Wednesday, July 30, 2008

When What You Don't Know Surprises You

People usually do well at what they enjoy. For example, if you enjoy knitting, you will most likely become a better knitter over time. If you enjoy drinking, chances are you will become better at making cocktails over time. It really isn't rocket science.

So, it is no wonder that people stink at reading chemical labels. Trying to decipher the tiny print, mixing instructions, and extensive list of cautions is as tedious as Ben Stein telling a bed time story! By the time the label is read, who feels like spraying?

This frustration is the reason that many people seem to give up reading chemical labels all together, ( I know. I know. You forgot your reading glasses). People have become comfortable with taking the recommendations of others. They have been sweet-talked by popular brand names, and this casual approach to chemical usage has reaching effects of which consumers may be unaware.

Take, for example, a product that says "Joe's Rose Spray." If Joe has a big line of chemicals, that makes a person feel like they are in good hands. "Surely Joe knows what to put on my roses." Ultimately, without reading the label, though, one doesn't know whether the product is an insecticide, a systemic insecticide, a fungicide, a systemic fungicide, or even a fertilizer. Yet, everyday people show up asking for a chemical by name, and they know nothing about its purpose.

Homeowners should take full responsibility for what is put on their yards by simply taking note of active ingredients in the products they use. This information is more useful in an online quest for information than a brand name. Most active ingredients are marketed under several brands.

Keep in mind that the application of chemicals to a landscape is meant to solve a problem. Whether it is aphids on plants, fleas in the yard, or spider mites on a shrub, the homeowner's goal should always be to target their specific problem. If the solution solves their problem, but causes ten others, is it really the best choice?

Beyond Pesticides

Sevin Dust/Carbaryl
Beneficial Nematodes
Create A Wildlife Habitat
Mosquitoes In The News

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The OFA Short Course

My First Lawn & Garden Trade Show

The Ohio Short Course, which took place in the Greater Columbus Convention Center, is a well known event in the lawn and garden industry. Everyone is there! Growers, garden center operators, suppliers, and more show up in Columbus to network and exchange ideas.

Participants were given exposure to panel discussions with garden magazine editors, lectures by industry experts, and enough inspirational booths and displays to make one anxious to get back to work!

Colorful Columbus

Of course, the mood was set before we even made it in
to the the trade show. Columbus had beautiful plantings all
around the city, and the less humid environment made them
all appear ever so perky!
Look at the lovely way that they have chosen to adorn the
lamp posts in town. The vibrant hues were made even more
attractive by their sharp contrast to the concrete jungle around them.

Aren't these planters fabulous?

I have two words for you: LIQUID FERTILIZER

Maybe three words: LACK OF HUMIDITY

Shop Talk

Many of you are familiar with a line of plants from Proven Winners. We have had great success with their plants. A lot of you out there fell in love with Diamond Frost Euphorbia. I had a wonderful conversation with Proven Winners Representative Doug Parkinson about how much sun and heat this delicate-looking gem can really take. He told me to fear not! Savannah residents can place it in our hot sunny spaces and feel confident it will not fizzle!

Doug is such a great resource that we have extended him an invitation to pay you all a visit down the road. He said that he would love to come to our store and hold a Question and Answer session with our customers about what Proven Winners have to offer! So, stay tuned.
In the mean time, take a look at these stunning Fall combinations.


Those of you who have been getting into water conservation and succulents should take cues from these cool booths that we saw. You see, succulents really look their best when they are given some uneven terrain to meander about. This effect can be achieved with pieces of clay pots, statuary, broken pieces of wood furniture, or even an old worn shoe.

Those of you searching for more advanced ways
to use succulents should consider 3-D options. By finding or creating wire forms to hold some soil and moss, one can separate themselves and their plants from the pack. Below is the back of an alligator topiary form. A variety of succulent plugs have been pinned in place around the moss-covered form. The result is a charming little guy that can take the heat!

Think of your summer tables? Your next dinner party? Your next shower? This type of an arrangement communicates an eco-friendly message far greater than that of a bouquet of cut flowers.

Beyond The Convention Center

Although the OFA show had much to offer, we decided to visit A Proper Garden. Located in Delaware, Ohio, this retail garden center is doing many cool things.
For starters, take a look at this effective display! There is no better way to show people what to put by their door than to have an actual door! Oh, and what child would not love a little fairy garden like this? (Or a G.I. Joe garden?)

The nursery is full of fountains like this one nestled in Hydrangeas. Take note of how in Ohio the Hydrangeas are not wilting in the sun! In our region, try this with some Cleome or Butterfly Bushes!

Speaking of butterfly plants, check our this lovely Cinderella variety of Butterfly Weed. I am fond of this selection, because not every butterfly lover wants the oranges and yellows so often used to attract the little devils. I couldn't tell whether the pink variety was as effective, but I'd certainly give it a try.

Finally, I found something that A Proper Garden has that we don't want! The dreaded Japanese Beetle! This is a pest that has made it to Georgia, but not plagued our area as of yet! Click here to see what counties in our state it now calls home. If you think you see one, bring it in. (No fish tales about it being THIS BIG! )

Our OFA and Ohio experiences left us eager to come back to our store, our cats, and our customers where we can put our newly-found knowledge to good use.

We hope to see you all soon!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Mary-Ann and Christine Head To Columbus, OHIO!

Tomorrow morning, at O dark thirty, Mary-Ann and I will be off to the airport for a trip to Columbus, Ohio. Why would we leave the South at such a delightfully moist time of year? The Association of Floriculture Professionals trade show is this weekend, and there will be scads of vendors for us to check out!

While we're away, please come by and keep Travis company. He's manning the ship-I mean shop, and I'm sure he'll do a great job! To encourage weekend visitors, we've put a whole section of the store 40% off! That's right! Don't miss it!

Outside, we have a fresh batch of colorful flowers! The Black-eyed Susans are stunning! There's also gorgeous Pentas, Taro, and more!

No Saturday morning Free Class this week because of our absence. Stay tuned to the blog
for our cool Columbus finds!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Making Your Bed

Saturday Free Class Notes
Yesterday's class on veggie gardening may have gotten some of you in the mood to plant, and the rains over the past few days are probably seconding the motion. What is one to do, however, if they haven't got the space for a big ol' garden?


A raised bed offers more benefits than "your friend" from college, and the relationship is likely to be more fruitful. Let me explain. Remember how in "When Harry Met Sally" Carrie Fisher wanted nothing to do with her fiance's wagon-wheel coffee table? Well, your neighbors probably feel the same way about a jolly green vegetable garden sprawling all over your front yard. Tomato cages and large piles of cow manure are just the things to make a neighborhood association go Martha Stewart on your behind.

A raised bed is more chic. It reeks of sophistication with its log cabin corners and linseed oil
perfume. You must protect your wood. Pressure-treated wood in a vegetable garden is a questionable option, because it can leach arsenic.

ARSENIC?! If you think I'm eating any of that bull...
I found more perspective on this issue here. For those of you who think that perspective is for sissies, by all means, click here. Anyway, raised beds contain the lushness of a vegetable garden in a neat little frame. It's like the French say, "Je voudrais un potager."

I can't grow anything. My soil is for shizzle.
Don't worry. You see, Savannah's soil is sandy. It actually needs shizzle for stuff to grow. In a raised bed, you can add that and more. Mixing soil amendments in your raised bed will make you feel like Tom Cruise in "Cocktail." Except, of course, that your bar is a bed and the booze is, indeed, the shizzle.

I'd probably kill all of the plants anyway.
You know, it's just that kind of attitude that made them replace Olivia Newton-John in "Grease 2". Of course you're not going to kill the plants. What are you, the Godfather? You've got us on your side! Bring us your baggies full of leaves, etc. and we'll diagnose them for you! We're very good at identifying bugs, fungus, and diseases. Better yet, we can prescribe treatment, because we are the shizzle too!

Still not sure? Watch this.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Have You Got Class?

Hester & Zipperer's Got Class
Every Saturday morning, at 10:00, the Wilmington Island location of Hester & Zipperer offers a free gardening class. This week's class is "Veggie Gardening-This Summer's Second Harvest". Classes last about 30 minutes, and there is always a discount for students. So, have YOU got class?

Want to know about future classes?
Click on the "Get Your Buzz" in the upper right corner of this blog and subscribe to our monthly E-Newsletter. It contains class schedules, tips, and sale info!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Fire Cracker! Fire Cracker! Bloom, Bloom, Bloom!

Independence Day Prep Talk

This week America the beautiful might need to powder its nose in preparation for numerous celebrations that will kick off on Friday! Of course, I'm referring to the massive sprucing that will need to take place before company comes.

Do you need beat back some bamboo. After all, do you really want to see your mother-in-law with a machete, (If you do, we stock them.)?

Are there tripping hazards for your friends to navigate?

Most friends are pretty tolerant. They don't have the hawk eyes that belong to our family members. They just want to have fun, man! So, the moment they are out of their cars, race toward them with something hot off the grill. Trust me. It works!
Food is the ultimate distraction, especially if they have traveled great distances to be at your fiesta.