Reading, writing and gardening – Back to School

August 10, 2015 0 comments
school gardening big dig with photo effect - August

August is back-to-school time. For an increasing number of children, school will involve gardening. But they need the help of experienced gardeners—especially those who know what to do with a cold frame. School gardens are one kind of volunteer project… Read More

Perennials that are moody depending on the weather

June 2, 2015 0 comments
Geranium june.

The other day I dropped by my brother’s new home and he proudly showed me the beds he had just planted with hypoestes (polka dot plant). “They’re great,” I said. “But you know they’re annuals. You’ll have to replace them… Read More

A new day for a great glass house

May 6, 2015 0 comments
Botts Show House Small_edited-1

One of my favorite places, the great Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago, is all shiny and sparkly. In a good way. I remember when it was shiny and sparkly in a bad way: the day in June 2011 after golf-ball-sized… Read More

Planting for the future

March 18, 2015 0 comments
Petunia seeds sprouting

I had the pleasure of spending the last day of February at a regional meeting of the Perennial Plant Association at The Morton Arboretum near Chicago. “Ready, Set, Grow!” was the theme of the daylong symposium, and are we ever!… Read More

A cold frame gives you a jump on the growing season

February 4, 2015 0 comments
Michelle standing in front of cold frames

The weather report may still be full of blizzards, but once Ground Hog Day rolls around, springtime becomes less of a memory and more of a prospect. That’s when it’s worth thinking about buying or building a cold frame to… Read More

From Lace collars to muddy boots, greenhouses in history

January 6, 2015 0 comments
winter scene with Hartley greenhouse in snow in MA

I’ve been running into a lot of glasshouses in my midwinter reading. I just finished reading up about Edward VII, son of Prince Albert, who dazzled the world with the Crystal Palace in London in 1851. Albert was a better… Read More

Those impossible looking big, beautiful blooms

December 1, 2014 0 comments

If you have a heated greenhouse, you have a big advantage in growing amaryllis, those bulbs with huge, dramatic flowers that are such popular holiday gifts. Pretty much anybody with a bright window can get an amaryllis bulb to bloom,… Read More

Why a Hartley? Hartley Botanic