Ornamental oreganos

MOST OF US ENJOY growing plants that remind us of people and places that are important to us. For me, oreganos are exceptionally evocative; their piquant aromas recall my olive-picking days in Italy, the searing heat of the Greek countryside, the spicy fragrance of the maquis of southern France. When I first began growing them in my garden, they tasted and smelled disappointingly bland, lacking the tang of the wild herbs in their native habitat. In an attempt to recapture those memorable scents and flavors, I swapped for or bought oreganos of every kind and description. I ended up with a sizable collection, though I eventually had to acknowledge that Mediterranean herbs grown in the cool maritime Northwest will never have the snap of their ancestors. Even so, the experience taught me new respect for this versatile and variable family. It also introduced me to a swarm of ornamental oreganos, little-known beauties outstanding both for appearance and perseverance. My garden now holds more varieties than ever, grown not as edible accents but as hardy perennials.

Some border oreganos offer striking foliage all season long, and many others provide a steady stream of flowers from mid or late summer into autumn. Though uniformly long lasting, the flowers may be short and widely lipped, as in wild oregano (Origanum vulgare), or narrowly tubular and airily clustered, as in O. laevigatum. In smaller oreganos the flowers may be tucked between overlapping and highly ornamental bracts, whether tiny and brilliantly colored, as in dittany of Crete (O. dictamnus), or elongated into the singing pink trumpets of O. amanum. Whatever their shape, oregano blossoms are held on square stems decked with leaves in opposite pairs. These are often rounded or elliptical, and in some cases are at least as attractive as the blossoms. Like their relatives the thymes and mints, the oreganos have square stems that proclaim them members of the family Lamiaceae. These popular herbs, valued for their aromatic essential oils (carvacrol and thymol in the case of oregano), share a taste for dry soils with quick drainage and plenty of sunshine. Read more

What Kind of the Best Weed Eater People should Purchase for their Garden?

I would like to share that all the best weed eaters truly have something extraordinary to give to their regular users. People cannot truly say that one weed eater is poorer or better as compare to others available options.

However, still if they look down profoundly into all performance and quality aspects then they can see that there is the clear winner. Moreover, if they compare the different kinds, then a gas power-driven type always considered as the perfect and top type of the weed eater. It can be costly however, no other available product can give the people the type of the versatility & performance, which gas power-driven weed eater, has to offer.

Moreover, the care & maintenance annoyances are also, however still people can rely greatly on the kind, as there are several useful things, which this product can offer, characteristically from all others

Users would definitely be on quite safe side in case they have varied lawn edging/trimming needs & they select the gas power-driven trimmer as their facilitator. Fortunately, there are some brands of weed eaters, which are truly trying to make the high quality products. However, the challenge always stays, as they have to find and buy the right one, which is according to their needs and budget. Read more

Where do I put this plant

The rules of placement and how to break them
GARDENS ARE MARVELOUS places for expanding our powers of seeing. Trust your eye. This does not mean that you should disregard every scrap of conventional wisdom. The trouble is that a lot of good advice ends up in rigid columns thou shalt and thou shalt not because it’s simpler that way. It’s too complicated to add all the modifiers nevertheless in certain situations…, remember, however, that in some cases…,and so on. The basic border commandment relating to height is a perfect example of oversimplification. It’s the one that says tallest at the back, shortest at the front (and guess where plants of middle height go). Slavish adherence to that maxim would result in an arrangement like a school photo tall children standing at the back, middle row sitting on benches, front row cross-legged on the ground, the group usually flanked by two teachers, one at each end of the back row (for discipline or symmetry, one wonders).

That is a photo; this is a garden. The photo is looked at from one angle, head on; every child must be visible (or some parents would want their money back), but we’re thinking here of a garden and of people moving about in it. The special pleasure of a border is that as you walk along the path beside it, you see a changing picture with every step. Read more

Animal rights and wrongs: drawing a line between wilderness and the garden

Living adjacent to a federal wildlife refuge has its pros and cons. On the plus side, we take comfort in knowing that there will never be ski slopes or condominium clusters in our view. And we take pride in thinking that our own conservation efforts add to those next door. We would feel far more beleaguered if our 100-acre parcel were a tiny wooded island in a vast sea of development.

But there are also drawbacks. Wildlife refuges are intended to be sanctuaries. The problem is that their occupants don’t always remain inside. The boundaries of this one are clearly marked by blue-and-white metal signs inscribed with the flying goose logo of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. But there is no fence just a century-old waist-high stone wall marking the 4,000 feet of property line that we share. No one has mended the wall in generations, and many of the lichen-covered rocks have been toppled by falling tree trunks or heaving ice, leaving the wall of little use but to surveyors as a sight line through the deepening woods.

The deer, porcupines, beaver, and snowshoe rabbits that have multiplied as the open fields have reverted to forest can’t read the signs. Neither can the foxes, woodchucks, skunks, raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, moles, voles, mice, and birds that also leave the refuge at will. Walking, stalking, waddling, hopping, jumping, running, tunneling, flying, gliding–the traffic is heavy. Even the moose are back. Seeing one of these long-legged, large-kneed beasts lurching through the alders like some misplaced camel is a naturalist’s delight.

To a gardener, however, it is another matter. I’ve seen what a newly planted asparagus patch looks like when a moose has walked through. I’ve had my raspberries flattened by hungry porcupines reaching for the tender cane tips. Deer have devoured half of every head of cabbage down the row and rubbed all the bark off the stems of my hybrid elderberries with their antlers. They have chewed the buds off my apple trees and the tops off my overwintering parsnips. The corn that the crows missed, the raccoons got. Woodchucks eating squash, mice eating potatoes, squirrels eating peaches, beavers cutting down trees to build their dam–name the bird or beast, and we’ve probably had trouble with it. Read more

Elements of design: repose

ONE OF THE INEVITABLE and unfortunate correlations of gardening is that the more the gardener loves plants, the more difficult it becomes to achieve the quality of repose. A garden is, after all, conceived of as a haven, a refuge against the press of the world, a place set apart to be ruled by order, beauty, and serenity. But the enthusiasm with which the gardener often pursues his or her passion too frequently can result in a garden that, though it may be rich, complex, and striking, is anything but quiet.

Stating the issue this way is, of course, to build up a false dichotomy between still, serene gardens on the one hand and those rich and complex with the endless fascination of plants on the other. Within a good garden, whatever its size, these conflicting impulses can be reconciled, but not without an awareness of the problem and the conscious willingness to work out its resolution. For all gardens worthy of the name are not so much planted as composed

The surest way to achieve a feeling of repose in a garden is to balance those parts that are highly worked with parts of equal size that are simple. In many gardens there can be no better balance than that offered by expanses of mown grass, which create ponds of repose lapping against the shores of borders vivid with flowers or thick with masses of shrubbery. Though shrinking the lawn or eliminating it altogether has become a kind of credential for the serious gardener (or even the “moral” gardener), I can think of nothing so conducive to a sense of repose than a generous greensward. Of course it is not for all climates. But other expansive, neutral surfaces may work as well raked gravel, for example, or large flat slabs of stone, softened by creeping thymes or other drought-tolerant, mat-forming plants if the area is in the sun, or by gentle mosses and small ferns if it is shady. Whatever the material, the principle is the same–to counter much with little, to offset abundance with restraint. Read more

A tiny garden blooms with big ideas

Imagine that you had to garden in a city where pollution, trash, rubble, and a lack of light combined to challenge you at every turn. Then imagine that your garden had no room to expand – not even a few more feet for a border or to add some flowering shrubs and vines. For nearly 22 years, Jon Rowen has accepted these givens in his 25-by-30-foot backyard in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City. But in spite of all this – or perhaps because the space limitations so perfectly fit his meticulous personality – the results are exquisite.

Though Rowen has gardened in the city for nearly half his life, his passion for gardening began when he was a child in suburban New Jersey. His parents’ sunny yard, filled with roses and peonies, is his garden of memory. Even in those days, however, he gravitated toward sheltered places, planting hostas, columbines, and ferns in the small spaces beneath the climbing roses. Read more

Tomato spoilers: avoid or control these common tomato troubles

CULTURAL PROBLEMS
IF YOU SEE: Leathery skin on fruit and a dark or water soaked area on the blossom end (opposite the stem) of the fruit that eventually enlarges, turns brown or black, and becomes sunken and flat …

This might be BLOSSOM END ROT, which is often caused by fluctuating soil moisture such as occurs when a dry period is followed by lots of rain. This is evidence of a calcium deficiency in the fruit. Too much nitrogen, high salt levels in the soil, or root damage can also contribute. Note: Fruit does not rot unless secondary organisms invade. Tomatoes grow slowly and may ripen prematurely.

To avoid: Prepare deep, well-drained soil. Apply lime if calcium is low. Plant in warm soil. Water uniformly and regularly; provide mulch. Cultivate shallowly. Avoid overfertilizing; use nitrogen forms that do not contain ammonia, which inhibits calcium uptake. Stake plants when young.

To control: Remove affected fruit.

IF YOU SEE: Misshapen fruit with scars at the blossom end … Read more