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The Practical Gardener

Archive for May, 2010

When to plant basil 0

Posted on May 27, 2010 by Paige

The much feared basil bandits

Every year I plant basil and every year it sulks, puts on little growth and runs to flower. Every year but one.

Back in the mid-90s I had 3 glorious basil plants out by the sidewalk. One day I went out and something was clearly wrong with the garden, but it took me a minute to figure out what. One of my basil plants was missing. Someone had literally uprooted one and made off with it. Basil bandits. Read the rest of this entry →

Why you don’t make “flush cuts” when pruning 0

Posted on May 24, 2010 by Paige

Okay, enough about chromosomes and amazing insect adaptations and back to some relevant garden issues.

Left - stub; center - flush cut; right - proper cut. From pruning guru Cass Turnbull

Flush cuts. Cutting a branch so that what is left is flat and smooth, in line with the branch you’re cutting to. These are bad. Read the rest of this entry →

Plant chromosomes and bananas 0

Posted on May 18, 2010 by Paige

Salix alba 'Vitellina-Tristis' - Chromosome count unknown (at least by me) but somewhere between 22 and 224

I recently discovered in a fascinating book, The Tree by Colin Tudge, that plants practice polyploidy.

Now a ploid sounds a bit like a lumbering alien to me but actually it refers to the number of sets of chromosomes in an organism. Read the rest of this entry →

Appreciating insects, for gardeners, part 1 0

Posted on May 12, 2010 by Paige

Mite (not of the eyebrow), false color, magnified 850x (Wikipedia)

There is a mite that lives on the follicles of your eyebrows. Okay, a mite is not an insect but that line is an attention getter and I couldn’t make the title, “Appreciating arthropods”. Anyway, for most people a mite, or termite, or beetle, or ant are all just bugs. (They’d be wrong. The last 3 are insects but not bugs and the first is neither – a story for another post.)

Read the rest of this entry →

Plant pairing for sun – ceanothus and euphorbia 0

Posted on May 03, 2010 by Paige

Ceanothus (cv unknown) and Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii

A ceanothus in bloom is incandescent. In mid spring, the deep violet-blue flowers burst forth from tiny, deep pink buds totally engulfing an 5-8’ x 8’ shrub in a radiant cloud of blueness. Read the rest of this entry →

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