Sunday, March 29, 2009

Gardening made Easy?

At Garden Time TV, you might often hear us say how easy gardening is in some aspect or another. Having a far too open mind and being way too honest, I sometimes cringe when we say that.
Bottom line is...sometimes gardening is, plain and simply put, HARD WORK!
I would never want to scare someone off from the delight of spending time in their gardens or starting a new one up but I would be remiss if I didn't say that sometimes you just have to roll up your sleeves and get down and dirty.
I just came in from working in my yard. Now remember, I worked at store, Portland Nursery on Divison St., from 7:00 am until 4:45 pm, so I had already put in a good days work. I had decided this year in an attempt to save some money to try to do my yard alone. Whoa...what was I thinking? I tackled a Choyisa Ternata that was 9-10 foot tall and a Viburnum Davidi that was just totally out of control. They whupped me...and good! But, after a couple of hours and some language I won't repeat here, they are pristinely pruned.
What I am not able to explain to people is this. Even though the work is very hard (I really was rolling around on the ground, covered in dirt and thinking things that made ME blush I was so frustrated) when it was all said and done...perfection!
Seeing my yard to the level I demand it to be is a reward I am not sure many people can even understand. It fills me with pride and excitement and a sense of communion with nature that is almost spiritual.
After I was done, while showering and trying to remove dirt where dirt should never be on a human, it dawned on me that this extra hard work was actually my own fault. You see, gardens need constant attention. I have found that only when I delay or ignore a part of my yard does it demand increased care and maintenance. Both of these plants tend to root in very easily when a branch lays on the ground. And as I had not pruned them well in several years it cost me an extra amount of effort to get them back to where they needed to be. In truth, gardening is usually difficult only when we allow things to get out of control. Consistency and maintenance are key.
Always an optimist me, I can tell you that the blooming Daphne Oderata fragrance would waft thru the air and right when I thought I was going to implode with frustration while pruning, that indescribable smell would invade my olfactory and honestly would calm me like a drug.
So I guess my moral to the story is IF you don't keep up with your yearly pruning and IF your a perfectionist as I am, and IF you find that you have to tackle something in the yard you really don't want to...make sure you do it when the Daphnes are blooming!
And always remember that the best things in life may be free but the cost of a exquisit garden is...ocasionally...some hard work!
Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Herbs in the Kitchen

Herbs in the kitchen, what a concept! I don't mean the dried kind of herbs you have stored in zip-lock bags or the Herb Bouquets you've purchased at the market.
I mean containers of live herbs growing in your kitchen or inside the house. This idea may or may not be new to you. Sometimes an idea needs to resurface & be tried again.

Most people like to cook with fresh herbs or like the idea of cooking with fresh herbs. We see it in all the magazines & on all the cooking shows. It's a healthy way to get flavor in our meals.
It's also a budget minded practice. Growing herbs inside, on our patios or in our gardens is a renewable resource. Most herbs are perennial plants. They live for a long time. The annual-type herbs like basil* & cilantro* are worth their flavor in gold while they are growing. Enjoy them when they are in their warm weather growing season.

Easy tips for growing herbs indoors

Select containers with drain holes & saucers
Use good quality potting soil like Black Gold All Organic Soil
Select herbs that grow easily indoors
Bay Leaf
'Boxwood' Basil (New small leaf Basil - Ideal for indoors)

Place containers in a window with bright light like an Eastern exposure.
Western or Southern Exposures may get a bit too much sun in the Summer.
You make need to move the container a few feet away to prevent leaf damage.

Water containers thoroughly as needed. Let the water go through the whole pot, but don't let water stay in the saucer. This may damage the herb's roots.
Herbs need to dry out just a bit between waterings.
Harvest the leaves as needed for recipes. By harvesting, you are actually pruning the foliage to keep the plant compact.
Pick off Herb flowers to add to salads or use as a garnish.

*Large leaf Basils are best grown outdoors
*Cilantro is best grown outdoors

Enjoy your new indoor herb pots. I'm sure you have recipes in your collection to try them out.

Take care,

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Full speed ahead…

Well, we are in our 4th season of the Garden Time show! It has been crazy as we get back up to speed on gathering stories for the show. We usually put 100+ miles on the car every week as we visit nurseries, garden centers and different locations. We try to get out and show you different garden places around the area, which feature plants that will work in your garden. So even if we don’t make it to your neighborhood you can be sure the plants we show will grow here. I have also received a request for a home make over. Unfortunately we can’t do make-overs. It is very expensive and tough for growers, retailers and landscapers to give up the resources to get it done. Landscaping is very subjective. What you may find attractive, others may not like so much. We recommend that you work with a designer or garden center and do your own makeover. Many garden centers have design people on staff or they can recommend one to you. Most will work with you on a budget and a timeline for any size project. Plus, half the fun of gardening is getting your own hands in the soil. To get ideas for a landscape, take one of the local garden tours in your area. There are more and more tours as the season progresses. Take notes of what you like. Watch for shade and sunny areas and which plants are used in those places. Most of all look for something that fits your personality and lifestyle. Keep watching the show and we will give you more tips from the experts!

Garden Time Producer