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Category: Design

  • Gardening Guide: Non-Stop Color & Interest

    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.

    Gardening guide: Non-stop Color Daphne

    Variegated Evergreen Daphne ‘Mae-jima’ adds color & brightness to shade beds plus great fragrance.

    Just a few Non-Stop Color Planting Combination Ideas…

    Got Shade?
    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?

    Got Sun?
    Try one or more of these simple gardening guide combinations

  • Frigid Friday Garden Photos

    November 22, 2013

    This frigid Friday morning, I captured a few garden photos to illustrate what happens in the garden and in our view when the night temperatures dip into the 20F’s & the sky is clear & sunny at the break of dawn.


    Rainier at Sunrise

    Ever majestic Mt. Rainier, covered in perpetual snow & ice,
    stands tall in the distance, framed by nearby trees & frosty city rooftops.

    Viburnum Carlesii Fall Color

    Late to drop its leaves, Viburnum carlesii’s autumn color shimmers under a layer of frost.

    Frozen Chard

    Shiny, frozen chard leaves hunker to the ground. Nearby carrots, sweeten in the hoary soil.

    Frosty Irrigation

    DIY Drip Irrigation Lines are stiff & frozen to the ground.
    Don’t move them while they’re chilled, or they might break.

    Grevillea Red Hooks

    So far, a marginally hardy Grevillea ‘Red Hooks’ is withstanding the frigid temperatures just fine.

    Chips of Ice With Leaves

    Some creature broke the leaf filled ice in a dish stone.
    The chipped ice — erect — refroze within the greater icy, leaf-filled puddle.

    Frost Speckling Tiarella Foliage

    Frosted leaves of spring blooming Tiarella

    Yuletide Camellia Bloom

    Despite frigid temperatures, cold season blooming Yuletide Camellia
    opens its blossom toward the rising sun.

  • A Tree to Grow On: Planting Trees for Toddlers

    September 26, 2013

    Have you ever planted a tree for a loved one?

    A tree for a Toddler

    Vinnie dancing for joy under the Styrax Tree his parents ordered & planted for his first birthday.

    Recently, our talented graphic designer friend Vince Dean of Pixelube got in touch to ask for help selecting a tree to plant for his son’s first birthday.

    In the past, we’ve been asked for help selecting a tree to plant in memory of a loved one — usually human, canine or feline — but we’d never been approached with Vince’s idea and unique goals. So, we took a look at his location together, paired that with his goals, and landed on Styrax japonicus (Japanese Snowbell tree).

    These trees perform well in sunny sites. They bloom beautifully with delicate fragrance in late spring, attracting hummingbirds and honeybees. Plus, they provide summer shade and lovely yellow fall color before losing their leaves for winter.

    Within a decade we hope this tree will grow into a sturdy, robust youngster that will support the active climbing young Vinnie will probably be doing by then. For now, he’s dancing with joy at the foot of this baby tree he’ll be growing up with.

    Maybe if we’re lucky Vince will send us an annual birthday photo showing how this boy and his tree grow up together!

    If you love our logo and/or website, don’t miss out on Daddy Vince’s services over at Pixelube. We’d be nowhere without him.

    Want to plant your own tree to grow on or mourn under, get in touch to discuss your options and place a tree order today! Fall, much of winter, and spring are great times to select your tree, prep your site, and plant your own fledgeling forest.


  • Garden Bloggers Hall of Fame Award Nomination

    June 24, 2013

    I just learned that Garden Mentors® has been nominated by you, our readers, for a Garden Bloggers Hall of Fame Award in the category Best Writing on a Garden Blog. Expert judges have weeded through the nominations, and we remain standing along with four others in this category. And, boy are we honored to be listed here!

    Now it’s time for you to help them harvest the best, separating the last bits of chaff to reveal a single grain of golden wheat-y goodness, by casting your vote no later than September 8, 2013.

    Grow with Garden Mentors

    Teaching the art & science of growing = Garden Mentors’ Mantra
    (Container provided courtesy of Fiskars®)

    As you may or may not know, I began this blog under the gardenhelp.org name several years ago with the intent of making it really about that — garden help and helping gardeners. While I can’t afford to offer all of my services and products for free, providing this blog was one way I could offer anyone ways to learn and grow as gardeners free of charge.  And, it would appear readers continue to find value in what we have to share.

    Over the years, our blog has grown and evolved — much like any garden. This year we folded it more obviously under the greater wing of the Garden Mentors® domain. Those old, early blog posts are still available — some relying completely on words to tell the story. Today’s posts combine the language of letters with illustrative photography — as well as an occasional video from our YouTube Channel — to entertain, inform, and educate.

    While I’m the founder and preliminary writer of this blog, it really wouldn’t be possible without the hard work of so many others including our talented contributing guest bloggers, designer Vince Dean of Pixelube, our webmaster & WordPress wizard Bob, and behind-the-scenes SEO guru Jayme Jenkins, founder of Aha! Modern Living.

    When I learned Garden Mentors® was among the finalists for this award, immediately I sent a note out to our contributors asking for their thoughts on being a part of this blog. And, it was rosarian Susan Maki’s note back that truly sums up what I hope to achieve with this blog — inspiring, educating, empowering and encouraging the development and maintenance of better gardens, one gardener at a time. Oh, and if I can get you to giggle now and again, that’ll make any day better.

    From Susan:

    While I have been a guest blogger, I have learned far more from the Garden Mentors blog than I ever contributed!  It’s a great resource for novice gardeners, and seasoned gardeners as well. (The) Garden Mentors blog takes the mystery out of gardening, and provides an encouraging and informative platform. Understanding plant placement, weed management and crop timing are just a few of the pertinent articles that Garden Mentors provides. 

    Garden Mentors has championed our honey bees, which has inspired me to offer these important pollinators an inviting environment.  I have seen a huge increase in honey bees after letting some of my herbs flower, as well as planting enticing flowers for the bees.  Garden Mentors champions the effort to support our honey bee population and provides insightful information for the casual gardener to also contribute to the honey bee population restoration!

    If you enjoy reading our blog as much as we enjoy writing it, please do us a favor by casting your vote today.

    Many Thanks, Robin Haglund (Garden Mentors® founder & president)


  • Blacktop – The Newest in Garden Hardscape

    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.

    Bee on Zinnia over blacktop

    Bumble bee on Zinnia over blacktop patio

    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!

    Blacktop sidewalk & lots of lawn

    Blacktop sidewalk & lots of lawn

    Oh yeah…and happy April Fool’s Day!

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