Heirloom Bulbs & Garden History  •  So Much More Than New
April 2017
Apr
21
2017

American Gardener Honors Us
for Making a Difference

<i>American Gardener</i> Honors Us for Making a Difference – www.OldHouseGardens.com

From Christmas tree ornaments to one of my favorite childhood books, Julia Polentes tells the OHG story in the March-April issue of the American Horticultural Society’s American Gardener. As an avid reader ever since I joined the Society in 1989, it’s a special pleasure to be profiled in “AHS Members Making a Difference.”

Julia starts with me comparing heirloom bulbs to the ornaments on our family Christmas tree which are “pretty to other people, but there’s a deeper beauty for us” because they have “so much more personal meaning.” She talks about my “epiphany” when I realized that historic plants can be found all around us if you know what you’re looking for, and my efforts since 1993 to preserve “the best bulbs of the past in order to enrich gardens today.”

Now that I’m retiring, Julia notes that I’m appreciating more than ever “the far-flung, world-wide village of people who have helped turn this dream into a reality.” As in Stone Soup, one of my favorite books as a kid, what we’ve accomplished together is “way bigger and better than what any of us could have done alone.”

For more, you can check out the entire article at our website.

Read April’s News, Alerts, & Quotation.

Apr
13
2017

Toasting Spring with Black Tulip Ale

Toasting Spring with Black Tulip Ale – www.OldHouseGardens.com

We love bulbs, and I love beer, so when I saw a beer called Black Tulip at the grocery store recently, I felt duty-bound to drink a few and give you a full report.

Black Tulip is a tripel ale brewed by Michigan’s New Holland Brewing Company and named for a novel by Alexander Dumas (author of The Three Musketeers) set in 17th-century Holland.

Tripels are “similar to Belgian-style golden strong ales,” I learned at craftbeer.com, except they’re “generally darker and have a more noticeable malt sweetness.” Popular in Belgium and the Netherlands, they’re best enjoyed in a goblet-shaped “tulip glass,” and New Holland claims theirs is actually “dusted with tulip petals.”

Online, fellow beer drinkers have described Black Tulip as “a big, full-flavored, complex, easy to drink beer” that’s “very creamy and smooth,” with “lots of fruit and spice” and “a reasonable dose of hop bitterness.” I’d agree, and I liked Black Tulip a lot. Tripels have a higher alcohol content than most beers, though, so please drink it with care.

Black Tulip is available in 26 states. To find it near you, enter your zip code at beermenus.com/beers/5675-new-holland-black-tulip – and as our Dutch friends say, Proost!

Apr
11
2017

Learn (and Have Fun!) at the
2017 Mount Vernon Garden Symposium

Learn (and Have Fun) at the 2017 Mount Vernon Symposium – www.OldHouseGardens.com

For a good time, call Dean Norton – Director of Horticulture at Mount Vernon and the organizer of this year’s symposium on “Gardening, Landscape, and Design in the Age of Washington.”

Three years ago I lectured for Dean at the first Mount Vernon symposium, and it was more fun than just about any other conference I’ve ever attended. Sure I learned a lot, and it was great hanging out with so many fellow enthusiasts, and the Mount Vernon grounds are incredible.

But what really sticks in my memory was an elegant after-hours reception on the piazza and grand lawn high above the Potomac where Dean fired off his home-made PVC potato cannon to show us how the Washingtons celebrated special occasions – although they, of course, used a real cannon.

Learn (and Have Fun) at the 2017 Mount Vernon Symposium – www.OldHouseGardens.com

This year’s symposium is set for June 2-4 with a wide array of presentations including Restoration Agriculture, Creating Central Park, Ceramic Vases and Floral Ornament, Jefferson and Wine, Slavery at Mount Vernon, and The Garden of the Future.

Our good customer Joe Gromacki will also be there talking about his Kelton House Farm, an early-1700s New England farmhouse moved and rebuilt in Wisconsin, which Joe has furnished with colonial antiques and surrounded with heirloom plants, including thousands of our bulbs.

To learn more and register, go to the 2017 Symposium page at mountvernon.org. It’s sure to sell out, though, so don’t delay. I’ll hope to see you there!

Apr
6
2017

Garden Design Spotlights Daffodils Old and New

Heirloom Daffodils (and OHG) Featured in <i>Garden Design</i> – www.OldHouseGardens.com

The spring 2017 issue of Garden Design arrived here last week with a host of excellent articles including profiles of Annie’s Annuals and Floret Flower Farm as well as “Small Gardens, Big Ideas” which explores gardens ranging in size from a fifth of an acre to a mere 400 square feet.

Best of all, though, is an eight-page article about daffodils which, I’m happy to say, gives heirlooms as much attention as modern varieties. (Thank you, Garden Design friends!)

“Deer hate them,” author Meg Ryan begins. “They’re low maintenance. They have a wildflowerish charm. And there are enough heirloom and newly developed varieties . . . that they offer gardeners endless opportunities for discovery. Says plant historian Scott Kunst, “They keep things richly complicated. . . .”

Heirloom Daffodils (and OHG) Featured in <i>Garden Design</i> – www.OldHouseGardens.com

To see what else we talked about – as well as photos of dozens of daffodils including our heirlooms ‘Bantam’, ‘Beersheba’, ‘Butter and Eggs’, ‘Geranium’, ‘Mrs. Langtry’, ‘Rip van Winkle’, ‘Stainless’, ‘Sweetness’, ‘Thalia’, Trevithian’, and ‘Van Sion’ (aka ‘Telamonius Plenus’) – look for Garden Design at your local newsstand or bookstore, or subscribe online at gardendesign.com.

And if you see an heirloom there you especially like, you can order it now at oldhousegardens.com/daffodils/.

Apr
4
2017

Our Dahlias Grace the Cover of MaryJanesFarm

 Our Dahlias Grace the Cover of <i>MaryJanesFarm</i> – www.OldHouseGardens.com

The frothy pink blossoms of our ‘Rosemary Webb’ dahlia fill an old yellow pitcher on the cover of the April-May 2017 issue of MaryJanesFarm magazine.

Inside, in an article titled “Dreamy Dahlias,” MaryJane writes, “I bought my tubers from Old House Gardens.... A ‘new generation of sustainable farmers,’ they cultivate heirloom bulbs on five ‘micro farms’ on vacant lots and other scraps of land within a few blocks of downtown Ann Arbor. Mine were, if I must say so myself, stunning!”

An organic farmer in Moscow, Idaho, MaryJane launched her “organic-focused lifestyle magazine” in 2001. Today it has a circulation of 135,000 and if you’re not already a subscriber you can find it at Whole Foods, Barnes & Noble, Walmart, and other stores all across the country.

MaryJane showcases our daffodils on page 5 of the May-June issue, too, with photos from our catalog of eleven heirloom varieties she planted at her farm last fall. Stay tuned for a follow-up article on them sometime later this year – and subscribe or learn more at maryjanesfarm.org/.

Apr
4
2017

Save the Cobblestones,
Granite Curbs, Oyster Shell Paths, and More!

Save the Cobblestones, Granite Curbs, Oyster Shell Paths, and More! – www.OldHouseGardens.com
patterned brick sidewalk, Columbus, Ohio

Although streets, sidewalks, and paths are important landscape features – imagine your city or favorite park without them – they’re often overlooked as historic resources, and paved over or ripped up without a second thought.

A new website, HistoricPavement.com, hopes to change that by opening our eyes to the rich tapestry that’s hiding in plain sight beneath our feet. From colonial cobblestones to mid-century modern hexagons, paving has changed dramatically through the years, often with a fascinating regional diversity.

Save the Cobblestones, Granite Curbs, Oyster Shell Paths, and More! – www.OldHouseGardens.com
Minneapolis, MN

In Philadelphia, for example, a few old streets are paved with iron-slag bricks that look like dark blue ceramic. In the Midwest, wood blocks were once widely used, “with some cities like Detroit utilizing them for most of their paved streets by 1899,” writes HistoricPavement.com’s creator, Robin Williams of Savannah College of Art and Design. “Yet nationwide only a handful of streets preserve this material, including Wooden Alley in Chicago – a rare example of a street that has attained historic designation and protection.”

See photos and learn more at “Neglected Heritage Beneath Our Feet” and HistoricPavement.com.

Then keep your head down – and if you see something interesting, Robin would love to hear from you at rwilliam@scad.edu.

Loading