Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More Like Martha

I am just home from the Garden Writer's Symposium (GWA) in Indianapolis and I have to say in a word it was great. I went to talks, saw new products, bought books, sold books and marketed my book "No Guff Vegetable Gardening". I gave an excellent talk about self-published books with my partner Steven Biggs and it generated all kinds of ideas and feedback.

GWA was a chance to really find out what others - including the editor of Martha Stewart's magazine- are doing. The takeaway is simple- In my practice as Garden Writer, Speaker and consultant I need to be more like Martha. She reuses every little bit of work in so many ways.

In other words I need to get my book into excerpts, videos, and inboxes of people who are interested in smart funny garden info..... so help me out!

More to follow as I unpack my mind and my suitcase.

Meanwhile here is a picture from the Indianapolis Zoo Botanical Garden- who knew this garden would be the touring highlight of my trip?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Guerrilla Gardens of Silver Springs

What is the biggest Botanical Garden in Calgary? If you thought perhaps the Reader Rock Garden or the Calgary Zoo, think again. Duncan Badger, co-chair of the Botanical Gardens of Silver Springs claims to co-chair the largest volunteer garden in Calgary (15,000 square foot of flower beds on a 20 acre site including the Birthplace Forest- size unverified by this gardener). "We'd like to be better known by gardeners" said Badger, when we met last friday at the garden, a series of long planted flower beds along Crowchild trail's sound attenuation fence.

To find the gardens, managed and maintained by volunteers on Calgary roads and Calgary Parks property, use your google earth map to find the parks headquarters shed. It is at 6555 Silver Springs Crescent NW Calgary. "Admission" is free to this public park gone indie. According to a Parks staff unofficial statement, this is a guerrilla garden, not one officially sanctioned. Working on a right of lease with Roads and Parks, Badger's garden boasts official Donors (for money and materials), 10 volunteers and almost weed free beds. Quite an amazing thing if you compare it to many of the less manicured official parks in the city.

Is it a Botanical Garden? Probably not. If you like a plant you are going to have to guess it's name. There are no official records of or testing and labeling of plants. Is it a fun and great idea? Sure, why not beautify our city one road allowance at a time.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Moss on the lawn- a few cures

A huge success in Qualicum Beach is the way our lawn bounced back from mostly dead to thriving. This followed a few years of neglect while we discussed the “problem” and had an ongoing debate with neighbors about the best way to deal with moss taking over a lawn. In a climate where rain is the daily norm for more than half the year moss is often the majority of the green in the lawn. Our neighbour decided a ferrous sulfate fertilizer might be the best way to “cure” moss on this lawn and I was discussing his large dead patches of lawn where the moss is gone and nothing has replaced it. I top-dressed my lawn with fish compost, alfalfa pellets and a heavy dose of lawn seed. In other words I tried to amend the soil as much as the lawn itself believing every bit of success in gardening is based on soil quality regardless of where you garden or what you grow. Our lawn looks great.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Babies are Born!

It had been almost nine months and with twins expected we thought maybe we'd get an early arrival. The full moon had come and gone and still no babies. All signs were good but still nothing to hold and cuddle. Instead every week we heard utra-sound updates, and telephone updates. We looked often at e-mail. We waited.

Suddenly Keith called out from his office- 'Donna come down right now". I saw him standing at his computer and rushed towards him, toothpaste spilling from my mouth, housecoat half open. "Are the babies here?" I gurgled trying to keep my mouth contents contained.

No- no - but look out the window. Just then two Quail and 13 day old babies rushed past Keith's office and we tracked them into the family room. I rushed to get my camera and caught them scooting through the garden.

Just yesterday we had talked about the lack of Quail and how we had not seen them for a while- quite a while it seemed. Now we had a quick overview of the very large family. Not the babies we expected but cute and oh so tiny. It looked like they were nibbling on seeds and bugs as they made their quick tour of the yard.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fab Review of Book!

Thanks to Lori-Anne of the pear tree for her fab review. Loved it!
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