The Crinum of Downton Abbey

Victorian Britain was the epicenter of fashion, trends, politics, and horticulture.  Natural history and plants were serious studies, serious hobbies for the rich. Sailors, explorers, and traders brought plants from all over the world to tempt rich collectors. An abundant supply of coal meant hot-houses and conservatories allowed for tropical plant gardening. Those collectors who…

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The Earliest of Flower Gardens

There’s a patch of paper whites and snow drops in our pasture that’s older than I am. Just behind the little shed that’s been pony shed, goat shed and now donkey shed. Those are the kinds of bulbs I want in my gardens. From a practical stand point, because they come back, they thrive and…

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Hay Bales to Flower Fields

How our little farm has transitioned over the decades.  And how that is a reflection of what people want in their own back yards….and what society wants and needs.   I know it sounds deep and boring. But really it will be a bunch of great stories including donkeys, grandmothers, interns and lessons about soil…

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September is Still Summer

Late summer here extends  into September and October. Plants love it. This is the best time of year for gardens in the south. I like to garden visit now, everything is full and flowing, purple and orange, dripping with the weight of summer growth and buzzing with moths and the energy of life. Here are…

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Plant Sale For Crinum Farm Field Day

Leonotis menthifolia ‘Savannah Sunset’ Bright orange, fuzzy flowers in a perfect whorl around the stems.  Loves hot dry places and flowers all summer.  Perennial in warm parts of zone; great annual in other parts.  $10               Crinum ‘Bradley Giant’  This is a big growing lily, reaching 4 feet tall…

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I Will Survive! Flowers for a Disco Queen

When a horticulturist (or anyone) comes up with a new plant, they get to name the plant.  Older, more genteel generations named plants to honor their wives or Alma-matter.  Think of Azalea ‘Mrs. G.G. Gerbing’ or ‘Clemson Spineless’ Okra. When I found a special crinum, I got my first chance at naming. Decades ago, I’d…

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Garden Things to Do in the Heat; Capture Summer’s Energy

Gardening work gets rearranged around here when the afternoons get really hot. Rearranged; not stopped.  Gardening must go on.  In fact, contrary to lots of gardening media and advice, it should go on. Think about it from an energy standpoint: this is peak production time.  As on rainy days, there are some things that work…

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Time to Cut Back

Good god at the weeds.  In my city garden, I compromised;  broke down and used some chemicals.   But on the lily farm, for two years now,  the crinum lily fields have been organic.  I just can’t taint the purity of my lilies. Really, I can’t stand the thought of the toxins settling in the dirt,…

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