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Monday, February 13, 2017

How to Love a Gardener Redux

I originally posted this in 2015 but it's one of my faves so here it is again.

I'm convinced most gardeners see the world a bit differently than others. We all know real love is announced through all the small things that are - or are not - done through out the year rather than a single grand gesture on a manufactured holiday. But if you wanted to woo your favorite gardener, how would you do it? Rest easy and follow these steps. You are guaranteed to make an impression.

When the gardener is covered with compost and sweat, avoid statements such as, "What the hell happened to you? Were you hit by a a manure truck?" and "Sweet Mother of God, you smell like a goat." Instead, while they're showering find a way to make dinner magically appear, quickly pay the delivery person, and open a bottle of wine.  

Instead of traditional chemical-laden roses and cheap box of candy, consider this approach, "I've hired David Austin and his landscaping crew to dig up the rest of the lawn and personally select a dozen of his most fragrant roses for you to enjoy all summer. When I told them I was trying to romance you, he suggested I buy the 'In the Mood' package." 

Hey, baby! The landscapers are here!

Instead of telling the gardener the pink things by the yellow flowers next to the bushes look good, try Latin. "The planting of silene and tulips near the osmanthus 'Goshiki' is beautiful" just might help you get lucky. But butchering the Latin and telling them the "sireen and tulips by the gohsweeki are really nice" is probably better than nothing.

But if you really want some lovin', snuggle up close and whisper in his/her ear, " I cleaned, sharpened, and organized all your tools."

Monday, February 6, 2017

A Growing Addiction

There is something about success that is addicting, 
as if a giant sign suddenly appeared that said 
"You've figured this out so do it again!"

It doesn't matter if what you're doing is mindlessly easy to others. We all have our own mountains to climb.

I grow a lot of rudbeckia hirta because it's so easy. This year I'm also growing the herb monarda citriodora. I bought a few organic plants last year (pink flowers above) and loved them so much, I'm starting them from seed. They're also super easy.

I've figured out how to grow many annuals from seed but don't be impressed. I specialize in growing plants that are easy to grow but I'm ok with that.
 Life's hard enough. 
I don't need to make it harder by torturing myself. 

'Frosted Flames' snapdragons have cool variegated foliage

The vast majority of the plants you buy at garden centers and even many online nurseries are full of pesticides so every annual I want that attracts pollinators is grown from seed. Sometimes I grow a few herbs, too, although the organic ones are pretty easy to find.

Most of these plants were grown from seed.

It's not hard.

Pink 'Summer Jewel' salvia grows and blooms quickly.

I buy big red plastic drink cups and poke holes in the bottom with a hot screwdriver I've heated on my stove. I fill them with moist soil and scatter the seeds on top. The only seeds I ever bury are the big ones. I cover the cups with plastic sandwich bags and put them on a heat mat under some cheapo grow lights. 

Seed grown dahlias are pollinator magnets

It's not hard.  

Once the seeds sprout, I take off the plastic bags. This year I'm starting almost 50 different types of seeds. I'd probably grow more if I had the room. Is that crazy? Maybe. But life's short so a little crazy is ok, too. It beats boring.

Cups full of monarda 'Bergamo' and monarda citriodora

This summer when my patio pots are bursting with organically grown, pollinator friendly plants I can stand back and say, "I did this!" 

To track how my plants are progressing, check out my So Seedy page.