Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Tips, Techniques & Projects for a Bountiful Garden

- Jeff Cox's 100 Greatest Garden Ideas -- Tips, Techniques & Projects for a Bountiful Garden & A Beautiful Backyard

Jeff breaks down his tips into the four seasons, making it very easy to look up what you are seeking. He has gardened for 30 or more years. With a lot of trial and error of thousands of tips he has picked 100 of the most successful.

- Landscaping with Wildflowers -- An Environmental Approach to Gardening, by Jim Wilson

Jim has written this book to help gardeners who already have existing gardens in place. The book will make it easier to fit wildflowers into plantings. It also includes recommended species for our region. Jim Wilson is a favourite author of ours, ever since we saw him many years ago on Victory Garden.

- Wyman's Gardening Encyclopedia, by David Wyman

This book is from the 1970s or perhaps even earlier. It is great for looking up the botanical names of plants, even though it does not have all of the new cultivars.

- Taylor's Guide's - Encyclopedia of Garden Plants

This is a great book but if you wish to take it with you it would be better to purchase their individual books -- which are smaller and more in-depth. These include:

Shrubs; Houseplants; Perennials; Natural Gardening; Shade Gardening; Water-Saving Gardening; Herbs; Roses.

- Flora - Over 20,000 Plants & Their Cultivation Requirements

Includes a CD. This is a great reference book, but we will warn you that it is so large and heavy it has a cover with a carrying handle. We find this is a very up-to-date book.

- Botanica's Roses - The Encyclopedia of Roses

This is another heavy book in a case with a handle, but we would recommend this to anyone who is a rose aficionado.

- Xeriscape Gardening, by Connie Lockhart Ellefson, Thomas L. Stephens & Doug Welsh, PhD

The authors have dedicated this book to the home gardener to improve their environment, save water, money and time, while enjoying their garden. We all know we have had to conserve water each summer and it is going to get even worse as time goes on. So this is a very good book to have in your collection.

Try these reliable sources for gardening tips

- The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect & Disease Control
Edited by Barbara W. Ellis & Fern Marshall-Bradley. This is an excellent book whether you are an organic gardener or not. This is an easy-to-use problem-solving book. It has 350 colour photos of insect, pest, beneficial insects and plant diseases, and covers 200 vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers and trees and shrubs.
The Gardeners Guide to Composting by Stu Campbell. Since every gardener can use compost this is a good little book to use. Stu explains composting in simple terms; it takes the mystery out of making compost.
The subtitle to this book explains it completely. The Complete Guide to Using Native Plants. Lorraine explains why we should all be using native species in our gardens. It is well-written and accurate. She has many resources listed if the reader wants to pursue this topic further.
The Ultimate Authority on Successful Organic Gardening. We are all becoming more interested in healthy living and our environment, whether you are a seasoned gardener, a new gardener or somewhere in between. This is an easy-to-understand book.
It is a concise and easily read book.
Beautifully illustrated; Mark's down-to-earth advice demonstrates the techniques and skills that you will need to garden successfully.
Gerry has provided us with a detailed and informative reference to planting the right species for the right spot. He has studied trees since childhood and still lives on the family farm in Amherstburg where he is replacing the trees his ancestors removed.
Better Homes & Gardens Books by Janet H. Sanchez. Some of us are experimenting with alternatives to having all lawn; this author has given us choices. Janet also gives us better ways to care for the lawns we still have, along with describing how to plant and care for ground covers and vines.

Don't Have A Green Thumb, Nor Do I Have Many Gardening Tips

True gardeners, it seems to me, aren't interested in "tips." They know that tips will usually fail them in the end because their own garden, its soil, its microclimate, its exposure, will exert an influence that no other person can guess at without first-hand experience.

Gardeners realize that a "green thumb" comes from deep knowledge and experience, and that "tips," for the most part, are quick explanations of routine mechanics.

A tip about pruning rhododendrons can tell you when to cut, but not necessarily the aesthetic aspects of what to cut. However, a gardener who truly understands his rhododendron and its needs can intuit when, and how much, pruning should take place.

Gardeners, in my opinion, simply want to know everything about plants. They want to know where they grow, how they look, what conditions they prefer. By inspecting a well-grown specimen, a gardener might deduce whether he would have similar success on his own property.

Gardening is a passion, a pursuit, a discipline, the same as throwing pottery or automobile mechanics. There are no magical thumbs involved, just hard work.

And for those who insist, here's the universal gardening tip: Dig a hole. Place plant in hole. Cover the roots with earth. Enjoy.

The Hartford Courant, Conn., Peter Sleight column

Let us now, in the cold light of a leafless December, look at two gardening terms I've come to loathe.

"Green thumb" and "gardening tips."

Like so many convenient labels, "green thumb" is inaccurate and cynical, attributing success in the garden coming from hours of trial-and-error experimentation, hard labor and careful research to some sort of genetic engineering.

"Have you seen her garden?" the onlooker asks. "She has a green thumb, for sure."

In reality, anyone can have a green thumb, providing they put in enough work. The orchid-grower will spend hundreds of hours moving plants from window to window looking for ideal light conditions. He'll spend hundreds of hours more on pebble trays, humidifiers, misters and fertilizer. In the end, admirers gaze on the banks of arching phalaenopsis and oncidium and exclaim, "He has a green thumb, for sure."

The same for the gardener who's outside four hours every day, digging, weeding, mulching, dead-heading, pruning, moving plants around to suit her artistic vision -- hundreds of hours of labor -- "My, she sure has a green thumb, doesn't she?"

That's like saying Warren Buffett has a knack for numbers.

It seems, too, as if the same people who attribute gardening success to a "green thumb" are also the ones who are always asking for "gardening tips."

Why do people think years of work and study can be distilled into "tips," as if collecting a few will suddenly give rise to a "green thumb"?

You ask for a "tip" on a horse race thinking that the handicapper has an uncanny ability to name the winner (hours spent with the Daily Racing Form notwithstanding). Yet much of the time the horse doesn't win because variables -- the skill of the jockey, the condition of the track, the late start out of the box -- come into play.

The same's true in gardening.

"I'd like to plant a daphne," a friend says. You suggest partial sun, moist but well-drained soil, and a location out of the wind. Yet the daphne dies. An investigation shows that the partial sun consisted of four hours of direct afternoon glare, the soil was boggy, and while the location was sheltered, it faced directly north. Your "tips" were followed, but the variables intervened.

Calendar offers gardening tips, gives to education

By purchasing a calendar from the Federated Garden Clubs of Yuma, you not only can keep track of dates in 2007 but learn helpful gardening tips, all while contributing to the education of area fourth-graders. Club members will be selling Arizona Greening gardening calendars during the Community Bazaar that starts at 9 a.m. Saturday at the Yuma Civic Center. The cost is $10 per calendar, with proceeds going toward publishing a children's book about Arizona trees free of charge to fourth-grade students. More than 4,000 "Trees, Tracks and Tails" books will be provided to Yuma- area students alone, said Val Colvin, member of the Pecan Grove Garden Club. The second annual Arizona Greening calendar features color photos of garden scenes around the state, along with gardening tips and information compiled by the Arizona Federation of Garden Clubs. "It's not only a calendar but a great gardening encyclopedia," Colvin said. The calendar opens with color scenes of the Robert J. Moody Demonstration Garden in Yuma and its red passion flower vine, as well as Sandy and Lee Silvas'CQ Somerton vegetable garden containing rows of cherry red and yellow pear tomatoes and jalapeno and sweet bell peppers. "Last year's calendar was so enthusiastically received, it was decided to continue with one for 2007," said Marylin Thornbury of the Yuma Garden Club. "This year's calendar has new and additional information such as articles about planting trees, information about properly staking trees, purchasing and care of poinsettias, landscaping pointers, garden pond information, tips on container gardening and flower and birthstones of the month." Also, in this year's calendar are helpful gardening tips specific to each month, such as best times to plant and fertilize lawns, prune roses and plant vegetables and herbs. The calendar also can be purchased by calling Sally Griffith of the Yuma Orchid Society, 345-1213; Thornbury, 819-0190; Colvin, 783-3686; or Ellen Gardner from the MGM Garden Club, 343-4020. Stefani Guerrero Soucy can be reached at ssoucy@yumasun.com or 539-6857. FEDERATED GARDEN CLUBS The Federated Garden Clubs of Yuma is an educational organization for members and the community. Club members work with Girl Scouts, 4-H and Desert Mesa Elementary's Junior Garden Club. They also contribute to state and national scholarships, volunteer with public beautification projects at West Wetlands Park as well as the Yuma Library and Sanguinetti Gardens rejuvenation project.

A Harrowsmith's Gardener's Guide

In Bernard Jackson's chapter on woodland gardens, he champions the tree as the most essential part of any shade garden. Trees can be microcosms for birds, insects, and small animals and are beneficial to humans also. While they cast varying degrees of shade depending on the species, there is an abundance of plants that amicably coexist under them. Trailing arbutus and wood anemone do well planted near deep shade but not in it. The old standbys such as bleeding heart and columbine thrive where they receive some morning sunshine. Dappled shade, where light pierces the tree canopy and provides a mellow atmosphere for primroses and violets, is one of the best mediums for gardeners to work in.

Trees and shrubs that cast a deep shade should be trimmed and clipped to allow some light to penetrate here and there and Jackson gives tips for doing this properly. As well, he advises clearly how to provide the maintenance that is so important to the life of your garden. For example, he tells readers how to prune and deadhead (remove wilted flowers) to get a healthier crop of plants in the spring; and how to provide optimum conditions for moisture - loving shade plants. Consistent watering and application of organic matter will have beautiful rewards. The writer makes a good case against cleaning up leaf mould, for the practice robs trees and plants of necessary nutrients and is detrimental to their health. Warning that gardening in shady places can become a challenging lifelong habit, Jackson says that plain experimentation and trial and error are the best tools for any interested gardener. The final chapter of Shade Gardens concerns specific plants for shady areas. For those who wish to know what and where to plant, there are myriad recommendations by a panel of experts from all over Canada. These plan "biographies" give planting advice along with care and variety names and information on where the species do well in Canada. There is also a small listing of mail - order nurseries and seed houses along with specific books concerning shade gardening.

This is a wonderfully put together book for anyone who enjoys gardening and wishes to beautify those impossible areas where nothing seems to grow. There is a sense of affection for plants, flowers, and trees in this volume. Its authors leave readers with the feeling that gardeners are the real creators of beauty.

Gardening tips for shady nooks

Harrowsmith's Shade Gardens is a book for anyone interested in gardening in unused or heavily treed spaces. Amateurs and professionals will appreciate this lovely slim volume that evokes images of cool green shade and the singing of birds.

Each chapter is written by a separate author who concentrates on different aspects of shade gardening. Although their perspectives may vary slightly, they all agree that gardening successfully in the shade is both challenging and rewarding.

In Brenda Cole's introduction, she advises that shade gardens require plain common sense and careful observation. Whether it's formal or informal, you must consider how your garden will be used and by whom.

Cole begins with an analysis of depth of shade, for it varies from light to deep and changes throughout the day. She also gives tips on a simple soil test that is helpful in choosing specific plants. Lawns are assessed too; while sun - loving turf grass may not be appropriate for shady areas, there are shade - tolerant varieties that will work. Since these shady grasses are a bit more fussy and delicate, there are hints on caring for them.

The first chapter, written by David Tomlinson, deals with city shade, where neglected alleyways and bare yards seem useful only for parking the car. Readers living in urban areas will especially value his tips on how to approach these dry, windswept areas.

Tomlinson advises gardeners to carefully choose plants for areas near fences, walls, and foundations because these structures often reflect sunlight and absorb water. Although vines and creepers are good choices for small areas since they attract birds and insects, they often wreak havoc on brick facades -- and the rattling of dry leaves can drive you mad in the winter months.

When selecting a tree or shrub, he says to consider how large it will grow in 10 years. Tomlinson makes the process easier by recommending specific tree and shrub varieties and giving information on their care. There are also many ideas for shade - loving annuals and perennials such as late - flowering tobacco for late summer and early fall, and petunia hybrids that do well in light shade. The writer recommends joining a specialist plant or garden society that may operate a seed exchange in your area, giving you a

Gardening Hints & Tips

Videos are often the preferred format for presenting how-to information because of their "picture-worth-a-thousand-words" quality and their brief time demands. This book is like a video in print. Greenwood, a BBC garden show personality and author of The New Gardener (W 4/1/95), runs through some general areas of gardening, like lawns, water features, and landscaping, presenting basic information and quick ideas for improvement. A subject like plant propagation does fairly well with this technique; others, like general maintenance, will almost certainly require readers to search out another book before repairing those brick steps. The illustrations re small but clear, and, despite the wealth of sidebars and boxed tips, the pages are not too cluttered. More basic than The Big Book of Gardening Skills (LJ 2/1/93), this will be most useful for gardeners just beyond the novice stage to browse for ideas.--Molly Newling, Piscataway P.L., N.J.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

SA Youth's community gardening program receives $1,000 grant

SA Youth, a local nonprofit after-school program, is the proud recipient of the UnitedHealth HEROES service-learning grant for $1,000. The money will be used to initiate a community gardening program that will encourage the community to participate in outdoor activities, and help combat obesity and diabetes by teaching healthy lifestyle habits.
The community gardening program will involve creating and maintaining several gardens around the community. Members will create three garden sections at the Cooper Learning Center and four gardens at SA Youth's Community Learning Centers, including: a community vegetable garden open to residents in the neighborhood; a Texas Natives and Butterfly Garden which will serve as a teaching tool displaying information about native plants; and a learning garden for the students to practice their gardening techniques and to use as a tool to teach the community.
"Community gardens specifically address the issue of childhood obesity by supporting healthy food choices among adults and children, and enhances the communities access to fresh fruits and vegetables," said Cynthia Le Monds, CEO of SA Youth. "The garden will promote physical activity and emphasize the importance of caring for the environment, while staying out of trouble."
In the spirit of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the public is encouraged to join SA Youth for the grand opening of the Dan Cook Dream Garden from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Jan. 21, at 1215 W. Poplar.

Moorit Software Releases iVeggieGarden: A Unique Mobile Vegetable Gardening App

BRIMFIELD, Mass., Jan. 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Moorit Software, LLC, has released version 1.1 of iVeggieGarden, a comprehensive, feature-rich vegetable gardening app for the iPhone(R) and iPod touch(R). The app was designed and built on a small farm, to help vegetable gardeners of all experience levels get more out of their gardens. iVeggieGarden is available for purchase on the App Store(SM), the company announced today.
(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20110125/NE33648LOGO )
"iVeggieGarden is unique because we have a real passion for growing vegetables, and the app is based on our own firsthand experience. Part of the problem with some other gardening applications on the market is that they were developed by companies that produce video games," said Leslie Sturgeon, owner of Moorit Software, LLC. "My husband and I have a small sustainable vegetable farm in Central Massachusetts, and we sell our produce at three local farmers' markets. I also work full-time as a software developer, so I've combined our farming expertise with my technical skills in developing this app."
Key features include a catalog of over 500 vegetable varieties; complete growing info for all vegetable types; planting dates by climate zone; pest and disease info including sustainable control tips; a shopping list; integrated online shopping for seeds; purchase tracking; garden planning; tracking of key dates, notes, and photos for each variety in your garden; a glossary; powerful filters, and more.
iVeggieGarden also has the advantage of being perfectly portable. You can bring it out into your garden and take notes and photos on the spot, bring it to your local garden center to help you decide on seed purchases, or take it on a flight and read about new varieties to grow.
iVeggieGarden has already seen sales across the US and in countries as diverse as South Africa, Australia, and Croatia. An iPad(TM)-optimized version and an Android version of the app are planned for later this year.
About Moorit Software, LLC
Established in 2010, Moorit Software, LLC, (http://www.iveggiegarden.com) is a small company dedicated to the design and development of mobile applications targeting the vegetable gardening community.
Apple, the Apple logo, iPhone, iPod touch, and iTunes are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and in other countries. iPad is a trademark of Apple, Inc. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc.

Garden Style

I went on a garden tour where the owner had created a cairn. Not only was this stack of rocks a conversation piece, it added a sense of mystery to the garden.
Your garden style is your personal signature. Take something unique to you and your environment, and be creative. I have seen some very creative recycled objects used as focal points during my garden travels.
Old bathtubs, sinks, bowling balls and even shoes can be used.
If you look around your house you can find something to turn into an interesting focal point. The best advice is to experiment and have fun.
Whether you've always wanted a Grecian urn to add that classic flair, or a gazing ball to reflect the sky and colourful plants, the possibilities are endless. Have fun.
how to
Paint terracotta pots
CHALKY white paint and natural stripes can add a crisp, clean look to terracotta pots.
Masking tape in varying widths
Terracotta pots with saucers
Soft cloths
Soft paint brush
1 Old pots will need a good scrub with warm, soapy water before you begin. Once they're clean, place them in the sun to dry. New pots tend to accumulate dust and a few scrapes during the packing and display process. Give them a good wipe with a soft, dry cloth to dislodge loose dust, then finish with a damp cloth to remove any marks. Leave to dry.
2Decide where you want the natural terracotta stripes to be placed, then measure down from the rim, or up from the base, and make guide marks with a pencil around the circumference of the pot. Apply the masking tape, using the pencil marks as a guide. Smooth the tape down firmly, paying particular attention to any creases. Use an eraser to remove the pencil marks.
3 To achieve a soft, semi-translucent look, you need to water down the paint. Mix two parts paint with one part water and stir well to combine. Use a soft brush to apply the paint; you'll get a better finish if your brushstrokes follow the circumference of the pot rather than brushing vertically up and down. Paint the outer rim of the saucer. Leave to dry.
4 Once the paint is completely dry, carefully remove the tape. If there are any bleeds where the paint has seeped into the creases in the tape, remove them by gently scraping the area with a sharp blade. Use a damp cloth to wipe over the marks. The pot is now ready for planting.

Gardening and DIY Steal the scene

IF you are trying to create more excitement in your garden, consider adding a focal point to direct the eye to an object or area of interest.
If your planting borders seem like they are missing something, you probably need a scene-stealer.
As the eye sweeps along the bed, it needs a landing spot.
Think of a focal point as punctuation and your plants as words. You need a little punctuation for a sentence to make sense and optimise the flow.
We all strive to create a planting border that floats along with a variety of textures and colours, but it may need a vertical element or a special item to add interest.
These can be dramatic expressions such as a sculpture, or more casual features such as a birdhouse.
Each has its place depending on whether your garden tends to be formal or casual.
As you think of gardens with stunning water features, an architectural tree or interesting sculpture, your eye takes in that information, then travels outward to the other plants and features.
This is a way to transform your garden from ordinary to extraordinary.
For those who admire formal gardens, the classic sundial is the perfect centrepiece.
These instruments were once used to tell the time by the length of the shadow cast by the sun, but today they are simply ornamental features.
What can you use as a focal point? You don't have to break the bank or redesign your entire garden.
One of the simplest things you can do is to place a container planting in a border.
On the formal side, you can add a large, elegant urn, but for the casual garden a container or group of planters can make the area pop with excitement and colour.
As an example: in a shady area with hydrangeas, a bright, blue ceramic pot planted with a red begonia and fern and elevated with stones echoes the blue of the hydrangeas, creating a simple, but elegant, focal point.
When the hydrangeas have finished blooming, the container stays fresh and colourful.
Adding a vertical element, such as a metal or wooden garden pillar, to your bed or border is another easy solution.
As annual and/or perennial vines grow on the pillar, they lead the eye upward. Other vertical structures include a birdhouse on a pole, an arbor or a pergola.
Even stones can make an attractive focal point.
You can use a boulder or boulder grouping, or even larger stones artfully placed in the garden.

The Joy of Family Gardening

The Joy of Family GardeningBy Maria RodaleI learned about flowers from my mother. Her goal was to get the flowers planted before the end of the Indy 500 in late May. Up until her last few years, she was out there every season, pursuing her passion, and getting her hands all dirty and calloused while creating beautiful flower scenes to be enjoyed from every window of the house. From my father, I learned about the magic of soil and a love of farming. He always took us kids to visit farms and farmers, and wax poetic about the incredible complexity of our living soil. Through these visits and his stories, I became a farmer (and through his leniency, I learned to drive a tractor when I was 13-that was trouble!).Both of my grandmothers' gardens taught me how it takes time to make a beautiful landscape. Their homes were surrounded by mature, vibrant gardens, filled with fragrance (oh, the roses!), hidden sculptures, and other surprises-did my mother's mother have a lime tree growing in one protected corner of her yard, or am I dreaming? Childhood days spent growing up in those gardens are some of my most precious memories.My in-laws, Louie and Rita Cinquino, opened a new gardening world to me. In their garden in LeRoy, New York, they raised garlic, tomatoes, basil, and peppers-the Italian cook's essentials. But they didn't just garden; they also wild-gathered bitter mustard greens and any other edibles they could find, like wild cardoons or burdock. No meal in their home was complete unless there was a dish of bitter greens sauteed with garlic and dressed with cheese and olive oil. And cardoon stems, dipped in egg and flour, then sauteed with olive oil and garlic and sprinkled with grated Romano cheese, are the crown jewel of the Cinquinos' dinner table. Today, in our garden, my husband, Lou, plants his father's garlic, and we nurture our own (secret) wild cardoon patch.Happily, Lou's folks are still alive to share their gardening wisdom, but at 89, they are getting too old to garden themselves. But that's what us kids are for now. And why it's important to pass our knowledge on to our own kids! I'm lucky in that all three of my daughters enjoy gardening and cooking from the garden. This year my oldest, who works at the Rodale Institute, helped me put up the tomato sauce and pesto. My teenager planted a "seed tape" that we got from an event in California this year hosted by Nature's Path (thank you, Maria Emmer Aanes!), and the pink and red flowers that grew from it created what is by far the most beautiful section in the vegetable garden. And, well, the little one-it's hard to keep her out of the garden. She comes in, covered in dirt from digging and peppered with tomato seeds from eating our organic tomatoes right from the vine, shouting for me to come look at something she has found-a special rock, or a dead bug. Lou and I feel blessed to have so many great gardeners around us and happy that our kids have picked up the tradition. As we get busier-and older-it's great to have enthusiastic help in the garden, especially if they know what they're doing!