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For anyone interested in native plants, Delaware’s Mount Cuba Center is a fabulous resource.  I’ve been wanting to take courses there, but distance and schedules have just not allowed it.  So I was happy to learn that Mount Cuba has launched a series of online courses designed to share their wonderful education resources with audiences everywhere.  Mount Cuba Center Connect, the online education portal, describes itself as a “virtual garden of eastern North American native plants.”A

My first online course, Moss Gardening, examines the variety of moss textures, describes  landscape uses for moss and explains how to establish a moss garden.  This course will serve as a perfect complement to my next large-scale garden project – restoring the woodland border on the north side of my yard.  I dive in to the material tonight.

Here’s to the start of a new adventure!

Trillium, phlox, foamflower and other native beauties. Photo from http://www.mtcubacenter.org

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I wish I’d read Fritz Haeg’s ‘Edible Estates: Attack on the Front Lawn, 2nd Revised Edition‘ before I planted my first vegetable garden. Then, I might have been brave enough to locate the garden on my front lawn (the only spot that gets full-day sun), instead of the less-ideal side yard. I was worried that a front yard garden might look too weird to the neighbors. Not any more! The essays, case studies and beautiful photographs have inspired me to begin planning a new vegetable garden smack in the center of my front yard. Not only will my new garden be beautiful and tasty, but it will also help build community in my suburban NJ neighborhood.

I highly recommend this book if:

* You’re considering a new vegetable garden or any front yard garden; and
* You’re already an experienced gardener

It’s not a a basic ‘how to garden’ primer, but there are plenty of other books on that topic.

Now, I’m in the ‘design’ phase. But I’m eagerly anticipating spring to break ground and start planting!

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Yesterday was a clear, sunny early autumn Saturday,  perfect for  a drive along the edges of the Delaware bay, through beautiful Cumberland county farmland, to the Open House at Fairweather Gardens.   I passed by Victorian and even Colonial-era buildings in old South Jersey towns that have held on improbably through the years.  The scenery was so lovely that getting lost didn’t bother me one bit!  And the gold at the end of the rainbow – Fairweather Gardens – in the tiny town of Greenwich.  I got there with only a few minutes to spare before closing- and even then, the greenhouse were packed with fellow gardeners finding treasures for their late season plantings.  And in a stroke of good luck, I even managed to score some Rhus Aromatica Gro-low.  I’ve been looking for this shrub ever since one of my Longwood instructors recommended it to control the erosion on the stream bank.  Too rainy to plant today (but I get to stay in and watch football all afternoon!).  This coming week will be warm and sunny so I will be able to get the new plants in one afternoon after work.

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