I often speak of showing "the hand of the gardener" in photographs. What I usually mean by this is conveying a sense of the gardener in the photograph, whether by including a garden element that helps reveal the gardener's personality or perhaps something "left behind" like a trowel, basket or coffee cup. In this case, the meaning is more literal, as I actually show the hands of the gardener. Dr. David Bradshaw, a horticulture professor at Clemson University, shows us some dried velvet beans (not edible) along with the foliage of a growing velvet bean plant in the University's heirloom vegetable garden.
Velvet beans, which were introduced in the late 1800s and once covered nearly a million acres of the South, were useful as a source of nitrogen, as feed for cattle and for erosion control. More recently, they have been recognized as valuable for nematode control.
Photo ©2007 Lee Anne White. Photographed at Clemson University.