Urban Gardens to Urban Forests

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A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 43 – Garden Sage

Salvia

“Salvia State of Mind” – Late Spring 2011 – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA

“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

Salvia officinalis… Better known as Garden Sage… I’d be willing to bet that if you grow herbs… You grow sage… I do… In fact… I grow a variety of Sage… And although I use it to cook with… I mostly grow it as an ornamental… I believe the value of this plant encompasses more than just the physical taste of the leaves… Salvia raises spirits… It lifts moods… And it attracts children… It is a wonder plant that is often hidden in the back of our gardens… But not my garden… I want the Salvias right up front… I want them where everyone can see them…

Garden sage is a herbaceous perennial native to the Mediterranean region… Because of this it rarely needs watered… Honestly… Once established it can survive without human intervention indefinitely… And that is fine and dandy if you are growing it with your tomatoes… But I am not…

Salvia requires annual pruning to keep it looking presentable… Sage blooms in the spring… This bloom period lasts roughly a month… When the last of the blossoms have withered… Prune the plant hard… I will prune every branch down to a 2 or 3″ stub… (sometimes you will notice tiny leaves at the bottom of each branch… If I find them I will prune right above that leaf) The plant will look like shit when you do this… But I promise it will come back to life in just a few short days… The plant will stay tight and compact for the rest of the year… This is helpful because the plant will stay small enough to not flop over after a rain…

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The neighborhood children (seedling) like to play with my Sage plant… Not as much as the Chocolate Mint patch… But they still like it… The leaves have a soft texture they find interesting… And the smell tickles their noses… I had trouble keeping leaves on them this year because I taught the neighbors “seedling” how to crush the leaves to release the scent… Apparently… A Sage leaf only smells good for the first sniff… Then you have to get a new one… I may try to break that habit this year… On second thought… The neighborhood seedlings could destroy my garden… As long as they learned something in the process… I would chalk it up as a win… A painful win… But a win none-the-less…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_officinalis

New To writing and never had to cite sources before… These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… Although this website is free… I sell prints of my photography here – www.society6.com/chriscondello – or you can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com – Although it isn’t a requirement… It helps…

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is – 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

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A Plant A Day Till Spring – Day 33 – Pineapple Sage

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“A Plant a Day till Spring” will highlight one plant a day, starting on the winter solstice (December 21, 2013)… And ending on the vernal equinox (March 20, 2014)… If all goes to plan I will be starting with old Snowdrop photos from 2013… And ending with new photos of Snowdrops in 2014…

The temperature right now is a cool 0 degrees… Wind chill of -20… And I have been awake since 2 AM because the cats were restless and disturbed… Immediately after waking up I could feel the “ripple” in the ambient energy around me (This may make me sound really crazy – I promise I’m only a little crazy)… Something wasn’t right… We were not alone… The cats knew it… And I knew it… I just understood it a little bit better than them… They were obviously afraid… But I find it interesting… Almost comforting to think there is more to life than just the physical…There is more to this life than just you and I…

Despite the lack of sleep… I am in a good mood today… How good of a mood you might ask… Like “Pineapple Sage” good… Anyone who knows me knows I am a fan of all things Salvia… I even love the word “Sage”… What a great name… Sage… I also like Lavender… Maybe I’ll combine them… Lavender Sage Condello… I like it…

Salvia elegans… Better known by the common name “Pineapple Sage”… Lesser known as “Tangerine Sage”… Is by far one of my favorite plants… It is one of those garden plants that I could not go a Summer without planting… I grow it right beside my front porch… When the neighborhood kids visit… I like to have scented herbs for them to play with… Gardening is meant to be hands on… And kids learn with their hands… Herbs and children just make sense…

Insignificant for most of the year… Pineapple Sage grows nothing more than foliage for 90% of the growing season… It is photosensitive… Meaning it flowers when the hours of daylight decrease to a certain point… This occurs as summer stretches into fall… This plant will double in size once it begins to flower… The end of the season stretch is what signals to me that the blossoms are not far away…

*Bright lights… Including street lights and porch lights… Can interrupt this light cycle… This can result in the plant never coming into bloom… Similarly… This plant can be forced to bloom by controlling the hours of light and dark… Not that it provides a benefit to you or the plant… But 12 hours of light and 12 hours of dark will trick it into thinking it is fall and force it to stretch and bloom…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

If you want some science – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_elegans

New To writing and never had to cite sources before… These “Plant a Day Till Spring” posts are simply intended to kill time until spring when I start writing more… My source (where applicable) is Wikipedia.org… The photography is all my own… And I am adding my own information…

This website and all of the information presented within is provided free by the author… Me… It is my sole opinion and is not representative of anyone other than myself… Although this website is free… I sell prints of my photography here – www.society6.com/chriscondello – or you can contact me directly with questions at – c.condello@hotmail.com – Although it isn’t a requirement… It helps…

Remember to tip… My Bitcoin digital wallet address is – 1JsKwa3vYgy4LZjNk4YmPEHFJNjPt2wDJj

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Snow and Sun – The First Melt

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plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

The Guerrilla Gardening Guidebook – Perennials and Biennials

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“Tomato Soup” – Whitney Avenue – Wilkinsburg, PA – Echinacea is a favorite of my girlfriend and I… I grow it everywhere I can… Available in a variety of bloom styles and colors… Drought tolerant once established… Often self seeds but the colors typically fade or completely revert to purple…

Perennials

This post is part of a larger body of work titled ”The Guerrilla Gardening Guidebook”. For the introduction and table of contents please click here

Although some guerrilla gardens are intended to only last a year, some can last for a long time. Plant selection, coupled with continuing community support can make a community garden last for years with minimal maintenance.

A perennial is any plant that lives for three or more years, many live much longer. The garden flowers called perennials technically should be called herbaceous perennials because they lack the woody stems and branches of shrubs and trees, which are called woody perennials. Most herbaceous perennials die to the ground during winter, but their roots remain alive and send up new growth in spring. The tall tops of some perennials die in fall and the plant will develop ground-hugging rosettes of leaves that survive the winter. A few perennials, such as bergenia and epimedium, are herbaceous, but have evergreen or semi-evergreen leaves.

Most perennials bloom for two or three weeks at a specific time of the year, and their foliage remain till frost. Some cherished perennials, such as threadleaf coreopsis and fringed bleeding-heart, are long-blooming, producing flowers for 8 to 12 weeks. Others, such as garden phlox and delphinium, can be encouraged to rebloom after cutting back the first flush of flowers after the blooms fade and before they set seed. Many perennials with short bloom times have cool foliage that lasts well beyond the flowers, leaf color and shape should therefor be considered as well.

Many perennials spread, forming larger clumps every year. Some fast growing plants need to be dug up and divided periodically or the plants will become stunted. Aggressive spreaders must be continually hacked back or they will take over the garden. Some plants, like peony can grow for 50 years without ever needing divided.

Perennials are cold hardy to different degrees, some can’t survive winters north of Washington DC, others flourish in Minnesota and the Dakotas. Some thrive in the hot and humid summers of the south, while others will simply wilt and flop over in anything remotely hot.

PinkWhiteColumbine

Living for only two years, biennials germinate from seed the first year and put all their energy into growing foliage and strong root systems. They often live through the winter as a rosette of ground-hugging leaves… The next growing season… They send up flowering shoots… Set new seed… And then die… But biennials can be unpredictable, not always sticking to the intended lifestyle. Some behave as short-lived perennials, flowering for two to three years before they die.

Many biennials, like foxglove and hollyhock, reseed themselves so successfully that they seem to be perennial in your garden… They will return year after year… Oftentimes perennial seeds will germinate the same year they fall to the ground, allowing it to germinate the following year. You can help this along by simply shaking the seed heads over the ground where you want the plant to grow.

Container grown plants can be put in the ground any time of the year they are available. To remove the plant from its container, first water it, then turn it upside down, holding your hand under the root ball so when it slides out you can easily catch it. If the plant won’t budge, whack the bottom and sides of the container until it does… As a last resort you can cut the container off…

Roots of container-grown plants frequently encircle the surface of the root ball. Unless you interfere, the roots may keep growing around and around in the hole. Lay the plant on its side on the ground, holding it at the top with one hand, firmly rake the entire surface of the root ball with a weeding claw. Cut into the root ball with the tines of the claw to loosen and sever the roots. The cut roots will eventually branch and grow out into the surrounding soil.

Dig your hole wider and deeper than the container the perennial came in, you should be able to comfortably fit the plant in the hole while in the pot. Fill the bottom of the hole with at least an inch of soil. Place the plant in the hole and adjust accordingly so the plants crown is level with the existing soil level. Refill the hole with soil, firm the soil, water it…

A good starter list when beginning your guerrilla garden perennial research, all of the following plants will grow relatively well without much human intervention – Yarrow, Hollyhock, Golden Marguerite, Columbine, Butterfly weed, Fall Asters, Astilbe, Indigo, Bergenia, Mountain Bluet, Bugbane, Turtlehead, Coreopsis, corydalis, Delphinium, Chrysanthemum, Bleeding Heart, Foxglove, Echinacea, Blanketflower, Hardy Geranium, Lenten Rose, Daylily, Heuchera, Rose Mallow, Hosta, Iris, Dead Nettle, Shasta Daisy, Blazing Star, Lilyturf, Lupine, Forget-Me-Not, Catmint, Evening Primrose, Peony, Oriental Poppy, Russian Sage, Phlox, Balloonflower, Lungwort, Salvia, Stonecrop, Goldenrod, Lambs Ear, Foamflower, Verbena, Speedwell, Viola.

Continuing care of herbaceous perennials varies from plant to plant. For my general article titled “caring for herbaceous perennials”, please click here

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

This site… And all the photographs and information presented within are provided free of charge by the author… I am not affiliated with any product or business… Only myself… Writing this blog takes a ton of time… If you find any of this information helpful, please consider purchasing a print from my online store… It is obviously not a requirement… But it helps…

I sell prints of my photography here – http://www.society6.com/chriscondello Or you can contact me directly at c.condello@hotmail.com for commissions or locally/personally produced prints… Thank you for reading…

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October Gardens – Sun Sprinkles and Sage

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A Sunset With The Hamnett Place Community Garden

© chriscondello 2013

“Evening Storm” – © chriscondello 2013 – Conceptual Composition – My Backyard – Wilkinsburg, PA – Call this what you will… But to me… This photograph is like a painting… Blue Salvia as my canvas… And Golden Heuchera my medium… Taken in the evening light accompanying a storm… Electricity in the air puts electricity in the soul… This photo was taken on the walk to the community garden…

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“Go Team” – © chriscondello 2013 – Clover – Hamnett Place Community Garden – Wilkinsburg, PA – Compared to the other clover in the immediate area… This one was huge… The sun can kinda be seen setting in the trees… And the storm was rumbling at my back…

© chriscondello 2013

“Through the Bramble” – © chriscondello 2013 – Champagne Raspberry” – Hamnett Place Community Garden – Wilkinsburg, PA – My favorite variety of raspberry… Can be purchased from Garden Dreams in Wilkinsburg…

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“Beyond the Bramble” – © chriscondello 2013 – Champagne Raspberry – Hamnett Place Community Garden – Next step… Tasty berries…

© chriscondello 2013

“Urban Vetch” – © chriscondello 2013 – Crown Vetch – Hamnett Place Community Garden – The last glimmer of sunshine landed exactly where I needed it… Gotta love it when things work out…

FragariaSpp

“Berries Galore” – © chriscondello 2013 – Strawberry – Hamnett Place Community Garden – I know from the past that this variety of strawberry tastes amazing… Had I known it had an incredible flower as well… I guess as the breeders get bored with developing fruit… They mess around with the flowers… I was blown away by the simplicity… But stunned by the complexity… Truly beautiful…

© chriscondello 2013

“Blue Flag” – © chriscondello 2013 – Iris Versicolor – Hamnett Place Community Garden – Wilkinsburg, PA – The sun setting behind this Iris was practically visible through the petals… I did my best to capture the feeling of that moment in this photograph…

plant petunias and question everything – chriscondello

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