Monday, August 31, 2009

Some Noteworthy Gardening Blogs

Thank you to the following blogs for their links and referrals to Heirloom Gardener over the past month:

1. - this is a group effort with great writers, photographers, the Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop, the Picture This Photo Contest, the Plant Pick of the Month and more: "The idea for Gardening Gone Wild came out of the wonderful interactions I have had over several years with gardening professionals throughout North America, all of whom are passionate gardeners."

2. - if I lived in Sweden, this is what my garden might look like: "We are two amateur gardeners. We are interested in everything in the garden both plants and garden-design."

3. - of all of the lists of gardening blogs out there, I still think that this is the best one: "where garden blogs bloom."

4. - from Alabama, a great personal gardening blog: "...creating and maintaining a 3/4 acre garden for 15 years now which I have chronicled on my web site. I also enjoy movies, reading and photography."

5. - from Virginia, another great personal gardening blog: "After gardening in Texas, Florida, and Germany I am now in Tidewater...trying to have an attractive garden while battling dogs and tidal inflows of mysterious seeds."

6. - from Indiana, the well-known host of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day: "Eccentric gardener? Gardening geek? Passionate about plants? Join me in my Zone 5 garden in Indiana!"

7. - from Kentucky, a blog about more than just gardening: "Retired RN loving time with my children, grands, art, literature and blogging and loving the creativity. My name comes from my dear grandchildren. I called them all princess, then their moms queens and my sons kings. They started to call me Queenmother Mamaw."

8. - from Massachusetts, Carol lives on a dream, twenty acre property: "Farming, observing and documenting a twenty acre hillside paradise, which includes organically cultivated rambling gardens, fields of organic blueberries, forest, fabulous views and expanse of sky."

9. - from Alabama, I share Dirt Princess's feelings about spending everyday outside in the yard: "I live in the deep south, where everyday is a bad hair day. I am married to my best friend (The Hunter) and we do everything together (except garden). I would spend everyday outside in my yard if I could."

10. - from Nebraska, Sue is a dedicated suburban gardener: "I am married with 2 grown children and a grandson. We live in the house on a corner lot that my husband grew up in. I have been talking him out of more grass over time in order to increase space for gardening. I like growing veggies, flowers, and herbs."

Friday, August 28, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop: Time in the Garden

This month's Garden Bloggers' Design Workshop at Gardening Gone Wild is on Time in the Garden. I love the kick-off photos on the post, as gardens are never "done" and always evolving, season to season, and year to year. Thinking through posts and photos that I could use to contribute to this subject, the best I have to offer is a post from last year, "Heirloom Gardener's Four Year Makeover of Her Front Garden - How to Improve Boring Suburban Landscaping," with pictures of the significant changes made from 2004-2008, including the replacement of a pathway and the continuation of a stone staircase to the front door. The foll0w-up post, "Front Yard Garden Design Challenge - Five Ideas For the Downward Sloping Front Yard," provides updated pictures from 2009, including the plantings that were added around the new hardscaping. Here are some of the "before" and "after" shots from those posts:

The Front Garden, 2004
The Front Garden, 2009
The Egg Garden, 2004
The Egg Garden, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009

NYT: How to Sip a Flower Garden

We all know about edible flowers, but I never thought about adding them to mixed drinks. Laura M. Holson writes in The New York Times:

"Red sunflower petals and cucumbers are bathed in gin. Syrup made from dried lavender blossoms is muddled with mint leaves to lend mojitos a Provençal air. And the fizz of Champagne is quieted by wild elderflower liqueur.
'People are realizing there are a lot of edible flowers or flavored liqueurs that taste beautiful in a cocktail glass,' said Junior Merino, a bartender and consultant who came up with a drink for the Modern in Manhattan called Coming Up Roses, a bouquet of rum, rose syrup and crushed rose petals. 'It’s a discovery for many: interesting flavors and tastes they never knew existed.'"

For the full article, click here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

This Cucumber Looks Like a Duck

This cucumber got stuck in the netting of the eight foot tall screen around the raised vegetable bed and my children thought it was blog-worthy.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ten Tips for Starting an Employee Garden

As a follow-up to my post "WSJ: Adding a Vegetable Garden to a Small Business," Twisted Limb Paperbacks, one of the businesses featured in the article, has a blog post, Ten Tips for Starting an Employee Garden:

"Twisted Limb Paperworks is a recycled handmade paper and invitation business in the countryside of South Central Indiana. We started a company garden last year, as a benefit to employees who at the time, had to reduce their hours and forgo raises. Everyone enjoyed getting their share of produce so well, that this year we increased the plot to 30x50 feet. We grow ten different herbs and twenty-four different vegetables, many of those in several different varieties. I’ll admit that it’s a lot to manage for the five of us. We certainly haven’t taken our own advice about starting small and easy, but that’s OK. It’s my pet project and I absolutely love it..."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Some of This Year's Heirloom Tomatoes

As readers of this blog know, I am primarily a flower gardener. However, the children love growing and eating vegetables, so the Children's Garden is now primarily a vegetable garden. Each year, I learn more about growing heirloom vegetables, but my yields have been limited due to the pests who like to eat our vegetables before we do. This year, we built eight foot tall screens around the raised beds and have been rewarded with our best harvest yet.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Summer Visit to the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG): the Four Season Border by Piet Oudolf

I was reading The New York Times when a photograph from the New York Botanical Garden caught my eye. It was in an article by Anne Raver about the new Four Season Border designed by Piet Oudolf and it was almost the exact same picture that I took a couple of weeks ago.
According to the website for the garden (
"In 2008, The New York Botanical Garden invited two international garden design superstars, Piet Oudolf of Hummelo, NL and Jacqueline van der Kloet of Weesp, NL, to create a custom four-season garden installation to delight New Yorkers. Both designers are known for sophisticated plant mixes, an artist’s eye for form and color, and complex naturalized plantings that evolve over the seasons."
The Seasonwalk website includes photographs of the every-changing border every couple of weeks. Check out The New York Times photograph here.
Related posts:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WSJ: Adding a Vegetable Garden to a Small Business

Here's an innovative employee benefit: the company vegetable garden. From Raymund Flandez of The Wall Street Journal:

"Some small companies seeking an extra benefit for their employees are turning to their backyard for inspiration: a vegetable garden.
After laying off an employee, cutting hours and discontinuing raises, Sheryl Woodhouse-Keese, owner of Twisted Limb Paperworks LLC in Bloomington, Ind., invested $600 last fall to create a 1,500-square-foot garden outside the recycled paper-products company's office. Now, her four employees can take home their pick of 10 herbs and 22 vegetables.
"The garden really is a nice benefit, saving them on their food bills," said Ms. Woodhouse-Keese, who estimates the garden has meted out $2,400 in produce this season, from tomatoes to potatoes."

For the full article, click here.

The Bud of a Sunflower in the Cutting Garden

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ask Heirloom Gardener: How to Store Dahlia Tubers for Winter

Question from the mailbag (heirloomgardener[at]aol[dot]com): What winter storage "method" do you use for dahlias? I've experimented with several different ways and am still searing for the perfect solution.
Answer from Heirloom Gardener: I've experimented with several different ways too. One year, I put the tubers in individual brown paper bags, wrote the names of the tubers on each bag, and then stored all of the bags in a large container of peat moss. By the spring, the brown paper bags had deteriorated and I had no idea which dahlias were which!
Here's what I did last fall which worked pretty well. After the first hard frost, I dug them up (a garden fork works better than a shovel), cleaned them off and dried them indoors on baking sheets in the sun for about two days. You want them to dry out, but you don't want them to shrivel up. Next, I wrote the name of the dahlia on the actual tuber with a Sharpie marker. Then, I stored them in individual plastic containers with peat moss. I wrote the name of the dahlia on the outside of each container too. From there, they were stored in the unfinished part of the basement, which kept them cool, dry and dark until the spring.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day - August 2009

Most of my recent posts have been about the dahlias and lilies blooming in my garden. Here are a few snapshots of some of the other flowers currently in bloom around my zone 6b garden. Check out all of the Bloom Day posts at May Dreams Gardens.

Rudbeckia 'Golden Glow' in the Bird Garden

Scarlet Runner Bean in the Bird Garden
Sunflower in the Cutting Garden
Obedient plant in the Walled Garden
Ageratum in the Rose Garden
Sweet Peas in the Cutting Garden
Cockscomb in the Egg Garden
Rudbeckia lacinata in the Bird Garden
Gladiolus in the Front Border
Purple Angelica in the Front Border
Japanese Anemone in the Front Border
Brown Eyed Susans in the Front Border

Friday, August 14, 2009

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Gardening Gone Wild's Picture This Photo Contest--Down On Your Knees: Cyclamen hederifolium, Sowbread Cyclamen, 1597

This is my entry to this month's Picture This Photo Contest at Gardening Gone Wild. The theme is "Down on your Knees" and we were asked to take a new picture on our knees or lower.
For my picture of these tiny pink cyclamen, I had to get on my knees and forearms. They are about two inches tall and are at the base of the white pines on Goldberry Hill.
These Sowbread Cyclamen were purchased from Old House Gardens. They are described as fall blooming, but they are blooming in my 6b garden now (August), perhaps because of the cooler summer.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Friday, August 07, 2009

A Summer Visit to the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG): Pest Control for the Vegetable Garden

On my recent visit to the New York Botanical Garden, we also made a visit to the Home Gardening Center, where they have home demonstration vegetable gardens. Since last season, they have had to do more pest control around the gardens and I was surprised to some very familiar barriers:

1. Chicken wire around their post and rail fence.

2. Completely fenced in walls around their new raised beds.

This is exactly what I have had to do this year! Maybe they've been reading my blog for ideas (just kidding).

Related posts: Adding Chicken Wire and Gates to an Open Post and Rail Fence; New Eight Foot Tall Screens Around the Raised Beds

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Gardening Tips 'N' Ideas: Camping in your garden

I like doing this with my kids, but because of our slope, we all wake up on one side of the tent. For the full post, click here.

Mary Rose David Austin Rose in the Hydrangea Border

As a follow-up to my post How to Care for David Austin Roses, I realized I have never posted a picture of one of my favorites, Mary Rose.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Ask Heirloom Gardener: What Should I Do About Black Spot on my Roses?

Question from the mailbag (heirloomgardener [at] aol [dot] com): I have about 30 rose bushes and most are struggling due to black spot. What should I do?

Answer from Heirloom Gardener: Regarding the black spot, I wouldn't worry about it at this time of year. It won't kill the plant, even if all of the leaves fall off. If you want to prevent black spot on your roses next season, start your maintenance in the spring. I spray dormant oil right before the plant leafs out which kills any over-wintering spores that cause black spot as well as insects, etc. If you spray it now, it will kill the plant. After the plant leafs out, I spray with neem oil that smothers the spores every two weeks except during the heat of summer when it will burn the leaves.

Related posts: Dormant Oil Application for Pest Prevention

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Ask Heirloom Gardener: How to care for David Austin Roses

Question from the mailbag (heirloomgardener [at] aol [dot] com): I read your post about how to care for heirloom roses. Does this apply to David Austin roses?

Answer from Heirloom Gardener: Yes, everything I wrote in my post about how to care for heirloom roses applies to David Austin roses. They are stronger than hybrid tea roses, not as strong as heirloom roses, but have the benefit of fragrance and repeat blooms. Relative to heirloom roses, here are some of my observations.

1. They all need a lot of water and very rich soil.

2. Because they were developed in the more moderate English climate, I have observed a few differences in their growth habit in New Jersey: they grow taller than stated on the plant tag, so I locate them in areas to accommodate the extra height; they are leggier, so I grow them in groups; and the summer is sunnier and hotter here, so they are healthier for me in part shade.

3. Some are better than others as it relates to health and vigor. In my experience, the best are: Graham Thomas, Heritage (pictured above), Abraham Darby, Sophie's Rose and Mary Rose. Mary Rose is a sport of Winchester Cathedral, so my assumption is that Winchester Cathedral is as healthy as Mary Rose. I grew Mayflower which was healthy, but be warned that rain spoils the flowers. I also grow Molineaux because it is beautiful, but it requires a lot more coddling. I grew other David Austin roses that were less healthy, so I removed them from the garden.

Related posts: How to Care for Heirloom Roses; Are Heirloom Roses Hard to Grow?; Six Trouble-Free Heirloom Roses

Saturday, August 01, 2009

WSJ: Death by Mint Oil: Natural Pesticides

This article discusses many of the natural and organic solutions that I use in my own garden. From Gwendoln Bounds in The Wall Street Journal:

"Increasingly, well-known insecticide manufacturers, retailers and even professional pest-control services are rolling out solutions derived from natural materials like animals, plants, bacteria and minerals, many of them considered potentially safer to humans, pets and the environment than their synthetic-chemical counterparts. Fueling the move is increased governmental scrutiny over what pesticides we spray in and around our homes, as well as a bid to satisfy more health-conscious consumers—especially women, who typically dictate household pest-solution purchases."

For the full article, click here.

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