At this time of year I love to peruse cooking magazines in pursuit of fresh takes on holiday side dishes or a new twist for everyday standards. It is amazing how frequently thyme is a primary ingredient. This very versatile herb adds depth to savory dishes and cuts the...

The holiday season is officially in full swing.  Many folks may celebrate by popping a cork or two. 

Cork grows on trees. The cork layer covers the bark protecting the trees from heat and fire. But most cork used commercially comes from one kind of tree, the cork...

Would  Turkey Day seem complete without  cranberry sauce? Whether we love it or loathe it, most of us will not be without this uniquely American fare come Thursday. 

The cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpan, is native to the acid bogs of eastern North America. Nat...

Few topics have sparked more discussion among my old garden club buddies than the age-old conundrum: What is the difference between sweet potatoes and yams?

Grocers use both terms when labeling bins of fresh tubers, but I doubt many of us have eaten real yams. Yams, Dio...

In Flanders fields the poppies blow  

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below….

This poem was written by Canadian John McCrae shortly before he was killed fighting on the wes...

The olive harvest is in full swing. It began in late September as the dark green fruit matured to a light green. All olives will eventually ripen to black or dark red. Picking the ripe olives in December marks the end of the harvest season.

This is a very labor-intensi...

Many years ago I read a magazine article about a woman who tore out her two-year-old professionally-planned landscape because she had to have nothing but black and green flowers. At the time I thought that she must have more money than sense. The tincture of time has n...

Does any flower trigger more impulse buying than the tulip? I confess to perusing every colorful catalog that lands in my mailbox. When I lived in Nebraska, I indulged in a personal “tulip mania” every year. When everyone was weary of winter’s ceaseless grip the sight...

No topic leads to enthusiastic discussion at a rose club meeting more than dealing with deer. Both members and visiting speakers share tales of battles with Bambi, what works and what does not. Though deer stay out of my fenced yard, preferring those unenclosed landsca...

Tomorrow is the last day of Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. The festival began in 1810 as a celebration of the crown prince’s marriage and has continued every year since. In Munich the 17-day event begins in September and ends the first Sunday in October. About six mil...

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