Friday, April 24, 2009

Lets Talk About Us-Or Our Gardens Anyway

Mary-Ann's Garden
You've all seen her at the store, and I bet a fat lot of you have wished you could follow her home just to see what her yard looks like. Ssssshhhh. Get down! She'll see you. Okay, let's take a look at what this H&Z Nursery Manager has going on.

Well, would you look at those Snap Dragons and Violas! They are gorgeous. Cool season annuals play a big role in a Spring landscape. The trick is planting them in Fall, fertilizing them, and making sure to amend your beds with compost. Oh, and water helps too.

Herbs are fantastic in containers, but check out her use of a Buddha! You, of course, could add any object of your choosing.

Also note that she has chosen two herbs (Rosemary and Sage) that prefer the same dry soil conditions.

Choosing plants that have contrasting leaf shapes, like these, makes the container look less busy. It's what makes it pop-that and the sleeping guy.

When you choose a container, look for one that is big enough for your plants and some interesting found object. Found objects play a big part in Mary-Ann's garden aesthetic.

Getting The Look In Your Garden

You've got to have courage. Fear will have you saying, "A Phrenology head doesn't go in a garden! What will ______ say when she sees?"

Those of you who enjoy yard sales and flea markets should look for cool finds like:

chipped pots, sculptures, bowling balls, bottles, rusted whatever, and, most definitely, the bizarre!

It's not about being perfect. It's about collecting specimens and showing them off like a natural history museum!

Room For Edibles
If you'd love to have a Burpless Cucumber patch, here is a way to do it on the cheap! Select a sunny area against your privacy fence and staple up some trellis netting. Dig out a bed just below and amend the soil with good organic mushroom compost or cow manure. Finally, a front edge of your choosing gives the cucumber area a finished look.

Use this idea for other vines too!

Christine's Garden
I started a vegetable garden in my side yard last year with the addition of a raised bed made by my husband, Superman.

I grew frustrated by only getting a few cherry tomatoes and peppers at a time, so I decided to expand the bed this Winter.

I made a border of brick pavers around my raised bed so that I could easily make my way around. After that I dug another bed directly into the ground.

To amend the soil, I used a mixture of things. On the side visible hear I used mushroom compost and top soil. My Blackseeded Simpson and Romaine seem to be enjoying it.

On the other side I chose to try chicken manure for the first time. It has more nitrogen, and boy does it back a punch to the ol' nose. Peee-yew. While putting it out I thought, "This stuff is crap! It's all gummy and nasty." Ahh, but my egg plants are thriving now. (No photo-but trust me.)

Take a gander at this Squash plant underworld. They grew so quickly, and some have started setting fruit. I don't mind telling you that I've got some problems.

1. Blossom End Rot-I've started using a calcium spray that we carry at the store to try and put an end to it. I'll use it on the zucchini and tomatoes soon as well.

2. I've noticed some bacterial disease on the leaves of my zucchini. This is becoming a royal pain in the tookus, because I was going to try and remain organic. I may have to resort to spraying something. It starts in the soil, so replacing the plant probably wouldn't do any good. The best I can do is clip out bad leaves, avoid watering from the top, and cuss.

The Good News

I got some tasty strawberries to put in a salad the other night. They're shaded from the squash leaves, and I think this is helping them develop some size before they ripen.

We happen to be out of strawberry plants at our Wilmington Island store, at this very second, but call 897-5581 to see if some arrive on today's delivery. We'll get more in soon, if not.

Got some blueberries. In all fairness, these bushes are in another bed, but I couldn't resist showing off these beauties. I saw a few missing recently. I may end up having to cover them with netting.

We have blueberry plants at the store. Just remember to pick up two different varieties so that you will have cross pollination.

Let this photo on the right be a little thumb to the nose for all of you who complain about not having enough blooms. Not a single one in this picture, and yet look at all of the appeal. These Swiss Chard leaves (in the center) are great to put in a vase. I did so recently for our anniversary party. Joining them were some Loropetalum branches, and my older sister was quite impressed.

Finally, I must give a shout-out to the Sugar Snap Pea. They have been performing so well for me. I've made teepees out of bamboo and twine, and it seems to be working nicely. I prefer these babies raw. The whole pod can be eaten as a healthy snack.

Got garden photos? Email us your ups and downs at

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