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Posted by on Aug 13, 2014 | 4 comments

Homegrown Hops on Howell

Homegrown Hops on Howell

My friends Matt and Angela have been brewing their own beer for a few years now — they rarely buy beer from the store, and you know you’ll find at least one keg of homebrew at their annual super bowl party. (Here’s two from last year’s festivities.) After moving into their current house on Howell Ave. and finding out their neighbor grows hops for his own homebrew, they decided to add hops to their backyard garden plan. What better way to make your homebrew taste more homemade than with homegrown hops. To grow hops, you need a rhizome, which is a piece of the root of another female hop plant. You can buy online or use from an already established plant, as Matt and Angela did with a piece of their neighbor’s hop plant. The rhizome should be planted in early Spring in full sun. The plant needs plenty of space and a fence, trellis or some sort of central pole for it to grow up. In Matt and...

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Posted by on Aug 8, 2014 | 1 comment

A Meditation on Weeding

A Meditation on Weeding

We last visited Sue and John’s garden earlier this spring, when their planting had first begun. In this guest post, Sue waxes poetic about weeding and her love of those intrepid volunteer vegetables she discovers each summer. It’s the middle of the summer and I just finished a huge weeding session in our garden. I love weeding and although I’ve heard people refer to it as tedious, boring, hard work (sadly these people include my two sons), for me the results far outweigh the supposed gruel of it all. Weeding brings back balance, gives me a sense of order in the chaos and shows off the beauty of the soil. It helps me to untangle plants from each other while it helps me to untangle my mind. When I start to weed, the minutes turn into hours. I weed and plan and untangle and move plants. The structure of my garden comes back and the lack of structure that always seems to be present in my life fades into...

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Posted by on Jul 9, 2014 | 2 comments

Summer Color in a Small-Space Garden

Summer Color in a Small-Space Garden

As many already know, you don’t need a large garden to enjoy bright summer colors. My backyard is about 16 feet wide by 16 feet deep, most of that space taken up by a deck, but we pack in the color as best we can. For reference, here’s an aerial shot from early last spring to see the size of our planting space. This year we planted a mix of perennials and annuals — alstroemeria, zinnia, daisies and daylillies. So far the alstroemeria is a standout. The leaves are thick and the petals may look delicate but they are strong. We’re the lucky benefactors of the vibrant purple clematis my neighbor grows every year — it cascades down our side of the fence. It’s so lush that one year a bird found a place inside to built a nest and lay eggs. It blooms all summer long. In addition to the flowers, we’re also growing hot peppers and herbs (in the garden and in containers). And at my children’s...

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Posted by on Jul 7, 2014 | 0 comments

Field Trip: Bethany Beach Nature Center

Field Trip: Bethany Beach Nature Center

We visited the Bethany Beach Nature Center while on vacation in Delaware last week. The park reminded me a lot of Huntley Meadows (located just south of Del Ray) with its wide variety of native plants and a boardwalk which takes you through the woods to an open marsh observation deck. It’s worth a visit if you are in the Bethany area this summer. The main nature center is an historic house built in 1902 which was moved from its downtown Bethany location in 1999 to its current more inland location after being donated to the town. It’s one of five houses built by John Addy, one of Bethany’s original settlers. Another of the five houses is a famous Bethany Beach landmark, the oceanfront B&B called the Addy Sea. It was the 4th of July when we visited so the building was closed, but that didn’t stop us from checking out the three gardens on the property — a rain garden, a vegetable garden and a native plant demonstration garden. We...

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Posted by on May 27, 2014 | 0 comments

Sally’s Passalong Flower and Herb Garden

Sally’s Passalong Flower and Herb Garden

My neighbors, Sally and Mark, have created a perfectly charming flower garden in their postage-stamp sized plot, the bed dotted with hand-painted rocks that call out the various herbs. The garden is largely made up of perennial passalong plants, a Southern tradition of sharing propagated plants with friends and family members. Last fall, Sally and her mother Debby gutted the bed and enriched the soil. Then, they transplanted perennials from both Debby’s and Sally’s grandmother’s gardens. To keep the full-sun, south-facing plot well hydrated in the hottest summer months, they installed a soaker hose set with stakes. Sally and Mark invested in a timer and set it to water the garden every day for 30 minutes at 6 a.m. To make the garden markers, Sally’s mom wrote on the rocks with acrylic paint and sprayed them with an acrylic sealant. Sally’s garden already looks lovely and I can’t wait to see how it matures in the coming months and seasons. I also love the idea of handing down perennial starts from generation...

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