Author Archives: Ellen Cool

Recycling Christmas Greens

Wreathing the Beds Greens After Christmas A second harvest purpose for the branches of Christmas trees and other holiday greens is to use them as decorative wreathing for your otherwise somewhat bare perennial beds. …… One might choose to lay evergreen branches on some beds just to look wonderful through the winter, but these branches […]

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Winter Preparation

 Anticipating the End of the Year Winter Preparation Some More Things They Never Tell You. Save the final blowing and cleaning of your diverse planted beds until after the ground is cold hardened. For the thorough cleaning of beds in which perennial and self sowing plants reside, it is safer for those inhabitants if you […]

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Landscape Design Advisories: Chapter 5 / Shaping Your Landscape

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Landscape Design Advisories: Chapter 5 Shaping Your Landscape Seeing the Shapes The details of whatever you will be making are often best sorted out functionally and visually where they will come into being. Whether regarding stone projects, wooden structures, garden bed shapes or individual tree and plant placements, opportunities and problems will show themselves with […]

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Stone Facts and Stories

Stone Facts and Stories What is the difference between a ‘Rock’, a ‘Stone’, and ‘Granite’ anyway? Saying bedrock, rock, stone or granite is like referring to the same Ornithological acquaintance in conversation as a bird,  a songbird or, more particularly, a Sparrow. Bedrock and Rock are terms used to refer to large deposits of naturally […]

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Potatoes and Rocks on Long Island

The Rock who Tried to be a Potato When you hand harvest potatoes in Eastern Long Island you soon learn that the sandy earth coats the stones which also inhabit the earth there so thoroughly that, before washing, the two entities are often virtually indistinguishable. Their weight difference is the only clue sometimes. If you […]

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Long Blooming Plants: Thalictrum rochebruneanum and Other Fabulous Flower Fireworks

Thalictrum rochebruneanum is a Star for the Fourth of July. You can expect Lavender Flowered Fireworks, every year…. Sometimes called ‘Meadow Rue’, or ‘Lavender Mist’, this plant is elegantly vertical. When in bloom, each individual is like a 6’ magic wand, with delicate foliage and perfect lavender sparkles, which fluff out at the top in […]

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Volunteer Vegetables : Edible, Ornamental…and they come back every year.

Certain edible plants return each year, and some are easy to have in the garden. These I call volunteer vegtables since they so willingly come back in Zone 5B. Red Leaf Shiso = Perilla frutescens crispa I first met the red leaf Japanese Perilla, also known as Shiso, at a supermarket in a plastic bag. […]

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Long Blooming Hardy Perennial Plants : Prizewinning Series

A First Prize in the category of Longest Blooming, Hardy Perennial Self – Sowers goes to: Corydalis lutea  and to Corydalis lutea alba…… Easy, long flowering friends can be found among the many perennial choices in the plant world. Among the handsomest of hardy, long blooming plants, these two enthusiastic Corydalines are willing to volunteer […]

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Happy Valentine’s Day……. Love, Earth

 A Heartful Potato  Plants are not exactly friends, but they’re friendly. This potato was born in a heart shape. It was harvested last year in Newtown, Connecticut at the Sticks and Stones Farm. This farm of  moss and stone is a living gallery of ideas and instruction on how to design, build and live with […]

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Reusing Antique Granites

Some of the handsomest granites for residential landscape use are those which were quarried and worked by stone cutters and masons a hundred years ago or more. With the wear of use and coloration from a century of  exposure to the elements, these stones have a patina of age. The granite bedrock formed around 4 […]

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Granite Splitting for Reuse

Reshaping Granite for Reuse …Sometimes the shapes of the old pieces of granite one comes across are not precisely the dimensions needed, and this is where the splitting illustrated below can be helpful. This curbstone was 18″ or so wide and about 8″ thick, as they often were, and an 8″ x 8″ post was […]

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Halloween Orange

An organised colony of mini Pumpkins for You. … Pumpkins in Kindergarten, early 1800s.

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Long Blooming Perennial Plants : Prizewinning Series

Long Blooming Perennial Plants : Prizewinning Series A First Prize in the category of Longest Blooming, Best Standing Perennial Self Sowers goes to: Linaria purpurea (purple) and to Linaria purpurea Canon J. Went (pink) Linaria purpurea Canon J. Went The pink form of this Linaria is named in honor of Canon J. Went (ecumenical), and […]

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Open Gardens in Marblehead 8/13/2011

Ellen Cool’s Garden at 19 Circle Street and two other Very Special Marblehead Gardens will be participating in the Open Days Program to Benefit The Garden Conservancy and The Marblehead Conservancy At any of the addresses, you just pay $5.00  to go in. We hope that you will bring your questions, enjoy the landscapes and […]

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Designing Your Views: Landscape Design Advisories / Chapter 6

Chapter  6 Designing Your Views You can lead the eye wherever you want to. Control Your views. Work around existing features Make whatever you add complementary to what you already like and will keep in the place. Plan to erase whatever does not please you. When you are designing your views, through your design, you […]

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Euphorbia, Beautiful but Sometimes Dangerous

EUPHORBIA WARNING!!!   BE CAREFUL OF THE SAP !!! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ When you trim ANY Euphorbia variety – and there are many lovely ones among the 2000 or so species in the Genus – Be Careful not to get the latex like sap that bleeds from cut stems onto your hands or face ……and Oh my Goodness, […]

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Long Blooming, Self Sowing, Comeback Plants

Prizewinning Self Sowing Plants : Annuals and Perennials .Longblooming Comeback Plants for Zone 5B It is a good feeling to have some favorite plants that you know are So Happy in your place that they will be coming back of their own accord, year after year, through generations of new individuals.  Some kinds of plants […]

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Snowy Valentines

Embossed Earth ……. Two touching stones in green embossed earth, moss joined each warm summer – Now in snow blanketing. Comforted. Soft impressions of themselves together, Bonded forms in a wide landscape of white. ……. …… …..……….

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Snow, Brooms and Squirrels

The Old Worn Corn Broom   A friendly old Corn broom is indispensable for sweeping snow off trees and shrubs in the winter and for freeing frisbees, balls and balloons in the other seasons. Its bristles softened and shortened by time, usually on an angle from all the corner work it has tried to do […]

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Landscape Design in Snow

DRAWING IN YOUR SNOW Taking time over the drawing phase of your landscape making journey, whether in snow, on sand, lawn or paper, will strongly influence the quality of the choices you will ultimately make in the design of the things for your landscape. Drawing in snow is a pleasant way to get thoughts going […]

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Winter Arrangements, Indoors and Out

In my landscapes, evergreen branches that will need to be pruned anyway wait for that attention until I can use their lovely offcuts for decorative winter purposes. …………. You will see your tree and shrub elements alone in the winter, when there are fewer other plants around to distract you. It is a good time […]

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Dear Readers

* In the Spirit of Thanksgiving I wanted to thank you all for your thoughtful comments. They do encourage the work. I don’t answer comments because if I did I would never have time to write my articles, but I do think about the things you say, and my writing will reflect your input. Please […]

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Your Ecotome

ECOTOME This self describing noun is not much in current use, yet it would seem to me by its etymological origins that it could usefully be incorporated when referring to ones own local ecological context. The ‘local ecotome’ would refer to the surrounding area of which you are a part, the one whose ecological realities […]

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Fall Tending

Good Garden Housekeeping Fall tending in your garden will help all the winter compositions to show their best. There should be nothing to detract from the pictures, even in this season. Most herbaceous plants are trimmed down close to the earth now, but any that still look nice, by flowering or being evergreen, perhaps by […]

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November Nor’easter

………………………………………………………………. * The small grove of Maples I pass each late night Today were moon – lit Cross black blue and star white. …………… Nor’easter behind them, Their yellow leaf  hands Waved wildly at me, Those last leaves of the stand. ……………… Soon to be fallen, tonight was so dear, “Till next year” we said […]

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