Wednesday, January 2, 2013

 Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’

has been named 2013 Perennial Plant of the Year by The Perennial Plant Association.

Common Name: Variegated Solomon's Seal

The graceful, arching stems of Solomon's Seal add an exotic touch to the shade garden and are often described as being architectural. This selection has arching burgundy stems with alternate, lance-shaped green leaves edged in creamy-white. Dangling, fragrant, creamy-white, bell-shaped flowers appear in late spring looking much like pairs of ballerina slippers. Fragrance is lily-like. Excellent for cutting. Beautiful in the shady woodland garden, combining well with ferns and Hosta of all kinds. Plants are a little slow to establish, but clumps are long-lived and carefree. May be divided in early fall, once clumps are large enough.
Polygonatum odoratum ‘Variegatum’
Sun Exposure:  Full or Partial Shade
Soil Type:  Normal or Sandy or Clay
Soil pH:  Neutral or Alkaline or Acid
Bloom Time:  Late Spring-Early Summer
Plant Uses & Characteristics:   Accent: Good Texture/Form - Alpine & Rock -   Border  - Containers -    Cut Flower -   Rabbit Resistant -   Fragrant - Deer Resistant -   Massed .    
Poisonous/Toxic:  Specimen,   Woodland                                                                                                                                                                                                  
Height:  20-23 inches 
Spread:  12 -18 inches


Gatsby's Star™ Oakleaf hydrangea Hydrangea quercifolia

 It's got star power! Doubled blooms are similar to those of 'Snowflake', but the individual petals are pointed instead of rounded. The result is a beautiful, lacy panicle - and a very showy plant. It's a fun way to add some unexpected drama to woodland gardens.


Native. White flowers. Burgundy fall foliage.
Fall Interest
Native to North America      


Shrub Type:
Height Category:
Garden Height:
60 - 72 Inches
Scape Height Maximum:
Spacing Maximum:
72 Inches       
60 - 72 Inches
Flower Colors:
Foliage Colors:
Foliage Colors:
Foliage Shade:
Green foliage turns burgundy in fall
Container Role:

Plant Needs

Light Requirement:
Part Sun to Sun
Blooms On:
Old Wood
Bloom Time:
Hardiness Zones:
5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
Border Plant
Uses Notes:
Mixed borders, woodland gardens
Water Category:
Maintenance Category:
Maintenance Notes:
Best in moist, well-drained soil. May need winter protection in the North.

In the hopes of reaching the moon, men fail to see the flowers that blossom at their feet.

Albert Schweitzer

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Northern Cardinal

American Elderberry   Sambucus Canadensis

  • Flowers provide nectar for many native pollinators.
  • The fruit is favored by birds and other wildlife.
  • Excellent for naturalizing in moist soil.
  • Easy to grow.
  • Fruit is perfect for jams and jellies.

Used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.
Elderberries have been a folk remedy for centuries in North America, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa, hence the medicinal benefits of elderberries are being investigated and rediscovered. Elderberry is used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, to improve vision, to boost the immune system, to improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. People with the flu who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 19951
Elderberries contain organic pigments, tannin, amino acids, carotenoids, flavonoids, sugar, rutin, viburnic acid, vitaman A and B and a large amount of vitamin C. They are also mildly laxative, a diuretic, and diaphoretic. Flavonoids, including quercetin, are believed to account for the therapeutic actions of the elderberry flowers and berries. According to test tube studies2 these flavonoids include anthocyanins that are powerful antioxidants and protect cells against damage.
Elderberries were listed in the CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs as early as 1985, and are listed in the 2000 Mosby's Nursing Drug reference for colds, flu, yeast infections, nasal and chest congestion, and hay fever. In Israel, Hasassah's Oncology Lab has determined that elderberry stimulates the body's immune system and they are treating cancer and AIDS patients with it. The wide range of medical benefits (from flu and colds to debilitating asthma, diabetes, and weight loss) is probably due to the enhancement of each individual's immune system.
At the Bundesforschungsanstalt research center for food in Karlsruhe, Germany, scientists conducting studies on Elderberry showed that elderberry anthocyanins enhance immune function by boosting the production of cytokines. These unique proteins act as messengers in the immune system to help regulate immune response, thus helping to defend the body against disease. Further research indicated that anthocyanins found in elderberries possess appreciably more antioxidant capacity than either vitamin E or vitamin C.
Studies at Austria's University of Graz found that elderberry extract reduces oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Oxidation of LDL cholesterol is implicated in atherogenesis, thus contributing to cardiovascular disease.
1. J Alt Compl Mod 1995: 1:361-69 2. Youdim KA, Martin A, Joseph JA. Incorporation of the elderberry anthocyanins by endothelial cells increases protection against oxidative stress. Free Radical Biol Med 2000: 29:51 60

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” — Marcel Proust
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” — William Arthur Ward

 “When we become more fully aware that our success is due in large measure to the loyalty, helpfulness, and encouragement we have received from others, our desire grows to pass on similar gifts. Gratitude spurs us on to prove ourselves worthy of what others have done for us. The spirit of gratitude is a powerful energizer.” — Wilferd A. Peterson

Butternut Squash with Apple & Cranberries 

      Yield: 4 servings
Holiday Butternut Squash with Apple & Cranberries Recipe
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 1-3/4 lbs.), cut into 1/2 inch cubes (about 5 cups)
  • 1 medium apple, cubed
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons real maple syrup or brown sugar    


In 1 1/2-quart baking dish, combine all ingredients. Season, if desired, with salt. Cover and bake 30 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 15 minutes or until squash is tender. 

      * Mix melted butter with cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple syrup or brown sugar and stir to coat the squash.