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Archives for December 18, 2014

Tips For Winter Gardening In California

Aired 12/17/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Nan Sterman, garden journalist and host of the KPBS show “A Growing Passion”

The lack of water in California may cause some people to think twice about the plants they add to their garden.

But just because a plant is identified as drought-resilient doesn’t mean it won’t need water.

Gardening expert Nan Sterman, who has written three books on gardening with native and low-water plant species, said drought-tolerant plants will need water until their roots have been established.

“All plants need an establishment period and they need to be kept damp, not wet, but damp so they have the chance to root,” Sterman told KPBS Midday Edition on Wednesday. “You have to water them until they are established and then you can cut back.”

Sterman said it can take more than a year for a plant to establish its roots.

Another common mistake people make when buying plants is not taking the size of the plant into consideration, she said.

When plants are too large, they will require more pruning, which leads to more green waste. Sterman said picking smaller plants will result in less work for gardeners.

She said the best variety of plants to have this time of year are those suited for California’s Mediterranean climate and plants native to the four other Mediterranean climates of the world. She recommended chaparral, sage and liacs.

“Because it’s cool, the plants don’t get heat stressed,” Sterman said. “[Plants] don’t go through so much transplant shock when the weather cools.”

Her best tip: pay attention to the plant.

“It’s really more trial and error,” she said.

Article source:

Jackie French: Christmas and summer gardening tips for Canberra

The garden should just be the backdrop for your summer relaxing during Christmas.

“Christmas” and “garden” are two words that should be kept carefully apart. The garden at Christmas time (note the careful separation of the relevant words in that sentence) is just a backdrop to the festivities or general relaxing.

This is not the time to worry that Uncle Ron will notice the weeds in the petunia patch, or that Cousin Delilah will head out to check whether her pumpkins are bigger than yours.

Nor is this the time to be mulching, planting punnets of expensive (and wilting blooms) to add colour to the courtyard or even for mowing the lawn.

Indulge in pistachio fudge.

The best gardening advice for this time of year is to put a glass of something cold and good into the hand of anyone who is likely to want to inspect your garden and several more glasses before they actually go and do it, so they see it only through a haze of good cheer.

Actual gardening at this time of year should be reserved for masochists, tidiness fanatics who can’t bear to see a tuft of grass rising above the others in the lawn, or those with a subconscious desire to develop melanoma or heat prostration or both, sequentially or simultaneously.

Don’t worry if your shrubs wilt (I wilt in summer too). Don’t go on a planting binge just because you have time while on holidays. Those newly planted flower, shrubs and veg will need watering long after you’re back at work. Don’t feed your garden. Not just because you have enough to do with holiday cooking, but because fertiliser can burn plants’ roots in hot dry times. Don’t panic about parched grass. Grass recovers.

The garden should be the backdrop for your Christmas relaxing.

On the other hand, hospitality does require a garden check list:

  • The barbecue. Clean it. Now. Or be prepared to give the Fire Brigade a big thank you present come your next barbecue attempt.
  •  Garden furniture. Use the broom to ensure it is entirely free of red-back spiders or wasp nests. Then plonk into it as heavily as you can to make sure it will bear the weight of Aunt Gladys after her fifth helping of pudding.
  •  Attractive nuisances for kids. Swimming pools are the obvious one – check all gate latches; but also stone walls they may climb on that may crumble and collapse under their energetic clambering; frog ponds that a toddler could fall into; paving or driveways that are not suitable for the scooter or bike etc that Santa has just delivered.  My husband once spent a memorable Christmas Day at Casualty after his daughter put a bead up her nose, so he speaks from experience when he says, “Always expect kids to do what you don’t expect. Especially at Christmas.”
  •  Mozzies. Christmas is, well, Christmas, for mozzies. All that exposed flesh outdoors at dusk. Think long sleeves, cover your legs in something loose and cool and pour (or spray or rub) on the repellent. I add a lot to my clothes and particularly my hat – check for staining first – as well as covering all exposed areas of flesh (particularly feet and ankles).
  •  Hats. The hospitable family has garden hats they can offer to guests who want to sit and smell the roses and drink that something cool I mentioned before, and will include a recipe at the end. Note: most hats are not unisex. Provide some for blokes too, undecorated with filmy scarves and dried flowers – unless of course the blokes would like the chance to wear them.
  •  Storms. They will happen. Clear leaves out of gutters. Check garden drains to make sure water can flow away. Remember that one litre of water weighs one kilo and prune out any too-heavy growth from trees that may drop on your house or car when very, very wet or weighed down with hail.
  • Dogs. It is hot for dogs too. Make sure they have shade, cool water and add an ice-block or two to the water now and then on very hot days. Some dogs I know particularly like their water faintly scented with mint leaves in summer i.e. chill water with mint leaves floating in it in the fridge, then pour into the dog’s dish minus the leaves. But do check your dog likes mint first, or they may avoid the water and become dehydrated. Many dogs have also cannily discovered that they love the remnants of beer, wine and other fermented beverages when guests abandon half a glass in the back yard.  If your dog is a canny breed, take care to avoid possible canine inebriation.
  •  The castle of thorns. Otherwise known as our front gate, covered in rambling – and thorny – roses. Both Bryan and I are on the leprechaun side of the height spectrum and so need to remind ourselves that our gateway has to be clear for people who are two metres high.
  •  Reindeer. Reindeer actually prefer lichen-encrusted rocks to vegemite sandwiches, but this is just one of the reasons it is good to have lichened tree trunks, in case they feel like a nibble. (Lichen also appears to encourage some pest eating predators. Plus, it is beautiful). . NB Do not leave chocolate out for Santa or the reindeer if your dog can reach it. Dogs cannot read ‘This is for Santa and the reindeer’ and, even if they could, Golden Labradors would ignore it and chocolate can make dogs very unwell.

PS: Keep pine needles out of the vacuum cleaner by putting your Christmas tree in a bucket and topping it up with fresh water every day. Christmas trees need a drink, just like cut flowers. Better still, choose a live potted tree, filled with far better symbolism than a wilting Pinus radiata. Plant it out after Christmas when it is finally to enormous to lug back indoors in a few Christmasses.

Non alcoholic fruit punch.

PPS: If you have yet to buy someone a Christmas present and your ideas bucket is empty, go for boxes of fruit. Cherries, peaches, apricots, mangoes or make up your own mixed box. Eat lots while packing it. This is the season of glorious fruity abundance. Forget the European obsession with dried fruit at this time of year. Go fresh and fabulous.

PPPS: And may your holidays be relaxing and full of hugs and laughter.

This week I am:

A frozen watermelon daiquiri is bright red and perfect for Christmas.

  •  picking cucumbers, beans, loganberries, cherries, apricots or rather..
  •  hoping that our young guest will do the picking for me – and collect the eggs;
  •  watching the pumpkins swell and the melon vines grow (the second lot of melon seed germinated in three days so I may have planted the first lot so early it rotted in cold soil before it could germinate);
  •  trying to protect the corn seedling from the possum who has decided, after over a decade of ignoring corn seedlings, that he likes them (and, yes, it is a he and he sleeps above our living room and gets up just on dusk and slides his way down next to the front door when he usually then heads for any remnant loquats at this time of year but for some reason this year he has developed a taste for corn) – this means wire netting or, if he pulls that off and he probably will, I must get out the fish sauce or wasabi and make a spray that is definitely not in the true holiday spirit, even for possums;
  •  picking the almost wild red and yellow gladioli that bloom this time every year, untended  and unplanted by me;
  •  eating the first lettuce of the season, the first beans, apricots, snow peas, possibly the first small ripe tomato, sun-warmed strawberries, peaches that drip juice down my chin, red, white and yellow cherries, cucumbers only as big as my little finger and sweet enough to eat thinly sliced with no dressing, baby carrots that don’t even need peeling, just washing under the garden tap, the mulberries that the tree just keeps on producing, stewing the first of the apples for an apple and peach crumble (or pie if I am in a pastry-making mood);
  •  and smelling the roses, hybrid musk Buff Beauty and hybrid tea Papa Meilland, listening to the cicadas, swimming in the creek, with husband, friends, kids and enormous joy, and gazing at the green and growing world about me, and giving thanks.

Holiday recipes

Our  family’s fruit punch (non-alcoholic)

Iced tea is a great refresher.

I think great-grandma fist made this about the time that pineapple juice came on the market.


a generous handful of eau-de-cologne mint, chopped or roughly torn (though with this recipe you can also use peppermint or even common mint at a pinch, though it’s not as good as eau-de-cologne mint)

2 bottles ginger ale (can be lo-cal)
2 bottles lemonade (ditto)
1 litre pineapple juice (can be unsweetened)
1 orange, very thinly sliced, with peel still on
3 lemons or limes, very thinly sliced, with peel still on
at least 12 cups of ice (or else dilute with chilled soda water to taste)
two passionfruit, still warm from the vine (optional)

Place the fruit and mint in the bottom of a large bowl. Add the pineapple juice, and leave for at least an hour for the flavours to mingle. Just before serving add the ginger ale and ice.

Makes about 15 cups of punch.

Iced tea


2 teaspoons green tea
1 tsp fresh peppermint, apple mint, lemon mint, or eau-de-cologne mint leaves (not culinary mint)
sugar to taste
lemon slices (optional)
1 litre boiling water
a large jug

Place the tea and the mint in the jug. Pour in the boiling water; leave for three minutes. Strain off liquid and chill. Serve chilled with sugar to taste and slice of lemon. Makes about 4- 5 tall glasses of iced tea.

OR leave tea, lemon slices and mint to brew with cold water on the window-sill or sunny table for a few hours. Strain and chill.

Frozen watermelon daiquiri

This looks stunning, cool, Christmassy and very, very red. The vodka is tasteless, so you can make an alcohol-free version for the kids. Do not mix them up.


½ cup caster sugar
½ cup water
½ cup lime juice (about 3 limes)
1 medium-sized watermelon (about 5 cups full of red flesh)
2 cups vodka… or more… or less… or, for kids, none at all!

Simmer sugar and water for ten minutes. Add the lime juice. Bring to the boil. Take off the heat. Cool. Add the vodka, if you’re making the alcoholic version.

Put the watermelon flesh through the blender till it’s liquid. Mix with syrup. Pour into a cake tin – it should be fairly shallow; freeze until almost set – about half an hour. Break up the crystals with a fork and beat well. Refreeze for another two hours, whipping well with the fork every half an hour. Serve in chilled glasses at once.

Note: this loses its flavour after a few days. If you want to make it the day before, pour it into an empty plastic container; put the lid on; then an hour before you want to serve it take it out of the freezer and soften for 10-20 minutes, then freeze again.

Excellent chocolate and macadamia or pistachio fudge

This can be a gift for anyone anyone – male, female, teenage or with a walking frame. If they are determined to eat healthily they can always give it to someone else.

125g gms dark cooking chocolate
60g butter
¼ cup evaporated milk
375g icing sugar
150g chopped roasted macadamias or pistachios

Line an average sized cake tin with baking paper; if it’s a bit small the fudge will be thicker, so cut it into smaller pieces; if it’s large then the fudge will be thinner, so make the chunks generous.

Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a bowl over boiling water. (Well, okay, I do it in a saucepan but I stir constantly and keep it on as low a heat as I can and I have very good thick-based saucepans.)

Take off the heat, add evaporated milk and mix well. Add icing sugar and, again, beat well. Add nuts, mix well and taste a few times. Pour into the tin, leave till cool and cut into slices.

Christmas relish

A relish is what you add to make boring things taste good i.e. cold spuds, cold meat and most aren’t bad on cheese on toast, especially if you liven it up with half-way decent bread and good cheese and call it foccacia instead.

Most relishes will last for months if not years in the back of the cupboard waiting to be hauled out in case a meteor falls and life on earth – or at least the supermarket part of it – is extinguished.

This relish needs to be kept in the fridge and eaten within a few weeks, as it contains less vinegar, less sugar and more fruit than the ordinary variety. This is also means that this one tastes better.


3 cups fresh mango, paw paw or pineapple, chopped
½ cup raw sugar
½ cup good white wine vinegar
2 large red onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tbsps olive oil
1 red chilli, chopped, optional
2 whole cloves

Saute onion and garlic in the oil till the onion is soft and totally transparent. (If it isn’t, the acid in the relish will make it go hard and rubbery.) Add the rest of the ingredients; simmer till thick (about 10 – 15 minutes).  Place in a sealed container in the fridge. Keep for three days to mature before using.

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12 top summer gardening tips

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Garden Tips: Winter books for gardeners

Local News

Bradenton Housing Authority slashes ‘inflated’ staff salaries

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Garden tips: Christmas trees

mantis egg sac

mantis egg sac

See one of these on your Christmas tree? Get it outside, pronto.

Posted: Thursday, December 18, 2014 5:45 am

Garden tips: Christmas trees

DAINA SAVAGE | Correspondent


You may want to check your Christmas tree, looking for aphid, scale or spider-mite damage. Use an insecticidal soap to eradicate these pests. If you find praying mantis egg sacs in your plants, place the sacs outdoors before they hatch. Mantises do not make good houseguests.


If you have a cut Christmas tree indoors, you’ll want to water it well every day. Trees can use up to 3 pints a day. Also remember to keep your tree away from heat sources such as hot-air vents and fireplaces. 

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Thursday, December 18, 2014 5:45 am.

Home And Garden,


Christmas Tree,

Garden Tips

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10 Tips for a Naturally Bug-Free Garden

Now that frost has melted your squash plants into a puddle of goo and the last tomato has been picked from your vines, it’s a good time to think back over the garden year past. If you’re like me, one of the biggest problems you faced was keeping vegetables happy without chemicals when pesky vine borers, hornworms, or aphids came to call. To that end, here are ten tips for keeping your garden bug-free…naturally!

1. Learn the bad bugs. New gardeners may be surprised to discover that most of the insects they find in the garden aren’t dining on their daikons. If you’re new to bug-identification and would like to learn to identify the bad bugs on sight, I recommend books like Garden Insects of North America, websites like, or a visit to your local extension agent.

2. Learn the good bugs. I’m tempted to say that any bug who isn’t obviously bad is a garden ally, but you should work especially hard to protect invertebrates who improve your soil, pollinate your crops, and control problematic insects.

3. Attract beneficials. Once you know which insects are good for your garden, you can start attracting these beneficials by providing year-round nectar sources, watering holes, nesting sites, puddling habitat, and untilled soil. In general, letting the area around your garden go wild can serve nearly all of these purposes at once

4. Add other insect-eaters to your garden ecosystem. A variety of larger animals, ranging from shrews and lizards to snakes and birds, team up with predatory insects to keep pest-insect populations in check. As with beneficial insects, you’ll need to give beneficial vertebrates the habitat they crave in order to survive year-round in your garden or nearby.

5. Monitor pest-insect populations. Once you decide that the natural ecosystem isn’t doing a good enough job of dealing with bad bugs on its own, your first step should be to carefully monitor populations of the insects you want to eradicate. Many bad bugs show up regularly at certain times of the year, so you can mark your calendar and know when the first Japanese beetles, for example, are likely to arrive.

6. Time your crops to beat bugs. Early or late plantings and succession planting can all be effective ways to deal with pesky insects like cabbageworms and squash vine borers.

7. Choose resistant plant species and varieties. Many of the most common fruit and vegetable varieties require constant chemical sprays to keep bugs at bay. On the other hand, if you know which bugs are most problematic in your neighborhood and then carefully select fruits and vegetables with those insects in mind, you may be able to cut your work load in half while harvesting delicious, beautiful fruits.

8. Block out pests with row covers. If all else fails, you can provide a physical barrier between plants and pests with a row cover. Just be sure to erect the row cover before any nibblers come to call, and hand-pollinate flowers as necessary.

9. Hand-pick at the first sign of damage. If you catch pest populations right when they start, hand-picking can be an effective method of control. Work in the early morning when insects are moving slowly and be sure to pick at least three times a week for best results.

10. Learn to eat blemished fruits and vegetables. Although the produce coming out of your garden might not look quite like the perfect, shiny offerings at the grocery store, you’ll soon discover that real apples taste ten times better…even if you have to cut out a wormy spot.

To learn more about how to work with your garden ecosystem to minimize pests, check out my ebook The Naturally Bug-Free Garden…currently on sale for 99 cents!

All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Best Practices, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on the byline link at the top of the page.

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Great British Gardens: Hestercombe – An Iconic Lutyens Lanscape in Somerset


Hestercombe is a garden in Somerset which features both a 17th century Landscape Garden and an important Edwardian garden by the design team of Edward Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll. The garden is a high-point of their partnership and marks the beginning of the 20th century English garden style.

The Story

Hestercombe House

Hestercombe House

The estate at Hestercombe dates back to Anglo-Saxon times and was occupied by the Warres family from 1391 until 1872. In the second half of the 18th century the grounds were laid out in the Landscape Style by Coplestone Warre Bampfylde, a talented classicist, and a friend and advisor to Henry Hoare at the nearby estate of Stourhead. The gardens he created can still be seen beside the later garden and Hestercombe is perhaps a unique opportunity to see two major design styles of English gardens at a single site.

In 1872, Miss Elizabeth Warre, who was the last member of the Warre family, died and the property was purchased by the 1st Viscount Portman, who carried out extensive re-modelling of the house. His grandson, the Hon Edward Portman, commissioned Edwin Lutyens to create a new formal garden in 1903.

The architect Edward Lutyens had not yet begun his work for the War Graves Commission following WWI, or his creation of the new capital of British India, the city of Delhi, in the 1920s, for which he was to be knighted, but he did already have a reputation for his homes, which were in the Arts and Crafts tradition and featured superb craftsmanship and hand-work. He had also met the garden designer Gertrude Jekyll when in 1896 he designed her home at Munstead Wood, in Surrey. They had gone on to develop a partnership as garden designers.

Lutyens and Jekyll had developed a style that combined a formal classicism and a use of natural materials such as brick and stone, with an informal approach to planting, using hardy shrubs and perennial plants in arrangements that aimed to display little apparent order, but which in fact blended colours and forms with a new subtleness that would set the style for the next century. Lutyens did most of the layout of the beds, paths and walls and Jekyll chose and organized the plantings.

Gertrude Jekyll (pronounced with a double-e like ‘Jeep’) was born in 1843 and she was one of those rare individuals who combine an artistic talent with a love for and understanding of science. She studied art at the South Kensington School of Art in London, but also studied botany, optics and the science of colour. She was greatly attracted to the work of the French chemist Michel Eugène Chevreul, whose technical book, The Principles of Harmony and Contrast of Colours, published in 1854, was the first work to address the effect of colours on each other and the creation of harmony between colours. She knew William Morris and like Lutyens had been absorbed into Romanticism and the Arts and Crafts Movement.

In gardening she was strongly influenced by William Robinson, who had broken with the 19th century use of tender ‘bedding plants’, such as geraniums and petunias, in formal, rigid designs that used primary colours and simple colour contrasts. Robinson had an influential gardening magazine (which Jekyll was to write extensively for) that championed the use of hardy perennial flowers, bulbs and flowering shrubs to bring colour without the artificiality of Victorian bedding schemes.

After Lutyens designed Munstead Wood for her mother, Gertrude designed the garden around their home and this soon made her well-known, leading to commissions for garden designs and her partnership with Lutyens. Hestercombe is often considered the high-point of that partnership and it is also the most accessible of their gardens.

In1944 the property was taken by the Crown Estates in lieu of death duties and had various used during the rest of last century. The house and gardens are now managed by a charitable trust and in recent years the gardens have been restored to the original Lutyens/Jekyll plans.

The Gardens


The gardens are in two distinct parts, connected on a grand scale by stone steps descending a grassy, terraced bank, known as the Daisy Steps, designed by Lutyens.

The 16 acres of Landscape Garden designed by C.W. Bampfylde were largely lost during the 19th century but have been restored. Although not comparable with other great designs of the 18th century it does give a good picture of the Picturesque style of that time. There are two ponds, the lower one called the Pear Pond, connected by a cascade which flow into a stream with a series of small cascades running through the Valley of Cascades, designed in 1791. Further down is the Great Cascade down a rocky bank, which can be viewed from an adjacent grassy terrace. There are numerous vantage points offering views beyond the garden across the Taunton valley. There are excellent views from the Gothic Alcove, the excavation of a Bampfylde summer house from 1761. Other features include a Friendship Urn dedicated to his friendship with Henry Hoare, the restored Temple Arbour and a Witch House.

It is the Lutyens/Jekyll garden however which is the main attraction at Hestercombe, and this is situated behind the house. The garden begins directly behind the south side of the house, where a rectangular grass terrace built during the late 19th century has been retained. To the west of the upper terrace there is a large Rose Garden, featuring old and rare varieties of roses. To the east there is an entrance into an enclosed area which is the pivot of the garden. This area – The Rotunda – is enclosed by circular walls and features a central pond with detailed and complex patterns in stone paving radiating from it.

The exit from the Rotunda to the east leads into a long garden dominated by an Orangery. This is a single-storey structure with tall arched windows, designed in the style of Christopher Wren. These buildings were features of gardens in earlier centuries as places to grow tender plants, especially citrus trees and pre-date the technology needed to build full greenhouses. Beyond the garden containing the Orangery is an entrance into The Dutch Garden, which is not really a Dutch Garden at all. Typical Dutch Gardens in the English garden context feature elaborate topiary, but although this garden has a formal plan, with stone paving, it features perennial plants such as lavender, catmint, roses, hardy fuchsias and a Jekyll favourite, the hardy Yucca filamentosa with its tall spikes of large, fragrant white flowers.

On the south side of the terrace behind the house the garden descends in narrow terraces to the main feature, The Great Plat, a large formal square garden which carries undertones of Victorian bedding schemes but is an attempt to create a new style of formalism. This area is a little over 100 feet square, with a large cross of lawn on the diagonal and smaller beds between the arms of the cross. The design is edged in paving stones and the planting is not tender plants but groups of perennial plants and small shrubs. The Plat is sunken below the surrounding area, so it can be looked down on from the sides, in the manner of many Renaissance formal gardens. There are semi-circular stone steps in the four corners linking the upper and lower levels.

On either side are two identical gardens, The Water Gardens, which feature a narrow central water canal in brick, linking three round pools constructed with different depths to accommodate different species of water plants. The sides of these levels are planted with perennial beds.

The water in the canals flows over the edge into tanks placed on a slightly lower level that encloses the Great Plat to the south. Here there is a long walk featuring a 200 foot pergola with views overlooking the valley. The Pergola is covered with climbing roses and other climbing plants.

The whole garden is a series of levels, looking onto each other, or creating privacy, connected by steps and entered through arches. Terraces are often edged in stone balustrades. There are numerous urns, walls decorated with cherubs and other ornamentation displaying skilled craftsmanship. These changes in levels and the views and vistas created are an integral part of the design and feel of this garden.


Lutyens Jekyll gardens are characterised by their combination of formality in layout, the use of natural materials in the Arts and Crafts tradition and complex informal plantings featuring subtle colour combinations and shifts. Hestercombe displays this perhaps better than any of their gardens still in existence.

The garden is a pivotal change from Victorian bedding schemes with their intrinsic artificiality and the Landscape Garden, which emphasised semi-natural landscape at the expense of variety in plant material. The Hestercombe garden style has been called the Architectural Garden, which combines strong structure with natural planting in a way that was to dominate 20th century garden design. It also allowed gardeners the opportunity to use the vast array of exotic plants, both wild and the products of plant breeding, that had become available towards the end of the 19th century and later, but had not found a real place in gardens before.

Further Reading

There is no single book on Hestercombe, but the garden is featured in numerous books on English gardens and on the life of Gertrude Jekyll. Some good starting points would be:

The Story of Gardening, by Penelope Hobhouse (2002)

The Oxford Companion to Gardens, by Patrick Goode, Michael Lancaster, Geoffrey Jellicoe Susan Jellicoe (2001)

The Gardens of Gertrude Jekyll, by Richard Bisgrove (1992)

Gardens of a Golden Afternoon: The Story of a Partnership, Edwin Lutyens Gertrude Jekyll, by Jane Brown (1982)

Most of Gertrude Jekyll’s books on gardening can still be found in various editions and reprints. Some titles are:

Wood and Garden (1899)

Home and garden (1900)

Roses for English Gardens (1902)

Colour in the flower garden (1908)

Children and gardens (1908)

Colour schemes for the flower garden (1919)

Practical Information

Hestercombe is managed as a private charity. It is situated in the village of Cheddon Fitzpaine, north of the town of Taunton, Somerset.

The gardens are open every day of the year, including all holidays, except for December 25th. The gardens are open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm in summer and from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm in winter. Further information can be obtained from the garden’s website:

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The Drug-Crazed Majesty of Gram Parsons

The United Sounds of Los Angeles #17: After blowing off the Byrds, he cofounds the erratic and hugely influential Flying Burrito Brothers

December 17, 2014


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The United Sounds of Los Angeles is a series from music writer Matthew Duersten that delves into the most underappreciated, obscure, and indispensable L.A. albums.

The Album
The Flying Burrito Brothers – The Gilded Palace of Sin (1969)

The Backstory
In February 1968, 21-year-old Gram Parsons, a songwriter and trust fund baby from Winter Haven, Florida, met Chris Hillman, a soft-spoken guitarist and mandolinist from San Diego, while standing in a line in Beverly Hills bank. The 23-year-old Hillman was veteran of the SoCal bluegrass scene and was then playing bass for L.A. pop princes The Byrds. Hillman and Parsons bonded over their mutual love of country music and fast motorcycles, and Hillman soon brought the young upstart to the Byrds’ rehearsals. Hillman found a kindred spirit in the wilder, looser Parsons, who joined him in lobbying the band to move in a more rootsy direction. Unfortunately, after recording the pioneering Sweethearts of the Rodeo, Parsons essentially hijacked the Byrds’ debut at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, angering the audience, the Opry fathers, and the band.

Parsons ditched the band before a planned trip to South Africa. (His new pal Keith Richards had informed him of something called “apartheid.”) Hillman was enraged at Parsons’s irresponsibility but he had also tired of The Byrds’ stringent management. Hillman and Parsons moved into a house on a nondescript, blue-collar stretch of De Soto Avenue in Reseda, where they composed songs for their proposed band’s debut under what Hillman later called a strict “physical abuse program” of liquor, cocaine, and groupies.

The pair’s original concept, according to Hillman, was “a hip country band.” They modeled their harmonies after The Everly Brothers as well as the chummy interplay of Bakersfield honky-tonker Buck Owens and his lead guitarist Don Rich. Still, theirs was a band that only existed in the abstract. Hillman took on the role of negotiator and Parsons took on the role of charmer as they trolled for a recording contract without the benefit of any demos or even a full band. Characteristically, Parsons hijacked the new band’s name from an old one. “The Remains of the International Main Street Flying Burrito Brothers Blues Band” was a loose, ad-hoc jam collective that included Parsons and future Rolling Stones saxophonist Bobby Keys.

Parsons and Hillman also poached two musicians whom they had met through the Byrds, Mississippi bassist Chris Ethridge and “Sneaky Pete” Kleinow, a brilliant, instinctive pedal-steel guitarist from Indiana who worked as a TV animator on the Gumby and Davey and Goliath shows. With no drummer in place, AM signed the Flying Burrito Brothers for a $20,000 advance. “I’m not quite so sure AM saw the Burritos as the next big thing,” AM’s “house hippie” Michael Vosse told writer John Einarson. “They thought it was a terrific band, but they were really worried about their commercial viability because there was no proven track record, no proven anything.”

It would set a bad precedent. The sessions for what would become The Gilded Palace of Sin began in November 1968 at the newly built studio on the old Charlie Chaplin film lot on La Brea Avenue but were later moved to Wally Heider’s studio on North Cahuenga. AM staff producer Larry Marks confirmed, “there was little preparation for the Burritos sessions, with the band often learning the arrangements in the studio.” It was rare for all band members to be in the same room at the same time. There was a Spinal Tapish run of bad luck with at least four different drummers, one of whom was so drugged up he fell off his stool. During the sessions, Parson encouraged a party atmosphere, ordering champagne and oxygen tanks “to increase alertness and continue into the wee hours.” David Crosby, The Monkees’ Peter Tork, and Frank Zappa’s groupie collective The G.T.O.s dropped by to contribute ragged, out-of-tune backing vocals. Marks’s role morphed into ensuring Parsons wouldn’t disappear for days at a time. Somehow, the Burritos managed to pull it together to deliver finished tracks in early December.

Why You Should Listen
Parsons’ embryonic version of “country rock” (a term he hated) wasn’t just an updating of old-timey standards for the patchouli set but a more complicated vision of musical miscegenation, one that joined hippies with rednecks as well as black music lovers with white. Besides being the zonked blueprint for an emerging SoCal musical genre, Palace‘s true revelations are its covers of soul classics “Do Right Woman,” an Aretha Franklin hit rewired for a man’s point-of-view, and a haunting gospel take on James Carr’s “Dark End of the Street.” Instrumentally, Ethridge’s RB-flavored bass lines assisted in this glorious deception, but it was Kleinow’s primitivist take on a notoriously difficult instrument that made the pedal-steel cool for a generation of nonconformist freaks. Even Parsons was unnerved by Kleinow’s unorthodoxies, admitting later in an interview, “There were times during the first album when I wanted to quit because I couldn’t understand this guy.”

The Aftermath
The Gilded Palace of Sin was dead on arrival, reaching a dismal #164 on the Billboard 200 and selling just 40,000 copies in six months. The surreal cover photo, shot in the desert near Pearblossom, was the beginning of the confusion: Who were these strange longhairs in their sequined Nudie suits emblazoned with pills, marijuana leaves, and naked women? Was the weird and turbulent music they made supposed to be funny? Even the men playing it had the same questions.

Still, some noted critics like the L.A. Times‘ Robert Hilburn and Rolling Stone‘s Stanley Booth were impressed with the album. Bob Dylan was a fan, noting that Gilded Palace “knocked me out.” Back in North Florida, a band called Mudcrutch, led by a kid from Gainesville named Thomas Earl Petty, were energized by this strange, revelatory music.

None of this helped the Burritos. Everything seemed to go wrong for the star-crossed band, self-induced or otherwise. After a disastrous residency supporting Taj Mahal at the Whisky, they developed a poisonous reputation as a live act. In February 1969, the Burritos boarded a train out of Union Station for what was supposed to be a national tour but wound up being a botched caravan of booze, drugs, nonstop poker games, cancelled concerts, and hotel decadence. They capped that volatile year at a little outdoor festival called Altamont.

Hillman, for one, became convinced that the Nudie Suits were the source of band’s curse. In 1970, he finally had enough of Parsons’s increasingly drug-sozzled behavior; he fired his co-founder and gamely carried on the Burritos brand for a few more albums. Parsons made a respectable stab at a solo career before dying of a drug overdose in Room 8 of the Joshua Tree Motel on September 19, 1973. He was 26.

Signature Tracks
“Christine’s Tune” – Parsons and Hillman’s airy harmonies and a lighter-than-butter skiffle beat propel this nasty takedown of a “devil in disguise” (purportedly David Crosby’s girlfriend). The song’s true glory comes courtesy of Kleinow’s pedal-steel. Fed through a crude fuzz-tone, it approaches the sound of (pick one): an alien landscaping tool? A pinball machine dipped in LSD? A prairie Theremin?

“Sin City” – This apocalyptic, Southern Baptist barroom lament has mistakenly been thought to be about Vegas. It was actually inspired by the sleazy machinations of ex-Byrds manager Larry Spector, who literally lived in a grim, low-rent L.A. condo, as the chorus goes, “on the 31st floor [behind] a gold-plated door.”

“Hot Burrito #1″ – Ethridge and Parsons collaborated on this impassioned (if terribly titled) weeper. It was later re-recorded by Elvis Costello as “I’m Your Toy” for his country-covers record Almost Blue and is considered the finest showcase for Parsons affecting, fragile vocals.

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Not a White Elephant Exactly, But This Gift to Tufts Has Big Issues

Sculptor Steven Whyte poses with the new bronze statue of Jumbo as it is being assembled.

When Dick Reynolds contemplated a six-figure gift to Tufts University, he knew it wouldn’t be enough for a new building or even a wing. But he was thinking big.

So he commissioned an 11- by 18-foot bronze statue of the school mascot, P.T. Barnum’s storied elephant named Jumbo.

The actual stuffed hide of the great beast—a 19th-century animal superstar—had been displayed on the Medford, Mass., campus for decades. Students would stuff pennies in his trunk for good luck before exams. But, in 1975, the real Jumbo was lost in a fire.

A papier-mâché and concrete replacement from a local amusement park served as a cheeky stand-in beginning in the 1990s. Mr. Reynolds aims for something more grand, and more authentic, with his 5,000-pound gift to his alma mater.

Jumbo statue model

“To know that we’re going to have one that looks like a real elephant, I think that’s important,” says Mr. Reynolds, class of ’67. “This thing was one god-awful, ugly, gray elephant.”

Jaw-dropping donations are common enough at top universities, including a record $350 million gift to Harvard University earlier this year.

But schools also get their share of unusual legacies, reflecting their graduates’ idiosyncratic interests. In 2005, DePauw University in Indiana received a rhinestone-encrusted deer statue, even though the school’s mascot is a tiger.

A wealthy shipbuilder gave Roger Williams University in Bristol, R.I., and two other New England schools a cruise ship in 2006. But after trying, the schools weren’t able to sell the 137-foot Niagara Prince and gave it back.

And venture capitalist Brad Feld in 2007 gave the University of Colorado in Boulder $25,000, stipulating that a plaque in his honor be placed outside a men’s restroom. (It reads: “The best ideas often come at inconvenient times—Don’t ever close your mind to them.”)

The new Jumbo’s journey to Tufts—125 years after the original arrived—has hit some snags. The school staged an art exhibition, scheduled presentations on circus history and commissioned a book, preparing for Jumbo’s arrival at homecoming this fall.

But the statue’s creation—a complex process that includes hard industrial foam, rubber molds, reinforced ears, tail and trunk and a road trip from California—is coming along at a snail’s pace.

It is now expected to make its campus debut in the spring.

The mounted hide of P.T. Barnum's elephant, Jumbo, at Tufts University near Boston, with members of the school's football team in 1935.

Mr. Reynolds’s gift is itself the result of an unusual bestowal by Barnum, the famed showman and founding Tufts trustee, who donated funds for a science building and natural history museum at the school. In 1889, he capped those donations with Jumbo’s stuffed hide.

The original Jumbo went down in flames in a fire that gutted the building; some of his ashes are now held in a peanut-butter jar in the athletic department.

For the past two decades, Tufts students have posed next to and played with what was meant to be a temporary replacement, the cartoonish papier-mâché statue bought by the class of 1958 for $4,500 from the now-defunct Benson’s Wild Animal Farm amusement park in Hudson, N.H.

“He was never meant to live that long,” says Elaine Kasparian, who helped lead that effort, which included an additional $35,000 for transportation and landscaping.

The amusement park Jumbo was actually an Indian elephant, not an African one. The two are quite different. The African elephant is much bigger in body, ears and tusks, and has a different head shape. The elephant’s tail fell off a few times, a casualty of student horseplay and old age. And the beast needed an annual paint job.

That Jumbo has since been retired, though Ms. Kasparian declined to say how. “He went to heaven,” she says.

The benefactor Mr. Reynolds, who worked mostly in commercial real estate and served as vice president of operations at the university for three years, says his landscaping and other efforts to spruce up the campus were always well received. He decided on the donation in 2012.

“Other colleges have generic bobcats and empty symbols as their mascots. We, on the other hand, have what is arguably the most famous animal in the world,” says Andrew McClellan, an art history professor who wrote a book called “Jumbo: Marvel, Myth, and Mascot,” after collecting material for years.

Artist Steven Whyte used archival pictures and zoo visits to create small models of the elephant before beginning work on the full-size statue at his studio in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Calif. He first built a steel skeleton of the elephant, covering it in hard foam and then about 3,000 pounds of clay.

Individual parts, including the trunk, ears, tail and jaw, were covered with a rubber product before being topped with a fiberglass and plaster mold. The first coat of rubber, costing about $15,000, didn’t set properly and needed to be scrapped, putting the project well behind schedule.

Mr. Whyte also says he underestimated the animal’s size by more than 100 square feet, so he’ll lose about $25,000 on the elephant.

“It seems to be in keeping with the tragic life of Jumbo, that things didn’t go smoothly,” Mr. Whyte says.

Jumbo was captured in Africa in 1862, when he was just a year old, according to Mr. McClellan’s book. Among the first African elephants to reach Europe, Jumbo became a featured attraction at the London zoo, until P.T. Barnum bought him for $10,000 and brought him to the U.S. in 1882.

Jumbo, whose name became synonymous with huge, was the biggest draw of the Greatest Show on Earth. His likeness was used on toys, playing cards and popcorn tins and pictured in ads for everything from soap to suspenders.

Just three years into his U.S. circus career, Jumbo was hit and killed in Canada by an unscheduled freight train in Ontario in 1885.

Now, Jumbo’s finished bronze pieces are being assembled at a Berkeley, Calif., foundry.

Mr. Whyte says he and his team are working through a “very difficult, 50-piece jigsaw puzzle, with each piece weighing 100 pounds.”

Though many students are looking forward to taking selfies in front of the new statue, some are stamping their feet, disappointed that Tufts accepted the gift.

“Jumbo is one representation of money not being prioritized in a way that we think it should be,” says Lior Appel-Kraut, a sophomore and president of the Tufts Labor Coalition, which has held demonstrations supporting the rights of adjunct instructors and custodial workers.

School officials are disappointed about the holdup but say the wait will be worth it.

“It’ll get here when it gets here,” says Mr. McClellan. “It is going to be a big deal.”

Write to Melissa Korn at

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How Yale is beginning to crack into the elite B-school ranks

(PoetsQuants) — It’s an alluring morning in New Haven, Conn. Under a brilliant sun, the air is crisp and cool. The leaves on the trees are beginning to transform into a kaleidoscope of colors. And Dean Edward “Ted” Snyder of Yale University’s School of Management is strolling the halls of the school’s brand new $243 million complex.

Gathered in the lobby are a group of young people—a dozen or so prospective applicants to SOM—who are waiting for an admissions official to give them the pitch and a tour of the building, which looks so modern it could be the Starship Enterprise. Dean Snyder moseys over to the group and asks what interests them most about Yale’s School of Management.

The first and second people who answer his question make him nearly wince. One earnest-looking young man immediately says that it is the school’s non-profit slant. Another says it is the relatively small size of Yale’s MBA program, which this fall enrolled just 323 students, a little more than a third of the totals at Harvard, Columbia, Wharton, Kellogg, and Booth.

What Dean Snyder had hoped to hear was that these potential applicants were keen on Yale because it is, in the dean’s own words, “the most distinctively global U.S. business school.” That is, after all, what Snyder has tirelessly worked to do in repositioning the school since his arrival as dean in mid-2011. There are only two other answers that he would have preferred to hear this morning: that they’re keen to look at SOM because it is among the most integrated business schools with its home university or because it is the best source of leaders for all sectors and regions.

Those are Snyder’s three aspirations for the Yale School of Management. Becoming a truly global business school, however, has required reengineering of the school’s mission and purpose. And as the answers from the young professionals suggest, going global may well be easier than gaining recognition as global.

After all, despite years of effort by rivals to rid themselves of the narrow identities placed on them, too many people still consider Harvard the school for future CEOs, Stanford for entrepreneurs, Wharton for finance, and Northwestern for marketing. Undaunted, Snyder is plowing full speed ahead with his global strategy for the school and has made remarkable progress in just three years, notwithstanding the cluelessness shown by the applicants in the hallway.

“If we succeed,” proclaims Snyder, “what’s going to happen is we are going to get students who respond to the call. They will already be über global or aspiring to be global and that will be a big difference. It’s a fundamental repositioning for the school.”

Snyder’s global push is at the center of SOM’s transformation, which includes a new modern building, significantly increased scholarship money to get the best MBA students, a new focus on entrepreneurship, and far more outreach to Yale University as a whole. The school’s rankings in both The Financial Times and Bloomberg Businessweek are up dramatically. In Businessweek, SOM climbed 15 positions to sixth place, the highest rank ever achieved by the school in any major ranking. Round one applications have increased by 10%, with 55% of applicants coming from outside the U.S., slightly better than the traditional 50-50 split.

“Right now, there is an incredible sense of excitement about the growth of the place,” says Andrew Metrick, a finance professor who also serves as deputy dean. “It has really taken us a while to grow up. We’re only 30 years old and that is really young for a business school. We used to be in other people’s buildings. We didn’t have an endowment. We had an allowance where the university would just write a check. We now have a physical space that matches the quality of the faculty and the students. We really look like a 21st century business school….”

For most other business schools, going global has meant increasing the percentage of MBA students from outside the home country, recruiting faculty with foreign passports, boosting international case studies and examples in classes, and adding a few exchange programs with other schools. Few schools have fundamentally overhauled their curricula, however, and even fewer have genuinely partnered with other universities.

“U.S. business school deans have not globalized,” insists Snyder, who believes that if you put aside the long-standing student semester exchanges and partnerships over Executive MBA programs, most of what has occurred is changes in the markets for faculty, applicants, and graduates. “Those changes have been thrust upon top schools. There are so many interesting places in the world that have been left out of business schools.”

Building a 27-member global B-school network

In contrast, Yale has upped its game considerably, creating a network of 27 top business schools from every corner of the globe, including the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific Islands. Launched in April 2012, the Global Network for Advanced Management schools share unique programming, from on-campus network weeks to small network online courses or SNOCs. They develop global case studies, facilitate faculty partnerships, and hold events with speakers like Google’s Eric Schmidt and micro finance pioneer and social entrepreneur Fazle Hasan Abed.

Member schools are adapting their programs to sync with the global network. Technion in Israel recently launched a full-time MBA program in English called the Startup MBA and built its academic calendar around the network. “Schools are adjusting their strategies to take advantage of it,” says David Bach, senior associate dean for global programs at Yale. “It’s cool to see how the network effects are kicking in.”

The global initiative has been central to Snyder’s strategy to make Yale SOM a Top 10 business school. “That really is a very important unifying theme for what Ted is trying to do,” says Fiona Scott Morton, an economics professor at the school. “And the way Ted is going about it makes an enormous amount of sense. We’re not opening a far-flung campus or doing a partnership. Those are expensive and very 20th century solutions. Ted puts this network together and waits for these ideas to bubble up, and they do.”

Consider the Global Network Week, which gives students a chance to travel to another member school for a weeklong module with students from throughout the network. The host school for network week offers a course that takes advantage of its faculty expertise, often on a topic that is especially relevant to business in its region. The themes have ranged from “Global Strategies for Emerging Economies” put on by EGADE Business School in Mexico, to “Doing Business In China” hosted by Fudan University’s School of Management.

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology did a week on “Start-up Nation,” exploring what cultural and public policy attributes have helped to make Israel a welcoming place for new business ventures. Yale has weighed in with “From Madison Avenue to Wall Street–Everything You Need to Know About Behavioral Economics,” building on its expertise in the area. Yale Professor Robert Shiller, who teaches behavioral and institutional economics, won the Nobel Prize last year.

Of course, many business schools offer MBA students the chance to visit a foreign country for a one- or two-week experience. More often than not, however, these visits are organized in collaboration with a partner school. But students generally experience the foreign country with students form their own school and rarely interact with other students in a meaningful way. Yale’s network weeks, as well as a series of online courses, are meant to move beyond that model.

The first time out, five schools and about 240 students participated in March 2013. Next year, in March 2015, Snyder expects at least 18 schools and as many as 900 students to participate, up from 12 schools this year and 469 students. Yale alone plans to host four global network weeks during the 2014-2014 academic year, each with budgets of $50,000 to pay for faculty, student advisors, and program materials.

Then there are the SNOCs, Small Network Online Courses offered by faculty at member schools where students work in cross-school teams in real-time class sessions as well as via online class work. The current 2014-2015 academic year will feature six to eight SNOCs, attracting up to 300 students across the network. These range from “Inclusive Business Models” by IIM-Bangalore and “New Product Development” by Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to Management of Humanitarian Emergencies” by the London School of Economics and “Value Based Leadership for Business Model Innovation” by the University of Cape Town.

Fiona Scott Morton is teaching a SNOC called “Analysis of Competition Law and Enforcement Across Countries.” Formerly the deputy assistant attorney general for economics in the antitrust division of the U.S. Department of Justice, she had 25 students in her online class. Watching her teach in a classroom at Yale filled with video screens of students from all over the world is a surreal experience. There are little more than a handful of students in the largely empty room.

“It’s hard because the students are not in the room,” she concedes. “But I had a couple of great students last year who were not from Yale and they got a lot out of the course and wrote fantastic final papers. We record the classes so students can look at them again and repeat the slides and the lectures. And this is a course offering they cannot get at home.”

There are Global Network weeks for faculty, and network-developed case studies on issues in Mexico, Indonesia, Spain, and Ireland. In the spring of this year, Yale’s Leadership Case Competition attracted teams from a half dozen network schools.

A brand new degree

Yale also has introduced a Master of Advanced Management Program that brings recent MBA graduates from network schools to Yale for a one-year program where they mix with current students in the full-time MBA program. This year, some 62 students are in the program, up from 20 in the 2013 inaugural class and 38 in the class of 2014.

As Snyder describes the program, “it is a Yale degree program and not a global network initiative though we have agreed to recruit only from network schools. It is part of the strategy of pulling the schools closer together.”

All told, the school welcomed students from 58 countries this fall, including Afghanistan, Bolivia, Ghana, Ireland, Israel, Indonesia, Kuwait, Malaysia, Pakistan, Poland, South Africa, Turkey, and Zimbabwe. “The nature of the community is that it does not have a dominate cultural norm. It reflects an equality of perspective,” says Anjani Jain, senior associate dean of Yale’s MBA program.

Yet, some students apparently came away with a more nuanced view of the experience, both at orientation and in the elective coursework. Concedes Snyder: “One view is that these new MAM students have not had the core. ‘They are not Yale trained and there is friction in the class and a drag on our teams.’ Others have said, that ‘these students are the best and brightest from around the world. What a great resource they are.’”

The challenges were especially prevalent when MAM students joined MBAs in some of the second-year electives. “There were some points of friction,” says Jain. “Most of it came from language skills. There are students with less than perfect command of the English language and the practices with respect to career development are different and they are new. But we’re seeing that there also are friendships deeply embedded between the MAM students and the second-year MBAs.”

Jeffrey Adadevoh, an MAM student from Ghana, agrees. He voices enthusiasm for the mash up, noting that during orientation, the school created teams of eight students each, mixing both programs together. “The first assignment we did was together with the MBAs,” he says. “We had a global challenge and MAMs were put in groups with MBAs and had to develop an idea to solve a problem in the world. We came up with a mobile cloud technology that manages health records for developing countries which find it hard to keep track of those records.”

The MAM students, moreover, are different than the traditional international students who come to a top U.S. business school to study. Many of those MBAs are often more Western in their approach and focus. The joint orientation seemed to move the groups closer together. “The integration really started things off on a positive footing,” says Alexa Allen, a second-year MBA student who is president of SOM’s student government association. “The different ideas you hear change your way of thinking. Your classmates push you. Most of the MBAs would agree that it’s so positive to have access to the MAMs. They have this wealth of knowledge about their country cultures.”

Full-time MBA students also gain exposure to the network in other ways. Yale, which initially required a global experience in 2006, has put in place a broader, global studies requirement with greater options. An MBA can now fulfill the requirement by doing two of the global network weeks, a 10-day global enterprise course or the more traditional international travel course.

At least some deans are enthusiastic, saying the network has exceeded expectations. “We thought it was a good idea at first but how it was going to develop wasn’t mapped out,” says Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, dean of the University of College of Dublin’s Smurtfit Graduate Business School. “We wouldn’t have thought the SNOCs would be developed so quickly or the global network weeks. This is a much richer experience than expected.” Smurfit has hosted a network global week on “Digital Marketing: Understanding Opportunities and Devising Strategies.”

But not everything has been successful. “The network weeks have been a big hit,” says Snyder. “The SNOCs are emerging to be extremely positive. The cases are at best an incomplete with indications that they are a real challenge. We thought global cases would have been more featured in the portfolio.”

Some network schools simply lack the resources to be major contributors to the partnership or, in some cases, to even send students to the network weeks.

But as Synder’s hallway conversation with current applicants suggest, this is a work in progress. With an endowment of $725 million, only a quarter of Harvard Business School’s total, SOM lacks the deep resources to go head-to-head with HBS, Stanford, and Wharton. As Professor Morton quips, “At Harvard, they catch the leaves as they fall off the trees. The landscaping budget at HBS is higher than most business school’s educational budget.”

Yet, as word spreads about the unusual experiment going on at Yale, more students keen on engaging in a true global business school are likely to show up and take advantage of what SOM has put together. Already, Synder has achieved his goal of making SOM “the most distinctively global U.S. business school.”

Arguably, no U.S. school can boast a similar package of unique global offerings and SOM, given the halo of Yale University, can now offer a global experience that rivals London Business School and INSEAD. Key rankings are turning up for Snyder, which will help bring the school more positive attention. For the first time in SOM’s history, the school seems on the verge of breaking into the truly elite category of business schools.

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