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Tag: garden coach

  • Holiday Gifts for Garden Lovers

    December 16, 2012
    Glass Gardens NW Edible Glass Art

    Fruit & Gourd Glass Art from Glass Gardens Northwest

    Still shopping for gifts for your favorite gardeners? While cooking and garden books are great for some, donations fit the bill for others, and apps are ideal for techies. There’s nothing like a little something sparkly to make a gardener’s holiday a little brighter! So, we’ve put together a few of our favorite ideas that really shine to help you get your gardeners gifted just right!

    • Classy & Glassy! Glass Gardens NW offers an array of gorgeous glass art for the home and garden. You’ve got until Monday December 17, 2012 to place orders to be delivered by Chrismas day. For under $20 (plus shipping, tax and such), you can send a beautiful tree ornament or glass float. Or, up your order a bit more for a piece of gorgeous garden art that will really wow your gardening loved ones. (Updated 3/17/2017: Glass Gardens NW was sold to new owners in 2016. We have received a number of complaints following this sale, so we are no longer linking out to their website.)
    • Wearable flowers & sparkly snowflakes: Fancy Dirt Forge offers some amazing enameled flowers that bloom beautifully in pierced ears. And for as little as $25 (plus shipping, tax & all that jazz), you can order up beaded ornaments to shimmer on the tree.
    • Sweets for your Sweet:
      Ballard Bee Company Honey Bee Climbing Glass Gardens NW Float After Taking a Drink

      Ballard Bee Company Honey Bee Climbing Glass Gardens NW Float After Taking a Drink

      Get out of a sticky situation with a sweet gift made by some of the hardest working gardeners out there – honey from the bees!  Contact Ballard Bee Company to order up anything from simple jars dripping with golden goodness to specialty glass vessels filled with seasonal reserve sweetness or even creamed honey perfect for toast. Or, if your gardener is local to Seattle, order a gift certificate good toward hive supplies & beekeeping consulting services.

    • Gift of Learning: Our shameless reminder that giving the gift of garden coaching is a great way to help your favorite gardener shine in their own horty spaces. We’re still taking holiday orders for a few days  & then we’re off on vacation until 2013, so get in touch soon!

    Stay tuned for more gift ideas later this week. We’ll be adding more app gift ideas and reviews in a day or so. Great thing about apps — you can order them absolutely last minute and still have a great gift to give anytime!

    (Full disclosure: Garden Mentors® has received no compensation for this post. Garden Mentors® has received samples and review materials from some of the businesses mentioned, but no direct gifts, review materials or compensation has been paid for this post. We just really like this stuff & often give these products as gifts to our friends & loved ones.)


  • Great DIY Fruit Fly Control

    August 07, 2012
    Brad's Gnat Trap

    Brad’s Gnat Death Trap (Photo courtesy: Brad Hole)

    My friend and garden coaching client Brad recently shared this great method for fruit fly control. Brad’s an inspiring guy to work with. He raises chickens in his back yard and has urban honeybees at home and in several other locations around town. (Be on the lookout for the ‘Honey Hole’ brand of urban honey soon!) He grew Loofah in Seattle, which was a new one on me. (Brad, can I have one?) He even roasts his own coffee, and it’s delicious.  Too, Brad’s paper goods company, Guided Products, manufactures American-made, unique, recycled paper products. Really, Brad’s an innovator, and I’m glad to learn from him! And, did I mention he’s hilarious too?

    Brad recommends: “Grab a glass or jar, piece of clear cling wrap, rubber band and piece of ripe fruit. Drop fruit in jar. Tightly pull down clear wrap around the top of vessel. Wrap rubber band around rim of vessel. With a pen, poke several small holes through the top of the cling wrap that the fly can barely get in. Leave in your fruit fly area. They will get in but have trouble getting out. When I see several in there, I put in the freezer to kill them and set it back out again.”

    I just chopped up a peach to go with my homemade yogurt for breakfast. I realized that a bit of fruit stayed stuck to the pit. That would be the perfect piece of fruit to use for this job — otherwise, it’s headed straight for the compost heap. Fortunately, I don’t have fruit flies this season — yet. The time will come, I’m sure.

    Want other ideas to control fruit flies? There’s always the option of setting out a small dish of vinegar to attract them & drown them. Or,  consider these ideas too:

    Sun Dew v. Fruit Fly

    Is it a Fruit Fly or is it a Fungus Gnat?

  • Garden Mentors Featured in Seattle Times

    August 04, 2012




    Lexington VA

    View from our Lexington, VA lunch spot



    First off: Thanks Valerie Easton for contacting me for your article on garden coaching tips and tricks! It’s an honor to be featured in your column. This week’s feature: Robin Haglund has the A’s for your Q’s.

    The day Valerie contacted me, I was visiting Lexington, Virginia with family — on vacation. Fortunately, I had left the internet-free & phone-free countryside long enough to get her email saying she wanted to chat asap. We managed to connect while I sat in a shady park to escape the blistering heat on that May Virginia day.

    We chatted for a long while during which time she gave me one very valuable piece of advice, paraphrasing here: “Soak up the heat. It’s still cold and wet in Seattle.” Not that I didn’t already know this, but it was a good reminder to take in the sun and swimming and fireflies while I could. It was still May, afterall. Summer didn’t really hit until today in Seattle — that would be August, folks!

    If you’re here because you read Valerie’s article, thank you for coming. I hope there’s more information here that you find helpful, and if you’re still stumped, please get in touch for a garden coaching session so we can address your needs in your garden.

    I need expand on one item Valerie mentioned in her article, because I’m a bit concerned it may be confusing.




    Hydrangeas Along Path

    Prune Hydrangeas as they’re blooming for great bouquets or just after



    The topic: as a rough rule of thumb, prune ornamental plants right after they finish flowering.

    While I do share this idea in a number of situations, including the examples Valerie mentions in her article, I want to clarify that this isn’t always the ideal method of pruning. For instance, if you’re growing a plant from which you plan to harvest fruit, pruning it right after flowering will mean that you likely prune out your future fruit as well. Too, many plants are best to prune while they’re dormant…aka in winter, which is before spring, which may be when your plant flowers. And, your own plants may even have more complex requirements than this.

    Oh, and yes,  one more thing. I know there are those that will claim that broken egg shells don’t work to keep slugs at bay, but it works for me, so I offer it as an easy, sustainable, recycler’s solution. Try it. Worst case: a bit of slug damage and your soil gets an application of calcium, which it may very well need.

    Rules, especially rough rules, are always made to be broken.

    Thanks again Val! And, everyone, keep having fun in your garden!

  • Malcom Jungle – West Seattle Garden Tour Update

    July 20, 2010
    One of My Favorite Surprises in the Malcom Jungle

    One of My Favorite Surprises in the Malcom Jungle

    I knew Mari and Andrew’s garden was stunning, but to see it through the wide-eyes of over 800 visitors on Saturday certainly gave me a whole new vision of their ambitious space. After seven years of intensive development, including hand-excavating a sunken patio space, building a series of raised concrete beds, and planting, planting, planting, this garden was ready for it’s close up! I’ve only been a part of Mari and Andrew’s garden for the last six months, offering guidance in Mari’s monthly garden coaching sessions. Truly, it’s the Malcoms who made this garden into an unbelievable wonderland!

    When I arrived about mid-day, the sun was still filtered by a mild marine layer. The day wasn’t too hot. The filtered light highlighted the textures, forms and colors in ways bright, glaring sunshine never could. Every one of Mari and Andrew’s intricate vignettes shown to perfection. From antique Finnish boot driers by a stairway to a bottle filled with bindweed to a fig tree laden with fruit to a thyme lawn highlighted with antique bottles and Mari’s signature succulent plantings. All was breathtaking. And, those aren’t my words. They’re what I heard over and over from people on the tour, along with comments like:

    Antique Umbrellas provide a bit of shade

    Antique Umbrellas provide a bit of shade

    “I almost skipped this garden, but everyone I’ve met at other gardens has told me this is the ‘must see’ garden on the entire tour.”

    “I was here earlier today, and I had to come back. I’m skipping some of the other gardens just to take some more time in this one.”

    “Wow! This is a very ambitious garden!”

    and so on….

    In between answering questions about the garden and directing traffic through it, I managed to snap a few photos of this beautiful space. Enjoy them! (more…)

  • West Seattle Garden Tour Sneak Peek – The Malcom Jungle

    July 13, 2010
    Mari Fine Tuning Plants in the Water Feature

    Mari Fine Tuning Plants in the Water Feature

    In January while I was visiting with my Mom in snow-covered Virginia, I got a call from gardening enthusiast Mari Malcom who was planning ahead.  Her already-amazing garden had been selected for the 2010 West Seattle Garden Tour, and she wanted my input as she developed, fine-tuned, culled and dug her way toward July 18, 2010. It was that many months ago that we set up a series of monthly sessions beginning in February.

    Today, under perfect sunny skies,  we culminated our series of sessions by spending several hours together in the garden doing everything from cutting (again) ratty Euphorbias to pulling out mildewed Lambs Ears to moving containers and benches to discussing the best now-blooming perennial to bring pop to a simple open space. Oh, and yes, there was some deadheading involved as well. And some gazing at many generations of lady beetles enjoying a smorgasbord on the vines!

    As well, we reviewed her remaining “to-do” list as she counts down the last days before the garden tour. We dubbed a few beds “done” and prioritized the work items. Some niggly little “it would be nice if’s” simply came off the list to give Mari some room to breathe.  Frankly,  if we’d coiled up her garden hose and tucked away the mulch bags, the tour groups could have thoroughly enjoyed her magnificent garden today. (more…)

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