Love This!

I Love African Blue Basil

Name:  Ocimum kilimandscharicum x basilicum pupureum AKA (thankfully) African Blue Basil

Type of Plant: A dark foliaged basil that is both ornamental and culinary, with clove-like overtones in the taste. Because it doesn’t go to seed you don’t have to pinch off the flowers, although doing so early on will make the plant bushier.

Why I Love This: I love this basil for so many reasons. Last year when our Italian basil got downy mildew this plant just kept on producing so we could have leaves for our fresh tomatoes. It’s also a plant that attracts bees by the hundreds, so if you need to bring more pollinators to your vegetable garden this is the plant for you! And finally, it’s beautiful…reason enough to plant this herb.

A Word to the Wise: Grow all basils in at least five hours of dead-on sun including the noon hour.

The flowers and foliage are so lovely that it's reason enough to grow the plant.

The flowers and foliage are so lovely that it’s reason enough to grow the plant.

This year in my fragrance garden I planted African Blue Basil with the 'Golden Delicious' variety of pineapple sage: fantastic combo!

This year in my fragrance garden I planted African Blue Basil with the ‘Golden Delicious’ variety of pineapple sage: fantastic combo!



The Importance of Editing

Every year in Annual Alley I plant a different combination of annuals. But there are a few plants that self-seed from previous years. Emilia javanica often appears, and two types of green flowering Nicotiana. Last year I planted Verbena bonariensis here and natually the seeds of that plant sprout with vigor. I welcome the Emilia and the Nicotiana to a point. This year ALL the Verbena bonariensis have received the boot. "Thanks for showing up, guys, but SO LONG!"

In the middle of summer is no time to ignore the garden. No matter what type of gardens you have, it’s important to have a controling hand as the season progresses. Of course there are weeds. But there are also self-seeded annuals, biennials, perennials and shrubs that need to be edited or removed. This can

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In a Garden…

Sometimes we just have to take the time,

or open our eyes,

and be willing to be fully present,

and say yes to it all.


So why are we making it seem so hard?

Walk through your gardens each evening with open eyes. Forget the work, what’s left to be

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Preserving Home Grown Garlic

Here are the garlic heads after they've been cleaned.

We harvested our garlic as usual in mid-July and hung it in the garden shed to dry for a couple of weeks. Last week it was time to take it down, cut off the stems and brush off the dirt. Yes, some of these heads we keep in the refrigerator for cooking, and some get

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Mildew on Phlox

The mildew is so bad this year that it's all over the flowers and they aren't coming into full, glorious bloom.

It has been a dry spring and summer on Cape Cod. This is good news for roses because it means less black spot, but bad for garden Phlox because it means more powdery mildew. This fungal disease is always worse in dry weather because when there are periodic downpours the spores get washed off the leaves,

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Love This!

I Love Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’

Use this grass in part-shade when you want a butter-yellow color from spring to hard frost.

Name:  Hakonechloa macra ‘Aureola’ aka Japanese forest grass or yellow hakon grass

Type of Plant: A low-growing perennial grass for part-shade. Hardy in zones 4-9

Why I Love This: I love low-growing grass because it forms thick clumps that out-compete the weeds. It’s a graceful plant that adds texture, color and movement to a garden, and it

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