Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Understanding "Winter Interest"

2009_0115image0020 Last year Carolyn Gail over at Sweet Home and Garden Chicago whipped up a plan for my front garden that I wanted to redesign but had no idea what ought to go there. If you don't remember, the only thing in those beds were big overgrown Yews and Junipers, which I hated. I had them all yanked out and vowed to never plant another evergreen in the front of my house - it was my attempt to assert my individuality over my neighbors who only seem to have evergreens in their front gardens.

So, I was bummed to see that Carolyn had included an evergreen in the plan she did for me. I argued back and forth with her over why I needed the evergreen considering that I sort of hate them and she just kept saying "you need it for the winter interest." Well, I'm stubborn and a know-it-all so I decided that I knew more about this than Carolyn (a professional landscape designer) and did not plant any evergreens. I had decided that the evergreen would simply take up space where another better, prettier shrub could be planted, and, after all, during winter we gardeners are simple waiting it out, right? Well, now I get it! When I removed the established evergreens I immediately hated the front of my house more than ever. Quite frankly, it looked like a mobile home to me. Well guess what? That's what it has looked like all winter.

We've had a lot of snow in Chicago this winter and for months I've been driving by all the houses with the big evergreens I once scoffed at, now envious that their house doesn't look like a mobile home and mine does. All of a sudden I am mesmerized by the way the heavy snow sits atop these evergreens totally changing the shape and looking all cool.

I'll probably be rethinking this whole "winter interest" thing this spring. The trouble is that now I've used up all my shrub space in the front garden so if I want some "winter interest" it will only be at the sacrifice of some other shrub that's already planted.

Lessons learned: listen to the experts, even if you do not understand or see their vision.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

5 Reasons To Garden During The Global Economic Crisis

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With the economy doing so poorly and people losing their jobs right and left, lots of folks are being forced to give up their hobbies. I mean who can justify 18 holes of golf at a time when those of us who still have jobs are being told we should just be thankful we've got jobs?

Well to heck with the bad economy!

Top 5 reasons to start a gardening hobby now:

  1. It's cheap - you can buy a pack of seeds for a couple of bucks. Think about teaming up with one or two other people to split seeds or look for seed swaps on the Internet.
  2. It's healthy - especially in a time where our finances are so unstable it's important to stay healthy to minimize healthcare expense costs. While you'll pay out the wazoo for conventionally grown (and especially organic) fruits and vegetables at the grocery store, you can grow your own for next to nothing. Eating lots of fruits and veggies will boost your immune system which should help you stay healthy.
  3. It's good for the environment. When money is tight, it is virtually impossible to justify buying sustainable, environmentally friendly products. Let gardening be your contribution to the planet.
  4. It'll encourage you to compost, which means less garbage going to the landfill and rich natural fertilizer for your garden to boot.
  5. It's relaxing and in high stress times like these, we all need more relaxation outlets. Remember, stress contributes to illness.

Can you think of more reasons why it makes sense to start a garden hobby in the global economic crisis?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Garden Blogger's Bloom Day: Thank You Mr. Wonderful

2009_0215image0016I don't have any house plants so it has been months since I've participated in Garden Blogger's Bloom Day.

But, thanks to my guy sending me these beautiful flowers for Valentine's day, I'm so in for February!

I love getting flowers on Valentine's day but I have to say that ever since I've started gardening, I'm always hoping he'll send me something I can plant that will live on. Like a David Austin Crown Princess Margareta or any other David Austin English Rose (hint hint in case he's reading this).

2009_0215image0008 He hasn't always sent me flowers on Valentine's day. This started several years ago but bless his heart, he's had trouble every year. The worst one was a couple of years ago when they didn't deliver any flowers at all on February 14th but delivered them twice on February 15th. He was so mad! The hard thing is that he sits around all day wondering if they'll show up, probably thinking I'm thinking he's a loser (which I'm not!) for not remembering. Then he ends up telling me about it so that I can participate in the trouble-shooting. This time, they showed up perfectly. These mail-order florists make it so much easier since the delivery man is the mail man who knows how to deliver packages.

2009_0215image0004 I should also say that these are the best V day flowers ever. I love the purple Iris with the white Lily. Awesome choice, honey!

So, that's that. Be sure to drop by over at May Dream's Gardens where Carol hosts Garden Blogger's Bloom Day on the 15th of every month (no matter what!)