Slow Flowers Summit and the Farmgirl Story

Debra Prinzing. Photo by Kathy Jentz. I’m a big fan of Debra Prinzing and her amazing Slow Flowers movement, which I generally describe as “local and seasonal flowers” but Debra explains a lot better in this guest post. One of the many cool things that Debra does is put on wildly successful Slow Flowers Summits, and I was able to attend the second of them, here in D.C. It brought about 100 “doers and thinkers” together from across the U.S. Right out of the gate, the keynote speaker Christina Stembel, CEO of Farmgirl Flowers, blew me away. Christina Stembel The business world seems wowed by her, too. Forbes is following her closely: “Farmgirl Flowers in San Francisco will clock $15 million in revenue this year. ..Stembel’s strategy: source flowers locally and slash waste by selling a very limited number of arrangements direct to consumers from her website. She wraps her bouquets in distinctive burlap donated by nearby coffee roasters.” Unlike any speaker I’d ever heard at a gardeni..
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TruGreen Helps to Distribute Free Trees to Communities in Need

Community Tree Recovery Corporate Partnerships TruGreen Helps to Distribute Free Trees to Communities in Need By Abbie Eisenhart | July 20, 2018 Guest post by our friends at TruGreen. In celebration of National Arbor Day, TruGreen once again teamed up with the Arbor Day Foundation to support the Community Tree Recovery Program. Several TruGreen branches in the areas of Buffalo, Detroit, and Boulder helped homeowners by planting trees in areas affected by natural disasters. These new trees were free and will help to replace those lost to the emerald ash borer and hurricanes of 2017. Detroit: Kevin Sayers, Michigan DNR Urban Forestry Program Coordinator, Service Manager Tony Bryant, Christine O’Neil, and Service Manager Tom O’Neil. Buffalo: Service Manager Bob Chu along with his branch team leading tree planting efforts to support TruGreen. The events in each community were led by branch leaders and branch teams. According to Caleb Hall, TruGreen general manager in Litt..
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Great Dixter Through the Lens of an 11-Year Old

Rose and I traveled to England early this month with Story May Lowe, our 11-year-old granddaughter. To Story, I am known as Babu a name I inherited. My grandfather was also known as Babu. I’m not sure why. Story has grown up around gardens and loves a good adventure, though our visit was not purely about gardens and parks. While in England, Story got to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child,as well as Highclere Castle, where they filmed Downton Abbey. Big highlights! She also learned how to hail a London taxi, and she caught her first glimpse of Great Dixter. Great Dixter, in case you don’t know, is an historic home and garden in East Sussex, England. In its quiet way, Great Dixter has made the successful transition from legend to legacy. I think of Great Dixter as sacred ground. Thankfully, it continues to be in very good hands. Okay, I confess: I am partial. The late Christopher Lloyd, gardener and writer [not to be confused with the American actor Christopher Lloyd, who is still..
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Gardening For Health – Part II

So long ago that I can’t remember when, I gave up on the idea of having any real pride in myself. It wasn’t what anyone would call a decision. No momentous occasion or anything. I just don’t really know that pride ever mattered that much to me. If I had any left, whatever there was was finished off by four years at a Jesuit college. Because, in case you don’t know this, Jesuits exist to convince young minds that one’s trajectory through life is subject to so many random social, physical, mental, and economic rolls of the dice that one’s own accomplishments are just a small part of a very large equation. That said, I do my best, take advantage of the good breaks and shake off the bad, and, more recently, try to live a good enough life. So when and if I take my own pride into consideration these days, it’s less about something good I’ve done and more about something stupid I hopefully didn’t. “Hey y’all, look at me” kinds of things. Yeah, my pride is mostly focused on keeping those to a ..
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Caring for Fruit Trees and Bushes: Blackberry

Tree Care Caring for Fruit Trees and Bushes: Blackberry By Kim Peacock | July 18, 2018 How to Plant, Care, and Prune Arapaho Blackberry Bushes Blackberries are often considered one of the easiest fruits to grow at home. They are a native species to the United States and grow as a small shrub or trailing vine. The fruit from this plant can be used for table fruit, syrup, jams, and jelly. Proper care starts when you select a proper plant, and what you do in its first few years of life will affect its shape, strength, and even its life span. This guide will take you step by step, from selecting and planting the right fruit trees, bushes, and vines for your backyard garden or orchard, all the way to upkeep of your mature tree. Choosing a Site Light: Full Sun Soil: Prefer acidic to slightly basic (6.0-7.0), well-drained, organic soil. However, they adapt to most soil types except alkaline and wet. If you have clay soil, you will need to amend with organic matter. To increas..
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Arbor Day Foundation Member Story: Robert Frey

Arbor Day Member Stories Arbor Day Foundation Member Story: Robert Frey By Nina Burkey | July 16, 2018 It is not hard to continue to be inspired by nature when the images above are your view. Robert Frey, (Bob) of Lakeside Advisors, Inc. in Seattle, WA has been a member of the Arbor Day Foundation for the past 22 years. He enjoyed watching the baby seedlings he received grow from their tiny size into their full grown majestic beauty. Bob first became a member of the Foundation because, “the Arbor Day Foundation provided a simple and easily understandable way of benefiting trees and forests.” The contributions of trees that are necessary to life such as; absorbing pollutants, producing oxygen, preventing erosion and creating strong communities have always been apparent to him. Having spent his childhood in the Midwest, Bob carried his love of nature with him into adulthood. He believes he was, “destined to end up in a 111-year-old barn on 2.5 acres in Normandy Park, wher..
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How Well Do You Know Rain Forests? [QUIZ]

Rain Forest Rescue How Well Do You Know Rain Forests? [QUIZ] By Bradley Brandt | July 13, 2018 Have you ever visited a rain forest? Do you realize how important they are to the earth? These dense forests are teaming with life and provide numerous ecosystem services to people around the globe. Take the quiz below to see how knowledgeable you are on rain forest facts. 1. There are two main types of rain forests. What are they? Temperate and Mild Tropical and Temperate Tropical and Aesthetic One forest is situated near the equator and receives abundant rainfall throughout the entire year, the other is found in areas with milder climates and located in North and South America, Europe, Eastern Asia, and Southern Australia. Continue >> 2. Rain forests are home to more than ____ of the world’s flora and fauna species. 35% 50% 65% 75% This is a large number considering thes..
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Coop Office Make-Over at Mid-Summer

When I last reported on this make-over I declared that I’d kept the old junipers, despite your advice, and showed pics of the limbed-up old junipers looking pretty sculptural with all the dead matter removed. But now with dozens of new perennials and 18 new shrubs all at their mid-summer best, bare juniper parts are barely visible. This is my favorite before/after combo – what people see as they leave the visitors’ entrance. I cringed every time I saw those overgrown junipers made ugly and half-dead by shearing. Like most landscapes around public and commercial buildings, this one HAS to be low-maintenance while looking good. So like the “Mostly Shrubs” city center I recently showed you, the shrubs here will eventually fill up these foundation borders, and I’ll gradually reduce the number of perennials to pockets of color here and there. Naturally, there are no annuals, and therefore no need for irrigation after new plants (all pretty drought-tolerant) are established. Thanks to a..
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The Best Low-Maintenance Fruit Trees

Landscape Design The Best Low-Maintenance Fruit Trees By Arbor Day Foundation | July 11, 2018 Guest post by Katie Kuchta of LawnStarter. There is something special about being picking a piece of fruit off a tree in your own garden. Some trees can grow to take up a lot of space while others can be kept quite small to adapt to your garden size. If you live in an urban jungle with little space on your patio or a home in suburbia with plenty of surrounding space in your backyard — there is always a way to create a thriving outdoor space full of fruitful plants, shrubs, and trees. Depending on the variety you choose, some fruit trees are self-pollinating and some require a pollinator. Self-pollinating fruit trees include apricots, nectarines, peaches, and sour cherries; whereas fruit trees that require pollinators include apples, pears, plums, and sweet cherries. Trees requiring a pollinator may seem like additional work, however, it’s really just a strength in numbers game...
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Managing plant withdrawal

This year: Lilium ‘Regale’ (can’t see the leaves, it’s surrounded by phlox) I’m starting slow. When I see one of these that hasn’t set buds for whatever reason, instead of leaving it to gather strength for next year, I just pull it out, bulb and all. I’m also more likely to cut some of these to bring inside, allowing for longer stems than I have in the past. I’m not going cold turkey, not even close. They say doing it gradually is actually harder, but I’m by no means sure I’ll have to kick the habit entirely. The battle against the lily beetle is getting just a bit wearisome. Truth is, I don’t have much patience with pest or disease management. I hate spraying anything; even my fertilizing regimen has been reduced to throwing down some Rosetone in spring and top-dressing with compost once in a while. Lilies were never high maintenance except for staking, and, considering I have partial shade, staking is something I have to do with a few other plants. There is something satisfying abou..
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