Monday, April 30, 2012

Garden2Blog 2012 with P. Allen Smith

My spring travels continue, and this time, I'm off to Little Rock, Arkansas, for the second annual Garden2Blog event, hosted by P. Allen Smith. As you may recall, I was one of his guests last year too, and I feel honored to have been asked to come back again.

Allen's home at Moss Mountain Farm
Allen loves gardening, which is why he's made it his life's work, and that includes sharing information and ideas that encourage others to become gardeners as well as helping current gardeners become better at it. On a personal level, I've found Allen to be gracious, humble, humorous, approachable, and a downright good guy.

Allen shares the Rose Garden plans with our
Garden2Blog group
I'm not sure what all he's got in store for us this year, but I know I'm looking forward to seeing the completed rose gardens, which were just getting started when I visited last year. And then there's the $150,000 house that he's building in 150 days with eco-friendly materials. But the best part will be getting together with about 20 other garden bloggers and friends and having a good time as we share our passion for growing.

Now, I'm off to the airport. More to come!

Friday, April 27, 2012

Let's Pretend This Never Happened - A Review

Some people know that I do book reviews. I do them on my other blog, Gardening by the Book, and I do them on Horticulture magazine’s website. Once in a while, I do them here. Those are about gardening, but sometimes I read books that aren’t about gardening.  (Shocking, isn’t it? I do have a life outside of gardening!).

I’ve said before that my favorite gardening books are memoirs. That favoritism doesn’t generally follow over into other genres (wait...memoir is a genre...), but once in a while I’ll get a wild hair and decide to read one. Especially when it’s by someone I sort of know.

Knowing someone has taken on a whole new meaning now that there’s the internet. I’ll be having a conversation IRL (that’s “in real life” – not that the people on the internet aren’t having real lives too) and someone will mention a name and I’ll be like, “Oh, I know them! We’re friends on Facebook!” and then it’s like we’re family because we all know each other on Facebook. You know how that is.

So anyway, when Jenny Lawson, a.k.a. The Bloggess, said she was writing a book, I had to have it. If you’ve never read her, well, WTH is wrong with you? (That means "What The Heck," just so you know.) She’s incredibly funny, although that word just isn’t quite right when it comes to what she is. You have to throw in a little bit of irreverence and insanity along with funny and there you have it. Admittedly, she’s over the top sometimes and yes, I can be a little bit put off by that on occasion, but hey, no one’s perfect, right?

Let’s start off with the title – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir). If I’m going to do an honest review of this book, I have a teensy weensy problem with that. A memoir is supposed to be true. Remember all the trouble James Frey got into with Oprah when he admitted he lied about most of what was in his memoir, A Million Little Pieces?

Well, I’m reading about Jenny’s life, and my mostly logical mind is having a hard time discerning what really happened and what didn’t. Sometimes it’s obvious, and sometimes it’s not. But really, most of it’s so bizarre that my logical mind says you just can’t make this stuff up. Not that it matters anyway, except that it’s a memoir.

So whether it’s 100% true (she already warns us that it’s not), 80% true, or 50% true, this is funny stuff. Although I do have a few family members who I’m pretty sure wouldn’t appreciate this kind of humor. I might even live with one of them. Several months ago, when I read Jenny’s blog post about the gigantic metal chicken to this particular family member, his first reaction was, “She needs to clean up her language.” I just stared at him with that deer in the headlights look. He totally missed my point. He totally missed Jenny’s point. But he’s probably on Victor’s side anyway. (You’ll have to read the book to know what that means. Page 277.)

There is the language thing. My parents taught me to never use bad language and I mostly don’t. I have a hard time saying certain words that have become very commonplace in today’s world, especially on the internet. I don’t feel the need to say them in spite of a good friend telling me that f*** is the most awesome word in the world because it has so many different uses.

See…I can’t even write it here because I know my mom will be reading this and it just feels weird for me to write it anyway. If you’re offended by that word, you might not want to read this book, because it appears there on a somewhat regular basis. But really, don’t let that stop you. You can skip over words like that and the book will still be funny.

(Pssst...I have to confess that I whispered the *f* word once. It was when I accidentally wiped out our database at work during a software update. I promise - it was entirely appropriate usage.)

Here’s another word of warning: if you read in bed like I do and you share a bed with someone else like I do, you might want to find another place for reading it. My husband already doesn’t like this book and he hasn’t even read it. It’s because it’s keeping him awake. Rather, I’m keeping him awake because on occasion, I’ll laugh right out loud. I don’t usually do this when I’m reading. I don’t usually do this when I’m watching a comedy on TV either. But this book is f***ing funny. (Sorry, Mom. Blame Jenny. Blame both Jennys – the author and my friend who thinks that word is awesome.)

In conclusion, humor is like art – it’s very subjective. I think this book is funny. (Have I said that already?) It doesn’t really matter to me if everything in it didn’t really happen, although I have a sneaking suspicion that almost all of it really did. I know people like this. Their lives are anything but boring, which has less to do with what happens to them and more to do with their reaction to it. And there’s the lesson to be had in it – shit happens. Clean it up and move on. And then laugh and write a book about it so we can all laugh with you. Jenny did.

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir)
by Jenny Lawson

336 pages, hardcover
Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam ~ April 17, 2012
List price:  $25.95
Amazon price:  $12.97 (Save 50%)

Disclaimer: Most of the books that I review have been sent to me by the publisher. That has spoiled me and I seldom buy books myself anymore. So when I do buy one, you know I'm compelled to do so for a very good reason. I bought Jenny's book myself.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The 2012 Saturday6 Team

Last year, I worked with the good people at Troy-Bilt, testing their products (and giving them away on this blog!) and trying to help others become gardeners. That's really what I hope to accomplish here - to inspire others to get out and grow things!

Once again, I'm part of the Troy-Bilt Saturday6 Team, along with these bloggers:

The Saturday6 Team + 1, looking lovely in our hairnets at Chef's Garden last year

I've been working with Troy-Bilt since about a year after I began blogging in 2007, and one of the things I love about this company and their relationship with bloggers is that they truly want honest opinions about the products that they provide for review. It's one way for them to make their products even better.

And they do pay attention. The Lithium Ion String Trimmer that many of us tested and reviewed a few years ago got a remake because of the opinions of bloggers who felt that it was ergonomically awkward to use.

Me, testing a reel mower at the MTD (Troy-Bilt) facility in Cleveland last year

This year, like last, we'll be testing a few products in our own yards and gardens and sharing our thoughts on gardening topics via their monthly newsletter The Dirt. You can join their Lawn and Garden Club for free here, and you'll receive the informative newsletter in your inbox every month.

Last year, I was able to give away two great Troy-Bilt products, a chipper/shredder and a snow thrower! This year I'll be giving something away too, although I'm not yet sure what it will be. There will be more reviews, including those of an electric-start tiller and an edger.

As part of the Saturday6 Team, I am compensated by Troy-Bilt, but as always, with anything I write about on this blog, you'll get my own honest opinion, even if it's not particularly favorable. I depend on the opinions of my fellow gardeners when I'm considering purchasing a garden item, so it's important to me that you know what I really think, too.

Here's to another great year in the garden!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Variegated Lily-of-the-Valley

Convallaria majalis 'Vic Pawlowski's Gold'

Monday, April 23, 2012

It's Tree Peony Season - A Month Early!

2011 Van Wert Peony Festival Queen and her Court
If you're a gardener living in my little corner of northwest Ohio, chances are you've got a peony or two (or three, or four...) in your garden. This is because nearby Van Wert used to be known as The Peony Capital of the World. There once were numerous peony farms here and though it's not quite the celebration it used to be, every year they celebrate by holding the Peony Festival the first weekend in June.

Here, the peonies might not even be in the garden proper. There might be a strip of them along the edge of the property; that seems to have been a popular way to grow them here years ago, during the peony hey days. And when I say years, I mean years.

Unidentified tree peony before the move
in 2010.
Peonies will live a very long time - 100 years, even - if you allow them to remain undisturbed. Though I've successfully transplanted several peonies, they really don't like being moved. Two years ago, I had to move a tree peony to make room for the conservatory and the following summer, I didn't think it was going to make it. It looked so pathetic, but this spring, it has bounced back and I think next year it may start blooming again.

When we arrived here at Our Little Acre back in 1977, there was a white herbaceous peony growing in the yard. For many years, it produced beautiful, big, fluffy white blooms. Then one year, it disappeared. That white peony stayed gone for many years and eventually, I planted a white lilac that a friend gave to me in its spot. The lilac grew well for many years.

But one summer, well past lilac season, I was mowing the yard and noticed from a distance that there was something white blooming at the bottom of the lilac shrub. A closer look revealed that the white peony had returned! That was sometime in the 1990s and every year we get blooms from both the lilac and the peony and have dubbed them the "peolac."

Paeonia suffruticosa 'Sahohime' this year, with a total of 76 blooms!

Tree peonies - Paeonia suffruticosa -  are the first peonies to bloom in my gardens. They have woody stems and they branch like shrubs and trees, unlike their herbaceous cousins - Paeonia lactiflora - which have soft stems that shoot up from ground. Tree peonies don't die back to the ground each winter either. They form buds on the stems in the fall that remain until spring, when they swell and begin growing again, much like you see on some trees and shrubs.

Paeonia suffruticosa 'Sahohime'

Unidentified Paeonia suffruticosa in my garden

The blooms on tree peonies are generally a bit larger than the herbaceous bloom, and the petals have the appearance of tissue paper. The colors of some cultivars remind me of watercolors or the background of batik prints, with shadings of lighter to darker. They are a very special thing, as many gardeners have discovered.

Paeonia suffruticosa 'Kokuryn-Nishiki' from the garden of Betty Earl
Paeonia suffruticosa 'Ofuji Nishiki' from the garden of Barbara Pintozzi

Paeonia suffruticosa 'Yagumo' from the garden of Shelley Adam

Tree peonies provide some structure to the garden even after their spring blooms (usually May) and leaves are more glaucous (bluish) with a dull appearance rather than the green shiny foliage of herbaceous peonies. Slower growing than herbaceous peonies, they do best in dappled sunlight, although all of mine are in full sun. They're native to China and are hardy in Zones 4-9.

Paeonia suffruticosa 'Shimanishiki' from the garden of Louise Hartwig

Paeonia suffruticosa, probably 'Snow Lotus'

Another type of peony gaining in popularity is the intersectional peony, or Itoh hybrid (named for the man who began hybridizing them). This peony is a cross between a tree peony and an herbaceous peony and dies to the ground in winter, but the blooms are like those of tree peonies.

Itoh hybrid peony 'Mikasa', from Christina Salwitz

Online sources for tree peonies:

Peony's Envy
Cricket Hill
Forest Farm (Dave's Garden Watchdog Top 5 for Ornamental Trees & Shrubs and a Top 30 Company)
Romence Gardens and Greenhouses (Dave's Garden Watchdog Top 5 for Annuals)
Reath's Nursery

Tree peonies are highly fragrant, which no doubt attracts the bees!  Better be
careful when sticking your nose in these!

Tree peony blooms make great cut flowers and will perfume an entire room.

Thank you to fellow tree peony lovers who graciously shared their images with me for this post:  Christina Salwitz of Personal Garden Coach, Barbara Pintozzi of Mr. McGregor's Daughter, garden writer Betty Earl, and longtime friend Shelley Adam of My Heart Seeks Him.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ding Dong, the Bedbug's Dead!

It was bound to happen sooner or later. With all the traveling that my mother and I do, we'd remarked that it was pretty amazing that we'd never encountered bedbugs. After all, they're at epidemic proportions in the US, with even the nicest hotels not escaping these disgusting parasites. But of course, we didn't really think it would happen to us. No one ever does.

I learned about bedbugs in my Master Gardener classes two years ago. I'll admit, I didn't pay really close attention to the details about them, because I never thought I'd need to know details. Little did I know that less than two years later, I would.

When Mom and I attended the Northwest Flower and Garden Show in Seattle in February, we stayed near the Convention Center, in a highly-rated four-star hotel. I chose that hotel because they'd had good ratings from people who'd stayed there and the cost was less than the other large chain hotel in the area. When we arrived, we found our accommodations to be lovely and clean.

While sitting in a seminar at the show, after our first night's stay, Mom whispered to me that something had bitten her leg and it was now itching. The next day, a couple more bites showed up. Hmmm...

The third night of our stay, Mom got up to go to the bathroom around 3:30 a.m. and I got up to turn down the heat. She remarked that her leg was really itching now and did I think maybe there were bedbugs and could I please check?

I walked over to the bed and no sooner did I get there when I saw a bug crawl across the sheet where my head had been laying just minutes before. I took a close look and don't you know - BEDBUG. I got a plastic container that I'd brought some earplugs in and I captured it. We got dressed and went down to the front desk and handed it to the desk clerk. "We've got a problem," I said, as I handed him the box.

He took a look at it, and obviously knew what it was. He calmly said that he would put us in another room right away, but we'd have to leave our belongings in the original room so that we didn't take the chance of spreading the bugs to our new room. We took only what we needed for the next day and after inspecting the mattress in our new digs, we quickly went back to sleep. NOT!

Neither of us could sleep at this point, so we discussed what might happen from this point on. I got online to see what the normal protocol was when encountering bedbugs in a hotel and in every instance I could find, full compensation for the stay was given to the hotel guest.

After our return, the hotel manager informed us that they had not found any bedbugs in our room and since they had "no proof" that any were there (!!!!), they would only offer one night's compensation. He said had they found proof of bedbugs, our entire stay would be comped. Well, several bites and a bedbug were all the proof we needed! We'd be contacting the hotel manager.

To the hotel's credit, they explained that they had a pretty aggressive bedbug detection system, with dogs being brought in once a week to detect them. But of course they can arrive at any time in between. And since we'd not had any issues with bedbugs in our homes or anywhere else for that matter, we were certain it wasn't us that had brought them in.

In the end, we did get our entire stay comped, and even though they treated our things, we took precautions after returning home. Our suitcases weren't brought into the house, but stayed in our garages. Bit by bit, I brought things back into the house, laundered them, and I used a blow dryer on my suitcase to kill any bedbugs that may have hitchhiked home. Extreme heat is the method of treatment.

The bedbug came home with me too, in its plastic case, though the hotel manager wanted to keep it. He took photographs of it and so did I. Once back at our house, I left it atop the refrigerator in the garage and I checked on it weekly to see how long it would take it to die.

My intent was to not bring anything from my suitcase back into the house until it was dead. Do you know how long a bedbug can live without food??? According to some sources, four to six months, maybe longer. I checked the bedbug periodically and finally, just this week, no movement was detected. The bedbug was finally most completely dead, 65 days after its capture.

Can I get an "Amen!"?

Bedbug Facts and Tips
  • Check the Bedbug Registry before you go, to see if the hotel where you plan to stay has had a problem with bedbugs previously.
  • Check the seams of mattresses for signs of bedbugs when you get to your room.
  • Check behind the headboard, where they can remain undisturbed for longer periods of time.
  • Place your suitcase on a chair (not an upholstered one!) or shelf or cabinet, off the floor, preferably  metal, since they have a hard time climbing on metal.
  • Bedbugs are most active between the hours of 3:00 and 5:00 a.m.
  • Bedbugs are more prominent in warm, humid climates, but they travel well.
  • When you get home, put your clothes and other things in the dryer (set on high heat) before you wash them, to kill any bedbugs you may have brought home with you. Washing them won't kill them.

Sleep tight! Don't let the bedbugs bite!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Gardening by the Map

This is old news for some, but in case you haven't heard, the USDA released a new growing zone map in January. Many gardeners found themselves now residing and gardening in a zone warmer than they were previously. I thought that would be the case for me, but it wasn't.

I've been in Zone 5b for as long as I've been a gardener and that's where I am still. Though everyone around me jumped to Zone 6a, I'm still in a little pocket of Zone 5b and I agree with this. There's no way my garden is Zone 6.

Click here to see a larger version.
I'm in Paulding County - in the blue part.

For years, gardeners have lived and died by the growing zone ratings each plant is given, based on the highest and lowest temperatures a plant can typically survive. We read it and if it says the plant is only hardy to zones warmer than ours, we don't buy them, right? HA! I mean, who hasn't tried to push the limits by growing a plant that isn't supposed to live through the winter or summer where they live?

The sources of information for those tags aren't always in agreement with each other either. For example, when I first planted Origanum 'Kent Beauty' many years ago, the tag said it was hardy to Zone 6. But I was in love with it and I had a warmish spot on the south side of our family room where I knew the crocus bulbs emerged earlier in the spring, and the mini roses leafed out there before they did at any other location on our property. I had to try it.

Origanum rotundifolium 'Kent Beauty' ~ July 2011

It performed well that first summer and I was a happy girl. But after one winter, it didn't return the next spring. A couple of years later, I tried again. This time, the tag said it was hardy to Zone 5, and indeed, that second 'Kent Beauty' has returned for several years. Did anything change? No. Plant tags differ, and perhaps the winters were more mild or we had more snow cover. In any case, I consider this plant to be marginal for me, no matter which zone the tag says, based on my experience. Win some, lose some. In this case, I'm winning. (So far.)

A lot of data was used to come up with this new map - data that wasn't used in previous incarnations of it. So this new one should be more accurate. But experienced gardeners know what will grow in their gardens and what won't, regardless of what the hardiness maps say. They know that it's more than zone that determines a plant's viability.

Click on image for a larger version and click here for an interactive map.

This new map, just like the old one, will help the novice gardener by giving them an educated guess as to what their plant choices are. But they should also consider soil, protection from wind, sun exposure, moisture, and proximity to buildings, among other things. Nearly every garden has micro-climates that allow them to grow outside their zone.

Take the new map under advisement, but realize that living things are always subject to the effects of many different factors. It's only a guideline, not gospel.

For more information, visit the USDA website. Did your zone change with the new map?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

In Celebration of Gardening

Though it's only been in recent years that I've considered myself to be a true gardener, it's hard for me to imagine my life without gardening now. I fell for it in the spring of 2005 and unlike some other hobbies and activities I've engaged in, I'm still as enthused as ever.

April is National Gardening Month and for good reason. All over the country, a new season of growing is beginning, whether you garden year round or only in the warmest months. Each season has its stars and if you live in the Midwest, like I do, it's a three-act performance: Spring, Summer, and Fall. Some gardeners here will even manage an encore in winter.

Spring signals both new beginnings and an end to the ephemerals that break free of winter's grasp. This year was atypical, with warmer temperatures than normal, sooner than normal. Early springs are always welcome, even if we accept them with a bit of trepidation. Late frosts are known to cut the show short, but we roll with it because there's always something else that steps up to take center stage and the show goes on.

I've already had a couple of visitors even though my gardens aren't in prime condition and certainly not like I prefer them to be when sharing them with others. There are still leaves to be removed, dead stems and branches to be pruned, and many weeds to be pulled. But it's spring, you know, and those things are to be expected and are often overlooked in favor of the bright yellows, reds, purples, pinks, oranges, and whites of all those glorious spring flowers.

Crocus tommasinianus blooming in our yard.

My guests sighed as they finished up the tour and said, "This has to be so much work." I've heard this before and if I were seeing my gardens for the first time and didn't know what it takes to keep them going, I'd probably say the same thing. Sure, in spring, there are always things that need to be done, but my garden as a whole has evolved over the last seven years and maintaining them isn't nearly as labor-intensive as it appears.

'Mars', a table grape, is one of three varieties we grow at Our Little Acre.

As my gardening experience increased, so did my gardens. And that's why it doesn't seem like a lot of work now. I truly enjoy spending time in my gardens, whether it's weeding, pruning, planting, or simply strolling through them, taking note of what's blooming and observing the wildlife that enjoys them as much as I do. Each bit of it is relaxing to me, even though there are days when I fall into bed, exhausted. It's a good tired - trust me.

A hummingbird moth sips nectar from Monarda.

Usually, any activity that we do for fun has to be pretty rewarding in order for us to continue doing it. How is gardening rewarding for me? Let me count the ways:

The cotyledons of a tomato seedling struggle
to break free of the seedcoat.
  1. The miracle of seeing a seed turn into a plant that feeds me or graces the world with its beauty is reason enough, all by itself.

  2. It's a creative outlet, even for an artistically-challenged person like me. I can create, change, create again, change some more, and so on and so forth, and still feel a great sense of accomplishment every single time.

  3. I believe that God created me and all the other living things I share this world with. Gardening makes me feel like I'm a part of the greater universal whole.

  4. I find all the unique characteristics and habits of each plant I grow to be incredibly fascinating. I learn new facts and trivia all the time. This keeps me from getting bored.

    Magnolia x loebneri 'Leonard Messel'

  5. There are always new challenges. I like being challenged.

  6. Gardening smells good. I'm a super-sniffer and the garden satisfies my olfactory sense in more ways than I can count. I even like the smell of dirt.  Besides, the soil contains micro-organisms that, when inhaled while working in your garden, boost your mood. It's true.
So here we go again - another season of fun!  Tell me - why do you garden?


This post was in response to an invitation by™, to partner with them in observance of National Gardening Month in April. No compensation was offered to me prior to the publication of this post and I was able to choose my topic. I agreed to do it because of the consumer relationship I've enjoyed with them over the years.

This month (until April 30, 2012), they are offering a free gift of a seed mat containing both annual and perennial butterfly-attracting flower seeds with every $50 order. See their current email newsletter here.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Free-Range Chicken Gardens - A Giveaway! (Two, Actually)

I think it's pretty obvious that I love my chickens and most of my gardening friends who have them love theirs, too. To be honest, even though I really wanted chickens here at Our Little Acre, love wasn't a feeling I ever expected to have in regard to them. It's like anything we love, I guess - it just happens.

More and more people are learning the benefits of having a small flock, but in reality, we're just rediscovering what our grandparents knew and even took for granted, I suppose. When I got my chickens, it seemed that everyone had a chicken story, usually from their childhood: "My grandparents had chickens..."

Though I wanted the fresh eggs, I'll admit, I had some concerns about having chickens of my own. I worried that they'd destroy my gardens. (It's a legitimate concern.)  I worried that they'd smell bad. (Again, a logical thought.) And I worried that they'd be a lot of work. (I didn't really believe those that told me they weren't.) It turns out that while all of these things are good to think about, none of them is a big issue.

Earlier this year, a fabulous book that deals with these and other aspects of raising your own chickens was published by Timber Press. I met the author, Jessi Bloom, last summer when I was in Seattle for the Bloggers' Fling. We talked chickens and gardens and it was obvious that Jessi knows and loves both; she has chickens, a beautiful garden, and her own award-winning landscape design business, NW Bloom.

Even though I already had my hens by then, I was pretty excited to read Jessi's book. Free-Range Chicken Gardens: How to Create a Beautiful, Chicken-Friendly Yard not only provides vital information for those who are considering getting chickens of their own, it's a valuable resource for those who already have them. It's a fun read, too! You can read my full review of it on Horticulture magazine's web site.

Now, here's some fun for you right now. To celebrate the publication of Free-Range Chicken Gardens, Timber Press is giving a copy away to one of my readers.

More good news! Storey Publishing is joining in on the chicken fun by providing a copy of The Fresh Egg Cookbook. I haven't seen this one, so I can't give you a review, but I'm guessing it has a boatload of great ways to use all those eggs you're going to have once you get your chickens. And even if you don't have your own hens, egg recipes are a good thing, right?

Now, there's even more good news in that my blog isn't the only place where you can enter the giveaway! Visit these blogs where you can also enter and increase your chances of winning:

Jessi Bloom at NW Bloom/Garden Fowl
Genevieve Schmidt at Northcoast Gardening
Erica Strauss at Northwest Edible Life
Theresa Loe at Living Homegrown®
Angela Davis at Gardening in My Rubber Boots
Annette Cottrell at Sustainable Eats
Willi Galloway at Diggin Food

Yes, that's right - it's a VIRTUAL CHICKEN PARTY! Aren't you glad you came?

Giveaway details and regulations are here.

WINNERS! Sorry for the delay - I've had router problems, but now the new one's installed and I can post the winners of the books! Congratulations to faithplusnothing, who won a copy of Free-Range Chicken Gardens and to Norm Deplume for winning The Fresh Egg Cookbook. Both winners need to contact me with their mailing address so the publishers can ship out their books!

UPDATE:  As of midnight, April 22nd, I've not heard from the second winner (Norm Deplume). So chose another winner, and it's Stevie! An email has been sent to you, requesting your mailing address so that the publisher can send your book. Congratulations!

Again, congratulations to the winners and a big thank you to everyone who entered and for all your wonderful comments about chickens!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The 50-Foot Bouquet

Yesterday, I received a review copy of Debra Prinzing and David Perry's new book, The 50 Mile Bouquet: Seasonal, Local and Sustainable Flowers, published by St. Lynn's Press. I'd heard Debra speak about their book at the Chicago Flower Show last month and even got a sneak peek at it after her presentation. It's a beautiful book that promotes the use of local flowers rather than those imported from Ecuador and other countries.

Local means different things to different people, but you can't get much more local than your own backyard. I've often said that I find it difficult to cut the flowers from my garden - I like seeing them in their natural environment. But this unseasonably warm weather has shortened the duration of the blooms. Spring flowers aren't used to summer heat.

So I took my pruners outside and I gathered a bouquet to enjoy inside. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica)

Narcissus 'Thalia'

Lilac (Syringa vulgaris 'Sensation')

Summer snowflake (Leucojum aestivum)

Narcissus 'Mt. Hood'

I'll be reviewing The 50 Mile Bouquet soon on my other blog, Gardening by the Book, as well as on Horticulture magazine's website.

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