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Connecting to Our Food Web

Dedicated to educational resources towards building and sustaining viable food webs and ecosystems
Harvest of Garden Flowers
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Welcome to My Jungle - July, 2019

The jungle is popping with early summer-blooming flowers, making cut flowers a quick and easy visual treat. I certainly understand some gardener's preference to just enjoy them on the plant, but for me, there is just a little added enjoyment creating a mixed vase of flowers from my own jungle. In early July there are many garden plants to choose from for cut flowers, including but definitely no...

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Globe Flower - Trollius species
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Welcome to My Jungle - June, 2019

"Difficult to establish" can be an understatement for some plants. Over the years, I have out of necessity made a "three strikes, you're out" rule for how many times I allow myself to fail with a plant before accepting defeat. Globeflower ( Trollius sp. ) for example has a reputation for being difficult, but it is still one of my most regretful three strikes addition to "the dead list" b...

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Arilbred iris cultivars from left Jallab Pink Marble  Noble Warrior Kalifa s Robe
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Welcome to My Jungle - May, 2019

Bearded irises are blooming in the jungle and the arilbreds are leading the way. Arilbred iris hybrids are produced from crossing the finicky-to-grow aril irises with the more common and easy-to-grow bearded irises. They tend to have a touch of the exotic from their aril iris parentage, but the ease of cultivation from their tall bearded iris parentage. As previously implied, arilbreds bloom ea...

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Lawn art using Dwarf Iris  Iris reticulata
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Welcome to My Jungle - April, 2019

The lawn art (with early flowering bulbs) project was a success. Last fall I planted a number of very early blooming bulbs in a sunny turf area, specifically dwarf iris ( Iris reticulata ), squill ( Scilla sp. ) and crocus ( Crocus sp .). The iris were first to bloom in late February, followed closely by the other two species. And though the iris and crocus were readily vis...

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Seed Blocking Mix
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Welcome to My Jungle - March, 2019

Over the years I have collected a number of planting media recipes, and each has its own characteristics and usefulness in the garden. Eliot Coleman, author of New Organic Grower , developed a blocking mix a number of years ago that is basically 3 parts peat for structure, 1 part perlite for aeration, 3 parts compost/garden soil, lime for pH correction and a base fertilizer for nut...

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Prague viburnum has distinctly shiny leaves
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Welcome to My Jungle - February, 2019

My jungle still has the look of winter sleep, but a few plants are starting to stir. As expected, the buds are swelling on Cornelian cherry dogwood ( Cornus mas ) and fragrant dawn viburnum ( Viburnum bodnantense 'Dawn'). Daffodils ( Narcissus ) and Italian arum ( Arum italicum ) are pushing, but unfortunately, so is the purple deadnettle ( Lamium purpureum )...

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Chilling hours through 1-6-2019 St Louis Metro East

Welcome to My Jungle - January, 2019

Does unseasonably warm weather in the middle of winter cause woody perennials (trees and shrubs) to "wake up" too early? As with all things in nature, it all depends. Most trees from temperate climates require the accumulation of winter chill (500 and 1,500 chill hours) and subsequent heat during their dormant phase to resume growth and initiate flowering in the following spring. Chilling hours...

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