Gardening books have changed my fashion aesthetic!
I used to be a yoga-panted athleisure-wearing suburban soccer mom (by outward appearance; I neither do yoga, nor do my kids like soccer. Nevertheless she persisted). But now that I’ve immersed myself in the weeds of the Dewey Decimal system 635, Gardening, I want an English-cottage-meets-Japanese-Zen garden and new clothes.
Gardening clothes. Fashion that signals I am a gardener, I care about pollinators. And that I have read everything that Andrea Wulf has ever written.
I want what the gardening books tell me I should want: urban-farm-girl overalls or a jumpsuit, a trowel and trellis. Somehow also Victoriana.
“Beware all enterprises that require new clothes,” Thoreau said. I’m all yes, Henry David, in general I agree with you, you being a Transcendentalist saint and all, and me being small and insignificant, but look upon this cute pair of linen overalls, sir!
Overalls WITH Everything
The totally gardening-inappropriate sandals the overalls are styled with: I want them too. Mama must have! For walking around Walden Pond this summer!
Aaaaactually, not only are these sandals gardening-inappropriate they are also walking-inappropriate. But so what? I have a new aesthetic. It’s standing cutely among day lilies, stuffing greens in my overall pockets! Or holding a bunch of flowers to my cheek in a tweed suit.
Let’s be real, what gardeners are usually up to is this:
But that’s not great glossy gardening book photography now is it? Why be face down among the saladings in reality when you could be in fantasy garden land wearing your hair in a loose bun, contemplating apples or smelling flowers because that’s what ladies in gardening books do, mostly.
Au revior, yoga pants. Hello, “crouch without the ouch” crotch gussets on my new overalls. Thank you gardening books for introducing me to a whole new me who knows the useful words “crotch gusset,” “perennial” and “hedgerow.”
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The weather is warm, gardeners are itching to get outside – and ticks are lying in wait.
Several potentially serious illnesses, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, can be transmitted via tick bite. But that shouldn’t keep gardeners out of their favorite patches.
Ticks can’t jump or fly. Instead, they climb onto shrubs or blades of grass and ambush any host that has the misfortune of brushing by. It’s during their feeding process that the tiny bloodsuckers often transmit disease-causing pathogens.
After selecting a prime dining spot – warm and humid – a tick cuts into your skin’s surface and inserts a feeding tube. You probably won’t feel it because tick saliva has anesthetic properties.
By the time a tick finds a human host, there’s no telling where it’s been.
If any of its previous hosts has a bloodborne infection, the tick will have ingested pathogens along with the blood. Unfortunately, ticks are generous creatures. They’re happy to share with other hosts, transmitting pathogens through their saliva during leisurely luncheons.
Three types of disease-carrying ticks are commonly found in Georgia: the lone star tick, the American dog tick and the black-legged (deer) tick.
To protect yourself before and after you venture outside, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following:
• Use insect repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone. Also, use veterinarian-recommended tick preventives regularly on dogs and cats.
• Treat shoes, pants, socks and other clothing and gear with products containing 0.5 percent permethrin.
• After coming inside, check for ticks – especially under the arms and inside the navel, in and around the ears, behind the knees, between the legs, around the waist, and on the hairline and scalp. Shower immediately.
• If you find a tick has attached itself to you, remove it right away using fine-tipped tweezers and getting as close to the skin’s surface as possible. Thoroughly clean the bite area and your hands with rubbing alcohol, iodine scrub, or soap and water.
• If you want, you can bring the tick to you health care provider for identification. Put it in rubbing alcohol or place it in a sealed bag/container.
• Don’t make a home for ticks. Clear tall grasses and brush around homes and at the edge of yards. Keep your lawn mowed and leaves raked. Place playground equipment, furniture and other outdoor items in sunny locations, and remove any yard trash that could give ticks a place to hide.
For more information, visit www.cdc.gov .
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A flower never fails to bring a smile to a gardener’s face.
And a flower that he or she grew from seed — now, that’s an accomplishment that can elicit an all-out grin.
If you have never tried growing from seed, though, the process can seem a little daunting. Will your soil be too cold, or maybe too warm? How much should you water? And seedlings are so, well, tiny — will you even be able to find them?
“We want to demystify the process of growing from seed and open your eyes to the range and sheer beauty of the plants you can grow in this way,” Clare Foster and Sabina Ruber state in the introduction to their new book “The Flower Garden: How To Grow Flowers From Seed.”
The process is easier than a beginner might think, writer Foster and photographer Ruber emphasize.
“Plants inherently want to grow, so if you give them the right conditions, nine times out of 10 they will do what you want them to do.”
They offer plenty of inspiration as well as hands-on advice — including how, when and where to plant, and how to enjoy your flowers, whether in a decorative container or in a cut arrangement.
Their book groups their favorites by type or purpose, a helpful approach for home gardeners. Whether you have a bare spot in your yard or are ready to try something different this year, see whether one of their suggestions strikes your fancy.
“There is nothing more satisfying than planting a tiny seed in spring and watching it emerge and grow,” they write.
• “Cottage Garden Favorites” profiles “relaxed, informal plants (that) give the garden a soft, romantic feel, and many will self-seed and reappear year after year like old friends.”
One to try: foxgloves, “which are remarkably easy, and germinate readily.”
The biennials produce colorful spikes of flowers and thrive in dappled shade.
• “Bold and Beautiful” features “plants that provide a hit of summer color, quickly producing an astonishing kaleidoscope of hues to bring a smile to your face.”
One to try: Mexican sunflower, or tithonia, “a vigorous, easy-to-grow annual.”
This sun lover offers orange flowers and can reach 6 feet tall.
• “Sweetly Scented” supports the idea that “no garden is complete without a few deliciously scented flowers.”
One to try: Sweet peas, “a consistent and universal favorite.”
“They are brilliantly easy to grow, germinating willingly, growing swiftly, and flowering lavishly, all within a few months.”
• “Exotic Beauties,” the authors write, “contains plants that add glamour to the garden, their brightly colored blooms and lush foliage giving an opulent feel.”
One to try: morning glory, an annual vine that can gracefully cover an arch or trellis.
These fast growers thrive in a warm, sunny location.
• “Edible Flowers and Herbs” focuses on plants that “add subtle flavor and a Michelin-starred look to both sweet and savory dishes and drinks.”
One to try: borage, “one of the easiest plants to grow from seed, maturing very quickly into a tall, robust plant.”
The “starry, sapphire-blue flowers” make a tasty and eye-catching addition to salads or baked goods.
Diana Lockwood, a freelance writer covering gardening topics, posts on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mrsgardenperson.
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Special to The PREVIEW
The Pagosa Springs Community Gardeners are sponsoring free gardening talks throughout the spring and summer months. Renowned experts will cover all topics related to gardening in the Pagosa Springs area. The talks are free and open to the public.
On Tuesday, May 21, Ron Chacey, the eminent regional vegetable grower and an original founder of the Pagosa Springs Community Garden, will discuss “How to develop soil for vegetable gardening” at the River Pointe Coffee House, which is located next to the river downtown.
The short growing season in the Four Corners region can present challenges, but the difficult conditions can be overcome with the correct gardening knowledge and techniques. An avid grower with more than seven decades of experience, Chacey is a believer in trial and error in all areas of gardening.
Chacey believes that learning from mistakes is the foundation of successful gardening. Having the opportunity to learn from a seasoned expert is an important advantage and the purpose of the free Pagosa Springs gardening talks.
The evening’s format will vary slightly from past events. Beginning at 4:30 p.m., Chacey is inviting attendees to bring their questions — on any gardening topic of interest — and Chacey will spend 30 minutes covering the inquiries. At 5 p.m., Chacey will discuss the development of soil. The talk will conclude with real-life stories and information about what Chacey is actually doing right now in his personal gardens.
The Pagosa Springs Community Garden is located at the end of 5th Street near the San Juan River downtown. Decades old, the garden is on land owned by the Town of Pagosa Springs and plots are granted to the town’s citizens free of charge.
In 2017, the garden was rejuvenated by community volunteers with the assistance of local Pagosa Springs businesses. Raised beds and deer-out fencing were constructed with donated lumber. Soil amendments, fertilizers, seeds, tools, hoses and other necessary items are all provided through the generosity of Pagosa Springs’ businesses. The Town of Pagosa Springs provides free water for the Pagosa Springs Community Garden. To receive more information, email [email protected]
The 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. free gardening talk will be held in the River Pointe Coffee House conference room, 445 San Juan St., on Tuesday night, May 21. Event attendees will receive a free copy of Chacey’s “2019 Vegetable Growing Notes.” Visit http://www.Facebook.com/PagosaSpringsCommunityGarden.com or email [email protected] for further details.
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