7-28-17 Garden News Roundup

Heard Weekly on the Still Growing Gardening Podcast

Guest Update

All right. Let's kick things off here with the Guest Update Segment and this week I'm featuring Pam Penick who is without a doubt the most prolific writer about the Garden Blogger’s Fling and Pam was featured back in episode SG555. Pam's the author of the book The Water-Saving Garden: How to Grow a Gorgeous Garden with a Lot Less Water. So, if you're interested in learning how to conserve water in your garden this year - check out that episode.

Pam has written so many posts on the Garden Blogger’s Fling - as she does every single year. This year, she started writing in reverse order so she actually completed all of the posts about the gardens that are featured in Day 3 first, and then moved on to Day 2 and Day 1. She did an excellent job - so I encourage you to go check out her blog. Pam can be found at the blog called Digging.net and I always just find her by Googling her name. So it's Pam and then Penick - P E N I C K - and it's a fantastic garden blog – and especially if there's a garden that we've talked about in the fling over this three part series that we've done, you can definitely find out more information about every single one of these gardens just by going to Pam's blog. Here are some examples:


In Sustainability, this week Megan Shinn wrote a wonderful article for Hortmag.com (http://www.hortmag.com/) and it was called this Wilted Plants: How the Garden Uses and Loses Water. Pam Penick would love this article, by the way.

I love how this article starts out. It says this:

“You know that wilted plants need water, but have you ever wondered how and why they wilt? Horticulture’s gardening meteorologist, Ed Brotak, explained that plants release water through stomata, or leaf pores, a process called evapotranspiration. This release causes negative pressure that travels to the roots, where it acts as suction that frees water molecules from soil particles. When a plant is releasing more water than it is able to draw up, it shuts its pores, creating a loss of pressure that results in a limp, wilted appearance.”

So there you go. Evapotranspiration. You learned something new today. By the way, try saying that three times fast. Evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration. Evapotranspiration.

I think I'd recorded this Segment two or three times just to get that right.

Continuing Ed

There were three posts that made the Continuing Ed Segment this week.


The first post was from Apartment Therapy (http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/) and it had some design ideas. The title of this post was called What To Do if You Have Just a Little Bit of Outdoor Space and this post shared many beautiful images and ideas of things you can do in small outdoor spaces. These were super cute.


The Survival Gardener (http://www.thesurvivalgardener.com/) shared An Excellent No-Dig Garden Demonstration. This was a very nice video on the no dig garden method, or the lasagna method, and this was very well received in the listener community this week.


Finally rounding out the Continuing Ed Segment is an article that was called pH should stand for plant health. “The aspect of health that is most often overlooked is pH (a.k.a. the potential of hydrogen.)”

Now the pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of a liquid solution and - as far as plant health is concerned - that distinction will dictate which nutrients the plant roots can absorb. The article concludes with this statement:

“From this point forward, pH will be an acronym for “plant Health.” This is one of the most important aspects of growing plants and cannot be overlooked without expecting an unhealthy crop and poor marketability.”

And I thought this next statement was particularly on point. Here's what it said:

“Since hydroponic growing systems often involve plant roots coming in contact with the nutrient solution regularly, if not constantly, the potential of hydrogen must be corrected to the appropriate range to maintain optimum “pH.” If we want to be healthy by maximizing our intake of nutrient-rich foods, we must make sure crops are rich in nutrients by maximizing their uptake.”

So there you go. You have a new way of thinking about pH, or the potential of hydrogen, when you're doing your soil test. Think of it in terms of plant Health.

How to / DIY

In the How to / DIY Segment, Skippy’s Vegetable Garden (http://carletongarden.blogspot.com) shared some super cool panoramic shots of her backyard garden. And I really liked this idea this notion of taking a panoramic photo of your garden which I think would be so helpful during the off season during the wintertime. And also I just love panoramic photos for gardens. I think they're very helpful. Now of course you can do exactly what this blogger did and take a panoramic photo with your phone.

In fact, there's a great article that I shared in the group from the iPhone Photography School (which is a great blog) and it talks about How To Take Great Panorama Photos With The iPhone and then there was another article I found that was simply 8 Guidelines To Taking Panoramic Photos With Any Camera. And they both were loaded with tons of tips.

First and foremost is to use the panoramic mode when you're taking pictures with your camera and that's usually just as simple as selecting panoramic on the bottom of your viewfinder.


Also in the How to / DIY Segment this week, was a post that was called Wild-ish at Heart: Naturalistic Garden Hacks and this was courtesy of The New Perennialist (http://www.thenewperennialist.com/). And when I shared this in the group I said, “Stop what you're doing and read this… and then read it again - because there are so many wonderful gems in this post.”

It starts out simply with some suggestions like skipping the time honored habit of deadheading spent blooms and instead allowing seed heads to develop. Then the suggestions grow more sophisticated. So for instance, The New Perennialist suggests planting a micro matrix in this post. They define a matrix as:

“The base layer of a planting comprised of low-growing plants like sedges, grasses, ferns etc. into which taller perennials are placed to create a meadow or woodland effect.”

And then they give a ton of suggestions for creating a matrix.

One of my favorite aspects of this post is where it talks about something they refer to as the game of flags. They showed this image of all these different colored flag markers that they were going to use in the garden to help them plan their garden design. And here's what they wrote:

“Be prepared to make field adjustments before you do any actual planting – on whatever scale. This advice comes from prairie whisperer, Roy Diblik and I’ve found it extremely useful. Use different coloured stake flags to roughly position every plant in a new design scheme before actually buying your plants. This hack gives you time and space to move things around, and estimate the many plants you’ll need before you dig in with your spade.”

I just loved this post.


Also How to / DIY Segment this week, Garden Up Green (http://www.gardenupgreen.com) shared a fantastic Herb Wreath - Easy to Make Fresh Herb Wreath - and this idea had never crossed my mind before. But I'm very intrigued by it and I just might give it a try.


And then finally Hortmag.com (http://www.hortmag.com/) shared Safe Rose Spray Recipe That Really Works and I just love finding secret recipes like this one for the garden. Here's what they shared:

“More than 5,000 rose bushes grow at Hershey Gardens in Hershey, Pa., where the gardening staff works hard to keep them free of pests and diseases. They use a chemical spray in the main garden, applying it every week or so and just after a rainstorm. They did not want to use this spray in the dedicated Children’s Garden.”

So they came up with the following safe and effective rose spray recipe. And here's what they do:

“Mix one tablespoon of vinegar with one cup of water. Add one and a half tablespoons of baking soda plus one tablespoon of dish soap and one tablespoon of vegetable oil (or any other cooking oil).

Stir this mixture into one gallon of water, and spray it on your roses’ foliage.”

Plant Spotlight

In the Plant Spotlight this week, Peggy Riccio (who was just featured on SG577 Day One of the Garden Bloggers Fling episode) wrote a great article called Harvesting Heirloom Yellow Potato Onions. And Peg wrote a very nice post about these types of onions.

She wrote:

“Potato onions are a type of multiplier onion called Allium cepa var. aggregatum. They multiply at the base by making more bulbs.”

And she said when she dug up her yellow potato onions she was surprised to find almost 40 bulbs and that was after planting originally only 15 bulbs - so she more than doubled her yield. That's fantastic.

So check out Peg’s post if you're interested in planting potato onions.


Also in the Plant Spotlight this week Hugh Conlon shared Four Top Rated Coreopsis You Should Know About and What Grows There (http://www.whatgrowsthere.com) the varieties he discusses are ‘Summer Sunshine’, ‘Flower Tower’, ‘Gold Standard’, and ‘Last Dance’.

In the News

In the News Segment this week listener and listener advisory board member Denise Pugh shared a link she thought folks might be interested in: Are you America's Best Gardener? It's an opportunity to become America's Best Gardner. This contest is sponsored by Seedling Owners and they are awarding more than $50,000 in cash and prizes to gardeners from across the United States. So if you're interested make sure to send in your entry form.

Also In the News, urban organic farmer shared AMAZING “Before & After” Pictures of a Rooftop Urban Garden and this garden belongs to Julius Barcelona. And he wrote:

“I just started gardening in February and I just wanted to share how container gardening literally transformed my roof deck. Who says you can’t grow food in the big city?

We’re five floors up and yes, the wind really is a big problem here. My herbs and leafy veg are okay since they’re low lying plants, but all my other plants like tomatoes and cucumbers are along the western wall so they are protected from the wind while they are small. I’ve put up some trellis net to support the taller plants along the side of the garden. There’s one good thing about the wind though; pests have a harder time establishing since they get whipped around a lot.”

When I shared this post, I wrote, “This is why I garden in the late summer with a huge fan to keep the mosquitoes off me. It works great. Mosquitoes are terrible flyers.”


Finally In the News this week, there was a stunning sculpture. It's a Larger-than-life pineapple origami structure pops up on a historic UK landscape and the structure was called: Look! Look! Look! The Sculpture is in the shape of a pineapple it was designed by Heather and Ivan Morison of Studio Morison and installed at the National Trust’s historic Berrington Hall in Herefordshire, UK. I thought it was super adorable.

If you google “pineapple + Barrington”, you'll see tons of great images of this pineapple origami pavilion and it's all over Instagram because people are getting their pictures taken standing in it.

Dream Guest

In the Dream Guest Segment, this week is Gilbert “Gilly” Pino. He's the owner and operator of Gilly’s Hatch Valley Chile Company Hatch, New Mexico.

“So in the 1980s, he began farming and selling peppers in Hatch, a town that’s become synonymous with chiles. Pino now grows two varieties behind his stand and sources another eight from area farms; …But what sets Pino’s stand apart is the man himself, always offering up recipes, colorful stories, and strong opinions.”


And then also in the Dream Guest Segment this week is Vern Isenhower. Vern was featured on his local television station because he turned 106 years old. Vern credits gardening to his long life and that’s the part I loved about this article. It said this:

“At 106, Isenhower is not making lots of plans but as for his garden he just goes with his gut. He said, ‘If I feel like it I'll garden next year if I don't feel like it. I won't.’”

Great advice.


Boy there were a lot of articles that made the Science Segment this week.


The first was featured in the Washington Post: Are our gardens the monarch butterfly sanctuaries we think they are? by an ecologist at Cornell University and the author of the newly published Monarchs and Milkweed his name is Anurag Agrawal. And he says:

“Although milkweed habitat has been lost, there is still plenty of wild common milkweed out there, especially in the eastern United States.”

There are many factors including tropical milkweed that threaten monarchs. So whatever you do, if you want to help - don't plant tropical milkweed.


Another article that made the Science Segment this week was from Science Daily (https://www.sciencedaily.com/). Here, we learn the difference between hydrotropism and gravitropism and the article was called Cucumbers in space provide insights on root growth.

So here's the crux of the article:

“Plant roots grow to find water, according to a process known as hydrotropism. Roots are also influenced by gravity and tend to grow downwards, called gravitropism.


In their experiments, water (or hydrotropism) had more influence in controlling root growth.”

So file that away and bring that little factoid out the next time you're at a party.


The Guardian (www.theguardian.com) shared a post called Meet the thistle propagator-in-chief and it offered a new perspective to consider. And here it is: more thistle's mean more bees.

In this article, the author says:

“There are few more impressive summer sights in our area than a marsh-thistle bed in a late-June blow. Scores of the magenta-topped spikes bend back and forth in the breeze”

The bees were going crazy for them - they adore feeding on thistle blossoms.


Wrapping up the Science Segment is a post from Horti Daily (hortidaily.com) saying that the University of Florida working on seedless watermelons. They're very optimistic about this one. In fact, for the study, researchers grafted seedless watermelon onto squash rootstocks to ward off soil borne diseases such as Fusarium Wilt.


In Shopping this week, is a fantastic book called “Cutting Back: My Apprenticeship in the Gardens of Kyoto” and it's by Leslie Buck.

I discovered Leslie's book when she was featured in the Washington Post. There was a great perspective piece written about her and the headline was A gardener went to Japan to polish her pruning skills. She found tough love.

This article shared some excerpts of her time in Japan as she learned how to prune. And here's one of the sections that caught my eye:

“In her mid-30s, she found herself in a form of horticultural boot camp, with an all-male crew of manic gardeners led by a boss who was as tough as a drill sergeant. Buck later discovered that “Bossman” was much older than he looked and had been trained as a kamikaze pilot in World War II. But the divine wind blew him toward a long life. In his 70s, he was as strong and indefatigable as men in his crew who were half his age.


They worked at a breakneck pace for 10 hours a day, six days a week. They pruned on precarious bamboo poles lashed between high branches, and they worked through thunderstorms, freezing downpours and even an earthquake. They observed the strict boundaries of etiquette in a hierarchical system Buck was now a part of. She learned to check her feelings and keep her mouth shut, aided somewhat by her limited knowledge of Japanese. The frustrations and sense of cultural isolation built.

The experience left Buck physically drained and an emotional wreck.”

In fact, Leslie could not open a journal that she had kept during her experience in Japan until three years had passed.

She worked her diaries into a book - and that's how I picked her book to be in the Shopping Segment this week. So again the book is called “Cutting Back: My Apprenticeship in the Gardens of Kyoto” and it's by Leslie Buck.


In the Inspiration Segment this week, with a fantastic article that was called, And Now, Let's Add Humidity! When I shared it in the Facebook Group, I said, “This for everyone suffering in the dog days of summer.”

This “Wow” post from Piece of Eden (https://pieceofeden.blogspot.com) has an the excellent tag line I wish I had thought of: "To Boldly Grow Where No Man Had Lawn Before" Ha! Isn't that awesome? If you're a Star Trek fan you're going crazy for that little tagline: To boldly grow where no man had lawn before. I say we give him a prize for that!

Anyway this post was fantastic because they went around their garden and even though it's extremely hot out, they took these amazing photographs of the plants that were just loving that heat. There was a great picture of “The Hobbit” Eryngium, a very happy Bougainvillea 'Imperial Thai Delight' that was planted in 2015 and is well under way and looking gorgeous, Agave 'Blue Glow' and of course Dahlias.


There were no Recipes shared this week.

For this week's Quotables segment, there were a number of quotes that I found on happiness and the garden.

Some were familiar. Some were new to me. See if you recognize any - click the image below.

Youre invited join the listener community
Still Growing Hotline (1)

“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.”
― Robert Louis Stevenson.

Jennifer Ebeling
Jennifer Ebeling is a proud Minnesotan and U of MN alumni. Gooooooo Gophers! Each week, Jennifer produces and hosts Still Growing - a gardening podcast dedicated to helping you and your garden grow. The show is an in-depth interview format. Guests featured on the show share a passion for gardening and include authors, bloggers, professional gardeners, etc. Listeners and guests of the show can join the Still Growing community on Facebook. It's a place to ask questions, share garden stories, interact with great guests featured on the show, and continue to grow and learn. Jennifer and her husband Philip have four children, a big golden lab named Sonny, and live in lovely Maple Grove, Minnesota. P.S. When she's not teaching her four kids a new card game - or teaching them how to drive a car - Jennifer loves inspiring individuals and groups to maximize and personalize their home & garden.
Jennifer Ebeling
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  1. […] 7-28-17 Garden News Roundup […]

  2. Pam/Digging on August 17, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    Jennifer, wow, thank you so much for the lovely shout-out for my blog! I just got home from a long vacation and look forward to catching up with this episode and any others I missed. As you know, I LOVE blogging about the Garden Bloggers Fling. Stay tuned, because I’m going to start blogging about the 2018 Austin Fling next week at http://gardenbloggersfling.blogspot.com/ ! BTW, one tiny correction: my blog’s URL is actually penick.net. And it’s easy to find by Googling “digging blog”.

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