Easy Does It roses?

The garden press is raving about the ‘Easy Does It’ rose, giving it all kinds of accolades including “the seductress of the garden”. Introduced just last year, ‘Easy Does It’  might be hard to find. But if you do score one, you will find this rose has many fine attributes, making it a standout specimen. ‘Easy Does It’ roses are fragrant, disease resistant, vigorous, full of flowers and just downright fabulous. Read more ›

Growing roses in a sand pit

Early on in my adventures in Florida gardening, I’d decided that I wanted to try my hand at roses…  eventually. You know, because my mom made it look so easy in Connecticut in the ’60s. (No wonder she can’t watch Mad Men… strikes too close to home.) I kept putting roses off for when I had more time.

Maggie's color holds up in the bright Florida sunshine

But every so often those Jackson & Perkins catalogs and others would arrive with the alluring photos arranged by color and type. The overblown copywriting, describing scent like fine wine; “An assertive fragrance with hints of raspberry and citrus.” You know what I mean; rose porn. Read more ›

Create Drifts of Roses

If you are looking for a low growing plant that is maintenance free, blooms from spring to fall and only has to be planted once–  remember two words; Drift Roses. A cross between a miniature rose and ground cover roses, Drift Roses pack a petite-sized punch. They inherited their manageable size and repeat-blooming nature from miniature roses. Introduced in 2006, Drift Roses have been tested extensively under diverse climate conditions and are hardy to Zone 5.

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Help create an art and music center in Safety Harbor

Calling all Garden Fairies and Wizards! Get your paint brushes ready! Sunday, June 26th we will be participating in a fun fundraiser to help create an art and music center in Safety Harbor. Read more ›

Roses are Easy Again

Roses used to be easy. But then they got all fancy-dancy and found themselves unnaturally displayed in rows, needing lots of coddling and chemicals. Hybridized to death, roses ended up looking like women from the 1950s who couldn’t wait to get home to strip of their girdles. A common complaint among all gardeners is the (apparent) dearth of carefree plant choices that provide continuos color.

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Yo! Rose Season In Brooklyn

In my hometown of Buffalo the running story was always Weather with a capital W.  But it seems everywhere on the planet this spring, Weather has been a major part of each story riveting our attention. We started 2011 with an exceptionally high number of major snowstorms here and lethal floods in Australia. Then came earthquakes, and the devastating tsunami in Japan. Back in the states, we’ve continued to have more than our share of natural calamities: major flooding in the south and northwest, unprecedented clusters of huge tornadoes, droughts and wildfires in the southeast. There’s been Weather here in my neighborhood of Prospect Heights in Brooklyn too. Last fall we had tornadoes that felled, snapped and splintered hundred–year old trees as though they were pencils. A brutal winter followed and after that a long, cold spring—the space heater was going through the third week of May.  Then all of a sudden the landscape of my neighborhood transformed: within a couple weeks it was high summer.  By high summer, I mean roses.
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CRS: Challenges of an aging gardener

It’s finally spring in my northeast garden. As I walk the beds looking for mulch to brush away here, a weed to pull there, my observations return to a single theme: What the hell is that?

The aging brain and flowers that disappear over a long winter are not a good combination. I’d diagram the garden, but you know I’d just forget where I put the damn diagram. Some years, I can remember what I planted where. Others, I cannot. Some days, I recognize the emerging leaves…others, I suspect I’m letting weeds grow (rather tolerate a weed than pull a plant). Read more ›

Roses in your blood, literally

I love roses – all types, shapes, colors, sizes. However, I have never lived in a place long enough that is rose friendly. So each spring I would make my annual trek to the local rose garden and get my fill (is that possible?) of heady delight. In NYC, it was the Brooklyn Botanical Garden, in Wisconsin – Olbrich Botanical Garden, in Florida – Epcot Center, in Missoula MT- the Veterans Memorial Garden. All wonderful in my mind. Read more ›

Garden signs, a great way to personalize your outdoor spaces

There are a myriad ways to express yourself in your garden, from your plant choices to your patio furniture. Consider adding contemplative or comical messages to  your  outdoor spaces– a great way to individualize your garden and show off your personal style.

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Garden signs run the gamut of human emotion, from humor to humility. Share moments of reflection or humor with a garden guest by placing  garden signs along your garden paths or other areas of your garden.

You can purchase signs or make your own signs. In the course of making Mother Meres Mural we developed personalized blocks by pressing letters into cement and grout. We perfected this technique in the course of making dozens of blocked messages and started making small signs. One sign was made to commemorate years of work Jim Charlier has done as president of Garden Walk Buffalo.  We made Jim a special mosaic sign that reads “Ring Bell, if no answer, pull weeds”.  See what Jim wrote about the sign.

If you have a garden full of unusual plants and lots of visitors, you can make simple laminated signs. Jim Charlier, a talented graphic designer, made personalized signs for his Harry Potter themed garden using plastic laminated color prints. He also made up id tags for plants. After years of answering the “What is that plant” question from his visitors on the Garden Walk, he started adding signs.

Gardens aren’t the only outdoor spaces that can be transformed. Patios can be personalized or themed with the addition of signs. Humor is used as a thematic cord at Gordon and Brian’s tiki bar, focusing on drinking, with a swipe at Republicans.

Democrats are featured in a sign we saw up in Innerness, FL proclaiming “Jesus was a Democrat”. Hippies take a hit on the “Hippies use side  door” sign at the entrance gate of another garden. I guess anything is fair game when it comes to your garden.

Some signs can get your attention for their oddness, like one in my neighborhood. This sign takes a couple of times driving by it before you can get through the long message. It’s hard to read it and keep your eyes on the road!


May Day at Margo’s

A team of Garden Fairies helped transform Margo's yard on May Day.

Garden Fairy Member Transformations have been going strong for twelve years

Traditionally, we hold the transformations every two weeks on Sundays for three hours. In an effort to recover from our marathon mural making Mother Meres project we took a short break this spring. Our reunion at Margo’s found everyone in great spirits, happy to be together again after our hiatus. The weather was fab, definitely warm, but not yet oppressively hot.

Margo's May Day Team

Patti and Holly are ready to screw (the arbor together)

Every Transformation is different

There are some commonalties when it comes to Garden Fairy wish lists, but every transformation is unique. Garden Fairy Margo had a list of items she wanted to accomplish for her transformation Sunday, May 1st. We were able to get three projects done and will be back in the fall to do more.

Thirteen Garden Fairies helped Margo accomplish tasks that would have taken her most likely months to complete

In the front yard Holly and Patti busily assembled and installed Margo’s new arbor. June and Gail were equally focused planting citrus trees in the backyard.

Gail and June plant

Not everyone is able or motivated to dig, so we always have a sit down project. Usually we do a mosaic piece, something that can be enjoyed for years to come. The Garden Fairy Team is so in synch we can zip off a patio table and a bunch of stepping stones in our three hour sessions. Grouting is done later.

Margo coming from a teaching background had the projects well organized

The week preceding her transformation she went to Tons of Tile in St. Pete to gather jewel toned tile. The crack mosaic team got to work with out delay. Jodi, Shannon, Lisa, Jan, Amanda, Kiaralinda, Margo, Siobhan and Nancy helped bring the vision together. Margo keep the team going with homemade banana bread and fruit and laid out a lovely spread for lunch.

After the Margo’s session some of us went to the Green Thumb Festival in St. Pete.

Heather, Tinky and Amanda

See pics- including Margo’s Garden Fairy Member Transformation and our trip to the Green Thumb Festival