mayday!” from time to time, that’s not what this article is about. The May Day I’m talking about is an old holiday that is … Continue reading Celebrate Gardening on May Day

Poinsettia: More than Meets the Eye

More often than not, you’ll find poinsettias — hopefully real ones — among the decorations of the holiday. This plant is a standout in the mostly weed-filled and much-maligned spurge family Euphorbiaceae. This family includes lots of different plants that take on a variety of forms. It does include many weeds, but also many houseplants that have much more of a cactus form than poinsettia. … Continue reading Poinsettia: More than Meets the Eye

The First Thanksgiving Feast

It is a holiday that is quintessentially American (or North American, since our Canadian friends also have their own Thanksgiving). A commemoration of not only the arrival and survival of the pilgrims in Plymouth in 1621, but of our thankfulness for what we have. It is a time for us to gather with family or friends and reflect upon our blessings. While, much to my … Continue reading The First Thanksgiving Feast

Requiem from the Garden

Many plants have a message. No, I’m not talking about plants actually speaking to deliver some sort of imagination. I’m talking about symbolism — a thought or emotion conveyed by certain members of the plant kingdom. If you think about it, it makes sense — we often have emotional responses to certain plants, especially flowers. We see their beauty, their subtle or not so subtle … Continue reading Requiem from the Garden

Mother’s Day Garden Reflections

Mother’s Day: The time when we focus on honoring the matriarchs of our lives — our mothers, grandmothers or those who we consider motherly to us (I include my Aunt Ruthie in the list). Whether or not the maternal influences in your life are still living, a common and traditional way of honoring them is with flowers. Flowers have been a part of the celebration … Continue reading Mother’s Day Garden Reflections

Give Peas a Chance

Peas just don’t get any respect. They may, in fact, be the Rodney Dangerfield of the garden. Sugar snaps and snow peas do seem to rank well, but few people grow them, or at least grow them successfully. Even fewer people grow the old English type pea that you have to shell out and cook without the pod. But peas, and fresh peas, are delicious … Continue reading Give Peas a Chance