Cornell Plantations Winter Garden

winter garden

Living where I do, you’d think I’d pay more attention to planting more things that look really good the other six months of the year. I’m always reminded of my shortcomings when I visit the Mullestein Winter Garden at Cornell Plantations.

While its ‘bones’ are way beyond my means, I would do well to focus on planting more evergreens of various shapes, sizes and hues, as well as more colorful-twigged trees and shrubs.

winter garden

The basic structure of the garden is a large circular area divided into four massive raised beds with a millstone in the center.
winter garden

There are nice views down the axes, but the plantings still have a very informal feel despite the hardscape’s symmetry.
winter garden

Nearby plantings look pretty good too, especially captured when the sun pokes through the clouds just before setting.
winter garden

winter garden

Botanical illustration, organic gardening distance learning courses

First, my usual disclaimer: I work in the Department of Horticulture at Cornell University, the sponsor of these courses.

botanical illustration by Marcia Eames-SheavlyIntroduction to Botanical Illustration
Course starts Jan. 19.

If you’ve ever wanted to become proficient at illustrating what you see in your garden, this 6-week online course will teach you the basics of rendering plants in pencil and ink.

The instructor, my friend and co-worker Marcia Eames Sheavly, is an accomplished artist who also teaches our popular Art of Horticulture course, recently featured by Julie over at The Human Flower Project.

More info about the course. | View the full syllabus.

Organic gardening
Course starts Jan. 5

This course is designed to help experienced gardeners broaden their understanding of organic techniques for all kinds of gardens. It covers one topic during each of the 8 weeks, including vegetables, fruits, flowers and ornamentals, and lawns, stresses soil health and its impact on plant health, and explores tried-and-true and cutting-edge techniques. The course leader is Marguerite Wells, a hands-on horticulturist if there ever was one, and the proprietor of Mother Plants, a green-roof plant supplier.

More info and course registration.

Marguerite also teaches an online plant propagation course that is currently in session. If you want to be notified of upcoming courses, visit the Cornell Department of Horticulture’s distance learning courses website.

2 new books

Liberty_Hyde_BaileyI usually like to have read books before recommending them. But if you’re looking for stocking-stuffers for your gardening friends (or to add to your own wish list), here are two that I suspect will be winners:

Liberty Hyde Bailey: Essential Agrarian and Environmental Writings – As the promo copy says, “Before Wendell Berry and Aldo Leopold, there was the horticulturalist [sic] and botanist Liberty Hyde Bailey.” Even though I walk by lecture halls and conservatories named for the pioneering Cornell horticulturist every day, I’ll admit to having not read much of his writing. I think this will be a good place for me to catch up, considering these are the best from his prolific writings. (See this classic Life photo to understand just how much writing Bailey did before the advent of the digital age.)

Planthropology: The Myths, Miracles, and Mysteries of My Garden Favorites. – Let’s just say that I’ve never, ever been disappointed by a Ken Druse book. His photos and writing are top-shelf. I expect the content here will rise above a mere collection of plant trivia to deliver a level of insight and beauty that I’ve come to expect from Ken. Read Ken’s GuestRant over at Garden Rant on the backstory of titling the book and more.

Here’s a promotional video for the book: