The Book of Vegetables (1907), by Allen French.
"Liquid manure" as spoken of in this book, can be conveniently made by immersing a bag of fresh horse manure in a tub of water. The product is strong in nitrogen, and is excellent as an application to plants which are expected to make a good stalk and leaf growth. The liquid manure should be applied dilute, and in small quantities; it should be put upon the ground, and never upon the plant itself.
It’s much easier today, to apply liquid manure to flowers and vegetables. Here’s a source for Cow Manure Tea from Authentic Haven Brand, for the modern urban farmer.
Portrait of a Girl, adorned with cowslips, bluebells and a daisy (1858), Michael Frederick Halliday. Oil on panel.
The Emaciated Farmer is a sculptural tribute to the American farmer whose life is spent cultivating soil and domesticating livestock so that the rest of us may eat. Even today, as American farmers attempt a come-back, bringing organic foods to American families through farmer’s markets they face unfair competition from agribusiness whose well-paid lobbyists work diligently to shape government policy and undermine the social security of the American farmer. American author Edward Abbey described the farmer thusly: He “plods through the fields toting a barn, two horses, sixteen half-breed Holsteins, and a hundred and twenty acres of red dirt and clay on his back – and it all belongs to the bank anyhow.” Long live the American Farmer!
February is National Bird Feeding Month
Which plants are useful for attracting birds? Listed below are my top ten favorite trees and shrubs that produce berries for birds ~ and because birds have color vision, choosing plants with red berries is like having “bird magnets” in the garden. REMEMBER: some berries that are edible for birds, can be toxic to humans.
Above, left to right: Pyracantha; Crabapple ‘Indian Summer’; Crabapple ‘Prairie Fire’; American Beautyberry; European Cranberry Bush ‘Chicago Lustre’; Red Chokeberry; Linden Viburnum ‘Michael Dodge’; Linden Viburnum ‘Cardinal Candy’; Weeping Yaupon Holly; Hawthorn.
Red fruit appears in autumn, but persists through winter in milder climates, especially if trained against a wall as an espalier. Mockingbirds, cedar waxwings and cardinals feast on the pyracantha berries. This robust evergreen shrub is suitable for full sun.
These berries lure waxwings, thrushes, cardinals, finches, and blackbirds into the garden and provide a reliable source of food in late Autumn. Two Cotoneasters from the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit include: C. ‘Rothschildianus’ (white berries), and C. x waterer ‘John Waterer’ (masses of scarlet berries). The berries should not be ingested by humans. (Summer flowers also attract bees and provide a valuable source of nectar when other sources of food may be scarce.)
Crabapple (Malus 'Indian Summer' and 'Prairie Fire')
Cedar waxwings, robins and woodpeckers love the berries on Crabapples. Some varieties, like ‘Prairiefire’ and ‘Indian Summer’ have persistent fruits, in that the berries will not drop once they have ripened, but remain on the branches for the birds to eat.
Wax Myrtle, Southern Bay Berry (Myrica cerifera)
This shrub is best suited to a wildlife habitat. In harsh winters, the berries are an important source of food for mockingbirds, Carolina wrens, and cardinals, although more than 40 species of birds will eat the berries. Thousands of berries cover the branches in winter. The berries only form on female plants (just like hollies) and provide a good source of fat and fiber for birds. Wax Myrtles also provide shelter for birds.
American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
A woodland garden shrub with purple berries that appear in clusters along the stems in late summer through fall. A favorite food for robins, mockingbirds, cardinals, finches and towhees. It makes a beautiful shady hedge when massed under trees, while also providing a good cover for birds.
European Cranberry Bush (Viburnum opulus ‘Chicago Lustre’ - pictured)
An attractive, deciduous woodland garden shrub, particularly suitable to hot, humid climates. After flowering, this shrub is massed with blue berries that are quickly consumed by birds, including bullfinches and mistle thrushes.
Red Chokeberry (Aronia arbutifolia)
Cedar waxwings, brown thrashers and chickadees are fond of the berries produced on this deciduous shrub which grows well in the woodland garden, under cover of other hardwood trees. Drought resistant once established, this large shrub has the added bonus of spectacular fall leaf color.
Weeping Yaupon Holly (Ilex vomitoria)
An upright, weeping evergreen tree, producing berries for a number of birds, including the norther flicker, cedar waxwing, eastern bluebird, robin, mockingbird, and many others.
Linden Viburnum (Viburnum dilatatum ‘Michael Dodge’ and ‘Cardinal Candy’)
This large deciduous landscape shrub produces a plethora of berries for cedar waxwings, cardinals, eastern bluebirds, and more. Its broad structure also provides a protective shelter for birds. ‘Michael Dodge’ has bright orange berries, and ‘Cardinal Candy’ has bright red berries.
Hawthorn or Thornapple (Crataegus viridis ‘Winter King’)
The fruit on this small ornamental tree resembles that of the crabapple. The winter berries attract birds including grosbeak, robin, waxwing and the purple finch.
Village Church Window, Oxford.
Orchids (1890), William Watson.
Groundhog Day! February 2, 1961, above.
What sayeth the “Seer of Seers,” the “Sage of Sages”?
If the groundhog saw his shadow today, on February 2, 2013, we’ve got six more weeks of winter. But it appears Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring, and that’s what he said last year (warmest year in recorded history).
Here in the North Georgia mountains, we’ve got snow tonight….
Frequently the verger was surrounded by a protecting wall, of more or less architectural pretense, with towers and accessories conforming to the style of the period, and decorative and utilitarian fountains, benches and seats were also common accessories.
Henri IV in an Old French Garden, illustration by Blanche McManus.
Royal Palaces and Parks of France by Francis Miltoun (1910).