Last year while looking for a birthday present for a friend, I came upon Debra Prinzing's book Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways (Clarkston Potter). I bought it thinking it would be good inspiration for the inside of the conservatory. Little did I know how far that purchase would take me. I sent Debra a photo of our Stylish Outhouse Scotty created for our Sweet on Spring event, thanking her for the inspiration. ( I LOVE blogs for this reason, It is so easy to meet and interact with like-minded people) She called me yesterday and asked if she could do a blog post on Scotty's outhouse and our little garden.
FLATTER ME! L.A. garden writer wants to write about my tiny, albeit groovy, garden shop. Okay, calm down, it's just a blog post. Well, all I can say is it feels good to have your work noticed ( it's mostly Scotty's work). I'll let you in on a little secret, Since College, It has been a dream for my gardens/garden shop to be in a national magazine. It's not an active pursuit, but someday the gardens may be ready. As all gardeners know, this will take a lifetime, but what a life.
This weekend I ordered Clematis..... LOTS OF CLEMATIS
These are just 8 of the 35! varieties we have coming in next week. Some are very tall growers, some are short and suitable for pots, all are cold hardy and will grow beautifully in your garden.
Clematis in fact grow very well in our area if you follow a few simple steps. Plant in a spot with good drainage, where the vine will get 4-6 hours of sunlight, and mulch the soil heavily so the roots stay cool. THIS IS VITAL. What you use for mulch does not matter, match your landscape. It can be another shrub or river rocks or bark mulch. For good growth and health, the roots of Clematis must stay cool. To protect the crown, plant the root ball 1-2 " deeper than soil level. If your soil is poor, mix a bit of compost to the soil you dug out of the hole and back fill with this mixture. I like to top dress annually with compost as a fertilizer.
Here is a gardener's tip: Clematis wilt is a disease that can attack the plant right at ground level, not bothering the roots of the plants but causing the whole top to wilt,usually when it's in full flower! The best organic way to deal with wilt is to keep all that nice thick layer of mulch away from the stems. You can accomplish this by placing stones up next to the stems or making a collar from an old plastic pot and placing that around the stems and mulching up to it.
We have friends in Twisp Washington who own the sweetest local market and they are looking to retire. Twisp is a small town on the Eastern slopes of the North Cascades.
Beautiful mountains and Eastern Washington sunshine...It is a community we have thought many times of moving to, Scotty and I get totally turned on by the creativity happening there. But I just love the Palouse and can't bring myself to leave it. Anyway the "Market" is on the market, If you, or someone you know have a hankering for a change check out the listing here.... check out the area and town here....
Some people have all the luck, I am one of them. These photos of the greenhouse were taken yesterday. As you can see the hanging baskets are spilling over and starting to show color. Because this is our production house, I don't let customers shop from here. This is a two edged sword. Walking into this space is magical, and takes one's breath away. I would love to share that with everyone. On the other, business side of the equation, I grow using square foot accounting, meaning I know what my heat and electricity costs are per square foot per month and how many square feet each plant takes to grow to finished size. To maximize the space we have very narrow aisles which would not be suitable for customers to maneuver. I also grow without pesticides and one very important part of that program is keeping bugs out of the greenhouse, so the less we open and close the door the less chance an aphid could fly in.
I am growing a few things from seed this year.Below are annual Black Eyed Susan's vine and Sweet Peas. I also grew Morning Glory vine, which Denise transplanted yesterday with our signature apple whip trellis. That's a whole different story of pruning our apple trees not for fruit, but for maximum whip growth... this makes orchardists shudder! HAPPY EASTER...
I was wondering how I would have time to keep up with blog posts when spring hit. Just as I suspected, there just are not enough hours in the day. I have been making a concerted effort to get a good nights sleep, every night and that can cut a day short. Yesterday we had 2 deliveries of perennials and it is starting to look like a nursery around here. Carla, Ann and Scotty worked hard to get them all priced and put away. It sounds like a shameless plug.... I really can not believe the power of plants to visually transform a space into a garden! pinch me, is this my job! speaking of that, I gotta go, I need to get my orders for next week in by noon today.
I had the good fortune to re-meet Amy Gray last week. When introduced by a mutual friend I couldn't help thinking, I've heard of this woman, where? "Did I read about you in Martha Stewart Living" I asked. "No it was Country Living" she answered. ahh yes.....Women Entrepreneurs.
Amy started an organization in Moscow called Backyard Harvest. They organize the pick up of the extra veggies your garden is producing and distribute that bounty to area food banks and community meal programs. They also have the Town Orchard Project where you can register any fruit trees on your property and they will come and pick the fruit, leave you some if you wish and distribute the rest. Simple actions- big big results. Amy has been getting lots of national press lately and when you meet her, you will understand why. Her energy is huge, if I could see her aura I would say it was bright spring green. I am so impressed by what she has accomplished, but then, she is working from a place deep in her heart to help others and foster community.
for me, gardening is a lifestyle, hobby and how I make my living. I am lost in the winter when I can't garden and my greatest accomplishment (to date) is in my garden, where there is something fragrant blooming from March until frost.