Gift Ideas for the Gardener in Your Life

It is that time of year and you want to give wonderful, heart warming gifts to your garden lover friends. You want to find unusual and touching presents that acknowledge who they are and what they are into - not just hand cream. Right?

And you don't have a lot of money to spend and you would rather order on line than go crazy in a crowded shopping scene...

So,, in that spirit, I am going to suggest some inexpensive gift ideas for your gardening pals...the money limit is $20. and less for some fab ideas...
the market research is this:  If I want it then they will too.

You can use them as gift wrap or - better yet- frame them or laminate them and place in a suitable location.  Vegetable gardeners would appreciate the fruit and vegie gift papers. Succulent lovers will like this one:

And of course mushroom hunters will warm to this gift:

For the more practical souls, there is always Moo Poo Tea! This is the secret to healthy happy and thriving plants. And it is so easy to feed the plants wi…

Speaking with Earth Spirits in a November Garden

"While my gardens, admittedly neglected this summer, have morphed mainly to daisy-yellows and a plethora of pink malvas, the flowers from my friend Sharon's garden in Watertown, Massachusetts still flourish.
But you should know that Sharon speaks with earth spirits and they obviously help.
Sophia Serve

Crabapple in my garden in November
Don't you love that? "....and they obviously help...."...of course they do!  Here is my November ode to Earth Spirits:
Hellebore from Pine Knot Farm in my garden
'Speaking with Earth Spirits'
Deep down, in the warmth of the fecund earth, the spirits sing songs of life. Hoping we hear, they inhale and exhale along with the seasons. Now, in the cool days of November, they sing to us of rest, replenishment and they ask us to be calm. The time has come to listen and of course, to rake the leaves...the leaves...

Crabapple those rocks!

Norm Magnusson - Artist in Nature

Artist Norm Magnusson lives near Woodstock, New York.   Yes, that Woodstock...

Magnusson (see his website, Funism) is an artist that uses all media to get his ideas across.

In his 'Decorating Nature' series of art photos (giclee prints - they're for sale) Magnusson paints on or colors pieces of nature, like adding stripes to a fallen leaf, painting a pine cone blue or drawing concentric rings on a stone. He says,

(Blue Cone - Norm Magnusson)
"We use nature to how we see fit: we strive to bring order to it,
 we seek to explain it in a language that doesn’t belong to it, 
we try to make it prettier, 
we try to make it better, 
we try to make it more profitable. 
Some efforts succeed, some don’t."    

(amen to that - Jan)

(Tree Rock - Norm Magnusson)
But Magnusson also says that his art photos are all about beauty, saying,

"Beauty is the best friend of consideration."

(Eastern Hemlock - Norm Magnusson)

Some of you may want to replicate Magnusson's ideas in your ga…

The Blaze - Halloween Festival in Croton on Hudson, NY

Its Halloween!...and you plan to carve the Jack O'Lantern TONIGHT...triangle eyes, triangle nose.....yawn.....
What you need is some inspiration!

You can find it at the Van Cortlandt Manor located in  my little village of Croton-on-Hudson because we have what must be the world's largest display of carved Jack O' is called the Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze.

Why do we have such a thing? 

Well, Croton is in 'Sleepy Hollow Country' and Sleepy Hollow is the home of the Headless Horseman. It is right down the road from us.

 (And he rides through the countryside every Halloween)....thus, we are a natural for Jack O'Lanterns.....

That is my opinion as to the reason why we hold it although the website Things You Should Do says this:
"Blaze’s creative director, Michael Natiello, said the true inspiration for Blaze is the landscape of Van Cortlandt Manor itself. 
The event is really a land art installation informed by artists such as Michael Heizer, Robert Smit…

Guidelines for the Size of Your Outdoor Lantern

Hinkley Lighting - Harbor Lights
Outdoor light illuminates and silently leads us on.

I just had a discussion with a lovely friend about the lanterns by her front door. She is replacing them and that is why I am sharing this post  I wrote a few years ago. 

People invariably choose lanterns that are too small for an outdoor site. 

This informative piece is from a great lighting company - HINKLEY LIGHTING (click here).... can help change that.


The height of an outdoor lantern should be based on the height of the door:


If you place a lantern on only one side of the door, it should measure one-third the height of the door. The center of the bulb should rest 66" above the threshold of the door.


When two lanterns are used, they should each measure approximately one-fourth the height of the door. The center of the bulb should rest 66" above the threshold of the door.

•TIP: In either case, if you choose a fixture w…

The Life and Gardens of Beatrix Farrand - a new film

Beatrix Farrand, 'Landscape Gardener' and designer, left her mark on many landscapes around the country. Her most celebrated garden is the wonderful Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown in Washington, DC. She worked with the Bliss Family to create a world class estate garden there - and you can visit it.

Finally a documentary has been made to tell her life story from Maine to California. Karyl Evans, the filmmaker, used interviews and footage of over 50 remaining gardens that Beatrix Farrand designed.

A six-time award-winning documentarian, Karyl tells how Beatrix was employed by her Aunt Edith Wharton and mentored by Dr. Charles Sprague Sargent. She became one of the Founders of the American Society of Landscape Architects. 

Beatrix Farrand is an important part of landscape architecture to this day. All designers should know about her and her work!

This film can be purchased by clicking: You can see this film at the National Building Museum in W…

Drumstick Allium - Plant Now

I must admit I first discovered Drumstick Allium when I could not find any other allium bulb to was late fall and I had waited too long to buy the popular Globemaster Alliums... What to DO? I bought the Drumsticks and was thrilled at the result.
These purplish - red blooms are small - 1" -and oval shaped.  They bloom in my part of the world in June atop wiry 24" - 30" tall stems and wave in the breeze...and they make a superb cut flower (which you can dry to be an 'everlasting').

Drumstick Allium bouquet - Martha Stewart Photo Drumstick Alliums look fantastic tucked in the early summer flower border...You can add these small bulbs easily in the fall around clumps of established perennials such as Artemesia, Yarrow, Nepeta and Agastache. They peek out around these plants and are a delightful addition that come back every year!

Artemesia Powis Castle - Great with Drumstick Alliums - Great deer resistantCombo!
White Flower Farm sells Drumstick Allium bulbs …