Archive for June, 2008

Right Hand, Left Hand

I’m extremely fortunate to live at Fordhook Farm, the Burpee family redoubt, where we carry on all of our basic ornamental and vegetable research, and put on our summer open houses, the next one being Saturday, July 12th. A 19th century success story, the Burpees were a diverse clan including illustrious fathers, moms, daughters and [...]

New America

While visiting Trenton recently, I saw—and realized—that the US is at the threshold of a social reconstruction, similar to the one that occurred from the 1870s to 1920s when millions of immigrants arrived. They were profoundly different from the dominant Anglo-Americans.  A painfully constructed nation, founded by expatriates and led through a civil war by their descendants, was flooded with penniless Germans, Italians, Russians, Poles, Greeks, Portuguese and Chinese.  Emma…

The Garden Economy

A recent New York state lottery radio commercial bragged that it is “spending billions to educate millions”.  I did a double take, thinking I misheard.  Both liberals and conservatives should find this inadvertent revelation depressing.  It seems that no one is concerned with productivity anymore, that it has become a “bad word”.  However, gardeners know that you spend a little to get a lot.

In the same vein, the current mortgage…

Central Park

In New York City recently, I was stunned by the majestic beauty of Central Park.  In fact, it’s overwhelming when scrutinized.  Therefore, it has become something like a giant dynamo of the city’s unconscious.  It reminded me of Norman O. Brown’s comment about how we are unconscious of our bodies, how that distinguishes being human.  [...]

Spring Versus Summer

Most garden perennials flower in spring after the low light season.  However, garden annuals bloom during the summer, which is not typical of native plants in North America.  Mainly tropical in origin, bedding plants have been the focus of breeding since the residential boom of the 1950s.  Annual cultivars descend from plants found near the equator, the only frost-free part of the world.  These heat and light lovers…

Last Frost Meltdown

Without naming names, I list some “average last frost dates” published on the internet by reputable gardening organizations.               Philadelphia            April 14 April 15 April 29 May 5 May 7             Allentown, PA May 5   May 19             Wilmington, DE April 13 (?) April [...]

Huntington Hartford, R.I.P.

If someone loses his father at 10, goes to boarding school, graduates from Harvard with distinction, serves in Asia during World War II, inherits a lot of money, makes ambitious plans to contribute to society rather than fritter away a trust fund, reaches 97 and passes away, he can be sure he will be pilloried and ridiculed in the obituary colums.

Especially if he also:

    1)    invests in the Caribbean with…