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As any kitchen gardener knows, you can't beat a salad made of greens picked the same day. Mike Madison, a California farmer, writes about the ease with which most of us can grow salad greens: "Lettuce breeding is all about color and form. The loose-leaf lettuces in particular have wonderful leaf shapes. Some appear to have been designed by Picasso, others by Matisse."
The future of farming is now and it is in the dark: A portable garden vending machine, called the Chef's Farm, offers a harvest of up to 60 heads of lettuce a day, without a ray of sunlight. 
In artist Miranda Lichtenstein's new series of photographs, Screen Shadows, she photographs silhouettes of still lifes on patterned washi paper screens so the viewer only sees a representation of nature once removed. 
Related Topics: Ideas | art | exhibition | photographer | photography | plants
The Rhodochiton atrosanguineum, or Purple Bell vine, a native of southwestern Mexico, is hardy to zone 9 and offers much to covet. It's also easy to start from seed indoors in cooler climates.
Related Topics: Ideas | I Love This Plant | plants | Vines
The American chestnut tree has dominated Eastern forests for centuries, but it almost disappeared when a foreign blight was introduced in 1904. Scientists have been trying to breed blight-resistant trees and recently planted several at the New York Botanical Garden, just steps from the blight's origins over one hundred years ago. 
A rare, endemic daisy-like wildflower was named after a local botanist in Oregon—now, a forest road could threaten one of its two habitats. Look for Veva's Erigeron on your next hike!
Royal plant news includes olive branches from King Tut and these Chia Pet-like planters for QEII (above). Plus: Grow-it-yourself dyes, chicken-friendly yards, and how to pick the right houseplant. 

Looking for a new blossom for your Easter vases? How about a lily with three times as many petals as traditional Liliums? Designed primarily for the cut flower market, Roselilies have some very unique attributes: an absence of pollen, a lighter fragrance, and a very long vase life. Check your local florist for two varieties ('Belonica' and 'Fabiola'); the others will be available later in 2012 and 2013. 

 

Painted from specimens in Kew's Herbarium, Rachel Pedder-Smith's Herbarium Specimen Painting is an 18-foot masterpiece of botanic illustration, and a tapestry with hundreds of narratives that depict a history of plant evolution and scientific discovery. 
Do you know about our digital Look Books? Check out Passion for Plants, if you haven't already.
Related Topics: Plants | guides | look books | plants
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