WNPR

Connecticut Garden Journal

Asian pears
See-ming Lee (Flickr) / Creative Commons

What fruit looks like an apple, but tastes like a pear? It's the Asian pear. Although we know European pear varieties such as Bartlett, many gardeners are still unfamiliar with this ancient fruit. Asian pears have been grown for more than 3,000 years in Japan and China. There are yellow- and brown-skinned varieties. Both are round and crisp like an apple, but sweet and juicy like a pear. 

Jim, the Photographer (Flickr) / Creative Commons

I like growing flowers that are unique and fun. One easy-to-grow perennial that fits the bill is the balloon flower.

Via Tsuji (Flickr) / Creative Commons

It's the vegetable glut time. August is the time of year to lock your car so neighbors don't slip a few extra cucumbers or zucchinis into your back seat. With all the produce pouring in from the garden, the idea of planting more seems alien. But this glut won't last. Come September and October you'll be looking for a little variety. So, two vegetables to plant now are kale and kohlrabi.

Gladiolus.
Daniela (Flickr) / Creative Commons

The Latin name for this flower means “sword.” And the bulbs of this plant were worn around the necks of Roman gladiators for strength. Yes, it's the gladiolus.

Howard Walfish (Flickr) / Creative Commons

It's hard to imagine having problems with your green bean crop. Bush beans are one of the easiest veggies to grow. It's part of our history. Every kid has probably started bean seeds in their science class and were amazed when it bore fruit!

MdE (Wikimedia) / Creative Commons

It's time to get on top of your weeds. Annual weeds, such as lamb's quarters and pigweed, are easy to control by shallow weeding with a sharp hoe or a tug on larger plants. But perennial weeds only have one control option -- your tenacity.

Bernard Spragg. NZ (Flickr) / Creative Commons

With all this heat, roses are bursting right now. If you can keep up with the watering, roses can put on a show. While the trend in roses are shrub types, I'm fond of the fragrant roses.

Birds will eat berries, whether they're in the wild, or in your garden.
hedera.baltica (Flickr) / Creative Commons

There's nothing more frustrating than growing a beautiful crop of berries only to have the birds wipe out your crop in a matter of days.

Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, Conn.
Provided by the museum.

One activity I love to do in summer is visit other gardens. It's so easy to get absorbed in all the work of our own gardens, that I never leave home. But visiting other gardens gives me fresh ideas, inspirations, and the relief that we don't have to care for these gardens.

Viburnum dentatum (Arrowwood viburnum) foliage with viburnum leaf beetle larvae
Plant Image Library (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Nature abhors a vacuum. For years, viburnums have been carefree shrubs. They flower consistently each year, some with fragrant blooms, and produce colorful berries in fall for beauty and for the birds. Viburnums have few pests or problems, until now.

Four o'clock flowers
harum.koh / Flickr Creative Commons

Some old fashioned flowers have interesting behaviors -- take the four o’clock or the Marvel of Peru. First, this flower can have different colored blossoms on the same plant. The flowers open in late afternoon and close in the morning, in case you are wondering what time it is.

Alina Kuptsova (Flickr)

Gardening is known for its folklore, especially when it comes to insect controls. Some old wives tales have some truth to them and others, not so much. I’m often asked about companion planting for insect control. Although many say plants such as onions, marigolds, and rue can deter pests, scientifically, few of these folklore remedies have been proven. 

poppet with a camera (Flickr)

What vegetable grows like a cucumber, looks like a teeny watermelon, can be eaten raw and has a hint of lime flavoring?  It's a cucuamelon.

Cucamelon is not a cross between a cucumber and watermelon, but it sure looks like it. They are also called Mexican sour gherkins or mouse melons. They are so cute! This Central American native vegetable vines like a cucumber, and produces an abundance of 1-inch long oblong, striped fruits that look like miniature watermelons. The taste is like a cucumber with a slight lime flavor.

Frank Farm (Flickr)

I'm always looking to push the envelope of what we can grow in your climate. I think I got fig growing down, so my latest adventure is fresh ginger. I love the flavor, and I love cooking with ginger root. Ginger also has many medical qualities such as aiding digestion, improving circulation, and helping combat arthritis.

Paul (Flickr)

Mother's Day started back in the late 1800s when Julia Howe, lyricist of the “Battle Hymn to the Republic,” called upon all mothers to protest the senseless killing of their sons during the Civil War.

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