Archive for the ‘Plants and Horticulture’ Category

Snapshots from the Chicago Botanic Garden

Monday, May 16th, 2016

It’s a beautiful day at the Chicago Botanic Garden, Day #6 of the CBG Healthcare Garden Design Certificate Program. Today we’ve had presentations by Marni Barnes, Gwenn Fried, Nilda Cosco, and Clare Cooper Marcus; and Mark Epstein led a super discussion about “real nature vs. virtual nature” outside in the Walled Garden. Here are some snapshots from my walk today…

Cercis canadensis (redbud). Photo by Naomi Sachs

Cercis canadensis (redbud). Photo by Naomi Sachs

Cercis canadensis. Photo by Naomi Sachs

Cercis canadensis (redbud), with blossoms springing right from the branches. Photo by Naomi Sachs

New soft leaves. Photo by Naomi Sachs.

I wish you could feel these new leaves. So velvety soft! Photo by Naomi Sachs.


(Almost) Wordless Wednesday – March 4, 2015

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
Chicksaw plum (Prunus angustifolia). Photo by Naomi Sachs

Chicksaw plum (Prunus angustifolia). Photo by Naomi Sachs

In Central Texas, things are already blooming, including the Chicksaw plum. The scent is gorgeous – sweet and a little bit spicy. I can always tell when I’m about to see one of these shrubby trees (tree-e shrubs?) in blossom because I smell it first.

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Jelena' blooming in January. Photo by Naomi Sachs

Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ blooming in January. Photo by Naomi Sachs

If you are in colder climates and are feeling frozenly jealous right now, stop! Once spring comes, go out and get a witch hazel; you will not be disappointed, especially when she blooms – a fragrance that is also quite spicy – in the darkest days of winter. My favorite type is Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Jelena’ (which in my NY garden usually bloomed in late December and kept on going for over a month) but there are many to choose from. Amazing fall foliage, too. If you want a winter blooming witch hazel, make sure you get one; Hamamelis virginica and some others bloom in the late fall. Or if you’re a plantaholic like me, ignore the fact that there’s no room in your garden for both…and then get both.


(Almost) Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

I know it’s hard to believe for many people in the U.S., but spring really is coming. One way to hasten its arrival is to cut a few branches from what will be a flowering shrub or tree. When you bring the branches inside and put them in water, you “fool” them into thinking that spring has arrived, and they bloom. Sometimes the sight of those blossoms is enough to give us hope for the not-too-distant future of warmth and rebirth.

Here’s an older post, “Forcing Spring,” on the subject that has links to some good how-to sites.


Happy Arbor Day!

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Tree and pond, Stonecrop Gardens, Cold Spring, NY. Photo by Naomi Sachs Happy Arbor Day, 2012!

It has been over 135 years since J. Sterling Morton founded Arbor Day. His simple idea of setting aside a special day for tree planting is now more important than ever.Arbor Day Foundation

The New York Times just published a great opinion piece by Jim Robbins, titled “Why Trees Matter.” I never know which articles non-subscribers can access, so please accept my apologies if access is restricted. Below are some excerpts, just in case.

We have underestimated the importance of trees. They are not merely pleasant sources of shade but a potentially major answer to some of our most pressing environmental problems. We take them for granted, but they are a near miracle. In a bit of natural alchemy called photosynthesis, for example, trees turn one of the seemingly most insubstantial things of all — sunlight — into food for insects, wildlife and people, and use it to create shade, beauty and wood for fuel, furniture and homes.

This paragraph on “forest bathing” is particularly appropriate for our Network:

In Japan, researchers have long studied what they call “forest bathing.” A walk in the woods, they say, reduces the level of stress chemicals in the body and increases natural killer cells in the immune system, which fight tumors and viruses. Studies in inner cities show that anxiety, depression and even crime are lower in a landscaped environment.

Below are some past TLN Blog posts about the role of trees in restorative landscapes:

If you can plant one thing, plant a tree

Planting the healing garden: Trees, please!

Forget the chocolate, gimme a tree

Plant a tree: A truly “green” gift

See the Arbor Day Foundation’s website for more information and ideas about how to celebrate this day:


Wordless Wednesday, 8/10/11 – Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011
Milkweed (Asclepius syriaca). Photo by Naomi Sachs

Milkweed (Asclepius syriaca). Photo by Naomi Sachs

It’s only fitting that we feature a photo of milkweed (this one is Asclepias syriaca) named by Carl Linneaus for the Greek god medicine and healing, Asclepius.

Son of Apollo and Coronis, father of five daughters: Hygia (“Hygiene”), Laso (“Medicine”), Aceso (“Healing”), Aglæa/Ægle (“Healthy glow), and Panacea (“Universal remedy”). The snake-entwined staff, often used as symbol in the medical world, is the rod of Asclepius.