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 lesson in verse about sprinkler head maintenance

“In the end we will conserve only what we love, we will love only what we understand, and we will understand only what we are taught.” ~ Baba Dioum, Coordinator General for the Conference of West and Central African Ministers of Agriculture Baba Dioum, a Senegalese forestry engineer, spoke these words as he presented a paper [...]

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A goat for the gorse

Each sunny day upon my way A goat I pass; He has a beard of silver grey, A bell of brass. And all the while I am in sight He seems to muse, And stares at me with all his might And chews and chews. ~ Robert William Service, “The Goat and I,” 1933 Robert [...]

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Flowers by the sea

When over the flowery, sharp pasture’s edge, unseen, the salt ocean lifts its form—chicory and daisies tied, released, seem hardly flowers alone but color and the movement—or the shape perhaps—of restlessness, whereas the sea is circled and sways peacefully upon its plantlike stem ~ “Flowers by the Sea,” William Carlos Williams (1883-1963) Perhaps it was [...]

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Barrels of flora

“Wine is poetry in a bottle.” ~ Clifton Fadiman, American editor and author (1904-1999) Some might say wine is poetry in a barrel, and I could say the same for plants. I’ve had success growing a variety of flowers, herbs, vegetables, shrubs and dwarf-sized trees planted in wine barrels in my garden at home and [...]

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“Smoke gets in your eyes” so stay inside

“When your heart’s on fire You must realize Smoke gets in your eyes.”  ~ “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes,” American composer Jerome Kern and lyricist Otto Harbach for the 1933 musical, Roberta. I realize this old show tune is not really literature. However, it has been around for a good long time, and at least [...]

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Childhood memories of growing eggplant

“To this day, I cannot see a bright daffodil, a proud gladiola, or a smooth eggplant without thinking of Papa. Like his plants and trees, I grew up as part of his garden.” ~ Leo Buscaglia,”Papa My Father,” 1989 As I was growing up in Central Florida, I was part of my dad’s garden, too. [...]

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Lend a helping hand to your tall perennials

“He stands erect by bending over the fallen. He rises by lifting others.” – Robert Green Ingersoll, noted agnostic and politician (1833–1899) In Sunday’s column (July 15, 2018), I wrote about the merits of staking vegetable plants: to prevent misshapen plants and broken stems, to reduce exposure to disease from the foliage or fruit touching [...]

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Marigolds: A case of mistaken identity

“Let who will praise and behold The reserved marigold.” ~ “The Choice,”  George Wither (1588-1667) English poet and satirist George Wither mentions many flowers in his poem, “The Choice”; however, there is no doubt that many 21st century gardeners consider marigolds to be the right choice for their flower beds. In Wither’s day, marigolds were [...]

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Don’t let your veggies feel the burn!

“Never regret thy fall, O Icarus of the fearless flight, For the greatest tragedy of them all Is never to feel the burning light.” ~ Oscar Wilde In Greek mythology, Icarus was the son of the master craftsman, Daedalus, who constructed wings for his son from feathers and wax and warned him not to fly [...]

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Protect peppers from extreme heat

“I am peppered, I warrant, for this world.” – Romeo and Juliet, Act III, Scene 1 Shakespeare mentioned pepper more than half a dozen times in various plays; however, it was most likely black pepper, the seed of Piper nigrum, that he was referring to. He often used pepper or peppered as a verb to [...]

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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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