Category Archives: Shopping

Retail, wholesale, plants, stuff

The Rose of Saffron

The Rose of Saffron: The World’s Most Expensive Spice

by Sharee Solow

Some spices cut like a knife, but sultry saffron envelopes classic ingredients with an alluring color and scent that can be difficult to describe. Use a blindfold on your keenest gourmand and see if they can identify the taste and aroma of this ancient culinary additive! To this day, the Castilla La Mancha region of Spain, with a unique combination of soil and climate, celebrates a thriving tradition of cultivating the “rose of saffron.” With a little background information, you can savor and grow this revered spice of legendary heroes and gods. Easier to grow than vegetables, anyone with a sunny window or garden spot can have enough of this ancient luxury for cooking those golden fall dishes or perfuming a cup of tea. Sometimes called “red gold,” it shouldn’t be confused with often suggested substitutes like paprika or turmeric, there is no substitute for the real thing.

To see the entire magazine article in the most recent issue of Mediterranean Gardening and Outdoor Living, click the .pdf in my website under the tab “In the News”. Don’t worry, all four pages are in English.

Astilbe Angst Averted

Astilbe Angst Averted
The Master Gardeners who host the Springfest Flower and Garden Show in New Jersey have a lovely program with short garden articles. I was so pleased to find mine included.

Need Something New? How about a Variegated Hydrangea?

Hydrangea ‘Lemon Wave’

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Hydrangea macrophylla ‘Lemon Wave’

When you have a chartreuse garden, you tend to look for matching plants. This broken stick in a pot was in the year-end discount area of a nursery with a tag showing a yellow variegated hydrangea so I thought, perfect! My friends said that it wouldn’t bloom and would revert. Neither of those things has happened, in fact, it has been fully fabulously variegated with bright yellow to cream splashes every year and sets pale lilac trusses of flowers.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Kleim’s Hardy’

This super fragrant gardenia makes a perfect small shrub for my small garden.

This super fragrant gardenia makes a perfect small shrub for my small garden.

Gardenia jasminoides ‘Kleim’s Hardy’

When you grow up in the south, gardenias are second nature to you. Thank goodness for microclimates because I have been able to enjoy this beautifully fragrant gardenia for many years. If there is frost damage, I am careful to remove stems and leaves without losing any healthy flower buds for summer flowers. The shrub is certainly shorter than it could be a couple zones south but it is covered with flowers and glossy attractive foliage is summer nonetheless. Listed for Zones 7 to 11, I’ve been heaping snow all winter trying to cover mine for this extraordinary winter we are having so it will be interesting to see what happens come spring.

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Philadelphia Inquirer 2/7/2014

Philadelphia Inquirer 2/7/2014

The second page of the article by Virginia Smith showing my photo of Clematis on my front porch and a few thoughts I shared about favorite clematis and rose picks from my garden that have been reliable performers for years.

Pick One New Plant to Buy in Spring 2014

The hot plant I saw last year for retail customers to look for this spring was Digitalis ‘Illumination.’ The heavy stalks with masses of two-toned flowers are traffic-stopping gorgeous. It’s no wonder this was the 2012 Plant of the Year at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show and, judging by the smiles in photographs, Thomson and Morgan couldn’t be more pleased with the breeding honors. By some miracle, this Digitalis has the genus Isoplexis in its phloem so it is sterile which translates to very long-blooming, lush displays of this exotically-colored foxglove. It will be in my front planters this year and I know everyone who walks by will be drooling.

Here it is with my friend Barbara Katz, London Landscapes LLC, as we visit in the hotel lobby. She had the attention of everyone who passed by.

Digitalis Illumination with Barrbara Katz.jpeg