Sunday, March 8, 2009

My Library

Growing up, my grandmother was the county librarian. I love to read. I love old books and have several of my great-grandmother’s collection. I also collect old religious books including Bibles…I buy them at garage/estate sales. It would be better if people used the Bibles as reading material, but in my case they are usually a topic of conversation when people visit our home. As kids we used to have a saying… “Do you swear on a stack of Bibles?” I try not to swear at all except when I garden. It reminds me of my former neighbor Lucy. Because we were raising children we took out our frustrations by digging in the dirt. We shared a garden between our houses where we laughed hard, cried softly, and used swear words loudly. It still makes me laugh. We once had a visitor who commented how ‘whimsical’ our garden was…and I’m sure it was!

Master Gardeners are to educate others based on research. We all tend to have pretty extensive libraries of our own and can use the Kemper Center resources at the Missouri Botanical Garden when needed. We also use each other. For the past few years I’ve been serving on the board of the Museum of Transportation. Recently, Doug Wolters, St Louis County Parks Dept., and I have put together an interesting adult speaker series on gardening. Check it out on the website.
Doug and I have also been working on a native landscape grant with good friends and fellow master gardeners Betty Struckhoff and Carol Wellman.

Back to books

One of my favorite garden writers, Barbara Perry Lawton, also happens to be a master gardener. I feel privileged to have been in the same garden club and she was one of my favorite guests on the radio show. If you like herbs and/or history you will enjoy her book “Parsleys, Fennels, and Queen Anne’s Lace” published by Timber Press.

According to Barbara's book (which you can find HERE), Socrates (470-399 BCE) was poisoned by a member of the parsley family, poison hemlock. In a radio interview she told me she had seen a rather large patch of poison hemlock along the railroad tracks Valley Park. With the going green efforts and more areas converting to native plants, maybe a little more education is needed. You need to know what it looks like so your children and grandchildren don’t play in it. I never stop learning new things from other gardeners. Barbara Lawton has won national awards for her writing and you can find her books on and at local bookstores including the gift shop at the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Do you know which one is poisonous? Which one is the carrot? Leave a comment to me know your guess and then check back tomorrow for the answer!

In the picture above is also a book on Heucheras or common name coral bells by Dan Heims. I heard him at the Horticulture Coop Symposium at Meramec Community College in spring of 2007. He is president of Terra Nova Nurseries which is a wholesale nursery specializing in perennials. As a lover of ‘chocolate’ plants I have several heucheras in our garden.

Heuchera ‘Carmel’ ...............Heuchera ‘Brownie’....Heuchera ‘Chocolate Ruffles”

More on Chocolate plants will follow along with my favorite websites and nurseries.

If you cannot be outside digging in the dirt, you can be inside reading about digging in the dirt.

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