June 21, 2017
Today’s the first day of summer, and here I am getting excited about fall!
I’ve been invited to teach a special, hands-on gardening workshop at the famed Bitters Co. in Skagit Valley. This is going to be a new kind of program for me in that I’ll be teaching a small group of people about design, dividing perennials, preparing a garden for winter and using the right tool for the job at hand.
What I’ll be teaching isn’t new for me, but how and where I’ll be teaching is.
Usually, I travel to a client’s residential garden to teach them at home. And, in these settings, I rarely have more than two or three students (a family) to teach. But, I am accustomed to sharing knowledge with very large groups when I lead nature walks or present at a large garden show.
And, teaching isn’t all attendees will get!
The Bitters Co folks will be serving lunch in the garden for everyone. We have a number of tools to give away thanks to Fiskars. There might be some perennial divisions to take home. And, everyone will have a chance to shop the Bitters Co import barn store while they’re there. Plus, it’s a gorgeous retreat destination near La Conner, Edison, Mount Vernon and Anacortes. And, the valley is just plain stunning in late summer.
Want to join us?
Where: Bitters Co in Skagit Valley
When: Saturday, September 16, 2017 11am – 2pm
Cost: We’ve made this program very affordable. At $50/person, it’s a steal. But, we are limiting attendance so I can give everyone attention. Small classrooms matter!
How to sign up: Call (360-466-3550) or email BittersCo to sign up & pay today before we sell out!
I hope to see you there! Robin
June 16, 2017
Recently, Theresa Loe interviewed me about our experiences moving and changing our garden from the city to the country for her award-winning Living Homegrown garden podcast. And, boy did we have a good time chatting. Laughter is a good thing!
We couldn’t cover all the reasons we moved or all of the things we love about our new, unique property, but we did go deep on some diverse subjects like living gently on the planet near a protected estuary. We covered the challenges of getting chickens in a wildlife zone. And, we dug into the importance of topsoil and how to deal with not having much of it. We chatted about what we did to prepare to move our old garden, what we lost along the way, and what we’re learning from gardening in straw bale for the first time. Theresa and I had a great time discussing our beautiful new property that offers so many positive features, and we managed to laugh a lot at the many challenges we’ve faced in just barely a year living here.
As I prepared for our interview, I gave a lot of consideration to everything that’s transpired in our lives over the last year and our time preparing to make a move here. My biggest takeaway from this meditation and my talk with Theresa:
When something isn’t working,
be ready to punt and try something new.
I’ve always told others I believe that fail is the worst of the four-letter F-words. Really, I don’t believe in failure unless you completely give up and do nothing more. And who does that? Life is a journey that we travel on a winding path of discovery. We live; we learn. When something doesn’t turn out as you expected or hoped, life just becomes something different, takes a turn. That’s life! And sometimes what’s different and unexpected is actually better than what we’d set out to have happen in the first place!
With each newbie frustration I encounter here — and believe me there are a lot of them on this new property — I try to take a deep breath and live the lessons I teach my garden coaching clients:
Give yourself a break.
Never give up.
Nature will do fine if you don’t try to tame it all.
Landscape fabric sucks.
Less lawn is good; more meadows are better.
Plants will die, but loss can be an opportunity.
Take the time to stop working and find joy in the small things — like a frog at your front door or seeing your elderly mother tending her potatoes or harvesting all of the three peas the bunnies and birds didn’t devour. Or just jump up and down in triumph when you finally finish digging a planting hole in rock-hard clay muddled with a quarry-worth of pebbles and boulders.
Have a listen and laugh with us!
May 15, 2017
Garden Mentors is offering a fun assortment of free spring gardening events to choose from in the greater Seattle area this season — and beyond. One is part of an on-going series. Hopefully, one (or more) of these talks is perfect for you and your gardening family. Remember: they’re all free!
Free Guided Nature Walks
On Mother’s Day, I (Robin) lead the first in a series of free Breazeale Interpretive Center upland trail native plant walks. Teaching a young mother and her two vivacious sons about this beautiful part of Mother Earth was perhaps the most rewarding thing I could have done for Mother’s Day. And, I even took my own mom out to lunch after planting a new tree for her. I hadn’t planned to give this walk on Mother’s Day. I had simply picked what worked for my calendar when scheduling. What a happy accident!
I’ll be repeating this guided walk each month through September (and maybe beyond if there’s interest). They’re always free. The loop trail is relatively easy. Part of it is even wheelchair accessible. Here’s the schedule if you’d like to plan a trip to join me:
Sunday, June 11, 2017, 10am-11am
Sunday, July 16, 2017, 10am-11am
Sunday, August 13, 2017, 10am-11am
Sunday, September 10, 2017, 10am-11am
Want to join me for a hands-on gardening training? This special program will cost less than a garden coaching session with me! And, in addition to learning hands-on, you might take home a great door prize like favorite gardening tools, perennials or even fancy decor!
Sign up for our newsletter & you’ll be among the first to be notified when enrollment begins for this special, limited attendance event happening in early fall in the beautiful Skagit Valley.
Free Hummingbird Gardening Seminar
My eye-candy presentations on gardening for hummingbirds is hands-down my most popular talk. If you haven’t had a chance to enjoy it, or if you really want to drool over all those gorgeous blooms for every day of the year again, or if you have always wanted to see baby hummingbirds growing up, this is a talk you don’t want to miss. And, yes, it won’t cost you a dime!
Where: Molbaks Nursery in Woodinville, WA
When: Saturday, May 20th at noon
Seminar: Growing a Year Round Hummingbird Habitat Garden
Free Worm Composting for Kids and Families (more…)
February 10, 2017
The Northwest Flower and Garden Show 2017 opens in just a couple of weeks, beginning on February 22nd through February 26, 2017. And, as usual we can’t wait to attend and present during the show. Once again, the speaker line up is stellar, and the sneak peeks of the show garden designs are intriguing. It’s gonna be tasty! (How can it not be with a Taste of Spring theme to guide it?)
So, what’s on our not to miss list for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in 2017?
Well, Robin can’t miss being on stage for her two seminars and competition in the new Garden Wars spin-off, Container Wars.
Catch Robin on opening day in the Rainier Room at 2:15pm for Gardening 101: Don’t Let Moving Scare the Plants Out of You. Together with fellow professionals Sue Goetz and Christina Salwitz, Robin will be discussing wise choices to make as you’re saying hello to a new garden or good-bye to one you’ve lovingly cultivated. These three gardening consultants have a lot of experience helping new buyers remedy mistakes made by even the most well-intended sellers. Learn how to recognize and make good choices before you buy, sell or embark on moving your garden.
Then, on Thursday, Robin will return to the Rainier Room at 2:45pm for Gardening 101: Best Damn Garden Advice Ever! Together with Professor Linda Chalker-Scott and Mary-Kaye Mackey, this presentation will offer you a myriad of gardening tips and solutions to make you a more successful gardener and make your gardening chores easier.
And, on Sunday the 26th at 11am, Robin will be laughing it up with her friend and colleague Jessi Bloom in a new coopertition for your benefit in the Container Wars Arena. Robin and Jessi will be sharing live gardening tips as they rapidly puts together a series of planted containers, using surprise materials and impromptu challenges issued on the fly by Master of Ceremonies Marianne Binetti. Adding to the fun, the audience gets to vote on their favorite designer.
Robin’s presentations aren’t the only great NWFGS to-do’s on our list this year! You’ll also find us slavering over the new Bouquet of Cakes displays, hoping for some tasty samples. But, if there are no samples in this area, we’ll definitely enjoy bellying up to the new Tasting Corner where all sorts of culinary wonders will be up for sampling. Nom-nom!
Of course, we’ll be trolling the marketplace for seeds, tools, plants, inspiration and Vintage Marketplace finds. And, this year, given our politically inspired goal to give back more to environmentally challenged areas and non-profits, we’ll be visiting the plant society, garden tour and educational tables to expand our knowledge about economically and environmentally challenged programs in need.
And, during the week, there are two other seminars where you’re bound to find Robin in attendance.
On Wednesday at 11:45am in the Rainier Room, Dan Hinkley’s talk Creating a Low-mow, High-life Meadow in the Pacific Northwest is luring her in. Having moved to a several acre property with lots of lawn, converting to meadow is a highly attractive, if daunting task. Hopefully, Dan will help get her over the hump!
And, on Saturday, she’ll be hitting the show in the evening for Ellen Zachos’ 5:30pm talk Backyard Foraging: Gathering from the Garden in hopes of learning more about wild plants to forage from her new property. The abundant blackberries and nettles are obvious, and tapping trees for sap water is a new challenge, but odds are there are more foods to forage when the wild taste of spring bursts forth soon after this year’s NW Flower & Garden Show comes to a close. If this seminar rings true, we’ll all be ready to find edible goodies from our own backyards – large or small.
January 13, 2017
Ever wish you could go back in time to give your younger self gardening advice you’ve learned with age? Well, Theresa Loe of Living Homegrown invited eight top gardening pros (me included) asking us what we’d tell our younger selves if we could go back in time.
And, after the episode be sure download the .pdf of advice Theresa offers via the podcast.
Too, if you need more help with your basic gardening challenges, explore the links below, comment below with your questions or just contact us to set up a garden coaching session!
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