April 01, 2013
Not long ago I came across an unusual application for blacktop in the garden – as hardscape. And, boy would I love to meet the genius who innovated using this hot stuff for sidewalks and patios — in Atlanta, no less. Not only does this richly black surface absorb heat to keep your bare feet well-toasted in summer, but it must also off-gas some pretty amazing toxins to really beat back nearby pollinators and make your plants want to tear up roots and run. And let’s not forget how all that dark material must be helping build up heat islands in already too-warm cities. Plus, it might just be helping develop more non-permeable hardscape surface run-off issues.
How does that song go? Something about paving paradise and putting up a parking lot….?
Well, right on! That’s exactly what each of us wants to do in our gardens. Screw having a place where we can recharge in nature. Instead, give us a place where we can fry a egg in summer and boil another one in winter. (Assuming our chickens are able to lay after they broil hot-footing it across the blackened earth pathways in this kind of garden.)
So, if you’re on the lookout for something rarely used in residential — or even commercial — hardscapes (aka patios & pathways), don’t overlook the potential of oily, black asphalt. Apparently, it’s an up & coming trend in the gardening world.
Just think: you might not be the first to do it, but maybe you can be the last!
Oh yeah…and happy April Fool’s Day!
March 26, 2013
Following the San Francisco Garden Show, I took off on a quick vacation to Napa where spring is in full swing. In the morning of our one full day there, I walked to the coffee shop to order a morning latte. Outside, the warming air was filled with the fragrance of my Northern California childhood in summer — something indescribable and distinctive and evocative of times gone by. With one whiff, I closed my eyes and let my mind travel back in time to cool, early summer mornings tramping through the fields to bridle my pony and spend the entire day riding through fields of weedy wildflowers and lonely oak trees. Traveling through time on in aromatic dream was the perfect way to begin our day of rejuvenation.
Before we parked ourselves beside the pool to soak up the sun, we enjoyed a brief hike through the resort’s adjacent vineyard where I captured a few shots of the season to share:
March 22, 2013
I’ve had a fun past few days at the San Francisco Garden Show. I enjoyed visiting with friends & co-horts, speaking to a nearly full room of engaged audience members, and strolling the show floor. And, lucky me, in my spare moments I’d steal away to bask in the the warm California sunshine while my home in Seattle shivered under a dusting of early Spring snow.
Today I’m taking off on a brief NorCal weekend vacation to visit with friends & soak up some more sunshine, but before I do, here are a few shots from the show, which is open through the coming weekend. If you’re able, make trip down. They’ve got the whole world spinning ’round, right on the showroom floor!
March 15, 2013
Next week you’ll have a chance to meet me (Robin) at the San Francisco Garden Show where I’ll be speaking on Thursday, March 21st at 1:15pm. My subject: Mayhem, Murder & Must-Nots: Ten Top Maintenance Mistakes and How Not to Make Them. In this seminar, I’ll cover some of the most common problems I see new and even veteran gardeners make. And, these are problems I see everywhere I go — not just in Seattle! To go along with my seminar, Fiskars (for whom I am a paid writer) has donated a number of fantastic tools, which I will be giving away randomly during my talk. I hand-selected tools to match the “how not to make mistakes” part of my presentation. So, not only will you have a great chance to learn during my seminar, but you might just win a tool to help you garden better!
Heading to the Bay Area is, in many ways, a homecoming for me. Although I live in Seattle now, I lived and gardened in the SF Bay Area (and further outlying communities) for many years, during many phases of my life. As I think of this trip, that old song “I Left My Heart in San Francisco” keeps playing in my mind. (more…)
March 08, 2013
Interested in learning about urban homesteading with farm animals? Next week Garden Mentors® is participating in an exciting group seminar teaching the in’s and out’s of city gardening with country animals — including goats, honeybees, chickens and more!
Timber Press Free Range Chicken Gardens author Jessi Bloom, revered goatie guru gal Lacia Lynne Bailey, and Garden Mentors®‘ own honeybee hive host Robin Haglund will be teaming up to teach the professional garden designers of APLD and others – like you – about the in’s and out’s of creating and maintaining city gardens filled with these country animals.
Know what’s really cool? Each of us has lived and gardened and farmed with every one of the farm animals we’ll be discussing. (more…)