March 08, 2014
Following up on Robin’s Gardening for Non-Stop Color & Interest seminar, we’ve put together this gardening guide to help you grow a gorgeous garden with color and interest 365 days of the year. Included below are a few planting combination suggestions for sun and shade, books to augment your library, apps to buy for your smartphone or tablet, and links to great art that adds a bit of sparkle to the garden all year ’round.
Just a few Non-Stop Color Planting Combination Ideas…
Try this gardening guide to simple planting beauty:
- Brunnera ‘Jack Frost’, Bleeding Heart, Phlox ‘David’, Deer Fern, Cyclamen hederifolium
- Climbing Hydrangea, Columbine, Daphne odora ‘Aureo-marginata’, Monkshood, Hardy Fuchsia, Sword Fern, Geranium macrorrhizum, Enkianthus, Japanese Painted Fern
- Silk Tassel bush, Japanese Maple, Tuberous begonia, Maidenhair Fern, Beesia,
- Autumn Fern, Evergreen huckleberry, Fuchsia speciosa, Japanese Forest Grass, Doronicum, Western Columbine
How about adding a few books to your library?
Try one or more of these simple gardening guide combinations
March 01, 2014
Check our A-Z Pruning Guide before you start chopping on anything in your garden. Here you’ll find suggested techniques, timing, tools, and other tips to help ensure you don’t mutilate or even kill your plants with cutting tools. Instead, we’ll help you keep them healthy, bountiful, and beautiful!
How & When to Prune Evergreen Azaleas (written for Fiskars)
Caring for Cane Growers (written for Fiskars)
Pruning Berries for Maximum Fruit (written for Fiskars)
How & When to Prune Camellias (written for Fiskars)
When to Prune a Clematis
Pruning Guide to Deadheading (written for Fiskars)
How & When to Prune Evergreen Ferns (written for Fiskars)
General Pruning Information:
February 20, 2014
In early March I’ll be giving a gardening seminar entitled Gardening for Non-Stop Color & Interest at the 2014 Whidbey Gardening Workshop. Today I’m fine-tuning my photo-rich presentation, which means I’m taking a visual stroll through my photo archives to enrich the experience. As I was scrolling through images, I came upon this shot taken just a few days into true spring last year.
Hello Rip Van Winkle!
Although our garden has several blooms and lots of color right now, this shot reminds me that longer days, fewer freezes, and loads more bulbs, perennials, and flowers will be popping each day as we trudge through the rain, ice and snow toward the warm season ahead.
February 16, 2014
Today we are joining with a dozen other gardening bloggers to celebrate the launch of our friend Dee Nash’s new book The 20-30 Something Garden Guide, which offers the kind of garden help and empowerment that Garden Mentors® is all about. Plus, each of us has been provided with cool items to giveaway to readers as a part of this celebration, so be sure to enter here and visit each of the links listed below to learn more and get a chance at all of the cool garden goodies donated for this giveaway.
(Updated 2/24/2014: The giveaway has now closed. Via random.org, Linda Belcher is our winner & will be contacted directly by author Dee to coordinate next steps!)
But for now, back to Dee of Red Dirt Ramblings blogging fame and her new book…
We had the opportunity to sit in on Dee’s 2014 Northwest Flower & Garden Show talk in which she offered up gardening advice such as you will find in her book. Here’s the thing: Dee’s much like us. She believes everyone can garden and as she says in both her books and seminars: “…no one is born with a brown thumb, or a green one for that matter.”
“All gardeners have setbacks. Good gardeners kill plants. Don’t be discouraged. Failure means we are stretching our gardening muscles.” Dee Nash
In her new book, Dee sets out to provide step-by-step tips and guidelines to help “anyone who wants to grow stuff” find success. Beginning with simple, small container gardens, Dee guides gardeners through step-by-step plans for planting and progressing as a gardener. Dee gets what we do — not getting overwhelmed, accepting failure, and growing with the help of someone at your side is likely to bring new gardeners (heck, and old ones) their greatest sense of accomplishment and success.
“Gardening is a skill learned by trial and error…If you want to learn to garden, grab a coach and go for it!” Dee Nash
I wouldn’t say that Dee’s book is going to provide everything every gardener needs to achieve perfection. In fact, no gardening book, garden, or gardener is ever perfect. In discussing gardening television, Dee herself says about these shows, “what doesn’t come across (on gardening tv) is the reality that gardening is more about the process than the results.” Every gardener is always starting somewhere, killing things that transform into killer compost, and reaching out for more help and more knowledge as we grow and seasons pass. Check out her book, and you’ll get the picture!
Now…about all those giveaways… (more…)
February 09, 2014
When we first set out on our Food Gardening Against Diabetes journey, I cooked up some seriously awful blueberry muffin recipes. One of the most memorable failures was a coconut flour blueberry muffin. Although I was skeptical, as a novice to alternative flours, I trusted the recipe reviews exclaiming this was a “perfected recipe.” I have to wonder in what world wasting a half dozen eggs, a morning’s blueberry harvest, and over a cup of coconut flour on floamy, half-cooked, compost pail pucks of yuck equals perfection.
Fortunately, as I continued to work with various grain-free flours, I began to get a better feel for what works (and what really doesn’t). I continue to experiment — still failing at times, but more often than not creating really tasty options like our new favorite blueberry muffin recipe that follows.
No Grain Blueberry Muffins
(makes about 8-12 depending on the size of your tins)
2 cups almond flour
3T golden flax seed meal
1t baking soda
1/4 t sea salt
2 T raw honey (or a scant pinch of dried Stevia)
4T melted pasture butter (or coconut oil)
3 large pastured eggs, whisked
Zest of one lemon
1 t lemon juice, strained
1 cup freshly picked or freezer-preserved blueberries
Preheat oven to 350F.
Line muffin tin with muffin cups.
Mix together dry ingredients including lemon zest. In another bowl, blend honey and butter. Add to dry mixture & stir to blend. Stir in whisked eggs and lemon juice. Gently stir in frozen or fresh blueberries just to blend.
Fill muffin tins (our 8 muffin tin takes about 1/3 cup batter per tin.)
Bake at 350 35-40 minutes or until cooked through. (With almond flour, the toothpick test doesn’t always indicate a finished muffin or loaf. And, its hard to over-cook these.)
February 08, 2014
Looking for greenhouse gardening resources?
Following up on our Northwest Flower & Garden Show DIY Stage seminar Shut the Greenhouse Door! Learn to Cultivate Successfully with a Greenhouse & Other Season Extenders, we’ve compiled a number of resources to help you start and keep growing strong 24:7:365.
Included below: A greenhouse gardening definitions, purchasing links, more-info article links & Pinterest inspiration board links.
A few basic season extension tools explained:
Cloche/French Bell: Glass, plastic or other dome-shaped material placed over single plants to protect from cold, downpours & pests. Try GlassGardensNW for artistic cloches.
Floating Row Cover/ Horticultural Fleece: lightweight semi-opaque material that raises heat slightly & can protect plants from downpours & some pests. Available here from our store.
Shade fabric: dark fabric that may be used to reduce sunlight & heat in overly hot greenhouses. Available here from our store.
Seeding Trays: Seed starting trays usually have removable plastic tops that help hold heat & moisture during germination. Available here from our store.
Wall o’Water: water-filled plastic; protects young plants from cold. Available here from our store.
Cold Frame: Wooden (usually) box with a transparent lid that allows in light; lid can open for ventilation. Available here from our store, or read on for our link to guides to build your own.
Hoop or Tunnel House: Tunnel shaped (often temporary) structure; adds protection & heat. Frame can take many forms; usually covered in plastic; ends open for ventilation. Available here from our store, or read on for articles below on constructing your own.