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Home & Garden

New Book by Lee!

A Book Is Born

            Finally, after all the hard work, I have in hand the first copies of my new book The Ever Curious Gardener: Using a Little Natural Science for a Much Better Garden. This book grew out of my long love affair with gardening—such a congenial confluence of colors, flavors, and aromas all seasoned with the weather, whatever pests happen to stop by that year—and the science behind it all!

            And the science behind it all is what this book is about. No, it’s not a comprehensive overview of botany and related sciences. It is some of the natural science that can be applied in the garden. Science may seem out of place in so bucolic an activity as gardening. After millions of years of evolution, seeds want to sprout, and plants want to grow, even in such diverse soils and climates as the Arctic tundra, the Arizona …

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This Bud’s for You


Swelling Buds

What an exciting time of year! After a spate of 50 plus degree temperatures, lawn grass — bare now although it could be buried a foot deep in snow by the time you read this — has turned a slightly more vibrant shade of green. Like a developing photographic film (remember film?), the balsam fir, arborvitae, and hemlock trees I’m looking at outside my window, have also greened up a bit more.

Going outside to peer more closely at trees and shrubs reveals the slightest swelling of their buds. Earlier in winter, no amount of warmth could have caused this. As a cold weather survival mechanism, hardy trees and shrubs are “smart” enough to know to stay dormant until warm weather signals that it’s safe for tender young sprouts and flowers to emerge.

These plants stay asleep until they’ve experienced a certain number of hours of cool temperatures, the amount varying …

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Here Kitty, Kitty


To a Cat’s Delight

How does your cat like your houseplants? I don’t mean how they look. I mean for nibbling, a bad habit of some cats. Bad for them and bad for you because eating certain houseplants could sicken a cat, or worse, and, at the very least, leave the houseplant ragged.

One way to woo a feline away from houseplants would be to provide a better alternative. Now what could that be? Duh! Catnip, Nepeta cataria, a member of the mint family, admittedly not the prettiest of houseplants but, hey, you’re growing this for your cat, not yourself. (Other Nepeta species, such as N. x faasssennii and N. racemes, are less enticing to cats even if they are more attractive to us.)

Catnip is very easy to grow outdoors, and can be grown indoors through winter. The main ingredient that could be lacking in winter is light; six or more hours …

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