Saturday, April 10, 2010

Reasons to go to the Bloom n' Garden Show 2010 - Herbs in the Kitchen Garden

First good reason to go to the Bloom n' Garden Show at the Ag Expo just off I-65 this weekend, April 10 and 11th is to hear me speak...'Herbs in the Kitchen Garden' - 11:30 on Sunday
What can you expect to find at the 2010 Bloom n' Garden? Plants of course and many different types. Sedums already planted in these Hypertufa lightweight pots by Bobby Stacy at Stone Gardens. How cute would be one or three sitting on your porch? Full sun, low water and ready to go, doesn't get much easier than that!
Herbs and lots of them this year...folks are always asking where they can find these - well, here you go two days of herbal shopping bliss. Rustic Greenhouse has a plenty of herbs and other perennials. D and H Interiors as well a several other vendors have herbs including lemon verbena, Bay trees, lemon grass, various sages and other harder to find herbs...check it out.

Kris from Bagbey House of Franklin, TN has garden decor for house and porch, I can see why he is smiling...a mix of new and old to delight any gardener.

WCMGA President Anne Knauff and Jackie Wiggishaw (sorry if I misspelled your name Jackie) are ready to assist anyone who has any questions about the silent auction. So many wonderful items and plants to bid on this year. This money goes to help with local nonprofit projects of the Williamson County Master Gardeners like scholarships and grants.

More herbs for the discerning gardener at D and H Interiors. They also have antiques and new pots that look old. These sisters search high and low for old gardening stuff for people like you and me who like to mix it up in our home and garden spaces.
Who wouldn't love to entertain with a living centerpiece in their dining table? There are so many great gardening ideas this year...bring your camera and take pictures...I did :)
The Bloom n' Garden show would happen without Norm and Betty Bright, this year's volunteer event chairs. Say hello to Mike Smith who is the Master Gardener Advisor and the person who helps to keep Betty and Norm sane! Not in the picture but definitely a BIG part of the show component is Susan Bryd. Susan coordinates all the volunteers each year for the show and what a job that is. It takes lots of willing Master Gardener Volunteers to run this show and Susan knows them all and keep everyone on track. Thanks ya'll for all you do so gardeners like me can come and learn, get ideas and shop for plants and gardening are the best!
Here is an 'Amazing Plant Stand' that will make a tiered planter out of most anything you have in the garden shed, garage or attic...if you can put a hole in it, it can become a unique and attractive planter. Old buckets, watering cans, tins, pots of all sizes....check it out for yourself.
Who would suspect this colorful bird (the one on the left) to be a Master Gardener? Come and meet Scarlet, the 2010 mascot. Watch as she plays peek-a-boo with you and I think she even talks. Terry Ely is the owner/trainer and has lots of tricks up her sleeve.
Gotta love a girl who has a dream and acts upon it. Meet Lauren Graves who designed a perpetual garden record book. Such a great idea to keep you and your garden organized. If that is not enough, Lauren uses her gardening grandmother's quotes throughout her Planner and on note cards that are sweet, endearing and inspirational. Did I mention this is good for years? Such a deal...come buy one for you and some extras for your garden nut friends! In case you miss the show - you can always some on her website
Of course no self-respecting garden show would be without gardens! Mike Hayes has put together an awesome garden that makes me want to grab my banjo and a rocker on the front porch and pick a while...maybe I should call and see what my banjo gals "The Belles" are up to....or not. No matter, come and check it out for yourself. Shop plants to your heart's content and go home and get them in the ground or pots. I love spring - see ya'll there!

Got Moles?

Moles are at the top of the list when it comes to “what critters bug gardeners most”. These homely little guys with very bad eyesight (they can distinguish night from day) create cities of tunnels under the yard.

These little “dirt tossers” or as I like to call them, underground aerators (gives them a more positive spin, don’t you think?) are actually after the earthworms, grubs and other insects under your yard - not plant roots as many folks think.

According to Wikipedia, which we all know is never wrong, moles paralyze their prey and store them in underground larders to be eaten in the form of live worm and grub sushi later…interesting, right?

Moles are insectivores not rodents. The boys are called boars and the girls sows (that would have never occurred to me either) and you will be happy to know they only produce 3 to 6 pups per year and may only have a 50% chance of survival. But no one really cares about proper names all gardeners want to know is how to get rid of the pesky varmints.

Interesting Mole Facts according to Ohio State Extension:
- Moles can dig surface tunnels at approximately 18 feet/hour.
- Moles travel through existing tunnels at about 80 feet/minute.
- Moles contain twice as much blood and twice as much hemoglobin as other mammals of similar size. This allows moles to breathe more easily in underground environments with low oxygen.
- A 5 ounce mole will consume 45-50 lbs of worms and insects each year.

Natural Measures of Control which probably never really get rid of moles but might discourage them or aggravate them for a short time. In fact sometimes moles may only stay for a short period of time and move on to better hunting grounds lulling you into a sense of a short lived victory (they usually return) but, these are just a few suggestions which might be worth a try.
1. Don’t over-irrigate the lawn as this may cause moles to tunnel closer to the surface.
Plant barriers such as daffodils, marigolds, alliums, garlic, mole plant and Castor beans. Castor beans are poisonous if ingested by people.

2. Mix up a batch of Castor Oil concentrate of 6 oz Castor Oil and 2 oz T Murphy’s Oil Soap or dish soap to 1 gallon of water. Add 1 T per gallon of water and spray on the lawn. Reapply after rain.

3. Find a comfortable chair and a garden fork and position yourself next to a new tunnel and wait for movement then jab or stab unsuspecting mole. My neighbor does this…who has this kind of time or patience????

Sure-Fire Methods of Control are usually worth the effort and aftermath if you really want to rid your yard and garden of these pesky pests. Remember prime hunting season for moles is early spring and fall.
1. Traps, not for the squeamish gardener but they definitely work. Instructions are included on the box when you buy them.

2. Cats. I know this because my neighbor’s cats leave dead moles on my doorstep. I’m thinking they do this as penitence for the fish they devour from my pond…I can only hope they catch the moles in my yard!

3. A Jack Rustle Terrier. Annie, our resident JR digs moles on a regular basis…sometimes I have to re-plant what she digs up with the mole but a small sacrifice. I have had offers to rent this mole killing machine but I don’t want the moles to get wind of it. Annie went on vacation once for 3 weeks while we were out of the country and the moles had quite a party. I came home to new tunnels and three drowned moles in the pool. Poor eyesight and short limbs (even if they look like paddles) are not a good combination for water hazards. I snapped this picture of Annie yesterday with my IPhone just before she ran under the porch to bury her newly dug treasure.

4. Liquid Fence Mole Repellent Worms seem to really work. Plus they are economical. Cut the rubber-like worms in half before inserting them in fresh tunnels (sorta like fishing without the bobber). The complete instructions are on the package.

5. Dynamite – oh wait, that’s illegal and oh yeah dangerous and messy. No need to get desperate, you can always call a mole catcher (yellow pages) to get rid of your mole population for you.

Moles obviously taste terrible because the cats give them away and Annie does a victory run around the yard then buries the critters only to dig them up later and roll in them (lovely scent).
However, moles were once trapped, skinned and sold to be used as powder puffs (according to my friend Diane and she knows a lot about pioneer living). Nice to know those rascally moles are good for something!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Garden Gnomes Sited in Europe

With all the news lately on Garden Gnomes popping up all over this country, it got me thinking so I took a look at some of my pictures I took last August and sure enough there they were…gnomes.

I wasn’t surprised to find garden gnomes in Germany because my grandmother was German and she had them at her house when I was growing up. That was probably my first experience with these funny looking creatures with the beards and pointy hats. They use to lie around in the garden with big smiles on their faces. Looking back I realize I should have suspected something was amiss, those smirky grins were similar to the ones I remember on my younger brother whenever he was up to no good.
Some of these gnomes in Rothenburg ob der tauber, Germany were a little shy at first. I spotted them hiding behind some plants so I waited around the corner and snuck up on them to snap this photo. They weren’t crazy about posing but when they realized I had bested them they obliged me with a couple of smiles. Later on an adjacent alley I found some little gnomes on this mailbox, I’m not sure what they were up to but they were a tiny variety that I hadn’t seen before. I suspect there were others but the butterflies were hiding them.
It’s so cold in Werfenwng Austria the gnomes hide out inside old Mountain Chalets. Obviously this old gnome descended from a Pine Forest Clan. He wasn’t real excited about getting his picture taken. In fact he was a bit of a curmudgeon but hey wouldn’t you be if someone made you pose on a doily? No self respecting gnome would appreciate that I’m sure.
Now the Swiss Gnomes were having a convention in Appenzell. They had come from near and far and spoke Swiss German, Italian, French and Romansh. What a commotion they were making! They for the most part were pretty happy even though I couldn’t make out a word they were saying but I suspect it was something about beer and cheese…two good reasons to hang out in Appenzell.
Another group of these Swiss Gnomes were jamming – a combination of classical, marching band, jazz and Alpen horn. They were all groovin and movin and didn’t even notice me taking a picture. Although one smart gnome was holdin out his hat… even Swiss Gnomes need beer money I guess.
While in Switzerland we stayed at my Cousin Heinz’s home in K├╝snacht. One evening he and Heidi cooked us a lovely dinner which we enjoyed on the patio in the clean mountain air. Imagine my surprise when I caught these two clay gnomes sleeping out in the open beside the garden. Heinz had spotted them earlier while planting some seeds. Clearly use to people because they just laid there and snored all through dinner.

These are just a few of the garden gnomes that we saw on our trip, I haven't even looked at the pictures I took in Poland, who gnomes what might be lurking in them?