Container Gardening

I’ve been at the ANLA Clinic in Louisville, Kentucky this week talking plants and landscape management. I feel like all this plant info is starting to flow outta my head!

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A Giveaway That Will Get You Clucking!

Timber Press has recently released Free-Range Chicken Gardens. In this essential handbook, award-winning garden designer Jessi Bloom covers everything a gardener needs to know, including chicken-keeping basics, simple garden plans to get you started, tips on attractive fencing options, the best plants and plants to avoid, and step-by-step instructions for getting your chicken garden up and running.

They’re planning a month- long giveaway from January 18—February 21 where entrants can win:

· $50 gift card for chicken feed or supplies from McMurray Hatchery

· One chicken coop plan from The Garden Coop (a $20 value)

· 1 lb. of organic chicken forage blend and seeds for chicken-friendly plants from Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply (a $20 value)

· A copy of Free-Range Chicken Garden

Readers can enter by submitting their email address on their contest page.

Westward Ho!

In about two weeks I’ll be heading back to Seattle for the Northwest Flower and Garden Show so I’ve been perusing photos of my time there in July. Just thought I share a few of the beautiful plants I saw while I was there – like this orange tiger lily.
And garden paths leading through luscious plant growth .
Some plants I’d never seen.
And some that were down-right otherworldly.With entrenched colors unaltered by Seattle’s seldom sun.
And a glimpse at some of the container gardens you’ll see throughout my seminars while I’m there. Can’t wait to see the exhibits at the show!!
This combo of Cordyline, Autumnalis Fuschia, and some other fuschia just about tempted me to stay in this temperate zone last summer.

Tic Tac Toe

When I was growing up, Tic Tac Toe was the interactive game of choice for idling away a boring wait. I remember that I was always supposed to start with the 0 in the middle. This picture brought back that memory for some reason.

A Little Winter Beauty

Today I was walking into the Resident’s Club at Westhaven and had to snap a picture of this awesome Rainbow Drooping Fetterbush (Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’). This part sun groundcover shrub likes a moist ground and some room to spread out. I love using it in containers – here with Cryptomeria
but love it with red twig dogwood also.

The Growing Zone – New Year’s Day 2012

There are several reasons why I enjoy New Year’s Day so much: all day football, black-eyed pea salad, the boys home from school, and a chance to look at new ways of growing. This New Year’s Day I want to show you two examples of growing against the odds – of being willing to thrive where others may think it impossible.

The picture above is an Abutilon (Flowering Maple – zones 8-10) that I had in a hanging basket at my home this summer where it was extremely happy all spring, summer, and fall. Then we got hit with several 25 degree overnight temps before I remembered to bring it in and I thought it was toast. But these last few weeks have been unseasonably warm – temps in the 60s – and I looked out my window to see new leaves had sprouted on the Abutilon over the weeks. This plant shouldn’t have survived. But it defied the odds – in a hanging basket no less!
In the picture above, the husband of my friend Kimberly Mote is making Christmas cookies for the first time. Blind since birth, Gordon Mote has spent his whole life defying the odds. At 3 he began playing the piano, and Gordon became one of the first blind students in the country to mainstream into the public school system, graduating from high school with honors, while serving as band captain of his high school’s award winning marching band. During his time in college, he began capturing the attention of some of the music industry’s brightest names, including Grammy winning recording artist Lee Greenwood, who hired Mote as keyboard player and background vocalist just two days after graduation. Throughout his exciting career, he has shared the stage with such popular performers as Martina McBride, Alan Jackson, Rascal Flatts, Josh Turner, Carrie Underwood and famed Grand Ole Opry star, Porter Wagoner. Crossing the genre of country and Christian music, Gordon is a sought after performer who travels the country to entertain and uplift with his ear tickling and soul stirring music.

But Gordon had never made Christmas cookies! This year, his wife Kimberly decided it was time for him to learn so he could join in all the fun of holiday baking. I’m thinking that teenage daughter, Samantha might have picked out that apron for him… I’m also thinking that being blind doesn’t protect a parent from teenage pranks.The Oreo balls are done. And Gordon has proven once again that there are still ways to grow, to learn, to defy the odds and do what others say is impossible.
“If You Could See Through My Eyes” by Gordon Mote

May your year be filled with opportunities to grow, even in the hard places, to live against the odds, to find hope in the impossible.
Grow where you are planted.

First of All to End the Year – An Apology

In less than an hour, 2011 will simply be a short little bar on my facebook timeline, captured through thousands of photographs, blog posts, email messages, and moments seared indelibly in my mind.

A year of bold steps forward,

A year of tentative steps and uncertainty A year where some steps are best washed away.

A year filled with steep wonderful highs and deep heartbreaking lows
and that type of emotional mountain climbing has worn me out. I’m ready for a year of gentle rolling hills and calmer waters.

So as I’ve been winding down from this intense year, I realize that I jumped too quickly into another big commitment (The Growing Zone – a daily look at what is growing on around us) without fully considering the impact on my family. For the past few weeks, I made a choice to put down the computer and chose family time over a self-imposed need to work, to write, or to post. So I apologize to my fun friends I’ve met through this blog that I started something that I know now that I need to tune back – the blogs in the future will be a little less frequent but hopefully more informative. You all continue to bring me encouragement, you have walked with me in those valleys and rejoiced with the peaks. I wish you all a Happy New Year filled with peace and joy and focused priorities, and wish you a year of healthy growing in heart, mind, soul,

and garden.