Please find all past posts listed here and all new posts made since June 16, 2009, at my new blog site, www.joenesgarden.com. I hope you’ll update your link and RSS feed by visiting the new site. Comments require a one-time only registration, then you’re free to comment away at your leisure.
See you there …
WWII Memorial and Washington Monument
… and give thanks.
Hi all … I’m taking a break to rest my eye after laser treatments for a detached retina. Will post again by Monday. SUNDAY UPDATE: Here’s a word of advice that has nothing to do with gardening, but everything to do with seeing. If you find newly formed black spots or threads – fondly refered to as floaters – in your vision, or develop flashes in one or both eyes … SEE the EYE DOCTOR. It could very well be a detached retina, which is an eye emergency. If caught early, as in my case, you may be lucky enough to only have an in-office laser treatment – what my hubby called “having my eye welded.” If the detachment goes beyond a small area, or you have a decreased field of vision – which, thankfully, I did not – you may only have to recoup for a couple of days. The bottom line? Vision changes, especially those that happen over a short period of time, should be checked out immediately. I sure am happy I caught my emergency quickly.
I’m not a big ‘buy for Mother’s Day’ proponent, in fact I’m perfectly happy having my kids help me with a special gardening project or make a Mother’s Day dinner for me. But if you are planning to bolster the economy for Mother’s Day, please take the opportunity to reacquaint yourself and family members with local businesses.
If planning a Mother’s Day meal out, make a reservation at a local restaurant. If cooking a meal for Mom, consider purchasing ingredients from a local farm. Find a statewide list here.
Considering candy, books, jewelry, or some other special gift? Forego the big-box and national chain stores and, instead, seek out the local, independent shops listed in the yellow pages.
For plants, head to a local nursery to obtain solid advice on what plants work best where, and where Mom can go if she needs such advice. Some of my favorites are Ballek’s Garden Center, Staehly Farms, Old Lyme Landscape (info here), Acer Gardens, and Town and Country Nursery, but any established local nursery, such as these listed in the Connecticut Garden and Landscape Trail, has experienced plant-people to help your selection. However, make sure you speak with a walking/talking plant person, rather than the resting lady below (source).
The Lost Gardens of Heligan - Mud Maid
An FYI for any gardener who knows one or more golfers looking to do a good deed … Last year an all ‘round good guy, Rob Novak, was killed in a motor vehicle accident. His death left two young girls and their mom to find a way to live, grow, and survive without the support of their father and husband. I did not know Rob personally, but as explained here, Rob’s story has touched the hearts of my family. So, if you know any golfers, please pass on information about The Rob Novak Memorial Golf Tournament, to be held June 8, 2009. Proceeds will benefit the Robert A. Novak, Jr. Family Trust.
Attention all Carl Spackler worshippers, underground varmint haters, and people who live with the antics of those obsessed with ridding their lawn of moles, their gardens of voles, and their life of like creatures. Here’s your chance to portray your experiences. That’s right, Sweeney’s, a St. Louis-based company that sells traps, repellants, and poisons aimed to eradicate tunneling creatures from America’s lawns is holding its third annual contest seeking “I Hate Moles Because …” submissions (essay, poem, video, cartoon).
If, like Caddyshack’s Carl Spackler (Bill Murray) your montra is “I gotta get into this dude’s pelt and crawl around for a few days,” or you’ve found yourself saying “How about a nice, cool drink, varmints?” as you stuff a hose fully loaded with water down a tunnel that has marred your perfect lawn, this is the contest for you. And, as the New York Times reports, you can even watch your nemesis on Mole Cam … REALLY!
I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with moles in the lawn. On late summer mornings you’re likely to see me taking baby steps around my front yard in bizarre patterns as I stomp down the previous night’s mole tunnels. But my larger problem is with voles – the mouse-like creatures that eat vegetation. What voles left of my crocus they rearranged in a most unkempt manner, and they’ve had some mighty good meals of my perennials (phlox, ornamental grasses, hosta, coneflowers, sedum, daisies, iris) and small shrubs (bayberry, roses, Rose of Sharon). And last year they fed huge populations of relatives on volumes of my vegetable plants (Thinking outside of the plot). I’ve tried traps, solar sound deterrents, stinky garlic and egg mixtures, castor oil pellets … all with minimal or no impact. I may have even emulated Carl now and then in one of my rants over finding an empty hole where a plant used to be. Still, I’m no match for past winners and runners-up, these people are serious! Carl would be proud.
It’s been a busy couple of days, but I finally had the chance to scan through some other gardening blogs. Garden Rant posted about a petition campaign in support of the organic status of the White House Garden, so I did a little research of my own on the subject. It appears The Mid America CropLife Association, a group that represents chemical companies, wrote a lengthy letter to Mrs. Obama stating their chagrin over her intent to keep the First Garden organic. The letter, posted at La Vida Locavore on March 28, has since made the Internet rounds. As you might expect, organic gardeners are not pleased and there now is an online petition in support of an organically grown First Garden and the First Lady’s choice to use organic practices. Consumer Reports has also posted information on the issue here.
I’m not going to get into a pro/con discussion of the use of chemicals in large farming operations, but I will voice my support of organic practices in backyard gardens and small farms. Chemical attacks are unnecessary when gardens have healthy soils teaming with beneficial organisms – this comes from the use of compost, not factory produced chemical fertilizers. In the absence of pesticide attacks, insects – both beneficial and harmful – generally maintain their own balance. The best way for gardeners to help nature be nature is to have a good solid understanding of local ecosystems and when to get out of the way and let plants do what they do best – grow. Bugs in a garden is not the end of the world, but a sign of good health. Gardeners who take the time to learn about the natural environment in which they work understand that every tomato may not look ‘perfect’ but will still taste perfectly heavenly … without the use of chemicals.
So you may have guessed by now that I have added my name to the petition. Go here if you want to do the same.