Name: Kylee Baumle
Website: Our Little Acre
Size: 1 acre
Age: 5 years
Bio: Prior to 2005, my experience with gardening was to plant some sweet corn and green beans. Maybe a petunia or two. The interest just wasn’t there, even though my mom was an avid gardener her entire life. Then my work schedule slowed down considerably. I went to the Cleveland Flower Show in May 2005, and it was like someone turned on a light switch. I couldn’t learn enough about gardening nor plant fast enough. I’ve been going full bore ever since!
My first blog, Our Little Acre, began in January 2007, at the urging of our older daughter, Kara. From there, sprang a second one, Gardening by the Book, where I review gardening books. Just recently, The Soil Sisters launched, which is a joint venture with my fellow online gardening friends, Lisa and Jan. That’s a whole ‘nother level of gardening fun!
I’ve been a contributor to Shirley Bovshow’s Garden World Report a couple of times and am slated to do more videos for her.
I’m also a feature writer for a regional gardening magazine, Indiana Gardener, which is published seven times a year in print and can also be viewed online. Though I live in Ohio, I’m only about 10 miles from the Indiana-Ohio state line. I work as a dental hygienist in a dental research facility in Ft. Wayne, so I spend a lot of time in Indiana.
For the last two months, I’ve been a writer with the Cool Springs Press GREEN Program, supplying blog content to Independent Garden Centers throughout the United States.
Though I’ve been a dental hygienist all of my working life, I also love to read and from that sprang a desire to write. I’m certainly getting a chance to do that and loving every minute (and word) of it. I keep getting asked when I’m going to write a book. Nothing in the works, but it’s something I’d definitely like to do.
This summer, my husband and I will celebrate our 35th wedding anniversary. We have two grown daughters, Kara and Jenna, who are both married. Eleven cats call Our Little Acre home, but only nine belong to us and only two of the nine live in the house. All of them are rescues and the outside ones are good company in the garden.
My mom is my favorite gardener and she’s helped me in countless ways. I love that we can share our passion for gardening and is my partner in crime whenever I need a gardening adventure.
Type: We live out in the country, so our gardens are backyard mostly, with some front yard and side yard beds, too. I have several things in containers outside as well. I’ve got many houseplants, so my gardening continues during the winter when the indoor plant population reaches somewhere around 175, due to several of them overwintering until the following spring.
Style: The best way to describe it would probably be cottage. I go to the nursery, see plants I like, and I buy them. I bring them home and find a place to plant them. Sometimes it works out very well, sometimes not the best. I’m known to move plants after a season or two, when a moment of inspiration shows up, and I try them somewhere else. I’m definitely a plant collector.
Inspiration: Magazines, books, public gardens, flower shows, garden centers, friends’ gardens, television, garden blogs and websites – wherever I can, because I’m design-challenged and not very creative.
Favorite plant: Some of my favorites are my Toad Lilies (Tricyrtis sp.), Oriental Lilies, Echinaceas, Ferns, Heucheras, Hostas.
Biggest challenge: Our ucky, mucky, sticky, icky clay. Hands down. I use compost, bring in topsoil, and we have seven outside cats that do their part to “amend” the soil and it’s like that clay just eats it all up. We’ve got LOTS and LOTS of earthworms in our soil though, so it must not be all bad.
What your friends say: After they tell me how beautiful it is, the first thing they say is, “This is a lot of work!” Well, yes it is, but only during the spring and fall – mostly spring. I try to space the chores out, but other obligations and the weather dictate that. And most of the time, it doesn’t feel like work. It’s play.
Visitors always ask me what this or that plant is, too, because I have quite a few that are out of the ordinary and they’ve never seen them before.
Biggest embarrassment: A couple of springs ago, I noticed a plant starting to green up in a container that had been left outside over the winter. I’d had Gazanias in it the summer before and those are an annual here. I knew it wasn’t possible that one had overwintered, but stranger things have happened, so I started watering it and watched it grow larger and larger until one day I realized I was pampering a Taraxacum officinale – a dandelion.
Proudest DIY: My favorite garden related project is the pergola my dad and husband constructed over our brick patio. I just love it. I posted a photo of it on my blog in 2007 and in 2008, I was contacted by Old House Journal, asking if they could use my photo in their magazine. Of course, I agreed. I really love our patio area.
Biggest indulgence: My Japanese Maples. I’ve got six of them, and I bought them all, with the exception of a rather large one, which my grandma bought for us, because she thought we “needed” it. For the last three years, I’ve bought different ones from the same vendor at the Cincinnati Flower Show and they’ve all performed very well. The first one I ever bought was really small, but a bargain at only $16 and I got it at Walmart in 2005. It’s absolutely lovely, after five years of growth.
Best advice: I’m going to misquote Churchill here: “Never, never, never, never, never give up.” I’ve learned far more from my failures than I have from my successes in the garden. I learn what doesn’t work and eventually I’ll figure things out. Plants don’t read books or labels, and the people that write them don’t know your garden the way you do. If you really want to grow something in your garden and you’re certain it should grow reasonably well in your garden, yet it doesn’t, keep trying.
For me, Oriental Poppies have been a huge challenge, yet just last week, the ones I planted last year (after asking a multitude of people for advice) BLOOMED! If I had given up after the first, second, or third times, I would never have seen those awesome papery blooms that put such a big smile on my face when I saw them in my very own garden.
Dream Source: I’d like for someone to give me about a thousand dollars and turn me loose in Tony Avent’s Plant Delights Nursery.
Resources: Petitti’s in Avon, OH, is a favorite garden center and I stop there every time I’m in the area. It’s three hours away though. We don’t have large garden centers like that where I live, so I generally pick up a few things here and there. If I’m going to be visiting a city, I try to ask a gardener who lives there where I should go to find great plants.
There are a few “local” family-owned nurseries, but they’re more than half an hour away – Colorscapes Gardens and Landscaping, Beining Nursery, and Indian Trail Garden Center have nice things.
I buy quite a bit from Lowe’s, because they’re on my way home from work, depending on what they might have and the condition it’s in when I happen to be there. I also love to get online plants from Bluestone Perennials and I’ve had great plants from Big Dipper Farm and High Country Gardens, too. I can recommend all three of those.
I have to mention Garden Crossings, too. Mom and I visited their garden center last year during a trip to Michigan, and we were totally impressed with the size and quality of their plants. They have a large online business as well.
Please be sure to leave a comment for Kylee to tell her what you like about her garden and visit her blog to learn how to connect with her on twitter and facebook. I love Kylee's best advice and her biggest embarrassment is hilarious. Thanks for participating, Kylee!
If you would like to participate in the Virtual Garden Tour, please email me at myskinnygarden (at) yahoo (dot) com.