5/21/2006

Furry plants

Now that we know we are expecting a girl, it's fun to think that maybe our daughter might like playing in the dirt half as much as her mom. When I was a youngster, my favorite plant was Lamb's Ear . What's more fun than a furry plant?

I first discovered Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina) at a local public garden, and when my mother started a herb garden, she planted some Lamb's Ear for me. So it has long been one of my favorite plants, and of course it was one of the first plants I put in my own garden.

Lamb's Ear (Stachys byzantina)















However, Lamb's Ear is not the only fun and furry plant out there. At the recent Master Gardener plant sale, I discovered this treasure. According to the donor, it's a type of Salvia. It looks like a little "Audrey 2" from Little Shop of Horrors, but this monster plant is soft and cuddly.

I also found this furry plant at Home Depot, but I forgot the name. Can anyone help? I'll try to find the tag and update this post later.

5/13/2006

Conversation with a Bumblebee

Bee: buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Me: Shew bee, I’m working here
Bee: buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Me: Hey, knock that off. I don’t like it when people watch over my shoulder.
Bee: buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Me: I’m glad you approve of the Columbine, but I can’t plant it while you’re gorging yourself at it!
Bee: buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Me: Alright, just hang on. I’m going to be done soon, then you can spend as much time with the flowers as you like.
Bee: buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Me: Hold on! I just need to water these plants in.
Bee: buzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Me: Take that!

(I didn’t wait around to see how he responded to getting a little wet.)

Flowers for Bumblebees

Flowers for Bumblebees

Although this one little bumblebee got on my nerves recently, on most days I think bumblebees are adorable. Some flowers that seem to attract bumblebees in my garden:

-Herbs, especially the lavender, sage, catmint that are blooming now



-Container garden of Salvia, Columbine, Dianthus, and Verbena. They especially adore the Salvia.

-Vitex shrubs. (Formerly known as the mystery tree threatening to take over the front porch.) They are not flowering yet this year, but seem to be doing well after the severe but much-needed prunning over the winter.

5/08/2006

South Carolina Public Gardens- Hatcher Gardens


The Hatcher Gardens features 10 acres of gardens, ponds, and trees in the middle of urban Spartanburg, South Carolina. While many cities can boast of beautiful city parks founded from private estates, the story of the Hatcher Gardens is truly unique since it was started on land reclaimed from abandoned cotton fields.

Cotton is still a major crop in the southern part of the state, but cotton fields have gradually dissapeared in the Upstate SC area. As erosion stripped the fields of topsoil, and the textile industry moved abroad, many mills were closed and fields became empty stretches of parched red clay, strewn with trash and debris.

The challenge of growing in the red clay didn’t seem to phase the Hatchers, however. The Hatcher Gardens began in 1969 as Harold and Josephine Hatcher retired to Spartanburg, SC, and begin working an acre of land claimed from these abandoned cotton fields. They started small and bought up more land over time. They worked the land themselves, and then they eventually gained the help of community organizations and local gardening clubs. Mr. Hatcher continued to manage the garden into his 90’s.

Today community volunteers continue the Hatchers' work. Spartanburg is lucky to have such a treasure within their city limits. Visiting the gardens is like stepping into a oil painting; it seems unreal to turn from a busy suburban street and suddenly find yourself surrounded by a canopy of trees.
To find out more about the garden, visit the Hatcher Garden Website.

5/04/2006

Gardening Movies- 2006 update

Finals week is over, the grades are in, and my Netflix subscription is renewed. Life is good.

In 2005, I listed some of my favorite Gardening Movies. It's time to revise the top 10. Keep in mind that not all of these movies are actually about gardening; some are just good movies with botanical symbolism and/or flowery names.

Updated Top 10 Gardening Movies:

1. Greenfingers
2. Adaptation
3. The Constant Gardener
4. Little Shop of Horrors, the original cult classic (1960)
5. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
6. Saving Grace
7. Broken Flowers
8. Garden State
9. Bed of Roses
10. Attack of the Killer Tomatoes

Honorable Mention: Steal Magnolias, Magnolia, Bread and Tulips, Little Shop of Horrors the musical (1986), White Oleander


Broken Flowers
I'm a big fan of Bill Murray, especially in Groundhog Day and Lost in Translation. Broken Flowers is much in the same realm as Lost in Translation. For the first 10 seconds after this movie ended, I was dumbfounded and cursing the abrupt ending. Then 10 minutes later I realized the beauty of a non-packaged Hollywood ended and I wished I hadn't watched it alone so I had someone to talk to it over with. Thank goodness for on-line forums.

The Little Shop of Horrors, the original cult classic (1960)
Long before the Broadway musical and spin-off movie musical, there was this original cult classic B-movie. The original version offers a cameo by a young Jack Nicholson, a surprise ending, and all the frills of a typical low-budget movie. And the original is not a musical, which is a plus in my book.

Greenfingers / Saving Grace
These two movies made the top of my list because they are true gardening movies—they are focused around an obsession for plants. They are also both British comedies. Greenfingers is based on a true story of a British prison that gave inmates a chance to become gardeners, while Saving Grace is about a woman who finds herself penniless after her husband’s death and resorts to utilizing her gardening skills and resources on a special plant much different from her prize-winning orchids.

The Constant Gardener
Somehow this movie is both a thriller and a contemplative drama, and it blends perfectly together.
Rachel Weisz really deserved the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for this movie.

Adaptation
With Oscar-nominated performances by Nicolas Cage and Meryl Streep, Adaptation is a strange but mesmerizing journey loosely based on the novel The Orchid Thief.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Based on a best-selling novel, this movie handles tough subjects like poverty analcoholismsm, but still manages to be heart-warming.

Bed of Roses
This movie is a romance, ergo traditionally a chick flick, but my husband actually likes it, too. If you are a true plant geek you will swoon over the most beautiful rooftop garden IÂ’ve ever seen on film, not Christian Slater as a florist.

Garden State
This film resonated with me I was going through my quarter life crisis. Zach Braff wears many hats as writer/director/actor in this film. (He also stars in one of my favorite TV shows, Scrubs.) Hey, and there's even a blog for this movie- Zach Braff's Garden State Blog.

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes
Another cult classic. Whenever someone gets all hysterical about genetic engineering I think of this movie. Yeah, when we put a ethylene resistant gene into tomatoes, they could turn into the Tomatoes of Wrath! Whatever.

Any other suggestions? Please comment!