Monthly Archives: March 2011

It’s been a long time coming …

But … Spring has arrived!

No matter the forecast for snow in some parts of Connecticut (thankfully not my part), crocus are in bloom.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Tete-a tetes show their happy faces in spite of early nibbles by marauding deer.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

This bears repeating … crocus are in bloom!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

And one tiny iris reticulata has joined in the fun.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Ahhhh.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Joene Hendry

Newsy Notes: Growing Organic Veggies, Invasive IDs, an Artificial Leaf

Here’s a list of few opportunities for local gardeners and wanna-be gardeners to hone their organic veggie growing skills and for those seeking outdoor invasive plant ID training, plus there’s a peek into a new and very cool technology.

color from the gardenGrowing Organic Vegetables
Want to grow vegetables organically at home but don’t know where to start? Bill Duesing, the executive director of CT NOFA (Connecticut Northeast Organic Farming Association), will share his hands-on experience on April 19, 2011 at 7:30 pm at the Kellogg Environmental Center in Derby, Connecticut. Bill is an organic farmer when he is not advocating for healthy environmental land care practices. A CT DEP press release offers more information and registration contacts. With a $4 donation ($2 for students and children) you’ll learn organic gardening practices from one of the best, plus it’s hard not to catch Bill’s enthusiasm for organic growing.

Other Organic Gardening Sessions
Connecticut Organic Gardening Education Day – April 2, 2011 is a CT NOFA sponsored event at multiple locations, offering education on soils, compost and starting seeds. Growing Food in Small Spaces – April 9, 2011 in New Haven – offers tips on growing edible plants in a variety of containers.

Japanese barberry2-4-29-10Identifying Connecticut’s Invasive Plants
A few hardy souls will have the chance to attend either of two one-day, hands-on, in the woods sessions on identifying invasive plants. Why is it important to do this now rather than wait until everything leafs out? Clearing invasive plants is best done when the soil is no longer frozen and most plants and trees are still dormant. But knowing which plant is invasive takes some practice and training, information field botanist Bill Moorhead will impart on a limited number of attendees during the April 1 and April 8, 2011 workshops. Read more about these sessions at the CT NOFA blog.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA An Artificial Leaf?
I must admit when the headline Debut of the First Practical ‘Artificial Leaf’ caught my eye it conjured up something like the aluminum Christmas trees Charlie Brown and Linus passed by in their search for a real tree, but the artificial leaf this article refers to looks nothing like a real plant leaf. It’s actually a new type of solar cell, about the size of a playing card, that converts sunlight and water into energy much like a leaf does – it photosynthesizes. Lead researcher Daniel Nocera, PhD, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, reports the current solar cell design built on lessons learned a decade ago during development of a similar solar cell. The beauty of the new version is its use of readily accessible and inexpensive materials. The solar cell produces electricity by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen. Extra energy is then saved in a fuel cell. Besides the coolness of this concept – it can be used in underdeveloped regions, works under simple conditions, and is stable – I’m particularly struck by Nocera’s quote, "Nature is powered by photosynthesis, and I think that the future world will be powered by photosynthesis as well …"

What a concept … since nature is powered by photosynthesis, we might learn and succeed by copying nature. Nocera et al follow this concept in creating their solar cell. Less technologically-inclined folk can copy nature simply by gardening organically.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Joene Hendry

Garden Bloggers Visit Logee’s

Good company, lively conversation, tasty food, and an enveloping walk around and under growing and blooming greenery … this is my idea of a great way to spend an early spring day. Add in a few other garden bloggers and it’s a recipe for fun. I met garden bloggers Cyndy from Gardening Asylum, Scott from Blue Heron Landscapes, and Layanee from Ledge and Gardens, at The Vanilla Bean Café in Pomfret, CT – it’s a great little lunch spot if you’re in the area – then we caravanned to Logee’s in Danielson, CT.

Logee’s consists of a group of greenhouses, primarily for tropical plants, and a thriving mail-order nursery run by Byron Martin and Laurelynn Martin. As a fellow blogger at Logee’s Tropical Plants Blog, Laurelynn was kind enough to come out to meet and greet our crew after we finished touring the greenhouses. The photos below are for everyone’s enjoyment, but I specifically want to share what we saw with our garden blogger friends that could not join us. We missed you Debbie (A Garden of Possibilities) and Laurrie (My Weeds Are Very Sorry) … this is for you.

When you enter the main door it’s clear that plants have thrived here for a long, long time. Ivy climbs along the ceiling.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Walls are covered by a multitude of ferns.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

The aisles are narrow and tightly packed, on both sides, above, and below with plants. Here a row of white Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis hybrid ‘Sirius’) await new homes. A few of these beauties now live in the care of the other garden bloggers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

That’s Cyndy grabbing one of her amazing photos, while Scott and Layanee inspect a rather large genistra.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

A walk through Logee’s greenhouses gives one an intimacy with plants most northerners consider houseplants. We rarely see them growing to large sizes. A stroll through Logee’s greenhouses is like walking through a large tropical greenhouse maintained for the public by a botanical garden, but without the bells and whistles. … just the foliage and flowers.

There’s Angel’s Trumpet (Brugmansia hybrid).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Heliconia stricta – a member of the banana family – caught the interest of my camera lens.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

As did this Passion flower. I think this Passiflora may be ‘Lady Margaret’.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Begonias galore can double as abstract paintings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA      OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

You’ll find rows of citrus full of fruit; gardenia and jasmine, orchids and bougainvillea, clivia and hibiscus in various stages of bloom; foliage plants to suit all tastes; and even hardy garden perennials for planting outdoors.

But the most spectacular of all the blooms we saw was the turquoise flower of the Jade vine (Strongylodon macrobotrys). Yes, the flowers really are this color, and though my focus was slightly off, I kind of like the effect.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Logee’s is a true Connecticut gem.  When you go, make sure to bring a friend or two … it helps turn a pleasant visit into a lasting memory.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Joene Hendry