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The Ancient Gardener's Instructor: Dispatches from Wesley Greene

July 22, 2014

From the Garden: Of Cup Plants and Rosinweed

Two of the garden giants are now in bloom.

The Cup Plant, known in Latin as Silphium perfoliatum towers nearly 12 feet tall at the back of the herbaceous border.  It is so named because the large triangular leaves are perforated by the stem, forming a cup in which water collects for the benefit of …

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July 15, 2014

In the Garden: Of Cushaws and Cantaloupes

The first cushaws of the season have now been harvested.


Robert Beverly, who recorded observations of those fruits and vegetables known to the indigenous people before the English arrived in his seminal work The History and Present State of Virginia, first published in 1705, included this description: “Their cushaws are a kind of pompion, …

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July 9, 2014

From the Garden: Fibers, Lumpers & Elecampane

Flax fibers

The flax has been judged sufficiently retted by the free separation of the fiber from the stem when broken.  The bundles of flax have now been taken out of the water vat and laid once again against a fence to dry. Within the week it should be ready for breaking which we …

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July 2, 2014

From the Garden: Of Spiderwort and Beebalm

The flax has been harvested and is now tied into bundles and laid against a fence to dry.

This is one of the most useful plants known to man; the stems give us linen thread and the seeds are pressed to yield linseed oil.  If the weather remains dry the flax will in proper condition to …

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June 25, 2014

From the Garden: Raspberry Fruit and Carrot Seed

It is now, in the longest days of summer, that the raspberries come to perfection.

We are growing two types in the garden. The Yellow Antwerp which is perhaps similar to the Antwerp raspberries Mr. Jefferson first acquired from the famed Philadelphia nurseryman John Bartram in 1798 and recorded “It has the reputation of being among …

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June 17, 2014

From the Garden: Of Celery, Shells and Horsemint

Shades over celery

The celery trench which we discussed earlier this spring for blanching the celery stalks perfectly white has been entirely filled in and the plants are now earthed up and nearly ready for harvest.

Now, as we enter the hotter months of the year, additional precautions are necessary.  Mr. Randolph explains in his …

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