Castor Bean Plants: Growing and Harvesting Seeds

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Castor Beans have long been grown as annual ornamental plants. The plants grow to towering heights in the late summer garden with spectacular dark green/burgundy 7-pointed leaves and  clusters of bright coral-red seed pods.  From a distance the seed pod clusters appear to be exotic flowers.  But on closer inspection, they are the plant’s spikey seed heads.  Aren’t they cool? Continue reading

The Garden Sculptures of Inta Krombolz

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As a passionate lover of gardens, I have visited gardens in many parts of the world.  My favorite however, is close to home, in Chester County Pennsylvania and is the garden of the talented Inta Krombolz.  Inta’s garden has been developed over more than 30 years and is a luxuriant display of perennials, shrubs and trees.   With contrasting elements of color, texture and form, it is a garden with great bones and the designer’s personal imprint.

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Dazzling Dahlias

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“When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it’s your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not.”
– Georgia O’Keeffe

Are you ready for some serious eye candy?  If you didn’t already love dahlias,  I am sure you will become smitten after reading this post.  Before we get to the gorgeous flowers, a bit of background information on these outstanding plants.

Dahlias are native to Mexico and were discovered by the Spanish Conquistadors.   They are members of the same family as daisies, asters and sunflowers and are the national flower of Mexico. With more than 20,000 species in 12 categories which include the pompom, cactus, single anemone or peony forms, there are dahlias for every taste.  Dahlias come in a multitude of colors: from white and pale yellows to oranges, reds and deep magentas and burgundies.  They are exhuberant flowers from a few inches in size  to the famous dinner-plate sized beauties. Dahlias are popular for flower arranging and for wedding bouquets. Some varieites have streaks, spots, stripes, variegation or frosted tips on the flower form keeping the flowers interesting with equally amusing names such as Wildman.  In fact dahlias are the most popular flower for competitive growers.  For the best growing success, The American Dahlia Society recommends buying tubers that have been tested and grown for your climate and soil type.

This summer I had the pleasure of returning to the Endless Summer Flower Farm in Camden Maine.

image Owners Karen and Phil Clark graciously gave my husband and me a tour of the farm and shared their infectious enthusiasm for these flowers.  In spite of the rain and the delayed growing season, the dahlias were dazzling. Continue reading

The Flowers of Camden, Maine

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Camden Maine is one of the most picturesque towns in the world.  With its charming harbor on scenic Penobscot Bay, this Mid Coastal town’s population triples in the summer months. One visit and you will be smitten forever.  This picture-perfect seaside community  has been home to literary greats Richard Russo, Edna St-Vincent Millay and songwriter Don McLean.  The town was the setting for Peyton Place, Steven King’s Thinner and In The Bedroom. Publishing tycoon Cyrus Curtis called it home.  For all its illustrious  history and fame, the town has preserved its appealing quaintness and charm.image

The beautiful  harbor of course is the highlight of any summer visit to Camden. However, the gardens and flowers of Camden are a very close second. Continue reading

Great balls of flowers! Amazing Allium

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Ornamental allium, cousin of the edible onion and garlic is the firework of the perennial border!  Its stunning flowers soar above other plantings punctuating the garden with floral exclamation marks.  These enchanting flowers always steal the show and never fail to make me smile.  From pure white to soft lilac to brilliant purple, they are easy to grow and are animal proof as their onion taste  is unappealing to animals.  Allium bulbs should be  planted in the fall and will naturalize. Continue reading

Bewitched in Berwyn: Bringing Witchhazel Branches Indoor

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In the cold dark days of January, the scented flowers of witch hazel are utterly beguiling.  Starting mid month I eagerly gaze through the window, watching for a sign of the first bloom of my witch hazel trees.  To my complete delight this year the tree shot out its firework-like flowers to herald in the New Year!

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