The Gardener :: Editor's Letter
March 2019
   The Gardener

The buzzwords for this month’s issue are ‘cruciferous’, ‘stretched and stressed’, ‘The Long Garden’ and ‘Cheyenne Spirit’!

‘Cruciferous’ could make you think of a contagious epidemic, but it is nothing like that at all – this word describes the g
reater family of cabbages, Asian greens, broccoli and, I have to admit my least favourite, Brussels sprouts – unless it is smothered in cheese sauce I am still not convinced! We reveal how, when and why these plants should become part of your garden plan. Preparing for planting and getting the basics right will reward you with rich, wholesome, healthy cruciferous veg throughout early autumn and winter. (‘Cruciferous’ – don’t you just love that word!) ‘Stretched and stressed’ (page 34). You would be forgiven if you were thinking of chiropractic adjustments of slipped discs, but it’s quite the opposite. It’s actually the reaction plants have when they are not in ideal growing conditions. It’s a common problem, and most often found in houseplants and succulents. We give you everything you need to know to avoid this and keep them alive.

‘The Long Garden’. I’ve been privileged to have watched this garden take shape over the past few years. Our team has been patiently waiting for her to come into her own and take her place on our pages. Finally, late last year when I walked through the little side entrance to the garden, I stood and smiled – she was ready! In fact, I have never seen the garden looking so gorgeous! So here it is at last.

‘Cheyenne Spirit’. If you’re thinking along the lines of tribal hunter-gatherer or mystical traditional ceremonies passed down through the eons then you are spot on! This variety of the famed Echinacea plant (or cone flower), which is native to East and Central America, was named
after the Cheyenne tribe who roamed the prairies up until the 1600s. The Council of Forty-Four is something that stuck with me when doing a bit of reading: there were 40 headman, with four representing each of the ten Cheyenne bands, as well as another four principal chiefs.

The Cheyenne believed the world was divided into seven major levels. According to the Cheyenne, Ma’heo’o was the creator of all physical and spiritual life, including spirit-beings that took both plant and animal form. These traditions, although watered down, still exist generations later, and it’s good to know that such a tough beauty that can withstand so many varied conditions, looks and feels, took its name from this spiritual group of people. I have been taken on a journey with this plant and I know that you will too.


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