Friday, October 9, 2009


I was really looking forward to growing some Scarlet Runner Beans next year, based on the ones we saved from the John Brown’s House. (Close up at right). They are simply gorgeous. I was imagining some redone bean dish with that purply, mottled appearance, paired with some contrasting color combination to wow fellow MG’s and folks at Church potlucks. No such luck.

Barbara Damrosh, who writes a weekly (every Thursday) “Cook’s Garden” column for the Home Section of the Washington Post has this to say:

…the anthocyanins that account for the gorgeous pinkness dissolve when cooked, and the beans, though still fine to eat, fade to a lavender-gray
How disappointing. I think I'll grow them anyway.

The Home section is also host to a weekly column by Scott Aker, a horticulturalist at the National Arboretum, who this week has some advice about preventing spindly mums.

He's also doing his part to overcome the "secret" part of the "Best Kept Secret", known as Cooperative Extension. From the same column:

Names vary slightly from place to place. Sometimes it is the Cooperative Extension Service, sometimes Cooperative Extension, and other times simply Extension. Whatever the name, it is always associated with the land-grant university system in each state and the District.

The Extension Service's Master Gardener program provides trained volunteers to advise home gardeners across the country. There are active Master Gardener programs throughout the Washington area, providing plant clinics, lectures and demonstration gardens.
Our own Elmer G. has been a volunteer at the National Arboretum for years. You can sign up to visit his fabulously landscaped surroundings in Shippensburg by taking the November 7th class of Principles of Landscape Design.

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