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Cinderella's Coach and Other Pumpkins

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

What leads lawyers to write fabulous fables? And why were they so interested in pumpkins? , Washington Irving (1783-1859), a New York legalist, penned The Legend of Sleepy Hollow but, being American and therefore sharing citizenship with the pumpkin, a peculiarly American fruit, he had some excuse. Perhaps he suspected his fellow legal eagles would not let him off so easily, though. His real name was Geoffrey Crayon. He only chose to write as Washington Irvine.

October Gardening

by Wes Porter

Monday, October 2, 2006

Peering blearily at the file of fall gardening chores one might query whether this, rather than spring, is the busiest time of the year for gardeners. "Sons of toil, covered with tons of soil," P.G. Wodehouse cast us as. That master of the metaphor could be right. Let us list, briefly at least, what will work off the pumpkin pies and other comestibles . . .

Municipal politics

by Wes Porter

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Toronto City Hall--onstage as our resident gardening columnist see's it

Macmiller -- A Tragedy in a Single Act

A council chamber. In the middle, a boiling cauldron

Thunder, Lightning. Ringing Eructation. Enter the three Witches.

First Witch: Thrice the fat cats have wined

Second Witch: Thrice and once at the pig trough dined

Third Witch: Harper cries 'Tis time, 'tis time

All: Double, double, toil and trouble

Union raises reduce Toronto to rubble

Plants Can Be Weird, Very, Very Weird

by Wes Porter

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

It has been said that gardening is 20 percent science and 80 percent common sense -- and common sense is based on observation. But there are always at least a few questions that even if we extended our eyes on stalks like those of snails' it would still be hard to see the answer . . .

Sites for Sore Eyes, Black Thumb Brigade or Sons of Toil Covered in Tons of Soil

by Wes Porter

Thursday, August 3, 2006

In moist lightly shaded woods and close to swampy areas the pinkish-purple heads of Joe-Pye-Weed, Eupatorium, bloom this month. According to some sources, Joe Pye was a native aboriginal medicine man or shaman from the New England area. Wee Yeow Chin and Hsuan Keng say, however, that he was a 19th-century Caucasian ‘Indian theme promoter’ who used the root to induce sweating in typhus fever. It is sometimes available from garden centers and specialized native plant nurseries. Kept moist until well established, it is an attractive, no-nonsense perennial for the rear of the border.

Sites for Sore Eyes, Black Thumb Brigade or Sons of Toil Covered in Tons of Soil

by Wes Porter

Friday, June 30, 2006

Darwin Digitalized

Charles Robert Darwin was many things: naturalist, traveller, researcher, scientist, evolutionist, author, family man. However, one thing he did not excel in was penmanship. This despite his 16 books, 350 scientific papers and more than 80,000 pages of notes

Alien Threatens Natives — And Others

by Wes Porter

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Garlic Mustard sounds like something out of science fiction. Or maybe it could be featured in one of those ads offering herbal bliss the natural way. Well, it is natural all right. And, if you are a sci-fi fan, you’ll be delighted to known it is a genuine bona fide alien. Not an invader from outer space though but from Europe — those having encountered the pesky weed often opine there is not much difference. Now it turns out there are worse problems than its invasive properties.

Horticultural Hucksters

by Wes Porter

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Proven Winners® Color Choice® offers 50 spectacular shrubs for this season. This includes the Sambucus ‘Black Lace’™ that, they say, is "the plant for the passionate gardener." Lacy-leaved, with purple-black foliage, the pink flowers are followed by reddish-black berries that "can be harvested for making elderberry wine and jam, or left on the plant to attract birds and other wildlife." Funny they didn’t say that birds feasting on the berries leave purple droppings — guess where?

All absolutely guaranteed free of Da Vince Code

by Wes Porter

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Prior to heading out to work, the wise gardener knows there is no better way to prepare for those slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune than to take a stroll in the garden. A daily deadheading here, whacking a weed there doubtlessly did as much for the Bard of Stratford-on-Avon as it does for the rest of us mere mortals.

A Garden of Limericks (3)

by Wes Porter

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

This, the third in our hothouse of horticultural limerick collections, continues amidst the usual groans and sneers from the churlish and cheers from aficionados. For, as the anonymous rhymester wrote:

Spring Planting

by Wes Porter

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Laconia, says the desk encyclopedia, is a region of ancient Greece in the southern Peloponnesus — or a city in central New Hampshire on the Winnipesaukee River, thus:

Palms: How to Make Fronds and Inflorescnce People

by Wes Porter

Saturday, May 13, 2006

There are at least 2500 different palms — new ones are still being discovered in such places as New Guinea. So, as we promised last month, we would have to look at this enormous plant family on its own. Mostly tropical and subtropical, some grown at 10,000 feet altitude in the Andes of South America; a few are hardy enough to grow year-round outside in southwest coastal British Columbia.

Orchids Ideal for Mother’s Day

by Wes Porter

Saturday, May 6, 2006

Sunday, 14 May is Mother’s Day or Fete des Meres in la language other. Orchids are everywhere and rightly so. One authority claims that 25,000 different species of orchid have been identified--and the same number created artificially by crossing wild and domesticated forms.

Sites for Sore Eyes, Black Thumb Brigade or Sons of Toil Covered in Tons of Soil

by Wes Porter

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Froggy He Would A-Wooing Go

Long before Kermit appeared on the scene, along with his porcine companion, kids were happily chanting about another allegedly amorous amphibian. Now not any more — and we cannot wholly blame urban sprawl.

Children's Gardens: Nuts to You!

by Wes Porter

Friday, April 14, 2006

Peanuts, Arachis hypogaea, are also known as monkey nuts in Europe, groundnuts in UK — and are not nuts at all. They grow underground on a plant belonging to the pea family. Although often seen more as a snack food or in confectionary in advanced cultures, in more primitive parts of the world, nut trees are still highly valued for a constant and reliable source of nourishment, whether wild or cultivated.

April Gardens

by Wes Porter

Monday, April 3, 2006

The common European plant vervain (Verbena officinalis), is now found in many parts of the world, including waste places around North America. Another and very ancient name for annual is Herb of the Cross. The Crusaders believed that the plant sprang up at Calvary when the nails where driven into Christ’s hands. In medieval times people bathed in water containing the plant in an effort to foresee the future and have their wish come true, according to researchers Wee and Hsuan (1990). The plant was also used as a love potion, they note, as well as to ward off evil spirits and to prevent dreaming.