Nutrition & Growing Tips Watermelon

Watermelon is a member of the cucumber (Cucurbits) family. It is a native plant of the Kalahari Desert in Africa and can grow under extreme UV radiation, high heat and drought; it has evolved as a melon full of free radical fighting power. Watermelon is used in cosmetics and toiletries for skin protection; and it is a very healthy fruit to include in your diet.

On a recent stop to a farm stand, owner Chris Chiaccio, of Tony’s Farm & Garden Center in Windsor, NJ commente

 “I feel better when I eat watermelon.”

She may feel better from eating watermelon for 3 reasons:Watermelon is 90% water; it is hydrating and makes us feel refreshed,Watermelon has energy-yielding natural sugars ,Watermelon contains vitamins, minerals and other compounds

Watermelon is low calorie. A one cup serving is only 46 calories.Like most fruit, watermelon is fat-free and has no cholesterol. Watermelon has a lot more than just water and sugars
Watermelon contains health-promoting nutrients, such as vitamin A, potassium, citrulline; and beneficial antioxidants, such as lycopene, beta carotene and vitamin C.
Antioxidants have disease fighting properties that may help prevent cancer and reduce heart risks.

Citrulline is

Confederate Rose

The Confederate rose was in bloom during a particularly bloody battle of the Civil War. A slain soldier fell beside a Confederate rose, and his blood spilled into the ground at the base of shrub. The flowers, which had started out white in the morning, absorbed the slain soldier’s blood throughout the day, so that by evening they had turned a deep, rosy red.

That sort of story makes for interesting reading, but the flowers do, indeed, live up the specific epithet, “mutabilis,” which means “variable or changeable.” All are large and showy and look somewhat like a large, delicate rose. Some are single, and many are double. On some specimens, the flowers that open early in the morning are snowy white, but by evening they have turned to deep rose. On the second day, they wither and fall from the shrub. On other shrubs, the opening blossom may be pink, turning to white or even a darker pink as it ages. Either way, many buds are waiting for their day in the sun. At any time, as many as three different colors may show at one

Stunning Summer Blooms

This Asian native has become synonymous with summer all across the American South. The large panicles of crepy-textured flowers that give us its common name brighten the landscape and put on an impressive show that few other plants can match. Climate is a big factor on how a crepe myrtle looks. Here in the Upper South where it is possible for the plant to freeze to the ground in harsh winters, we may use it as a bushy shrub that we keep pruned. We also maintain small, multi-trunked trees that top out at about 15 to 25 feet. These are quite attractive if the lower limbs are pruned for the first 5 to 7 feet to show off the exquisite, peeling bark. The bark continues to peel as the tree grows, revealing a shiny, polished look to the branches. They also tend to ‘sucker’ from the roots, so clip those sprouts to maintain a tree form. Crepe myrtles are hardy in USDA Zones 6-10 and even a little further north with protection. That’s because plant breeders have worked hard to give us

Bittersweet Nightshade

Bittersweet nightshade is actually a tomato relative, and grows glistening, deep red berries any tomato would envy. But it would be wise to pay close attention to where this plant stakes its claim. Relatives include tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers, but the family Solanaceae includes many darker, less friendly members. Bittersweet nightshade (Solanum dulcamara) takes after plants like belladonna, a notoriously toxic relation. As red and luscious as they seem, nightshade’s berries are best left on the vine.

Human relations with Solanaceae have always been complex. In fact, the tomato was not always so well regarded. Native to South America, the plants were grown strictly as ornamentals when they were introduced into European cultivation. Few actually ate tomatoes; that was far too risky. “Poison apples” or “love apples” were an attractive route to temptation or death.

Fast forward to the 21st century, when tomatoes are welcomed into family gardens and coddled each spring. Bittersweet nightshade is a European native, and was probably initially brought here for medicinal purposes. Many birds are known to feed on nightshade berries without any ill effects, and once the

A Forest Floats

In a South Bronx forest, the ground sways as visitors collect blueberries, onions and wild carrots. The plants bob up and down as guests gather oregano or basil to add to their next meal. The floating forest on the Bronx River has one main purpose: to engage New Yorkers in a conversation about the benefits of shared, public food by offering crops to pick and eat.

“Not everyone has a garden, or access to earth, and it’s expensive. So how do we work together to get around that?” said Marisa Prefer, who manages the public programs for Swale, the floating forest project by the artist Mary Mattingly that started a year ago.

The artist transformed a 130-foot barge, once used for hauling sand to construction sites, into a public food forest with free edible and medicinal treasures. Last week, the floating green space moved from Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park to Concrete Plant Park in the South Bronx, one of the largest food deserts in the country, where healthy, fresh options are hard to come by, and on Friday afternoon it opened to the public.

The White House garden

On the South Lawn of the White House just over a year ago, 10-year-old Endya Colbert dangled a worm directly in front of Michelle Obama’s face. Endya’s mother, Chala Colbert, has a photograph to prove it.

It was a brisk day for the first lady’s final spring planting, but Endya, whose elementary school in New Orleans offers a gardening program, assured Michelle — yes, the student felt certain they were on a first-name basis — that the worm was a sign of healthy soil.

The current first lady, Melania Trump, is settling into the White House and has yet to officially embrace her predecessor’s seasonal ritual: leaving the White House — often at a sprint — waving toward a crowd of miniature green thumbs, all of them in sneakers soon to be matted with mulch.

Some supporters of the White House Kitchen Garden — the 2,800-square-foot foundation of Mrs. Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign to reduce childhood obesity — have expressed doubts that the vegetable patch could weather a blustery presidential transition.

Tips for Creating Garden


“Ask yourself what you see yourself doing in the space,” said Sera Rogue, the owner of Red Fern Brooklyn, a landscape design firm. “Yoga? Reading? Entertaining? Morning coffee?” This will drive most of your decisions, including where to put the plants, what furniture to buy and how to address noise or privacy concerns.


 “When you talk to an interior designer, it’s about flowing through rooms, transitioning through space and creating focal points,” said Todd Haiman, a landscape designer, who pointed out that the same principles apply to creating outdoor rooms. In a small space, he suggested, “design on a grid,” using squares and rectangles, rather than circles, to take advantage of every square inch. If you don’t have much width, go vertical: A tall hedge, a few small trees or trellised vines in planters can create privacy. “I always try to create a sensory and experiential journey,” he said, which can be as simple as placing a pot of lavender near the door “so you brush up against it,

Homegrown in New York

Though Mr. Estrada calls himself a farmer, his bounty sprouts from the unlikeliest of settings: a patch of green wedged among the bodegas and public housing projects of the South Bronx. There, in a community garden where Mr. Estrada is one of dozens of urban farmers, he fills a box of soil no larger than a child’s sandbox with the things he used to grow with his father on a farm in Puerto Rico.

“If I knew what I know now, I would have helped my father a lot more,” said Mr. Estrada, 74, a retired cook. “There would have been more food.”

Mr. Estrada is able to carry on his family’s agrarian tradition in a teeming metropolis as a result of New York City’s thriving network of community gardens, which is being expanded at a time when an onslaught of development has made these public green spaces more valuable than ever. The community gardens are a refuge for immigrants and those without farms or country houses to escape to in the summer as well as a homegrown source of fruits

Garden Vines

There’s no reason that those of us working with smaller spaces can’t also enjoy these plants. Pruning and trellising your garden vines will keep them under control and looking their best.

Growing Silver Lace

Silver lace vine, or Polygonum aubertii, is a deciduous or semi-evergreen (depending on the zoneit’s in) member of the Buckwheat family. These vines can thrive in a variety of soil conditions and don’t require much maintenance once they’ve matured. In certain zones, silver lace can even become invasive and grow past the boundaries of the garden it was planted in.

Native to western China and Russia, these vigorous vines form dense growths of twisted limbs that look great wrapped around garden fences and arbors. Depending on your location, your silver lace vines could produce their small fragrant flowers from spring all the way into late fall. It’s thanks to these white, wooly plumes that silver lace has also come to be known as “Fleece” vine.

Silver lace can usually handle being cut back down to ground level each year but responds better if trimmed early in the spring. While they’re also drought tolerant, it’s important to give these vines a good soaking at least once or twice

Potager Garden

Potagers are generally designed in geometric patterns rather than in simple rows. Many potagers contain plants trained to grow upward on trellises or next to the house. Occasionally they’re edged with Boxwoods or other shrubs. In addition to vegetables, potagers usually include flowers, especially varieties for cutting. They may also include small fruit trees, herbs, aromatic and medicinal plants.

(Paris potager)

 The French potager differs from an American suburban vegetable garden in several ways. The French mix herbs, edible flowers, non-edible flowers, fruits and vegetables and grow them together in an artistic design. A potager is continually replanted throughout the growing season. Whatever is fresh is gathered in season. Historically, potager gardens were located just outside the chateau where they could be easily viewed and accessed.

(Austrian potager)

The French approach to vegetable gardening involves a philosophy that entails bringing beauty to a food garden rather than seeing that garden as having only a utilitarian purpose. The beauty of the garden and having the garden closer to the house gives those growing a potager much more of a connection to the garden than the usual vegetable garden. The French view a garden much like

Tips for proofing houseplants

 Believe me, I really can’t wait for the escape. But for obsessive houseplant collectors like me, going away at the height of the growing season can be tinged with anxiety. Given the fact that I am currently watering my growing army of ferns, orchids, carnivorous plants and herbs virtually every day in hot weather, a two-week absence could be enough to finish off some of my more delicate specimens. But things don’t have to be this way!I don’t have massive trays or capillary matting to hand (frankly, who does?)

If, like me, you are planning a summer break, there are a range of super-simple measures that you can take to ensure your houseplants survive the temporary abandonment. And the best thing is it’ll only take you five minutes to do before you dash out the door.

As the primary factor affecting how quickly your plants will dry out is temperature, simply moving them from sunny window sills to cooler, shadier spots can reduce their rate of water loss by up to 80%. It doesn’t really matter if they are sun-loving plants either as, for a short break, water stress is likely to have a much larger

Saving annuals for garden

Choose certain annuals.

This propagation technique is not a good choice for ALL annuals. Focus on your smaller, bushy annuals that can grow in partial to full shade. We are looking for plants that can be kept through the winter as smallish potted or water-rooted plant, which will yield some stems in late winter for further cutting and rooting. References I checked cite Coleus (Solenostemon), Wax (fibrous-rooted) Begonias, Impatiens and Pelargoniums (zonal geraniums) as cooperating well with this method. In addition, Hypoestes (Polka dot Plant), Ageratum (Floss Flower), and some Plectranthus may be used as annuals and work well this way. After all, the term “annual” is a subjective designation based on a plant’s lifestyle and sensitivity to cold. Feel free to experiment with your bedding or container plants, keeping the plant’s light requirement and growth habit in mind. These named plants have a reputation for rooting readily, without any added rooting hormone. Giant sunflowers are not an appropriate choice for this method!

Take soft stem cuttings in late summer

Mid to late summer is the right time for stem cuttings. Plants should still be growing well, with plenty of stems. September’s continued warmth and sunlight encourage the cuttings to root. For propagation next spring I’d

The father of American landscape architecture

“An artist, he paints with lakes and wooded slopes; with lawns and banks and forest covered hills; with mountain sides and ocean views,” wrote Frederick Law Olmsted’s friend and colleague Daniel Burnham in 1893. Olmsted and his firm Fairsted (pictured at right) were also responsible for designing huge open spaces in places like Chicago, Buffalo and Atlanta.

Although the first “public” open space in the New World would technically have to be the Boston Common, from 1634, Olmsted believed that green spaces shouldbe public, and that everyone should have access to them. This may not seem so unusual to some of you, but to those of us who struggle to garden in the highly industrialized Northeast, or the smoggy West coast, having public gardens to enjoy from time to time keeps us all more sane. Having them look wild and natural without actually being totally impenetrable is an added gift Olmsted left us.

While Olmsted hired gardeners to work for him, he did not think of himself as a gardener. He consideredhimself an architect, using the outdoors instead of buildings, and was the first to call himself a professional “landscape architect”. Many, if not most of the areas he

Grow in Northwest Missouri

The deciduous shrub, oakleaf hydrangea, Hydrangea quercifolia, which is native to the southeastern United States, has long been one of my favorites. But upon moving to my husband’s family farm in Missouri thirteen years ago, I discovered to my dismay that oakleaf hydrangeas did not thrive on the windy hillock we call home. And so each year I missed seeing their brilliant lantern-like panicles growing in the shady corners of my yard. Still I attempted to grow them on several occasions. They all died brutal deaths in the icy winds which buffet our abode each winter. Nevertheless, I was determined…

During our landscaping endeavors we created a microclimate on the southeast side of our yard by designing a garden wall made of privacy fence. It was there that I planted yet another oakleaf hydrangea. I hoped the oakleaf would be protected from old man winter’s ravaging breath beneath the boughs of a tall bald cypress nearby

 Surprisingly enough our enthusiastic hydrangea survived the winter. I cannot express my consummate relief at seeing those verdant green leaves sprout the following spring. But time would prove there were no blooms upon my hydrangea. The leaves were large and vivacious with

Garden Beasts

Garden Beasts, Imaginary and Real
Platycodon (plat-ee-KOE-dun) may sound like the name of a dinosaur, but it’s actually a charming plant more often called Japanese bellflower. Another common name, balloon flower, perfectly describes the spherical shape of the blossoms right before they open, and is much more memorable than its scientific name, unless you are familiar with its Greek roots: “platys” (broad) and “kodon” (bell).

Centaurea (variously sen-TOR-ee-ah and sen-taw-REE-uh) has been a garden resident for centuries, and was used to treat illnesses in medieval times. Perhaps its name sounds so much like a garden beast because of its origin in Greek mythology. Centaurs were a race of war-beasts who were half-man, half-horse. According to legend, one particularly peaceful centaur named Chiron used the flowers of this plant to heal wounds. Centaurea is better known as the bachelor’s button, for its use as a lapel flower, or cornflower, for its habit of growing in corn fields.

The delightfully-named liriope (lir-RYE-oh-pee) also derives from Greek mythology. Liriope was a naiad, or water nymph, and mother to Narcissus, the beautiful young man who fell in love with his own reflection. Although neither a grass nor a lily,

The echinops (EK-in-ops) is one garden “beast” named after an



When a garden needs a big, bold shrub, call on giant fleeceflower (Persicaria polymorpha) with its large white sprays of flowers and dark green, deeply veined foliage. This massive herbaceous shrub is also known as Polygonum polymorphum, but whatever you call it, this is one specimen that will make a statement in the landscape. The showy flowers and seed heads attract both birds and butterflies, but will not appeal to deer. The dark green coarse foliage is an excellent backdrop for more delicate medium size plants, and the nodding flowers give movement to a garden space.

Giant fleeceflower grows well in clay soil, is hardy in zones 1 through 11, and thrives in full sun; however, mature plants will tolerate a little shade and some drought. The flowers look like astilbe, only on a much larger scale, nodding in the breeze atop 6 foot stems; they have no fragrance. The shrub will spread from 6 to 10 feet in a clumping habit, and reach 4 to 7 feet in height. Be aware that this is a fast-growing species, so make provisions to keep it corralled where you want it to stay by sinking metal

Tomato varieties in your garden

1.Chocolate Cherry

This cherry tomato variety is the color of port wine and bears a hint of chocolate. For such small fruit, these tomatoes have an awfully big taste. They’re best served fresh and are ideal for making salads and canning.

Yellow Pear

 Yellow pear plants produce sunny little teardrop-shaped tomatoes, so their name seems more than appropriate. These fun fruits have a mild taste and are great for popping into your mouth right when you harvest them. Alternatively, they can be eaten as tomato preserves.

2.Sun Gold

Sun Gold is another variety that produces smaller fruits, all of which are lovely orange cherry-type tomatoes. They have a rather sweet taste and can thrive well past the end of the growing season. Sun Golds are perfect for eating right off the vine or for adding some color to your salads.

3.Candy’s Old Yellow

Another yellow variety! These tomatoes are large, flat, and sweet-tasting. Their crazy irregular shape makes them a lot of fun to grow. Try throwing some of these into a chutney or a sweeter salsa.

4.Green Zebra

Green Zebras are gloriously striped green fruits that usually bear a yellow or

Flower to Rock

There are many types of rock. Limestone, Sandstone, Soapstone, Travertine, Marble, Slate, and Granite. That is the short list. My favorite rock is formed on the Cumberland Plateau in the state of Tennessee. It is called Crab Orchard stone, although, it can be found all over the plateau, not just in Crab Orchard. Read more about the history of Crab Orchard stone here.

We have used stone for centuries. The pyramids were built using large stones. Castles, walls, fences, fountains, pathways, bridges and many other structures have been made from stone. Stone statues in cemeteries stand watch like sentries over those who have gone before.

Sculptors find beauty in stone that no one else can see. I have felt a great deal of envy when I see their creations. The ability to chip away at a huge stone and find the masterpiece hidden inside is a talent given only a few in history. Just a few that come to mind are; Hiram Powers, Giovanni Bernini, and Michelangelo Buonarroti.

Many castles, built with stone centuries ago, are still standing.

Back to the hard, cold, uninteresting rock. As children, we stepped on them and had invisible bruises, we skipped them across

Summer Wildflowers

If you’re not much of a lawn person, you’re not alone. Most gardeners realize that lawns have their place around every home, but if you minimize the amount of space your grass takes up and diversify the area with wildflowers and shrubs, you can easily turn your yard into a habitat. It’s always nice to have some grass for your kids, grandkids, and pets to run and play on, but if you’re looking to attract pollinators like butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds to your yard, you’re going to have to make a change. Lawns just don’t provide the enticing diversity that flower beds and shrubs do. This year, do your local wildlife the favor of swapping your grass out for some colorful varieties and a few easy-to-reach sources of food and shelter.

From Lawn to Flower Beds

Converting a lawn into a wildflower sanctuary will require you to do some work in the fall, but remember that you’ll be rewarded for your efforts as soon as the following summer. First and foremost, the lawn has to go. Get yourself a good sod cutter to slice away rows of grass. Remember to set the depth gauge to at least two inches, or

Friendly Garden Space

Examine Your Existing Space

Whether you’re looking to set up a free-range situation for your cats or simply planning on building them an outdoor enclosure, you’ll need to give your backyard a quick safety inspection beforehand. Does your yard have a fence or another kind of barrier around it to keep your pets from wandering off? If so, will your cat be able to jump over or wiggle through that barrier? Remember that even the highest fences can be climbed by a sneaky cat that has access to nearby trees.

 When determining if your yard will make a suitable second home for your cat or kitten, you’ll also need to take some more overt hazards into account. Do you keep toxic chemicals out in the open or have a water fountain or pond that poses a potential drowning threat? While many cat owners already consider their felines to be a part of the family, it’s still important to create safe spaces for them like you would for a small child.

Select Cat-Friendly Plant Varieties

Everyone knows that kittens love cat grass and catnip, but cats can also be tempted to nibble on toxic plant varieties sometimes. When