Author Archives: Rhonda Nowak

Rhonda Nowak

Rhonda Nowak is a Rogue Valley gardener, writer and teacher. With more than 25 years of gardening experience and a Ph.D. in literature and language arts education, she combines a love for plants, poetry, and prose in her Literary Gardener blog. Here, she offers useful gardening tips, plus a related literary quote, based on what’s happening in her flowerbeds, containers, raised vegetable beds, greenhouse and yard-scape. The Literary Gardener is for locals who agree with author Bill Richardson: “Novels and gardens – I like to move from plot to plot.”

A plant collector’s garden

“Like a corner of the kingdom of heaven, the plant enthusiast’s garden is a place where gardeners bring out their treasury of things new and old – the rare, the ordinary, the unknown, and the well known.” ~ Roger Turner, “The Plant Collector’s Garden: From Chaos to Beauty,” 2005, p. 10  In Sunday’s Mail Tribune [...]

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Backdrop plants for rock border garden

“The best site for a rock garden is where it ought to. be.” ~ Henry Sherman Adams, “Making a Rock Garden,” 1912 In Sunday’s column (Oct. 22, 2017), I wrote about making a rock border garden around a pond in my backyard. Although by no means natural-looking as Adams insists is the only kind of [...]

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Rogue Valley’s fall pageantry

“Come,” said the leaves to the wind one day/”Come o’er the meadows and we will play./Put on your dresses scarlet and gold/For summer is gone and the days grow cold.” ~ George Cooper, “Come Little Leaves” See if you can identify the following Oregon native and non-native trees from their fall foliage. Back click on [...]

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Grow pansies from seed

“The beauteous pansies rise/In purple, gold, and blue/With tints of rainbow hue/Mocking the sunset skies.” ~ Thomas John Ouseley, “The Angel of the Flowers” (c. 1874) In Sunday’s Mail Tribune column (Sept. 24, 2017), I wrote about growing pansies. Of course, it’s not difficult to find pansies to buy and plant out in the garden, [...]

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My crabapple tree isn’t one bit crabby

“Fetch me a dozen Crab-tree staves, and strong ones.” – William Shakespeare, “King Henry VIII,” Act V, scene 4 (1612) Crabapple wood is, indeed, a sturdy wood; it also makes an aromatic  barbecue wood and lends itself well to woodworking. In Sunday’s column (Sept. 17, 207), I wrote about my crabapple tree (Malus “Snowdrift”) and [...]

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Houseplants that clear the air

“Plant trees. They give us two of the most crucial elements for our survival: oxygen and books.” ~ Alan Whitney Brown, writer and SNL comedian In Sunday’s Mail Tribune column (Sept. 10, 2017), I wrote about how our garden plants are affected by the smoke we’ve been having recently. We want our outdoor plants and [...]

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Various ways of propagating lilies

Within the garden’s peaceful scene Appeared two lovely foes, Aspiring to the rank of Queen, The Lily and the Rose. Yours is, she said, the noblest hue, And yours the statelier mien, And till a third surpasses you Let each be deemed a Queen. ~ William Cowper (1731-1800) In Sunday’s column (Sept. 3, 2017), I [...]

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Ripen pears off the tree

“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy. ~ William Blake, “Proverbs of Hell,” 1790-1793  Despite the seemingly odd choice of title for the poem (in a book called “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell”), English Romance poet and artist William Blake devotes most of his literary attention in the poem to offering [...]

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Lessons (re)learned about growing healthy table grapes on my arbor

“You cannot make sweet wine out of sour grapes.”  ~ Thomas Fuller, English historian author and poet (1608-1661) Neither can you produce a healthy crop of table grapes when the grapevine is infested with fungal disease such as powdery mildew or gray mold (bunch rot) (see my column on August 20, 2017). Here are a [...]

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Taming the garden snake: How to coil a hose

“This tool, this thing of beauty, this garden hose holds so much promise.” – Tom Harvey, “Don’t Fight with the Garden Hose and Other Lessons I’ve Learned, 2013 In Sunday’s column (July 31, 2017), I wrote about the gardener’s love/hate relationship with the watering hose. We certainly can’t live without them, but we’re plagued daily [...]

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    Rhonda Nowak

    Rhonda Nowak is a Rogue Valley gardener, writer and teacher. With more than 25 years of gardening experience and a Ph.D. in literature and language arts education, she combines a love for plants, poetry, and prose in her Literary Gardener blog. ... Full Profile
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