Garden Week in Georgia: Explore Gardens Around the World by RGC Blogger Suzy Crowe

Garden Week in Georgia: Explore Gardens Around the World by RGC Blogger Suzy Crowe

We are topping off Garden Week in Georgia with virtual garden tours here and around the world. Join us as we appreciate this amazing planet and the work of gardeners everywhere.

  • Get lost in beauty at the Gardens Illustrated website, starting at the Inspiring Gardens tab. You can spend hours looking at and reading about rural, urban, and international gardens. More hours are needed to read about the gardeners and to explore garden design.
    • Read about the RHS Virtual Chelsea Flower Show May 19 – 23.
      • You can sign up for Gardens Illustrated’s RHS Virtual Chelsea Flower Show emails and receive a free digital copy Pots of Style Special Edition—I signed up because I’m going to take part in the Virtual Chelsea Flower Show.
      • I downloaded Pots of Style, took a peek, and couldn’t stop skimming it to finish this post. The people at Gardens Illustrated aren’t exaggerating when they say it is gorgeous.
    • Check out Gardens Illustrated’s Ten virtual garden tours to take from home. One of the tours is Monet’s Garden at Giverny, another is Kew Gardens. The United States Botanic Garden is on the list, with several starting points for Google Street View tours.
  • Jump off the Garden’s Illustrated site to explore the Gardens of the Globe—this clickable map is an advertisement site, but the gardens on it are unbelievable. Since I had to write this post, I couldn’t spend too much time there, but I checked out the Denver Botanic Gardens, the Anima Garden in Morocco, and the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens. I’m headed back there after I post this.
  • Take a trip down memory lane with the American Hydrangea Society’s YouTube channel videos of previous Annual Garden Tours.
  • Tour the Atlanta Botanical Garden starting on the Life Blooms On page—scroll down a bit for the virtual tour.
  • Tour the State Botanical Garden of Georgia.
  • Get lost in the beauty of the Gibbs Garden Photo Gallery.

If these tours leave you wanting more, you can always google virtual garden tours. Get lost in the splendor of these gardens as we stay at home together.

Thank you for spending Garden Week in Georgia with us. I’ll think about you when I’m at the Virtual Chelsea Garden Show. Cheers.

Garden Week in Georgia: Inspired by Earth Day? Now’s the Time to Start a Compost Bin by RGC Bloggers Lisa Ethridge & Suzy Crowe

Garden Week in Georgia: Inspired by Earth Day? Now’s the Time to Start a Compost Bin by RGC Bloggers Lisa Ethridge & Suzy Crowe

Many of us’ve thought about composting waste, but never made the time for it. While we’re staying at home, it’s the perfect time to start a compost bin  and develop the habit of composting. This DIY project can improve air quality, enrich the soil, and alleviate landfill woes. Kitchen and backyard composting is not only FREE and incredibly beneficial, it requires little effort—a definite win, win, win for gardeners.

According to the UGA Extension, “Composting is the natural process of decomposition and recycling of organic material into a soil amendment known as compost.” Compost is a magical soil enhancer. It helps retain moisture, eliminates the need to use commercial fertilizer, and encourages vigorous plant growth. A good garden can be made great by improving the soil with home-made humus.

Statistics show that compostable waste, which creates greenhouse gases as it decomposes, makes up almost 25% of the world’s garbage. The simple act of composting reduces the amount of garbage in landfills and improves air quality by breaking down waste quickly and safely. Let’s look at what goes into the compost bin and how to make an outdoors or indoors compost bin so the magic can happen.

Composting starts with layers of brown matter and green matter

  • Brown matter provides the carbon needed for composting
  • Brown matter includes dry leaves, wood chips, straw, sawdust, smushed egg shells, coffee filters, corn stalks, shredded brown corrugated cardboard, and shredded newspaper
  • According to Planet Natural Research Center’s Composting Paper: How to use cardboard and newspaper in your compost pile, you should only use plain newsprint and plain brown corrugated cardboard—no glossy pages, no colored ink, no bleached white paper
  • Green matter provides the nitrogen needed for composting and most of the nutrients that enhance the soil
  • Green matter includes food scraps, grass clippings, coffee grounds, tea leaves, manure, and recently pulled weeds
  • Never put cooked food, dairy products, meat, fish bones, or fat in your compost bin—these substances produce odors that can lure pests
  • Aim for a ratio of about 4 parts browns (carbon) : 1 part greens (nitrogen) for outdoors composting and 3 brown : 1 green indoors
    • If your compost is smelly (yuck!), add more browns
    • If your compost doesn’t get warm, add more greens
  • Read more at Gardening Know How: Understanding The Browns And Greens Mix For Compost
  • Be sure and mix in some water to encourage the growth of beneficial bacteria/fungi—these helpful agents break everything down and eventually create rich, organic, nutrient-filled humus

Starting an indoors compost bin
There’s a wealth of great online resources for starting an indoors compost bin. Here are some excellent videos and articles to get you going in about 5 minutes.

  • Better Homes and Gardens’ article How to Make Your Own Indoor Composting Bin and 55 second video are chock full of information. If you want a small, sink-side or under-the-sink compost solution, start here—it’s concise, helpful and inspiring!
  • P. Allen Smith’s YouTube video DYI Trash Can Compost Bin is twice as long, covers a larger solution, and is also concise, helpful and inspiring—go figure
  • Bob Villa’s All You Need to Know about Indoor Composting is a great article with a wealth of information about multiple types of indoor composting

 Starting an outdoors compost bin
Although there are myriad compost-related bins, tools, and equipment available on the Internet, there is no need to purchase anything. I got started when a friend who owns a truck brought me 4 wooden pallets and told me to go buy 8 bungee cords; that’s simple construction, and it worked perfectly.

  • Place the bin conveniently near the house on a level, dry, shady spot with access to a hose
  • Don’t place the bin on tree roots
  • Air and water are critical to the composting process
  • Keep the pile moist and turn it with a pitch fork as you add ingredients; this maximizes the rate of decomposition

The thermophilic compost process takes place slowly, and the finished product can take months depending on maintenance and conditions. You will be rewarded for your patience. For detailed information on composting, download publications C816 and B1189 from extension.uga.edu.

Let’s get it started.

Photo by Jan Kopřiva on Unsplash

Garden Week in Georgia: Arbor Day–Don’t Miss Your Chance to Celebrate Trees by RGC Blogger Lisa Ethridge

Garden Week in Georgia: Arbor Day–Don’t Miss Your Chance to Celebrate Trees by RGC Blogger Lisa Ethridge

There are so many ways that trees positively affect us, our communities, and our world. Check out the details on the Arbor Day Foundation website:  https://www.arborday.org/trees/treefacts/

  • Trees help clean our air
  • Trees contribute to our health
  • Trees provide us with oxygen
  • Trees provide much-needed cooling
  • Trees help reduce the effects of climate change
  • Trees help us save energy
  • Trees benefit wildlife
  • Trees help reduce crime
  • Trees are a good investment of our public dollars
  • Trees increase our property values

 

Arbor Day Is Not Just Any Day

WHAT IS ARBOR DAY?

Arbor Day, much like Earth Day, is a holiday that celebrates nature.

Its purpose is to encourage people to plant trees, and many communities traditionally take the opportunity to organize tree-planting and litter-collecting events on or around the holiday. A popular Arbor Day tradition is to plant a tree in honor or memory of a loved one.

THE HISTORY OF ARBOR DAY

Arbor Day sprouted from the mind of a zealous tree lover named Julius Sterling Morton, who had a passion for planting all kinds of trees.

The first Arbor Day occurred on April 10, 1872, in Nebraska City, Nebraska. It’s estimated that nearly one million trees were planted on this day.

By 1885, Arbor Day became a legal holiday in Nebraska. The date was changed to April 22 to honor Morton’s birthday. On that day, thousands of Nebraska City citizens turned out for one big party, including 1,000 school-children who formed a parade.

Within 20 years of its creation, the holiday was celebrated in every American state except Delaware, which eventually joined in.

Particularly pleasing to Morton was the fact that schools across the country began celebrating Arbor Day by dedicating the trees they planted to special people.

Fun Fact: Arbor Day was almost called Sylvan Day, which means “wooded.” Several members of the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture favored it, but Morton argued that sylvan refers only to forest trees and that the name Arbor Day was most inclusive, covering forest trees and fruit trees.

 “Other holidays repose upon the past;
Arbor Day proposes for the future.”

                –J. Sterling Morton.

Read More about Julius Sterling Morton and Arbor Day on the Old Farmer’s Almanac website: https://www.almanac.com/content/arbor-day-history-facts-date

Roswell Garden Club encourages you to consider joining the Arbor Day Foundation. Membership starts at $10, and new members choose one of these free gifts: 10 free trees for you, 10 trees planted in a threatened rainforest, or 10 trees planted in our nation’s forests. Check it out here: https://shop.arborday.org/content.aspx?page=memberships

Since October and November are the months to plant a tree in Georgia, be sure and choose FALL PLANTING. There are tutorials available on the internet about how to plant a tree, and extension.uga.edu provides great information and resources specifically for Georgia.

Garden Week in Georgia: Earth Day 2020 – 50 Years of Celebrating & Saving our Earth by RGC Bloggers Suzy Crowe & Lisa Ethridge

Garden Week in Georgia: Earth Day 2020 – 50 Years of Celebrating & Saving our Earth by RGC Bloggers Suzy Crowe & Lisa Ethridge

Explore Earth Day 2020’s theme—Climate Action—by taking part in Earth Day Live. EarthDay.org is the place to be, not only to read about challenges we face but also to be inspired to make changes large and small to preserve our precious Earth. So what can you do online for Earth Day?

  • Watch Earth Day Live! See live performances, hear live messages and calls to action. The stream starts at 12:01 am ET and runs until 11:59 pm.
  • Take part in the Seawalls Stay-At-Home Mural Festival for our Planet. There are several free events to register for and take part in. If you don’t feel like participating in an event, browse 350 ocean-inspired murals from 15 countries around the Earth.
  • Tap into NASA’s Earth Day 2020: 50th Anniversary Toolkit. Check out the NASA Visualization Explorer.
  • Create some fun Earth Day art of your own with resources from Kathy Barbro’s Art Projects for Kids. You will recognize the featured image for this post if you go to Kathy’s siteit’s the free Earth Day Mini Mural.
  • On the Earth Day news page, read the Q&A Interview with Denis Hayes, coordinator of the first Earth Day. Denis speaks about the past, present, and future of Earth Day. On the same page, explore 11 Actions for the Earth During a Pandemic.
  • Read Roswell High School students’ thoughts and suggestions regarding the environment. Their thoughts are in response to the Roswell Garden Club Environmental Competition Blog prompt:
    • Inspired by 16-year-old Greta Thernberg’s speech to the UN and the National Garden Club, Inc.’s Conservation Pledge – ‘I pledge to protect and conserve the natural resources of the planet earth and promise to promote education so we may become caretakers of our air, water, forest, land, and wildlife.’ Roswell Garden Club invites high school students from public, private, and home schools in Roswell, GA, to write a blog post exploring how we in Roswell can become caretakers of our air, water, forest, land, and wildlife.  The topic for the post, ‘Moving from consumers to caretakers of our air, water, forest, land, and wildlife,’ lends itself to a variety of perspectives. Students are encouraged to blog about ways communities, organizations such as schools, families, and individuals can begin to have a positive impact on our world.”
  • Read our short History of Earth Day:

In the late 1960s, individuals and politicians embraced environmentalism. Graphic proof of the decline of water and air quality presented ominous images of international abuse of the planet. Activists made it clear that in order to secure a decent quality of life and a sustainable future, laws must be enacted and behaviors must be changed.

In 1970 politicians added Earth Day to the calendar to strengthen the message and unite supporters. Cartoonist Walt Kelly’s iconic poster designed to promote the first celebration depicts Pogo the possum surveying the trash-covered Okefenokee Swamp declaring, “We have met the enemy and he is us”. Message received—millions paid tribute to Mother Earth on April 22, 50 years ago.

Grass roots initiatives and meaningful political action produced unprecedented victories for the environment. Congress passed The National Environmental Policy Act in 1970, and two years later the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts followed. President Nixon proposed the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to maintain and enforce environmental laws, work with industry to develop best practices, and co-ordinate educational outreach. While there is still room for improvement, the outlook for the environment is positive.

Through the years the number of government agencies and non-government organizations has burgeoned. The Internet provides links to millions of informative, eco-centered websites dedicated to raising awareness of the green movement. Widgets that calculate every aspect of our carbon footprint are available. Social media allows people from all over the world to comment and contribute. Bloggers raise awareness of issues and share personal views of timely topics. We no longer have to be our own enemy. Individuals can get involved and share responsibility for protecting the planet.

This year, join Roswell Garden Club and celebrate the earth on April 22 and throughout the year. Whether you attend an online community event, plant vegetables or flowers, pick up trash, or enjoy a walk, take time to focus on being a good steward of the environment. As one blogger put it, “To do something nice for the planet ultimately does something nice for you and all those you care about because, for now, we all live here.”

Note: The featured image for this post is Kathy Barbro’s free Earth Day Mini Mural, available at https://artprojectsforkids.org/free-mini-earth-day-mural/

 

Garden Week in Georgia: Commentary on Floral Designs from the 2020 Daffodil Show by RGC Blogger Gretchen Collins

Garden Week in Georgia: Commentary on Floral Designs from the 2020 Daffodil Show by RGC Blogger Gretchen Collins

The 2020 Georgia Daffodil Society Show at the Chattahoochee Nature Center was spectacular. We are going to take a look at four designs from each of these classes: Bounty of Color, Visual Delight, and Brighten My Day.

This first class we are looking at, Bounty of Color, called for a creative design on a pedestal. Each creative design was staged using a 38” high black pedestal with a 14” square top placed against a neutral wall. Underlays were permitted but couldn’t extend beyond the 14” square top.

 

            

               Bounty of Color Design 1                    Bounty of Color Design 2                    ­­

               

Bounty of Color Design 3                     ­­Bounty of Color Design 4

  • Bounty of Color design 1 is my design. The judges felt the bottom orange leaf was too dominant. These are Sea Grape Leaves, painted orange. The title called for “A Bounty of Color”.
  • Bounty of Color design 2 won the blue ribbon. The colored glass vases were perfect for this class. Some of you know Betty Williams–this is her design.
  • Bounty of Color design 3 skillfully used weathered wood for the main line.
  • Bounty of Color design 4 has an interesting and unusual trunk and moss base. Carolyn Hawkins’ design uses chenille wires inside the stems. After being soaked in water, the chenille holds enough water for the daffodils to last 24 hours. This design was marked down because all of the color is at the top of the design.

The second class we are looking at, Visual Delight, called for a creative design staged using one-half of a 6’ long x 29” high table with a designer top space of 36” wide x 29” deep with no height restriction. The Show Committee provided a floor-length green covering for the tables placed against a neutral wall. Underlays and staging panels were permitted and encouraged. The underlay and panels were provided by the exhibitor. 

 

        

Visual Delight Design 1                    Visual Delight Design 2       

            

Visual Delight Design 3                    Visual Delight Design 4 

  • Visual Delight design 1 is very creative. The beautifully painted leaves are Strelitzia or Bird of Paradise. The judges thought the white was too dominant. This is JoAnn Jones’ design.
  • Visual Delight design 2 was created by Anna Burns. Anna took a course in Europe that taught the fabric enhanced wire circles. Her leaf manipulation of the Aspidistra is beautiful!
  • Visual Delight design 3 is another design by Betty Williams. It is a beautifully conceived design.
  • Visual Delight design 4 by Carolyn Hawkins received the top ribbon for the show. The toast colored plant material came from a desert plant. The mesh ribbon is beautiful and the daffodils are well distributed through the design. I felt the only tiny flaw was the silver stand showing through. It is a gorgeous design!

The third class we are looking at, Brighten My Day, called for a breakfast tray for one person, staged using a terra-cotta colored pedestal 25” high with a 24” square top, against a neutral wall. The Show Committee provided the pedestal. Underlays furnished by the exhibitor were permitted and encouraged. The design needed to be stable enough for the tray to be carried without toppling.

 

          

                Brighten My Day Design 1                              Brighten My Day Design 2                                      

      

                          Brighten My Day Design 3                                                      Brighten My Day Design 4        

  • Brighten My Day design 1 is a sweet design. I think you can read the judge’s comment here…design too small.
  • Brighten My Day design 2 is the first place tray. It is beautifully conceived. The daffodils are just gorgeous!
  • Brighten My Day design 3 is my design. The judges’ comment on this design was that the daffodils did not follow a line and impeded the rhythm. The design is mine, and I agree.
  • Brighten My Day design 4 — Unfortunately I do not remember the comment on this. Perhaps the design did not seem stable enough to be carried.

A daffodil show is fun but a challenge as daffodils are not always easy to work with. For more information on the Georgia Daffodil Society, see their facebook page https://www.facebook.com/GeorgiaDaffs/. If you are looking for daffodils for your garden, mark your calendar now for the Georgia Daffodil Society’s 2020 Annual Daffodil Bulb Sale on October 24, 2020 at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market, Cathedral of St. Philip, 2744 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA 30305.

                

 

 

 

 

 

Garden Week in Georgia: Fairy Gardens Bring Year-Round Joy by RGC Blogger Lisa Ethridge

Garden Week in Georgia: Fairy Gardens Bring Year-Round Joy by RGC Blogger Lisa Ethridge

Folks who enjoy plants have discovered the year-round joy that magical fairy gardens can bring. I got started with fairy landscaping when I found a rusty wheelbarrow in someone’s trash, filled it with rich soil, and decorated it with finds from the thrift store and throwbacks from the grandkids’ toy box. It made me happy.

Google “fairy gardens.” The creativity and ingenuity will amaze you. Scads of elaborate miniature wonderlands pop off the page to fire the imagination. To get started, select a low pot, a basket with a liner, a wheelbarrow, wagon, barrel, crate, drawer, birdbath or appropriate terra cotta vessel. Next, select the spot in the garden to place your magical landscaping. Think about surprising garden visitors when they round a bend and view the secret, sylvan splendor.

Then the fun begins. All manner of furnishings, buildings, and landscape features can be purchased in garden supply stores and on line; and shopping for the fairy garden will provide hours of fun during your stay-at-home days. Don’t forget to stock up on gnomes, pixies, fairies, and other characters to give life to the landscape.

When it’s time to put the miniature garden together, the right plants are key. The plants should be small to keep the proportions correct. Look for heat and drought resistant ground covers, plants, grasses, and trailing vines. Wooly thyme or any thyme is quick growing and makes an excellent choice. Ornamental strawberry produces white blossoms and tiny strawberries for colorful interest. Blue Star Creeper grows up to 6” tall and sports a blue flower. Platts Black “Brass Buttons” is a durable choice, and Cranesbill “Dark Eyes” adds to the fun with a sweet, pink flower. Be sure to keep the garden well watered.

Fairy gardening is an attractive pursuit for folks of all ages, especially those who enjoy miniatures. Container size is negotiable–perfect for gardeners with limited space.  Joseph Joubert said, “Imagination is the eye of the soul.” Nurture and soothe that soul during your stay-at-home days by planning a fanciful garden to keep the spirit of the sugar plum fairy alive throughout 2020.

The feature image for this post is from Ted Lare Design+Build: Fairy Garden & Hobbit House Class. Due to COVID-19, Ted Lare Design+Build is offering some great classes on Facebook Live. If you’re interested, check them out here.