About Nancy J. Ondra

Nan gardens on 4 acres in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. In the firm belief that every garden ought to have a pretentious-sounding (or at least pretentious-looking) name, she refers to her home grounds as "Hayefield." There, she experiments with a wide variety of plants and planting styles, from cottage gardens and color-based borders to managed meadows, naturalistic plantings, and veggies--all under the watchful eyes of her two pet alpacas, Daniel and Duncan.

Author Archive | Nancy J. Ondra

What’s in a Name? Whence They Came

Oryza sativa 'Red Dragon'
Oryza sativa ‘Red Dragon’

Fun, fanciful, or even downright silly, cultivar names often offer some clues as to what a plant might look like. If you want a hint as to where that plant might grow best, though, the botanical name is a better place to look. I’m going to save specific place names for another post, but for this one, I’ve collected a bunch of epithets that relate to general plant habitats.

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What’s in a Name? Uses, Flavor, and Fragrance

This post is now available at Hayefield:


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What’s in a Name? Form and Function

Linum perenne ‘Sapphire’
Linum perenne ‘Sapphire’

Ages ago, I started the What’s in a Name series with an intro post (Part the First) and several color-themed posts: Through the Rainbow I, Through the Rainbow II, and White, Black, and Shades of Gray. I recently ran across the file I’d been keeping of interesting botanical names and realized that there’s plenty of great material left to explore. Granted, much nomenclature stuff clearly strays into the geek zone. It’s  unlikely that you’ll ever need to know that the specific epithet amblyodon – as in Gaillardia amblyodon (maroon blanketflower) means blunt-toothed, or that skirrhobasis – as in Aphanostephus skirrhobasis (Arkansas lazy daisy) – means hard-based. But there are many other prefixes, suffixes, and epithets that can be more useful to know: in this case, if you’re looking for plants with certain form- and habit-related traits.

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GGW Picture This Contest News

Good news, Picture This fans: you now have extra time to get ready for our next theme: Macro in a Mason Jar, judged by photographer and fellow blogger David Perry. Instead of running the contest in November, we’re going to hold it in January. So, if you haven’t had time to experiment with the technique yet, you have the next two months to try it out. The technique is perfect for this time of year, because you don’t need perfect weather or lots of fresh flowers or foliage: a single, richly colored fall leaf or one perfect late bloom can work just fine. Seeds, fruits, bits of bark, and other natural materials are also fair game. For more details, check out my experiment post or David’s original posts here and here.

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Picture This Contest Winners for October 2010

Early August Annuals

Ready for the results? Here’s what this month’s judge, Craig Cramer of Ellis Hollow, had to say…

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