Midwest Gardeniere Update

Hey everyone!  A quick update on my work as the Midwest Gardeniere.  As you all know I was in San Diego shooting a commercial series for HGTV.  You will find a full page advertisement about this series featuring me and Chris Lambton in the HGTV Magazine.  The ads are in the March, April, and May issues coinciding with when the commercials will air.  The March issue is available now if you want to check it out.

I will be traveling to Disney World for a Gardenieres shoot in mid March, and will also be shooting some other scenes for Scotts.

And there is a new video out, a montage of many of the videos we have filmed already.  You will see in this video my co-star Jay Harris from the Home Depot.  We had such fun filming last spring I hope we will see more of Jay.

So take a look at the new video and tell me what you would like to see in future blogs.  We are going to be trying out a new format, using videos in many of the posts.  As always, comments and suggestions are encouraged!


Seed Swap

So we went to the Chicago Botanic Garden Seed Swap and boy was it amazing.  There were thousands of seeds being doled out to new and seasoned gardeners.  I brought a couple dozen different types of seeds and collected maybe 3 dozen new seeds that I have never planted before.  Did you know that sunflowers are a multitude of little flowers on the big head and each one of those little flowers produces a seed.  Watch this short video to see sunflowers that have gone to seed, it’s really cool.

Seed swaps are a great way to share your garden.  At the end of the growing season let some flowers die and go to seed (in other words no deadheading) and collect the seeds in an envelope.  You can store seeds for at least a year and in some cases much longer than that, as long as they are dry and don’t get too hot.

Some of the seeds I collect are Gaillardia, Rose hips, Impatiens, Alyssum, Snap Dragon, Amaranth “Velvet Curtain”, Morning Glory, Moon Flower, Wisteria, Peppers, and Corn.  These are all easy and obvious seeds in abundance at the end of the season.  They all germinate quickly and you can start them indoors to get a longer growing season.

You can set up a seed swap with any group, either organized or impromptu.  All you need is your seeds, envelopes, and a writing instrument.  For an informal swap just pick a time and place; everyone arrives with their seeds and the swapping begins.  For a more regulated system ask participants to give you a list of their seeds, compile all the lists and give everyone a chance to see what is available.  Everyone can make their choices in advance and even set up swaps with individuals.  You can all agree to take pictures of your new plants once they are established and share the pictures at the end of the season.  The fun just keeps on going.

I have all those seeds and more if anyone is interested in swapping.  I love to share seeds and plants and it will be time to start sowing indoors soon.   Anyone interested in swapping let me know.  And as always comments and suggestions are welcomed and encouraged.


Winter Planning

It’s the middle of winter and so much is going on! As you know I had an incredibly successful trip to San Diego filming a Gardenieres commercial series with HGTV.  I have some great news about the next shoot!  I would love to tell everyone in person so if you want to wait for a face-to-face don’t scroll to the end.  If you can’t wait, go to the end of the post for the big news!

Winter is a great time to do your garden planning, getting ready for the spring and summer activity.  I’ve been working on plans and rendering for my certificate from the Chicago Botanic Garden. Here’s a picture of what a rendering looks like in process…

Rendering Project

Given a basic layout you can take any space and design the garden of your dreams.  You can do a free-hand drawing in your journal or a formal line drawing that is to scale using a T-square on large paper.  Use circles for trees and shrubs and color in areas that will be annuals or perennials.  If you want lots of detail you can color in the lawn area with green and the ground cover with yellow.  You can mark out hedges too, use a darker green for those.  You can also include hardscapes like pavers and fountains, and even furniture and potted plants.  You can get a great feel for what the garden will look like, and you can make changes until it is exactly what you want.  Start with a general layout, don’t get into specifics.  Once it feels right then you can start thinking about the plants and characteristics you want to include.

A garden that I want to plan for myself is a traditional medicinal herb garden.  I use herbs for cooking, and those I have in pots on the deck near the kitchen door.  Out in the garden I want another area with Comfrey, Sticklewort, Chamomile, Valerian, Betony, Belladonna, Foxglove, Bloodroot, and Horehound.  Even the names sound old and mysterious.  All of these plants have a history of medicinal value.  I will find a space and plan a layout based on the size and habit of each plant.  I’ll obtain the plants and install them adding a few companions for color if needed.  It’s that easy.  Think about a garden you want to plant and make a plan.  Send me pictures of your ideas and the finished product.  If you need help let me know!

Ok, now for the big news…. Drum-roll please…….I have been invited to film another Gardenieres video at Disney World! Can you believe it – Disney World!  As soon as I have more details I will let you all know.  This is incredibly exciting for me, I can’t wait to get more info and pass it along.

As always questions, comments, send them along.  I’m here for you all.