Dutchman’s Breeches … Ants in Pants!

DSC06685xDutchman’s Breeches, aka Dicentra cucullaria, are ephemeral spring wildflowers that are blooming right now along embankments in the Bluegrass. They look like a racks of teensy, upside-down white pants, bloomers in rich woodlands. An interesting fact: seeds are spread by ants, a phenomenon known as myrmechory, which is Greek for ‘circular dance’.

For people, getting to know the wonders of wildflowers seems to go hand-in-hand with a desire to be good environmental stewards, provides exercise and fresh air experiences, and awakens artistic impulses. It’s our own ‘circular dance’. But the places where these flowers grow are becoming more and more rare every year.  How often have you seen Dutchman’s Breeches blooming, much less a hillside full of them?DSC06702x

One way to stay in touch with what’s happening with Kentucky wildflowers is to check out the Kentucky Native Plant Society. Click here for their website: KNPS. You’ll find activities, links to other groups and even a Facebook page where members post sightings and discoveries daily. An open house at Dropseed Native Plant Nursery in Goshen is also listed; scheduled 9-5 April 25, there will be speakers on building a bush honeysuckle trellis, butterfly garden design and considerations, and edible native plants. See DNPN.

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Taste of Edible Wild: a Three Hour Workshop

Biologist Dick Shore, who not only leads field study classes in plant identification but also presents a program in which he portrays John Muir (see feature article Muir/Shore) is offering a free three-hour Taste of Edible Wild workshop on April 26.
Shore sent the following details:
ShoreEdibleWildWHAT  “Taste of Edible Wild” a 3-hour workshop based on Peterson’s Field Guide to the Wild Edible.

WHERE  McConnell Springs park, off Manchester Road, Lexington KY. Meet  in the roofed-over pavilion immediately beside the parking area

WHEN Sunday April 26, 1:30 – 4:35 pm
WHY    To introduce adults and families with children 6 and older to wild edibles, briefly and safely.
ABOUT  Adults and families will learn “Poison Proofing”, to protect themselves from poisonous plants, even before learning to identify them.  They will learn some guidelines for being in wild areas, in order to protect us from the plants and protect the plants from us.  This includes getting a “green card” with icons to recall these guidelines. They will begin to use Peterson’s Field Guide to find and identify plants.
SPONSORSHIP  Jointly by Sierra Club Bluegrass Group and  Second Presbyterian Church
Free and Open to the Public.  Reservation strongly encouraged so as to have materials.  Reservation by email : dick@JohnMuirKY.com subject line “PEP 1-day”.
Books may be ordered at Morris Books by 17 April for pickup April 25th. morrisbookshop@gmail.com


BGT Antiques and Garden Show … a Snowmelter



Feel like your winter hibernation must end NOW? A couple opportunities for lovers of beautiful home decor and garden goodies are happening in Lexington.  Never fear… roads are plowed and sidewalks shoveled to these indoor venues that will boost your trust that spring is just around the corner:

The Bluegrass Trust for Historic Preservation’s Antiques and Garden Show  is going on at the Kentucky Horse Park today, Sunday March 9 DSC06508x2015, from noon until 5 p.m., in the Alltech Arena.  This is the 30th year the show has been presented. The daily admission is $15 per person. That fee covers not only 80 of the highest quality exhibitors of garden goods and landscape designers, as well as furniture, art prints, jewelry, silver, carpets and more. Two lectures are also included:

* 1:00 pm: Dr. James Birchfield,  former curator of rare books at the University of Kentucky: “Porter Clay: A Very Excellent Cabinetmaker.”

*3:00 pm:  L. R. “Larry” Isenhour, architect: “Building a Modern Lexington: The Houses of Richard L.B. Isenhour.”  He’ll also sign books.

Photo notes: Left: A sundial ornamented by a bird-shaped gnomon, is offered by Tony Piehowicz of Garden Stone Art in  Granville, Ohio, bears provenance from England, in the late 1800s. Right: Richard Weber of Springhouse Gardens, wears a halo of hot magenta magnolia blossoms. The newly offered ‘Felix Jury’ tree grows only to about 15 feet tall, and bears enormous foot-wide blossoms before leaves emerge in the spring.


Another venue is the amazing Kentucky Crafted: The Market 2015 sponsored by the Kentucky Arts Council, which is happening downtown at the Civic Center convention hall from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $10 per person; ages 15 and under free. The Market is one of the only state-sponsored shows of its kind to showcase traditional and contemporary fine art and craft along with Kentucky-related books, musical recordings, films and specialty food products. There are over 200 exhibitors of quite gorgeous and affordable art and craft items, along with ongoing live music and hands-on activities.


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Evolution of a Plantsman’s Garden: Garden Lecture 2.11.15

Brought to you by: Friends of the Arboretum

Speaker: ANDREW BUNTING, Curator at the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College


Wednesday, February 11, 2015 7 P.M.
Andrew Bunting is the curator at the Scott Arboretum of Swarthmore College where he has worked for the last 25 years. He also owns a design/build garden company, Fine Garden Creations, which is in its 21st year. Andrew was also the curator at the Chanticleer Foundation in Wayne, PA.

His home garden, Belvidere, has been featured in This Old House magazine and the Wall Street Journal. He has written over 100 articles for the American Gardener, Fine Gardening, Horticulture, Public Garden and Arnoldia. He is a passionate gardener and avid birder and traveler.
Location: Gluck Equine Research Center
University of Kentucky Campus
1400 Nicholasville Road (corner of Farm Road)
Lexington, KY

Admission: General Public $5.00
FREE for Arboretum Friends & Students with ID
Pay at the door — Pre-registration not required

Inquiries: The Arboretum 859-257-6955

Porch Hopping in Harrodsburg: James Harrod Trust Style, Saturday June 14

JamesHarrodTrustPorchTour2014aHarrodsburg’s  James Harrod Trust has organized A Walk in Time, an innovative  tour through the porches of historic homes along North College Street, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 14.  Tours will begin at a home recently purchased by the Trust — Pawling House, 223 W. Factory St.

The guided group tours will include visits to 14 porches where the guide will share the history of the homes, many of which are antebellum. Home owners also will be available for questions.

“Harrodsburg is so rich in history and the homes we will visit are some examples of the wonderful treasures we have in our community,” said Helen Dedman, chairman of the James Harrod Trust. “This is a great opportunity to learn more of the history and hear some stories about the homes and their previous owners during a casual stroll along one of Harrodsburg’s most beautiful streets. It is also almost a throwback to a past era when people visited one another on the front porch.”

The tour will be held rain or shine. Tickets are $10 and must be purchased at the Pawling House. All proceeds from the tour will go toward restoration of the house.

The Trust took ownership of the house at the corner of College and Factory Street last September. Since then the Trust has focused its efforts on stabilizing the Pawling House and preserving it for future restoration. The brick house has been a fixture in Harrodsburg for nearly 200 years. It was constructed in the original town plat sometime before 1828 for the William Pawling family. The Pawlings were a pioneer family in Kentucky.

For additional information about the tour, call Dedman at 859-734-3381.

Click here for the James Harrod Trust Web-site.

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Book Look: Paradise in Plain Sight by Karen Maezen Miller

ParadisePlainSightParadise in Plain Sight: Lessons from a Zen Garden by Karen Maezen Miller. New World Library, 192 pp, $15.95 

Karen Maezen Miller, a Zen Buddhist priest at the Hazy Moon Zen Center in Los Angeles, bought a house surrounded by a neglected, century-old Zen garden when she and her husband moved to California in 1997.  Working through lessons in gardening and Zen thought, she ties together threads of meaning and awareness in this memoir of the years spent restoring and tending her paradise.  Have a look at this video to find a glimpse of life in the garden: Paradise in Plain Sight

Miller eloquently describes a realization with which many gardeners can identify, writing:

I began to garden.  I got scratched, tired, and dirty. I broke my fingernails and ruined my shoes.  I yanked out what I could have kept and put in more of what I didn’t need.  I pouted and wept, cursing the enormity of the task.  I was resentful and unappreciative.  But when I ventured afield, sidelined by things that seemed much more entertaining or important, I always came back to this patch of patient earth.  Time after time, I realized that everything I want or need – the living truth of life, love, beauty,  purpose, and peace – is taught to me right here, no farther away than the ground beneath my feet.


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Yew Dell … Sculpture Exhibition in the Gardens

CornusVenus_rotated_00712_7809_WDunwellYew Dell Botanical Gardens will open the 7th annual garden art sculpture show on May 17th; it runs through August 3rd.  Works from 20 artists, created in stone, wood, metal, glass and ceramics are placed throughout the gardens for your strolling pleasure.  Located in Crestwood, just east of Louisville, it’s worth the easy drive to visit this garden.

For more information, click here: Yew Dell Botanical Gardens.

The original nursery was begun by plantsman Theodore Klein, for whom an annual plant award is named. New varieties of plants that will be of interest to Kentucky gardeners are nominated. To see which have won awards this year, as well as many previous years, click here: Theodore Klein Plant Awards.

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Get Native at the Down to Earth Garden Club Sale

Are you in the market for some home-grown natives for your garden? The Down to Earth Garden Club’s annual plant sale is coming up on Saturday,  May 10th, 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Woodland Christian Church, 530 East High Street. Down2EarthGCSaleThe plants are from the members’ own gardens, so you’ll be able to find out first-hand about different species’ characteristics and landscape potential.  There will be plants suitable for shade and sun, natives, herbs, vegetables, perennials, wildflowers, grasses, hostas, shrubs, trees and irises.

Money raised will be donated to local projects that promote gardening, education, preservation, conservation and environmental stewardship. Ordinarily, the list seems to long to include, however it’s broad sweep points out just how many great garden projects are supported: Habitat for Humanity; Florence Crittenton Home; Chrysalis House; Peace Meal Community Garden; Floracliff Nature Sanctuary; Seed Leaf Community Garden; Raven Run Nature Sanctuary; Walnut Woods; Green Acres Community Garden; Lower Howard’s Creek Nature Preserve; The Women’s Garden at Wellington Park; Ashland/ Henry Clay Estate; Port Royal NA; London-Ferrill Garden; Yates, Squires, Sandersville, and Martin Luther King Elementary Schools’ teaching garden projects; Montessori Middle; Edith Hayes Middle; Paul Lawrence Dunbar High School Memorial Garden; the Garden Club of Kentucky; Ashland Terrace Retirement Center; UK/LFUCG Arboretum; Fayette County Cemetery Trust; the Women’s Prison Garden Project; Lexington Youth Green Corps; Cross Keys Community Park; Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center; Roanoke Greenway Project; Prometheus Farms; Locus Trace Agri-science Farm; The Wallis House; Bluegrass Legacy Trail; Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden; Faith Feeds; Bluegrass Domestic Violence Center; educational grants, such as The Lida Evans Memorial Scholarship and yearly maintenance on the Waveland Perennial Garden. Wow! information and see descriptions & pictures of some of the plants we will be selling.

Click here for the Down to Earth website with plant listings, club information and contacts.

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An Orgy of Toads … Earth Day 2014

ElliottFrogHappy Earth Day 2014!

Lang Elliott’s blog, The Miracle of Nature, is extraordinarily refreshing and simply delightful. It’s a way to experience nature up-close-and-personal, because Lang is not only an expert at capturing natural sounds, but of artfully arranging words and photographs to amplify moments in nature into awesome encounters.

Today’s entry is An Orgy of Toads.
 Click here… Don’t miss it!

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Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill: A Green Gem

DSC09737xIf you’re into gardening, the lure of green pastures and history of the Shaker Seeds is enough to spark an interest in finding out about Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill and the lifestyle that made it a thriving agricultural community. Preservation of our natural heritage gets to be more critical each year, as development reaches out beyond city boundaries. This is a place to hike, ride horses, find wildlife.

From the Dixie Belle rides and blue heron rookery tour on the Kentucky River, up the palisades to the historic village and farm where music— brass band, chamber orchestra, and a new weekend of local craft beer and bluegrass — rings out, special events at this Kentucky treasure abound. I just had breakfast with the babies there, with kids (human) and kids (goat), and an entire contingent of other small wonders. There are candlelight garden dinners, with vegetables picked fresh from the adjacent field, as well as an antique and harvest festivals. You can check out the entire Event Listing by clicking here.

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