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Have a rosy summer!

Rose, thou flower of flowers, thou fragrant wonder, Who shall describe thee in thy ruddy prime, Thy perfect fullness in the summertime…? ~ Christina Rossetti, “The Rose,” 1904 Christina Rossetti (1830-1894) is one of the most recognized female poets of the Romantic, Pre-Raphaelite period. She often incorporated aspects of the natural world into her poetry, [...]

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Sneak preview photos of Soroptimist garden tour

The 15th Annual Garden Tour, hosted by Soroptimist International of North Valley, will take place this year from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 20.  The major fundraiser for the Soroptimist chapter features five very different and inspiring gardens in the Rogue Valley. This year’s tour includes four gardens in Medford and one in [...]

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Lilac’s contradictions

“[T]he lilacs nodded over the high wall as if they said, “We could tell fine secrets if we chose…” – Louisa May Alcott, “Under the Lilacs,” 1878 A decade after publishing her best-known novel, “Little Women” (1868), Louisa May Alcott wrote “Under the Lilacs,” a story about childhood friendships shaped and cemented as the children [...]

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‘Phun’ with Photinias (and how to rejuvenate and propagate)

Nature rarer uses yellow Than another hue; Saves she all of that for sunsets, – Prodigal of blue, Spending scarlet like a woman, Yellow she affords Only scantly and selectly, Like a lover’s words. ~ Emily Dickinson, “Poems of Emily Dickinson,”1890 I always think of this Emily Dickson poem during this time of year in [...]

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Time to rethink the hospitality of our lawns

“Anyone new to the experience of owning a lawn, as I am, soon figures out that there is more at stake here than a patch of grass. A lawn immediately establishes a certain relationship with one’s neighbors and, by extension, the larger American landscape. Mowing the lawn, I realized the first time I gazed into [...]

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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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  • 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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