Category Archives: Uncategorized

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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Take a load off spent blooms

“Take a load off Fanny, take a load for free Take a load off Fanny, and you put the load right on me” ~ Robbie Robertson, “The Weight,” 1968 Now is the time that “gardening” feels suspiciously a lot like plain yard work. I spend my days dodging the sun’s intensity to water, weed and [...]

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Are you growing any “Liberty Tea” in your garden?

“Tea made from a plant or shrub (Ceanothus americanus) grown in Pearsontown about 20 miles from Portland, Maine, was served to a circle of ladies and gentlemen in Newbury Port, who pronounced it nearly, if not quite, its equal in flavor to genuine Bohea [one of three Chinese black teas tossed overboard later in 1773]. [...]

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Blowin’ in the hot wind

“A hot wind was blowing around my head, the strands of my hair lifting and swirling in it, like ink spilled in water.” – Margaret Atwood, “The Blind Assassin,” 2000 I love the way Atwood’s use of figurative language sounds on my tongue when I read it aloud, and the images it conjures up in my mind. On [...]

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Sea kale: A veggie made in the shade

“The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add an useful plant to its culture.” – Thomas Jefferson, ca. 1800 In Sunday’s column, I wrote about some vegetable plants that don’t mind a bit of shade, including: bush beans, beets, carrots, leafy greens, onions, peas, perennial herbs, potatoes and radishes. In addition, [...]

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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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