Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Garden Guru: Give crotons a place in the sun

The Garden Guru: Give crotons a place in the sun

Almost 80 years ago, in his revered Standard Cyclopedia of Horticulture, Liberty Hyde Bailey referred to crotons as coming in an "almost endless variety." They were popular conservatory plants way back then, but now we grow them on patios and balconies, in soil in our landscape beds, and indoors in pots, just as our great-grandmas did. We're surrounded by crotons, and the list of varieties has grown exponentially. They're everywhere.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ten Things to Learn From An Apple

I like to go into the cellar at night with a lantern and pick apples from this box and that — plump and big and round — and eat them where I stand. They are crisp and cool, and the flesh snaps when I bite it and the juice is as fresh as the water from a spring. There are many kinds of them, each kind known by its own name, and some are red and some are green, some are round and some are long some are good and some are poor.

1. How much of the apple is occupied by the core?
2. How many parts or compartments are there in the core ?
3. How many seeds are there in each part ?
4. Which way do the seeds point ?
5. Are the seeds attached or joined to any part of the core? Explain.
     6. What do you see in the blossom end of the apple?
     7. What do you see in the opposite end?
8. Is there any connection between the blossom end and the core?
9. Find a wormy apple and see if you can make out where the worm left the apple. Perhaps you can make a drawing. To do this, cut the apple in two. Press the cut surface on a piece of paper. When the apple is removed you can trace out the marks.
10. When you hold an apple in your hand, see which way it looks to be bigger—lengthwise or crosswise. Then cut it in two lengthwise, measure it each way, and see which diameter is the greater.
-L.H. Bailey, An Apple Twig and An Apple, 1904

Sunday, September 11, 2011


Image via Wikipedia   Finally the apple is ripe, a fair goodly object joyous in the sun, inviting to every sense. Hanging amidst its foliage, bending the twig with its weight, it is at once a pattern in good shape, perfect in configuration, in sheen beyond imitation, in fragrance the very affluence of all choice clean growth, its surface spread with a bloom often so delicate that the unsympathetic see it not; and yet the rains do not spoil it.
The apple must be picked. Do not let it fall. Probably it is over-ripe when it falls; the hold is loosened; its time is up. Wormy apples may fall before they are ripe; the worm injury, if it begins early, causes them to ripen prematurely. A premature apple is not a good apple, albeit the small boy relishes it but only because he may get his apple earlier; in the apple season, when ripe fruits are abundant, the boy does not choose the wormy one.
Pick the apple from the tree. It will do you good. It is ever so much better than to pick it from a box on the market or out of a quart-can in the ice-chest. You will feel some sense of responsibility when you pick it, some reaction of relationship to its origin. We know that we understand folks better when we see them at home. L.H. Bailey- The Apple Tree, 1922

Monday, September 05, 2011

The Importance of Cooperative Extension Work

Regarding Cooperative Extension Work: "Any enterprise closely associated with homes and that hopefully employs the leisure of multitudes of people is worthy of investigations and researches conducted at public expense. It is a sad attitude of legislators and others that predicates the need of such investigations on the probable money earnings of the enterprises, as if there were no other measure of human life."  -Liberty Hyde Bailey, The Garden Lover, 1928
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