Author Archives: Rhonda Nowak

Blooming heather: An important late winter/early spring plant for pollinators

The hall was cleared; the stranger’s bed Was there of mountain heather spread, Where oft a hundred guest had lain, And dreamed their forest sports again. But vainly did the heath flower shed Its moorland fragrance round his head. ~ Sir Walter Scott, “The Lady of the Lake,” 1810 My flowering purple heather (Erica carnea) [...]

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Native plants for a backyard food forest

“I tried to discover, in the rumor of forests and waves, words that other men could not hear, and I pricked up my ears to listen to the revelation of their harmony.”~ Gustave Flaubert, “November,” 1842 In Sunday’s column (Feb. 19, 2017), I wrote about creating a forest garden using plants that are native to [...]

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A native flower and a tree with heart

The happiest moments my heart knows are those in which it is pouring forth its affections to a few esteemed characters. ~ Thomas Jefferson, in a letter to his friend Eliza House Trist sent from Paris on Dec. 15, 1786 In Sunday’s column (Feb. 12, 2017), I wrote about plants with heart-shaped leaves, including a [...]

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Hanging branches in literature and in our yards

My darling promised to meet me when autumn comes. Now the parasol tree has already shed its leaves. And the osmanthus flowers are newly scented. Dreaming of you during every watch of the night, Thinking of you as I wake… ~ Feng Menglong, “Black Silk Robe,” 1615 In Sunday’s column (Feb. 5, 2017), I wrote [...]

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Create pollinator “pads” in your garden

“There is a flower that bees prefer/And butterflies desire;/To gain the purple democrat/The humming-birds aspire.” ~ Emily Dickenson, “Purple Clover,” 1890  In Sunday’s column (January 29, 2017), I wrote about the importance and gardening pleasures of attracting bees, butterflies and hummingbirds to our gardens. I also provided some examples of vegetables, herbs, and flowers that [...]

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Analyzing soil texture in my yard, and figuring out what to do with all that clay!

“The assemblies of the clays are like those hedge mazes and forests in which fairy-tale children become lost, like those places where the old woman is met and where treasures are won. The landscape of the clays is like the wall of the stomach, or the tree of the capillaries, or the intricate folds of [...]

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Mapping out garden success

“The love of gardening is a seed once sown that never dies.”— Gertrude Jekyll Here is the garden record form I use to inventory my vegetable and herb seeds and plants, plot out where the plants will go in the garden and keep garden records throughout the growing season. I use something similar for my [...]

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Tips for organizing seeds from Pooh Bear and me

“Organizing is something you do before you do something so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” ~ A.A. Milne (1882-1956), “Winnie-the-Pooh” As a young child, I loved listening to Winnie-the-Pooh stories, and even today I cherish my little book of Pooh Bear’s witticisms. I agree that organization is a worthy [...]

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SPF and UPF – What’s the difference?

I mentioned in this week’s column (January 1, 2017) that my top-priority garden goal this year is to protect my skin. I’ve recently undergone  surgery to remove basal cell carcinoma from the tip of my nose and another surgery to reconstruct the tip. Definitely not the way I would have liked to spend my winter [...]

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Caring for winter-worthy plants

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show.” ~Andrew Wyeth, American artist, 1917-2009  Winter doesn’t have to look and feel lonely and dead, though. In Sunday’s column (Oct. 30, 2017), [...]

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  • About the Authors

    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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