The History of Corn and How to Grow It

It’s already August, but you can still plant corn, and you can thank the efforts of New England Indian tribes for this late summer option for your vegetable garden. Having received their first corn t...

Fruit Harvest Depends on Winter Cold

If you have a fruit tree or two, there’s one branch of science, despite its unfamiliar name, which you probably know something about.  The science to which I refer is phenology.  Phenology is the stu...

Fleru-de-lis is Really an Iris

When the mob overthrew the monarchy during the French Revolution, one of the first acts of the new governing authority was to remove the flower that had been visible for centuries on flags, shields, ...

Let Beneficial Insects Do Their Work

How eager we are to find culprits or villains, whether in life or in the garden. Often, that search is merely an indication of our own impatience, stress or lazy thinking. Let’s say I get lots of hea...

Why Blue Flowers are Rare

Blue is the rarest flower color, seen on only 10 percent of the 280,000 flowering plants on Earth. Among those who specialize in color analysis, it is sometimes claimed that, in reality, there has ne...

Backyard Orchard in Long Beach

Yard space in America is disappearing.  From 1999-2014,  the average size lot in America shrank from 9,600 to 8,600 square feet.  During that same period, the average size home increased from  2,100 ...

What Trees and Humans Have in Common

A notable Biblical passage asks: “Is man a tree of the field?” (Deuteronomy 20:19). Analogies comparing roots to deep, sustaining faith are frequently made and we all know about “the fruit of o...

‘Mona Lavender’ is Close to Perfect

“My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky.” This uninhibited and passionate confession was penned by William Wordsworth, a British poet, in 1802. The world has certainly changed in the in...