About Rhonda Nowak

Rhonda-Nowak-ContributorRhonda Nowak is a member of the Jackson County Master Gardener Association and teaches English Composition at RCC. Read more on gardening in her Literary Gardener column on Sundays in the Mail Tribune and on her blog at http://blogs.esouthernoregon.com/theliterarygardener.

Oriental Lilies: Not As Fragile As You Think – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – October 2017

“Fresh tears stood on her cheeks as does the honeydew upon a gathered Lily almost withered.” ~William Shakespeare, “Titus Andronicus,” Act III, scene 1 (1594)

This passage makes it clear that Shakespeare had closely observed and appreciated the beauty of morning dew on the petals of a lily, and he also […]

By | September 28th, 2017|Garden, Literary Gardener|0 Comments

Stories and Gardening Tips Will Flourish at the Shakespeare Garden Tour – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – September 2017

“Be you in the park about midnight at Herne’s Oak, and you shall see wonders.”
– In William Shakespeare’s “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” 1597

I’ve mentioned before that every year Jerry and I enjoy watching a performance at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, and this month I’m looking forward to […]

By | September 6th, 2017|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on Stories and Gardening Tips Will Flourish at the Shakespeare Garden Tour – by Rhonda Nowak

‘Hosta’ La Vista, August Heat! – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – August 2017

“The first week of August hangs at the very top of the summer, the top of the live-long year, like the highest seat of a Ferris wheel when it pauses in its turning.” ~Natalie Babbitt, Tuck Everlasting, 1975

I love this image of August, the month when summer’s heat […]

By | July 28th, 2017|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on ‘Hosta’ La Vista, August Heat! – by Rhonda Nowak

Oh, What a Difference a Daylily Makes – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – June 2017

And those whose blossoms curl obliquely back,
Ribbed on the sides with a bright scarlet streak,
Shalt of daylily the fair name receive,
If one whose summer’s day the beauties live…
-Rene Rapin (1621-1687)

It’s true that the beautiful daylily (Hemerocallis) lasts but one summer’s day, prompting Bishop Joseph Hall to once criticize the flower […]

By | June 4th, 2017|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on Oh, What a Difference a Daylily Makes – by Rhonda Nowak

Are you going to the Spring Garden Fair? – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – May 2017

Are you going to Scarborough Fair?
Parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme
Remember me to one who lives there
She once was a true love of mine.
~ 19th century English ballad

Simon and Garfunkel did not write “Scarborough Fair,” although the folksy musical duo’s 1966 version of the song is most well known today. […]

By | May 2nd, 2017|Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on Are you going to the Spring Garden Fair? – by Rhonda Nowak

The Tulip’s Passionate Past – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – April 2017

My heart is smit
With love so strong
I must declare,
But have no tongue.
Come to my aid, Thou Tulip Red,
Go and declare
My love instead.
~ Mandy Kirby, A Victorian Flower Dictionary, 2011

Before beginning to write about tulips, I checked my own plants to find small, green fingertips—fledgling flowers—still nestled cozily within the protective […]

By | March 29th, 2017|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on The Tulip’s Passionate Past – by Rhonda Nowak

Ground Covers to Keep Bambi Out of Shade Gardens – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – March 2017

“Everything in the forest has its season. Where one thing falls, another grows.
Maybe not what was there before, but something new and wonderful all the same.”
~Felix Salten, Bambi, A Life in the Woods, 1923

Twenty years before Walt Disney produced what has become a classic animated film, […]

By | February 28th, 2017|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on Ground Covers to Keep Bambi Out of Shade Gardens – by Rhonda Nowak

Let Us Sow Some Lettuce This Month – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – February 2017

I eat a lot of salad, so I derive particular pleasure from growing some of the lettuces I consume. There are so many varieties to choose from: crispheads, butterheads, looseleafs and Romaines, not to mention fancy designer greens such as endive and arugula.

In fact, all of our modern lettuces (Lactuca […]

By | January 31st, 2017|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on Let Us Sow Some Lettuce This Month – by Rhonda Nowak

Keep Gardening All Winter by Growing Plants Indoors – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – December 2016/January 2017

“At Christmas, I no more desire a rose Than wish a snow in May’s newfangled mirth; But like each thing that in season grows.”
–  William Shakespeare, “Love’s Labor Lost,” 1598

Oh, Willy, lighten up! Growing flowering plants in winter keeps gardeners gardening and brightens up our […]

By | November 30th, 2016|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on Keep Gardening All Winter by Growing Plants Indoors – by Rhonda Nowak

Autumn is for Layering – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – November 2016

“Using the proper layering techniques is essential for providing necessary warmth and comfort during the chilly days of fall and winter.”  ~ Miss Rich, fashionista and blogger, January 2013

When I moved to Southern Oregon from Hawaii six years ago, I didn’t own a pair of closed-toed shoes, let alone a […]

By | October 24th, 2016|Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on Autumn is for Layering – by Rhonda Nowak

Symposium Set to Fuel Winter Gardening Dreams – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – October 2016

“Anyone who thinks gardening begins in the spring and ends in fall is missing the best part of the whole year, for gardening begins in January with the dream.” ~ Josephine Nuese, “The Country Garden,” 1970

For some gardeners, wintertime means growing cold weather crops or enriching garden soil with cover […]

By | October 4th, 2016|Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on Symposium Set to Fuel Winter Gardening Dreams – by Rhonda Nowak

When Less is More: Tips for Garden Watering – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – September 2016

“Water is the vehicle of Nature.” ~Leonardo da Vinci, “Codex Atlanticus” c.a. 1600

The great “Renaissance Man,” Leonardo da Vinci, was obsessed with water. Over and over again he drew water—flowing, falling, whirling, raging, destroying. Da Vinci’s series of black and white sketches, called “The Deluge,” depicts a torrential apocalypse, perhaps […]

By | August 31st, 2016|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on When Less is More: Tips for Garden Watering – by Rhonda Nowak

A Gardener’s Take on Shakespeare – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – August 2016

Here’s flowers for you;
Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram;
The marigold, that goes to bed wi’ the sun
And with him rises weeping: these are flowers
Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age.
 ~ William Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale, 1609

Every summer, my husband, Jerry, and I attend a […]

By | July 26th, 2016|Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on A Gardener’s Take on Shakespeare – by Rhonda Nowak

How Plants Deal with Heat – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – July 2016

“Heat, ma’am! It was so dreadful here that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones.”
~ Wit and Wisdom of the Rev. Sydney Smith, 1856

Reverend Sydney Smith (1771-1845) was an English humorist and writer who became a clergyman because […]

By | June 29th, 2016|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on How Plants Deal with Heat – by Rhonda Nowak

Capture the Magic of Growing Container Garden Crops – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – June 2016

“Gardening in a small space shouldn’t restrict your ideas…Accept the challenge and discover new possibilities!”
~Philippa Pearson, Small Space Garden Ideas, 2014

When I was a little girl, I created a sitting area inside my closet and filled it with pillows, a lamp, books and toys. I called it my “roo”—not quite […]

By | May 31st, 2016|Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on Capture the Magic of Growing Container Garden Crops – by Rhonda Nowak

Growing Pains in the Garden: What Our Plants are Telling Us – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – May 2016

“If you really want to draw close to your garden, you must remember that you are dealing with a being that lives and dies, like the human body with its poor flesh, its illnesses at times repugnant. One must not always see it dressed up for a ball, manicured and […]

By | May 1st, 2016|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on Growing Pains in the Garden: What Our Plants are Telling Us – by Rhonda Nowak

Language of the Flowers: A Long Journey Traveled by Plants and People – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – April 2016

Once I spoke the language of the flowers,
Once I understood each word the caterpillar said,
Once I smiled in secret at the gossip of the starlings,
And shared a conversation with the housefly
in my bed.
Once I heard and answered all the questions
of the crickets,
And joined the crying of each falling, dying
flake of […]

By | March 30th, 2016|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on Language of the Flowers: A Long Journey Traveled by Plants and People – by Rhonda Nowak

Drowning the Shamrock and Other Things Irish – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – March 2016

For each petal on the shamrock this brings a wish your way. Good health, good luck, and happiness for today and every day. ~Irish blessing

According to my family tree, I’m one-sixteenth Irish. One day, I’d like to visit the “land of my people;” however, until then, I’ll wear green and […]

By | March 2nd, 2016|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on Drowning the Shamrock and Other Things Irish – by Rhonda Nowak

A Tribute to Valentine’s Day and Sexy Garden Flowers – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – February 2016

“Plants and flowers aren’t simply pretty things to look at. They also have the ability to arouse our senses. They can be incredibly exciting – and erotic.” ~Sonia Day, The Untamed Garden, 2011

February we celebrate Valentine’s Day, le jour de l’amour, so perhaps there’s no better time for gardeners to […]

By | January 28th, 2016|Featured Stories, Garden|Comments Off on A Tribute to Valentine’s Day and Sexy Garden Flowers – by Rhonda Nowak

A Checklist for Winter Gardeners – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – Dec 2015/Jan 2016

“From December to March, there are for many of us three gardens – the garden outdoors, the garden of pots and bowls in the house, and the garden of the mind’s eye.” ~ Katherine S. White, Onward and Upward in the Garden, 1979

I found this quote in the Garden […]

By | December 1st, 2015|Garden, Now|1 Comment

Peek at Some Pretty Winter Bloomers – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – November 2015

In the the winter of 1849, Amelia Bloomer published her first edition of The Lily, a newspaper devoted to women’s issues in which she advocated for less-restrictive female garments. More than three decades later, members of the Rational Dress Society daringly suggested that no woman should have to wear more […]

By | October 23rd, 2015|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on Peek at Some Pretty Winter Bloomers – by Rhonda Nowak

Let Your Imagination Bloom at the Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens Symposium – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – October 2015

“Half the interest of the garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.” –Mrs. C.W. Earle, Pot-Pourri from a Surrey Garden, 1898

During summertime, when I’m working hard in the garden to get ahead of the insects and weeds, I don’t often feel particularly imaginative. It’s mostly during the relatively “off […]

By | September 30th, 2015|Garden, Literary Gardener, Now|Comments Off on Let Your Imagination Bloom at the Winter Dreams/Summer Gardens Symposium – by Rhonda Nowak

September: Time to Catch a Second Wind for Gardening – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – September 2015

Departing summer hath assumed
An aspect tenderly illumed,
The gentlest look of spring;
That calls from yonder leafy shade
Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,
A timely carolling.
~William Wordsworth
September, 1819

If your enthusiasm and energy for gardening has waned from this summer’s triple-digit temperatures and smoky haze, then September may be just […]

By | August 27th, 2015|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on September: Time to Catch a Second Wind for Gardening – by Rhonda Nowak

Jackson County Master Gardener Programs and Events for August 2015

Here are other Jackson County Master Gardener services offered in August 2015. All are at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, 569 Hanley Road, Central Point.

Why Is My Tree Dying?–Tuesday, August 4, from 7:00-9:00pm: Max Bennett, OSU Extension Service Forester, will offer information about tree care, causes of tree health problems, and how to […]

By | July 29th, 2015|Garden|Comments Off on Jackson County Master Gardener Programs and Events for August 2015

Uncover the Secret: Demonstration Gardens at the Extension – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – August 2015 – The Demonstration Gardens at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center

“And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.”–Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden, 1911

Speaking of secret gardens, did you know there are 20 demonstration gardens just five minutes from downtown Jacksonville? It’s true! […]

By | July 29th, 2015|Featured Stories, Garden|Comments Off on Uncover the Secret: Demonstration Gardens at the Extension – by Rhonda Nowak

Jackson County Master Gardener Programs and Events for July 2015

The Jackson County Master Gardener Association will host “The Lazy Gardener” from 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 8, at the Southern Oregon Research and Extension Center, 569 Hanley Road, Central Point. If you think gardening is too much work, Master Gardener Bob Reynolds will surprise you with tricks he’s learned from more than a half […]

By | July 3rd, 2015|Garden|Comments Off on Jackson County Master Gardener Programs and Events for July 2015

Take a Magical Ride along the Southern Oregon Lavender Trail – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – July 2015

“I judge that the flowers of Lavender quilted in a cap and worn are good for all diseases of the head…and that they comfort the brain very well.” ~ William Turner, New Herball, 1551

Many of the students I teach at Rogue Community College tell me they hope to use their […]

By | June 29th, 2015|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on Take a Magical Ride along the Southern Oregon Lavender Trail – by Rhonda Nowak

Practice Patience by Pinching Off – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – June 2015

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”  ~ May Sarton, Plant Dreaming Deep, 1968

I agree that patience is becoming a lost art in our hectic, fast-food, fast-everything lives where […]

By | May 27th, 2015|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on Practice Patience by Pinching Off – by Rhonda Nowak

Plan Ahead to Entice Bees and Butterflies to Your Garden – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – May 2015

“If the English language made any sense, ‘lackadaisical’ would have something to do with a shortage of flowers.” ~Doug Larson, columnist

My English Composition students are often overwhelmed by the word choices they face when they write an essay. It’s the same with me, as a gardener. When I pour over […]

By | April 25th, 2015|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on Plan Ahead to Entice Bees and Butterflies to Your Garden – by Rhonda Nowak

2015 Spring Garden Fair: A Look Behind the Scenes – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener – April 2015

“And the Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
Rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.”
~Percy Shelley (1792-1822)

For thousands of local gardeners, spring does not merely arise but leaps forth the minute they step into the Spring […]

By | March 31st, 2015|Event News, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on 2015 Spring Garden Fair: A Look Behind the Scenes – by Rhonda Nowak

The Literary Gardener: The ‘Truth’ about Chrysanthemums – by Rhonda Nowak

Contemporary autumn gardens are greatly brightened by the sundry colors of cultivated chrysanthemums (C. X morifolium); however, their name comes from the Greek words ‘chrysos’ (gold) and ‘anthos’ (flower) because native species in China were just yellow. For a time, only the nobility in Old China were allowed to grow the sacred chrysanthemum, and the […]

By | October 14th, 2014|Featured Stories, Garden, Literary Gardener|Comments Off on The Literary Gardener: The ‘Truth’ about Chrysanthemums – by Rhonda Nowak