Growing Paperwhites That Won’t Flop Over


paperwhites3A problem with paperwhites, as with many bulbs planted in pots, is that they grow quite tall and all of their weight is at the top.

This information is reprinted from the website. I have tried it and it works.

paperwhitesResearchers in the Flowerbulb Research Program at Cornell University have come up with an unusual solution to this top heavy problem: Alcohol.

When paperwhite bulbs are grown in a dilute solution of alcohol, the plants reach a height of 1/3 to ½ their normally expected growth – but the flowers remain normal size and last just as long.

Why they thought of giving their paperwhites a nip, I don’t know. But it appears that the resulting water stress on the plants is just enough to stunt their growth, but not interfere otherwise.

How to Stunt Paperwhites with Alcohol

  1. Pot your paperwhites in stones and water, as you normally would.
  2. Once the roots begin growing and the green shoot on top reaches about 1-2″, pour off the existing water.
  3. Replace the water with a solution of 4 – 6% alcohol, as described below.
  4. Continue to use the alcohol solution for future watering.

You should see results in a few days.

How to Make the Alcohol Watering Solution

  • The alcohol content needs to be less than 10%, or your plants will overdose and severe growth problems will occur. Many liquors are only labeled as “proof”, not percentage of alcohol. Don’t confuse the two. To determine what percentage alcohol you have, divide the proof in half, So an 86 proof bourbon is 43% alcohol.
  • You can use any hard liquor (vodka, tequila, whiskey…) or rubbing alcohol. Don’t use wine or beer because they are too high in sugar.
  • Check the bottle for the percentage alcohol.
  • You will have to do some math to get the different concentrations of alcohol down to 4-6%.To convert your booze to 5% alcohol, just divide the percentage alcohol by 5 and then subtract 1. That will tell you how many parts water to mix with your 1 part alcohol. Ex: 40 divided by 5 = 8: 8 minus 1 = 7… 7 parts water to 1 part alcohol.Or simply use this chart:

    Convert Existing Alcohol to a 5% Solution for Watering

    10% Alcohol = 1 Part Water to 1 Part Alcohol
    15% Alcohol = 2 Parts Water to 1 Part Alcohol
    20% Alcohol = 3 Parts Water to 1 Part Alcohol
    25% Alcohol = 4 Parts Water to 1 Part Alcohol
    30% Alcohol = 5 Parts Water to 1 Part Alcohol
    35% Alcohol = 6 Parts Water to 1 Part Alcohol
    40% Alcohol = 7 Parts Water to 1 Part Alcohol

And so on.

10 Easy Thanksgiving Tabletop Ideas With Plants

Here are 10 of our favorite tabletop ideas for Thanksgiving, using plants and fruits. For how-to instructions, click here to go to the Womanswork Pinterest board. Click on individual images to be taken to their source.


Cranberries in glass container with votive candle in center. (We used a hand blown glass by Jill Reynolds, glass artist, with a pleasingly irregular shape, for added interest). Dorian Winslow, Womanswork


Erin Boyle, Gardenista (click on photo to be taken to Gardenista website)


Sunday Suppers + Kinfolk (click on image to be taken to website)

DIY Cotton Garland, detail 7, by Justine Hand for Gardenista

Holiday bough with cotton. (Click image for step by step instructions on Gardenista website)


Apple place cards. No instructions needed.

steal this look thanksgiving tabletop from the garden l Gardenista

Persimmons with bay branches and painted walnuts. Can substitute other fruit and other greenery foraged locally. Click on the image for how to instructions at

Erin Boyle, Gardenista

Dried fruit garland. Click on image for how to instructions from Erin Boyle, Gardenista. This is the 7th image in a string of ideas. (Click on this image and go to the 7th image.)


Via No instructions needed


Cotton bolls, bay branches and figs. Via SouthernLiving. com



Why We Love Arnica!


Arnica flower

The yellow, daisy like flowers of the Arnica plant  make a cheerful addition to the herb or perennial garden. A member of the sunflower family, Arnica is easy to grow and quite adaptable,  preferring moist but well drained soil, but tolerant of  both clay and sandy soils, partial or full sun. It is hardy to all temperate zones.

While the European species, Arnica montana, is considered the official species and most often used in commercial products, there are 28 North American native species of arnica. In my Northern New Jersey herb garden, I  grow Arnica chammisonis, a native variety known as Meadow Arnica,  which I started easily from seed. If you live at a higher altitude, you may have luck growing Arnica montana (Mountain Arnica).


Womanswork Arnica Muscle Rub in Apothecary Style Aluminum Tubes

For more information about growing arnica, visit:

Regarded by herbalists as one of the best remedies for external healing, Arnica has been used since the 15th century to treat bruises, sprains, strains and torn ligaments, as well as inflammation and pain due to arthritis, rheumatism and similar conditions.

Today Arnica is used topically in over-the-counter creams, salves and ointments that are formulated to treat muscle pain and spasms from sports injuries, arthritis, bruises and muscle and joint inflammation. It can also be taken internally, but only in very small homeopathic doses.

Arnica is an active ingredient in Womanswork Arnica and Peppermint Muscle Rub. I infuse freshly dried Arnica montana flowers in pure sunflower oil for six weeks. Oil infusions have traditionally been used as a way of adhering beneficial ingredients onto the skin. Because the oil softens the keratin (outer) layer of the  skin, it allows for easy absorption of the soothing herb.  


Liz Scholl (left) at Dingle Hill Flowers & Herbs

Click here to read about Dingle Hill Flowers & Herbs, the farm where some of the herbs we use for Womanswork after gardening skin care products are sourced.

This blog post was written by Liz Scholl, Womanswork Master Herbalist. Her formulas are exclusive to Womanswork.

Farmer-Florists Bring Flowers Fresh From the Farm


Stephanie Hall is part of a growing trend in the florist trade to source flowers locally and in season. Her farm in North Carolina, Sassafras Fork Farm, has a two- acre plot dedicated to approximately 70 different varieties of cut flowers. Says Hall about the farmer-florist movement, “It’s a stark contrast to the conventionally grown, imported flowers of the commercial floral trade.” Stephanie-Hall-Womanswork-Blog

Stephanie grew up in Chapel Hill, the daughter of a UNC professor.  In 2011, she and her (just retired) father decided to start Sassafras Fork Farm, named for the native tree. The 150 acre plot of land had been in the family since 2000, an old tobacco farm that had not been in production for over a decade when they purchased it.

As soon as Stephanie started growing flowers she felt a deep connection to them. Says Hall, “There is a nostalgia I feel when I’m picking and arranging them that connects me to the past.” The growing season in NC is long, from April to the end of October, and she has been able to extend it further through the use of high tunnels and a passive solar greenhouse for seed starting.  Only two months, December and January, are off limits to her, without a heated greenhouse.Stephanie-Hall-Sassafras-Womanswork-Blog

As a result of her love of growing flowers, the farm’s priorities have changed.  Instead of focusing on a great diversity of produce, there’s much more focus on flowers, which they call the “Petals” part of the business.  Her father spends more of his time cultivating year round pastures for the cows, sheep and chickens, raised for grassfed meat, eggs and wool. But he also helps her by foraging for wild greenery, such as sassafras, wild blueberry, ferns, millets, sourwood, honeysuckle and river oats, which she uses abundantly in her arrangements.

Sassafras-Farm-WomansworkStephanie credits two formative events with helping her connect with others who share her passion for flowers, and giving her the confidence to stay the course. “Until I joined ASCFG [Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers], “I used to think flowers would only be a small part of our business, but now I feel otherwise,” says Stephanie. At ASCFG conferences she is reminded that there are growers all across the country like her, who are making a career of growing flowers.

The other thing that made a huge difference was meeting Erin Benzakein, founder of Floret in Washington’s Skagit Valley. In 2014, Stephanie attended Erin’s first “Farmer-Florist” workshop, and in 2015 she was invited to help with two workshops there. She says, “Through Erin I found the importance of cultivating beauty within my life as well as all the lives our flowers touch.”  At the workshop she learned about intensive growing methods, producing more high quality blooms in a smaller space, seed starting, compost tea, marketing strategies and floral design skills.

I asked Stephanie what some of her favorite cut flowers are. They are ranunculus, anemones, allium, old-fashioned scented narcissus, peony tulips, dahlias and poppies. When I mentioned that poppies are not something one typically sees in traditional floral arrangements she agreed and said that poppies really need to be grown locally. They won’t survive a long flight across country or across international borders.Weeders-Womanswork-Blogsassafras_Womanswork-Blog

She gave me these tips on conditioning poppies: 1) Stage of harvest is critical: Cut the poppy when its buds are just splitting open. Always cut in the morning when stems are filled with water. 2) Post harvest treatment is the 2nd most important thing: Heat sear the ends with a flame OR boiling water for about 5 seconds and then put in fresh water. Following these steps you can get 5 days from your poppies.

These days three quarters of Stephanie’s floral business is selling to other florists in the area (“Many of them are jumping on the bandwagon and want locally grown flowers”, says Stephanie), farmers markets and specialty grocery stores.  Stephanie is growing into designing for events, including weddings. When Stephanie was a bride herself just a year ago, they built a barn at the Farm to host her wedding.  They plan to hold ‘farm to fork’ dinners and other events there in the future. But she wants to take it slowly. She’s following her heart, and is grateful for the passion she’s found in flowers.Sassafras-floral-Womanswork-Blog

To learn more about Stephanie Hall and Sassafras Fork Farm, order our free Womanswork catalog here. This article was written by Dorian Winslow of Womanswork.

Growing Edible Figs


Fig trees are easy to grow in warm climates. They produce their best fruit in Mediterranean climates with hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters. Mature fig trees are fully cold hardy to 20 degrees F. The trees can be grown outside their normal climate range if they are planted in lightweight, easy to move containers. In climates where winter temperatures fall below 20 degrees F, the potted plants should be moved indoors to a sunny location until spring. Fig trees need plenty of sun, at least 8 or more hours per day, so if this is not available indoors you should move them to an unheated garage or shed. Be sure to keep temperatures above 20 degrees F.  Your fig tree will drop its leaves and go dormant, but it should still be watered when the soil is dry.CaringforFigs-Womanswork-Blog

Once a year in spring, repot your fig tree using organic potting soil, pruning tops and roots to control the size. Use a larger container each time, up to a 25-gallon container, which will be its last home. During the growing season be diligent about watering and feeding the plant. Feed the fig tree monthly with compost or a manure tea to give the plant a healthy boost.FigTree-Womanswork-Blog

Water when the top inch of the soil is dry.  If you let the soil dry out completely your fig tree may lose its leaves. But take care that the soil is not constantly soggy either. For the best fruit production, water figs regularly during the growing season unless rainfall is adequate. Heavy rains or sporadic watering may cause the fruit to split. The amount of splitting varies depending on the variety, but a good rule of thumb is that the riper the figs, the more they will split and sour. When fall arrives, stop watering and allow your plants to harden off.

With proper care, your fig will live 20 or more years.

In most climates you can harvest figs twice, in June and then again in late summer.  Ripe fruits are soft to the touch and the skin is prone to splitting. Fresh figs are very perishable and should be refrigerated for up to 7 days or used right away. For more information and fig recipes visit





Building A Holz Hausen


In Vermont they take their wood piles seriously. Last winter my son-in-law Nate built the holz hausen shown here at Eve and Nate’s house outside of Woodstock, VT.Holz-Hausen-Womanswork

Typically he stacks their wood in a long straight woodpile (also visible in photo), and finds it to be meditative work. Last year after building the straight wall he found that he still had a pretty sizeable amount of wood left that wasn’t going to fit, so he decided to try something different, and came across the idea of building in the round. It looked like an interesting challenge.

Says Nate, “I don’t think there is a minimum wood requirement for building a holz hausen.  If you have less wood, it ends up just being shorter!  I probably had a cord and it was the perfect amount for a woodpile about my height.”

He told me it does take a little longer to build than a normal pile because you have to find the right logs to keep the weight centered and even.  If you don’t, the pile will start to lean and eventually fall over. But even so he estimates it took about four hours in total.  He says, “After I was done I found it to be very pleasing to look at, and realized I might not want to use the wood anytime soon. So we left it up all winter.”  By spring, he told me, it actually looked like it was leaning a bit one way. “I think once the ground fully thawed it sank under the weight of the pile, and that was what finally caused it to fall.” And that’s what it took to get them to begin burning the wood from that pile!Holz-hausen-Woodstock

Here is a website that has step by step how-to information on building a holz hausen, also called a beehive wood pile: 

I also found this video:

Have fun! Send us your pictures! Be sure to wear your Womanswork work gloves and Manswork work gloves when you build your holz hausen!


Lined Leather Work Gloves from Womanswork. Click photo to go to product page.


Monarch Butterflies Are Aided by Citizen Science


The Monarch Butterfly, like the bee, has become the poster child for pollinators in trouble. MonarchButterfly

The sharp decline in Monarch populations in recent years has gotten the attention of scientists and ordinary citizens alike. It has spawned a movement of citizen scientists who are taking action! Read below to learn what efforts are being made to bring back monarchs.


Project Native and Monarch Waystations

Project Native in Housatonic, Massachussetts, is a non-profit grower of native plants and a learning center. It also provides a waystation for migrating monarchs. When the monarchs travel through each year, Project Native enlists the public to help calculate their numbers and tag some of them. The hope is that when the monarchs arrive in Mexico researchers can trace their migratory path through the tags. To find out more about the work they do with monarchs, contact Project Native at:

Milkweed Plant Give Away

When monarch populations started to dwindle, scientists looked to the one plant that monarchs are dependent on for their very existence: the milkweed (genus: asclepias). Looking at the milkweed they were not surprised to discover a sharp decline in its presence as well, mainly due to habitat loss and widespread use of insecticides.

I read about milkweed plant give aways being staged in other towns, so I decided it might be a good idea for us to do one at our local farmers market, sponsored and paid for by our local land trust, The Oblong Land Conservancy. One Saturday in June we gave away over 100 milkweed plugs, of the swamp variety (asclepias incarnata), purchased at Project Native in Housatonic. We helped educate our community about the importance of milkweed and were pleased by the level of interest in the plants. It was a success. If you have done something similar, please share your story in Comments below.MilkweedGiveawayBlog

Monarch Watch

Monarch Watch is a national organization whose mission is to help restore the habitat of the monarchs. Its director Chip Taylor recommended Nicole Hamilton for a Womanswork Profile because of the work she does for Monarch Watch.  Her efforts as a volunteer have galvanized the people of Loudoun County, VA, where she lives, to plant thousands of milkweed plants. Hamilton says about efforts to bring back monarch populations, “As long as we’re bringing back milkweed, we’re doing our part.”NicoleProfileTag

Why have Monarchs caught the imagination of the public? First it is the story of the caterpillar that metamorphosizes into a beautiful butterfly. Then it the story of these tiny creatures flying thousands of miles from North America to Mexico every year, doing what pollinators do, spreading their fairy dust along the way and contributing so vitally to the health of our ecosystem. It raises so many questions and is a fascinating topic for adults and children to ponder and learn about.

Permaculture in Practise at Dingle Hill Flowers & Herbs


I visited the farm, Dingle Hill Flowers & Herbs, on a sultry August day, my car bumping up a hilly, mile-long stretch of gravel road leading to the former dairy farm, now herb sanctuary, in the Catskill Mountains of NY.  Finally I took a sharp turn and headed towards the main farmhouse and the “Heart” of the enterprise, where I met owners Daphne Boss Ayalon and her husband Jerome. Liz Scholl, Womanswork’s master herbalist, who sources herbs from Daphne for our skin care line, was there too.


Liz Scholl, Womanswork Master Herbalist (left), Daphne Ayalon (right)


The 100-acre farm has been an exercise in discovery from day one. I interviewed Daphne about her permaculture farming practices and her goals for the farm while we walked through the landscape.

DW: What drew you to this piece of land?

DBA: After the kids left home, Jerome and I decided it was time to leave suburbia and find a place where we could live sustainably on our own piece of land. Our wish list included an easily reachable but remote place, breathtaking scenery, natural habitats, and a source of water. With years of experience in horticulture, design, and gardening, dreams of agriculture swirled in my head.

Until 1970, our property was part of a 400-acre dairy farm. Since then it hasn’t been worked or maintained. Fields were reverting back to their natural state. We live on a 100-hundred acre plot of the original parcel that includes an old farmhouse.

DW: What were some of your earliest discoveries about the property?

DBA: There are many micro climates here and a huge diversity of plants and wildlife, including mushrooms, birds and birds of prey, fowl, mammals, amphibians, and snakes, not to mention insects, and such. We even have a resident river otter, but have yet to find its lodging.

I started living on the farm in October 2012. After studying the immediate surroundings I decided on a place to start a kitchen garden. When clearing the area, to my pleasant surprise I found the remains of an old kitchen garden exactly where I had intended to start mine.

First summer: Nothing but wilderness

Building a Hugel

In 2013 I spent most of the season opening up the property, scouting and analyzing and drafting first plans. I was looking for old farm paths to revive and started laying trails. I also built the first hugel at the site of a clogged ditch which had been dug at the bottom of a large heap of stones.  The ditch and heap ofstones shelter the area from winds and create a heat pan. Because of the winding layout of the ditch, I call this area “the Heart” and it’s here new ideas and plants are tested.

DW: What is a hugel?


Planted hugel in August 2015

DBA: A hugel is a berm built over buried tree trunks and other organic material. This is a system that builds soil and heats the berm naturally through the internal decomposition of organic matter. The swale catches precipitation and water runoff, minimizing erosion and the need for irrigation. Decomposing wood takes up water like a sponge and retains it for plant roots. It’s a take on the Hugelkultur system envisioned by Austrian farmer Sepp Holzer.

DW: What led you to decide to grow medicinal herbs and to create a sanctuary for them?

DBA:  By the end of the 2013 season, after trying out various options and plants, I realized our farm contains the perfect conditions to grow medicinal herbs.  Many of these plants once grew here profusely but had been irresponsibly harvested by previous generations.

Maybe my love for long lost civilizations and history drew me to herbs. (I was formerly an archaeologist.) Herbs are an important part of the heritage of all ancient cultures. They were a source of nutrition and medicinal remedies, as well as personal and skin care products. Humans have been acquiring knowledge about herbs for thousands of years. In modern times, extensive research still shows the efficacy of herbs. For me herbs symbolize the connections between past and future.

DW: You follow holistic, permaculture farming practises. Can you please explain what that means?

DBA:  When I moved here I had no firm plan, except for a lifelong commitment to natural processes, sustainability, and no-harm practices; my road has taken me to permaculture, old farming traditions, biointensive practices, and beyond-organic methods, and I’m grateful to all the growers and gardeners that have shared their experiences. One example is a complete ban on all pesticides, even those declared “safe” by the organics industry. You can find a good definition of permaculture here:

From sowing to harvesting to processing, all activities are done by hand. Machines just don’t have the ability to discern quality. Living with nature means relying on and integrating the resources found around us: soil, water, stone, wood, plants and wildlife.

My focus revolves around taking care of the soil that nourishes life; that’s why growing areas aren’t tilled or cultivated. I use only open-pollinated, straight-species and heirloom plant species that have proven their effectiveness over generations. As a rule plants grown here are started from seed, adapting to the local climate from day one.

Instead of planting herbs in monoculture systems (the standard practice in agriculture), I encourage communities of different plants that contribute to each other and increase ecosystem health and vitality. It’s called Intercropping, also known as Companion Planting. I also allow plants to freely colonize. For example: Nettle, chamomile, and red clover form mutually benefiting colonies. So do mulleins and calendula. These plant communities create a pleasing tapestry of color and form.

Many herbs are wildcrafted. I also focus on bringing back many native herbs and other important plants that grew here long ago.

ArnicaMuscleRubDW: What is wildcrafting?

DBA: Wildcrafting is the science of collecting/harvesting plants in their natural surroundings (not grown on purpose by people). To ensure wildcrafted species multiply overtime, harvesters must be careful to harvest only mature specimens, only at the proper time, and leave enough plants with seeds for the propagation of future plants. In permaculture we use the rule of three’s: one third is left for living creatures (that can disappear if their food source is eliminated), one third for nature (the connections between fauna, flora, and soil) and one third for our own needs.

DW: What obstacles have you encountered along the way?

DBA:  In farming there are always obstacles. My main obstacle is rocks and stones which need to be cleared from the soil. On many days it seems like all I do is farm rocks. Overabundant plant growth is another hurdle, but the hugel system, cover cropping, and mulching minimize unwanted guests.

For now, much of the work is dedicated to managing invasive plants, such as garlic mustard, multiflora rose, Canadian thistle, and autumn olive. Although the land is home to a long list of invasives, luckily it wasn’t worked or visited for nearly 50 years, so only a belt of about 1/3 of the property around the farmhouse needs attention.

DW: I noticed you use wood chips in your garden and on your garden paths. I have read that wood chips are not always recommended for use in the garden.

DBA: Wood chips that come from deciduous hardwood trees such as maple are used in the garden to promote healthy soil, by creating a habitat for beneficial organisms and over time adding organic matter to the soil. Especially good are sugar maples.

Wood chips from evergreen trees are not good in the garden beds but they are excellent for garden paths because tannins and other ingredients in the sap discourage pests and plant growth (weeds). Especially good for garden paths are hemlocks.

Daphne grows many of the herbs used in Womanswork’s skin care line, including arnica, elderflower, calendula and chamomile.

This interview of Daphne Boss Ayalon was conducted by Dorian Winslow of Womanswork in August 2015. For more information about Womanswork Skin Care products made with all natural ingredients, please order a free copy of the Womanswork catalog, or view our products online by clicking here.ElderFlowerFacialCream-Womanswork

Interview with A Hobbyist Beekeeper


I met Michele Carlin this summer at the Pawling Farmers Market, the day she volunteered to talk to our community about beekeeping. As I watched the crowd gather around her I observed people’s curiosity about this age old art. In her talk Michele noted that honey is one of the few food products that doesn’t spoil. Local honey is a great remedy for colds and congestion.


Michele Carlin Teaching Beekeeping 101 at Pawling Farmers Market

Michele is a math teacher at Trinity-Pawling School and she and her husband tend the beehives and teach T-P students the art and science of beekeeping. She loaned Womanswork her tools for our catalog shoot, and I interviewed her for this blog post.

DW: Where would I get bees if I want to start beekeeping?

MC: We found success with a local supplier of bees because the bees were acclimated to this area.

DW: How many bees would I need to get started?

MC: A “box” of bees comes with about 10,000 bees for every Queen bee. When you get your bees the Queen will be identified with a vegetable dye dot on her back.

DW: What are some of the amazing things you’ve learned about bees?

MC: They are truly civilized and organized. Each bee in a hive has a particular job to do. This is what keeps the whole colony in balance. For instance, there are guard bees whose job is to guard the entrance, and protect the Queen, in case an outsider bee tries to get in. Because the intruder from another hive or another species will have different pheromones than the bees living in that hive, the guard bees will know they don’t belong and will sting them to death.

Also, bees travel 15 mph, and they will travel 4 miles out from the hive and 4 miles back in a day. The drones bring pollen back to the hive and shake it off or rub it off. Then there are bees who never leave the hive, but whose job is to process the pollen. Other bees have the job of fertilizing the eggs that have been laid by the Queen, in the honeycomb built by yet another group of bees. It’s amazing how they all work together.HoneyPot-Dipper

DW: How do you protect your hives from larger predators?

MC: We put straps around the stacks with rocks on top of them to dissuade small predators such as raccoons and squirrels. We also have black bears in our area and, despite common belief, bears do not go for the honey but they do go for the larvae. It has a sweet vanilla scent to it and it provides protein for the bears. Because of this threat, we are hoping to build a fence around our hives or at least enclose them in a large link dog kennel type situation. This is the only way to protect them from bears.

DW: How do you protect yourself?

MC: When you are working with the hives you need protection. I always wear my beekeeping hat with netting and I always wear leather gloves. I have a white beekeeping suit, of course, but I don’t always wear the suit. If you do get stung, it is important to wash the suit to remove the hormone that was excreted during the sting.  It will upset the bees when they catch wind of it.


Womanswork beekeeper gloves with other tools of the trade

DW: What is the smoker used for?

MC: When you are going to open the boxes and handle the frames, you use the smoker to disorient the bees.  If they cannot communicate with each other, they become still and that is the best scenario when you want to open the hive.

DW: How often do you need to check your hives?

MC: We check our hives about every other day, now that we know there are predators in the area.

DW: What do you do in the winter with your hives, living in a cold climate as you do? What happens to the bees?

MC: The hives are wrapped in insulation and tar paper for warmth but also prepared on the interior with cedar chips and screen for moisture wicking.

DW: What’s the best way to learn more about beekeeping?

MC: Join a beekeepers club. Read a good book about beekeeping. My husband and I found “The Backyard Beekeeper, An Absolute Beginner’s Guide To Keeping Bees in Your Yard and Garden” by Kim Flottum, to be the best source of information for us.


Claire Ross with her bees on the island in Maine where she lives year round.

We also just joined a local beekeepers club in Beekman, NY.  Our first club was in Weston, CT.

This interview was conducted in August 2015 between Dorian Winslow of Womanswork and Michele Carlin. When we decided to launch a beekeeper’s glove we researched the needs of women beekeepers such as Michele Carlin and Claire Ross (shown in photo).

Launching the “Ask Ruth” Column

The Curious Gardener Newsletter

Launching the “Ask Ruth” Column for Gardening Questions

Ruth Rogers Clausen is an acclaimed horticulturist, jounalist and author who is partnering with Womanswork to produce the “Ask Ruth” column.

Ruth grew up in Wales and studied horticulture at Studley College in England. She has contributed greatly to her profession as a writer of tomes (Perennials for American Gardens, Random House; Essential Perennials, Timber Press); an editor of gardening magazines; and a lecturer, advisor and judge for botanical gardens and flower shows all across the country and around the world.

For many years Ruth gardened in Westchester County, NY (Zone 6), and more recently has been gardening in Maryland where she grows an eclectic range of plants. Her plant choices reflect those plants that do well in her region and throughout the northeast and mid-atlantic.

Ruth wrote a book for Timber Press titled 50 Beautiful Deer-Resistant Plants: The Prettiest Annuals, Perennials, Bulbs, and Shrubs that Deer Don’t Eat, and more recently co-wrote with Tom Christopher a book, Essential Perennials, also for Timber Press.

To kick off our new “Ask Ruth” column we started with a question of our own:

Question: Ruth, can I move spring flowering bulbs in my garden now? I mistakenly planted a daffodil bulb right in front of some perennials last fall, and I want to move the bulb.

Ruth’s answer: Yes, you can lift bulbs now. It’s easier while the remaining foliage is still on them. Replant them in a better place if you want to. Or, if you want to wait until fall to replant, clean off the bulbs and keep them dry in a cool place. DO NOT put them in plastic bags to store as they will sweat and rot. Onion bags work fine.They should have air movement.  

Write your questions in the Comments section below and Ruth will respond in a timely manner.