Uncommon Garden and Gifts

On Monday, April 14, Living and Giving will open at its new location on the corner of Broad Streetand Fourth Avenue in beautiful downtown Rome, Georgia. Aside from the fact that the plant and gift items are appealing and well-chosen, and not considering the beautiful smiles that accompany the attentive help and service, I just love Living and Giving for the displays. The shop owner, Lisa Landry is a true display artist and the shop is her canvas.

I was delighted when Lisa asked me to help with a couple of projects related to moving the store down the street. I have documented progress that you may see by clicking HERE(March 16)HERE(March 23), and HERE (April 6). I stopped in a couple of days early to check out the progress. There was a sign on the door that nicely said, “Leave me alone, I’m doing my creative thing.” (Those are not the exact words, but that was the perceived meaning). I found Lisa working at the front counter.

Lisa Landry working on some unknown creation at Living and Giving

Lisa Landry working on some unknown creation at Living and Giving

I was greeted warmly and Lisa guided me back to her “plant area” which was developed around the fountain that we had built a couple of weeks before. I was pleased with the transformation.

The water feature looks different with plants around it

The water feature looks different with plants around it

When we first installed the fountain the water falling was too loud. If you look closely at the picture below you can see a piece of brown slate placed so that it will break up the water fall and reduce the sound volume.

Using a rock to fine tune the sound of water falling

Using a rock to fine tune the sound of water falling

Lisa had told me before that customers liked to come in and pick out a plant and then a pot to put it in. There is always someone available at the store to repot a plant in an artistic manner. I found a table of plants basking in the light from a high window with a tray of pots below it.

Pick a pot, pick a plant, walk out with something pretty and different

Pick a pot, pick a plant, walk out with something pretty and different

Lisa was tickled with the logo and artwork on the front window and she took me outside to check it out. I think Monica Sheppard did a wonderful job of conceptualizing and illustrating the store’s message.

A beautiful logo and window dressing by designer Monica Sheppard

A beautiful logo and window dressing by designer Monica Sheppard

A couple of weeks previously we had cut down a large boxwood bush. Lisa had picked out one of the pieces to place inside the store. She researched ways to preserve the leaves. Here is a picture of the ladies guiding the installation and pruning of the tree from the outside in

Lisa standing outside the shop telling me how to prune a tree

Lisa standing outside the shop telling me how to prune a tree

The boxwood display ended up looking like this. And she’s not finished yet.

building a shop display under a tree

building a shop display under a tree

I liked the blue fountain which made a subtle, muted sound.

Decorating with sound and color.

Decorating with sound and color.

I asked Lisa if she needed any help moving things and she said, “I just want to be left alone to do my thing.” I decided it was time for me to leave. I smiled as I passed a sign that was waiting to be hung.

"If we make each other smile then we just can't lose,"

“If we make each other smile then we just can’t lose,”

Living and Giving will be open at its new location starting April 14, 2014 from 10 until 6. Tell them John the Plant Man sent you,

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what? usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

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Zinnias In The Garden

It seems like every year I pay attention to a particular flower in the garden. Last year was the year of the cone flower (Echinacea) and the year before that I fell in love with the Dragon Wing Begonia.  This year I have noticed zinnias.

A bed of seed-planted zinnias in August

A bed of seed-planted zinnias in August

It’s not that I have just noticed the existence of any particular flower or plant, it’s that I have lent more appreciation to the particular species. Most of the ladies for whom I garden (including my wife, of course) ask for cut flowers to be available as much as possible.

One day, earlier in the summer, I was having a garden planning conversation with Patsy. She said, “I remember flowers that my grandmother grew for cutting—I can’t recall the name, but they were big and they smelled bad.” I couldn’t call the name, either, and we laughed at our mutual mental block.  The very next time I saw Patsy, we looked at each other and simultaneously said, “zinnias”.

Growing zinnias gives cut flowers in many vibrant colors

Growing zinnias gives cut flowers in many vibrant colors

Joel Todino, (who is one of the most dedicated vegetable gardeners I know) and I have had several discussions on the theory of “WTLD” which stands for “Whatever The Lady Desires.” We both understand the beneficial effects that adherence to this theory has on our lives. I also added into the discussion a quote from my father-in-law, Bob Hicks: “Happy Wife, Happy Life.” In case you are wondering how this applies to zinnias—Joel’s wife wants cut flowers and she loves zinnias.  Therefore, Joel grows zinnias every year.

Zinnias for "Whatever The Lady Desires"

Zinnias for “Whatever The Lady Desires”

At the front of his vegetable garden, Joel tills up a bed about eight feet wide and twenty feet long. In the late spring he opens up rows and plants lots and lots of zinnia seeds. The seeds are cheap and they grow quickly. Other older gardeners have informed me that one may purchase new zinnia seeds or also save the seeds from one year to the next.

In August, Joel’s zinnia bed looks like this. Look at the long stems just right for flower arrangements.

Some zinnia varieties have long stems which are ideal for cut flower arrangements

Some zinnia varieties have long stems which are ideal for cut flower arrangements

While visiting my younger clients (younger being under 60) I have noticed that they like zinnias also. The difference, though, is that instead of growing the plants in a flower bed from seed, they purchase the plants from the nursery. An August visit to Home Depot found the following:

 four-inch pots of zinnias at Home Depot

four-inch pots of zinnias at Home Depot

The larger pots of zinnias seem to be a popular item. I also noticed one in my wife’s back yard garden. I guess I should pay better attention to WTLD.

 Larger pots of zinnias at Home Depot

Larger pots of zinnias at Home Depot

I would bet that if your grandmother’s grandmother’s grandmother had a flower bed she grew zinnias.

 Thanks for visiting John the plant Man

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

Here’s an article on Joel in his garden in February:

Plants in containers for summer color

 A couple of weeks ago Lovely Christine asked me to write about mixed plantings in containers. She wanted to do something outside the front door. At the time I was only prepared to do an article about window boxes. She liked that one, but I kept looking at container gardens wherever I went and got some good pictures. I will add to these as I visit more gardens.

The most important thing to remember in planting container gardens is plant compatibility. This means that the plants you use all require similar light and water conditions. A good dose of liquid fertilizer every week during the summer will ensure outstanding success.

Here is a combination of red begonia and yellow lantana. It should be magnificent in a month or two.

container color 1, begonia and lantana

container color 1, begonia and lantana

Sometimes a single plant is all that is needed. This is a specimen variety of angel wing begonia in a shady location.

container color -Angel wing begonia in urn

container color -Angel wing begonia in urn

A well pruned Knockout rose in a barrel will last for years.

container color 3 knockout rose in a whisky barrel

container color 3 knockout rose in a whisky barrel

.Here is a dragon wing begonia set so that it gives scale to a magnificent view.

Dragon wing begonia adds scale to a wonderful view.

Dragon wing begonia adds scale to a wonderful view.

For a shady location, begonias and impatiens work very well

container color 5-begonias and impatiens for shade

container color 5-begonias and impatiens for shade

Instead of planting several plants in one container, I have used three containers with single plant varieties. The triangle and plant sizes cast an ikebana illusion of Heaven, Man, and Earth-The three levels of existence. Ikebana always works.

container color 6-A grouping of container gardens for an ikebana effect.

container color 6-A grouping of container gardens for an ikebana effect.

Impatiens and begonias mixed in a hand made concrete planter.

container color 7-begonias and impatiens for shade

container color 7-begonias and impatiens for shade

Bonsai and other trimmed evergreen plantings can stay outside all year. Topiaries would also fit into this category. If well maintained, they last for years and grow in beauty and interest.

Container color 8-evergreen bonsais on the patio

Container color 8-evergreen bonsais on the patio

Herbs do well in containers and you can cut from the plants for culinary purposes. Here is a mix of rosemary, sage, and thyme.

container color 9-A compact herb garden

container color 9-A compact herb garden

I revisited a window box from a few weeks ago. It is growing in well. This is a mixture of verbena, bacopa, begonia, and angelonia.

container color 10--A multi color window box

container color 10–A multi color window box

In this planter for part sun, we used ivy, begonia and coleus. The ivy will, of course, remain through out the year.

container color 11--coleus, begonia, and ivy

container color 11–coleus, begonia, and ivy

And last week Kroger had white phaleonopsis orchids on sale for $9.99. Here are a couple of them in an urn with fresh moss around the base. They will bloom for a long time.

container color--phaleonopsis in container

container color–phaleonopsis in container

I plan to take more pictures of container gardens throughout the season. I think they will be of great interest earlier in the season next year. Stay in touch.

My book, Redemption for a Redneck has been nominated for a prestigious award. Read about it HERE

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

If you want a consultation in your yard in N.W. Georgia, send me an email at wherdepony@bellsouth.net

Preparing the garden for a tour—part 6 of a series. illustrated

This is part five of a series devoted to getting a garden ready for the Rome, Ga. Junior Service League tour of gardens which will take place on April 28, 2012. To find the other articles of this series, CLICK HERE

There’s less than a week left until the day of the tour. The good news is that last week we started the fun stuff. I went by the greenhouse to check out the dragon wing begonias. They were looking really good, so I loaded some in the truck and took them to the job site.

dragon wing begonias in the greenhouse

dragon wing begonias in the greenhouse

There are a lot of urns to be planted in and around the back patio and pool area. We tried geraniums in these planters for a number of years but found them to be maintenance intensive. I love the dragon wings, though. They are low maintenance and provide dependable color. I planted one of the urns and stood back to admire it.

Dragon wing begonia in urn

Dragon wing begonia in urn

While I was playing with the flowers, my helpers took on the field behind the pool. This area only gets mowed a few times a year because it is steep and not conducive to any machine other than a weed eater. They sure did a good job.

back field mowed with weedeaters

back field mowed with weedeaters

My job was to get the flower bed concept. I had decided to use a mixed colors of verbena, coleus, and angelonia for the focus bed in front. I laid out the trays of plants and stepped back to get a mental picture of what the beds would look like.

getting a design concept for flower beds

getting a design concept for flower beds

The best way I have found to get a really good looking flower bed planting is to lay each plant out exactly where I want it to be. Then we go back and plant them, being careful to maintain the design.

place-plants-exactly-where-they-will-be-planted.jpg

place-plants-exactly-where-they-will-be-planted.jpg

I used angelonia for something tall and bushy last year as a test and I really liked them. They gave me a bushy, floriferous statement behind lower plants. I highly recommend this plant for full sun.

angelonia my new favorite bedding plant

angelonia my new favorite bedding plant

I found these coleus and I think they will make a statement and give some height to the rear of the garden. I love the color combination.

brilliant coleus for a color statement

brilliant coleus for a color statement

Friday afternoon we carefully planted the flower bed. I like to use lots of time release fertilizer such as Osmocote.

planting-the-flower-bed-as-planned.jpg

planting-the-flower-bed-as-planned.jpg

As we cleaned up from the day’s work, I hooked up my wonderful home made sprinkler to water the plants in. I designed this sprinkler several years ago. It is easy, it works well, and it’s cheap. You will find directions for building the sprinkler if you CLICK HERE (this is the most visited article on my site.)

I’m going to have lots of fun next week– planting more flower beds, trimming and mowing, and tweaking the garden and its special areas.

If you live around Rome, Georgia, get you some tickets and come check out the tour. The information may be found on the Junior Service League of Rome web site

 Here is the information for the tour:

 The Junior Service League of Rome is pleased to announce the first Rome in Bloom Garden Tour and the Twilight Blooms Garden Tour and Party on Saturday, April 28th 2012.
Click Here to See the Gardens on Tour

Click Here to Order Tickets Online

You can also purchase tickets from a Junior Service League Member or at one of the following locations:

Living and Giving
Traditions
Bussey’s
Pineapple Place
Visitors Center / Last Stop Gift Shop
Lavender Mountain

Thank you to all of the above locations for your cooperation and support!!

Click Here for a Rome In Bloom Garden Tour Map

Click here for a printer friendly version of the gardens and maps

The Rome in Bloom Garden Tour is from 10 am to 5 pm and allows you to view six local gardens.  Tickets can be purchased online, from a league member, or at the list of Rome locations below.

The Twilight Blooms Garden Tour and Party is from 5 pm to 7:30 pm and showcases Rose Hill in Historic Downtown Rome.  Tickets are $35 each and can be purchased online or at the list of Rome locations below.

Tickets for both tours are $50 each

Both the Rome In Bloom and Twilight Blooms Garden Tour and Party are rain or shine.  All tours are self guided and you are welcome to view the gardens at your preferred pace.  Gardens can be viewed in any order but please be aware that the natural terrain could be uneven so dress accordingly. 

****************

Thanks for visiting Johntheplantman 

To read about Johntheplantman and the rednecks

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

 If you want a consultation with John Schulz in your yard in N.W. Georgia, send me an email at wherdepony@bellsouth.net

Preparing the garden for an early spring event. part one of a series

March 1, 2012: The phone rang right after lunch. “John,” Patsy said, “Don’t forget about the Junior Service League tour of gardens in April.” I replied that I had not forgotten and that we were on the same page.  I have been working on the yard on the mountain for probably thirty years and it is one of my favorite places to visit and work. I pictured the grand weeping cherry tree silhouetted against the late winter sky.

weeping cherry, silhouetted in the winter sky

weeping cherry, silhouetted in the winter sky

The tour of gardens is scheduled here in Rome, Georgia for April 28, which is early enough in the North Georgia season to warrant some creative thinking. I realized that I had two months to put on a show. It was time to start. A wise old gardener had once told me, “Son, in your business, timing is everything.” I listened.

March 2: We loaded cutters, blowers, rakes, tarps, and other useful implements into the truck and headed out. The driveway is a bit over a half a mile long and as I reached the final curve heading for the house, I grinned at the daffodils that I remembered planting in my much younger days.

daffodils on the hillside

daffodils on the hillside

After parking the work truck, I grabbed my notebook and trusty camera and went for a walk. I found a couple of delightful surprises as I passed a rock garden:

a surprise in the rock garden

a surprise in the rock garden

I found a nice jasmine and nandina combination

I found a nice jasmine and nandina combination

I figured that the first thing was to clean out all of the winter debris from the flower and shrub beds.

Time to clean the flower beds and get ready for spring flowers

Time to clean the flower beds and get ready for spring flowers

I had pruned the knockout roses in December, but I wasn’t happy with the way the ivy had crept in. Late winter is a wonderful time to take care of such as this.

Late winter is a good time to control unwanted ivy

Late winter is a good time to control unwanted ivy

On down the walkway I found some beautiful Lenten roses showing off under a tree. The grouping is backed up with perennial ferns which had browned out through the winter. We would trim the dead fronds and hope that the ferns reappear before the event.

Lenten rose in the late winter garden, N. Georgia

Lenten rose in the late winter garden, N. Georgia

I decided that it was time for me to deadhead the Annabelle hydrangeas and shape them a bit so that they will bloom in a tiered pattern. I doubt that they will be in bloom for the event, but the foliage will be lovely and, one never knows.

Time to shape the Annabelle hydrangeas and get rid of those old flower heads

Time to shape the Annabelle hydrangeas and get rid of those old flower heads

We started to work. The ivy is removed from the knockout roses and I am pondering as to whether or not they need a bit more work. I’ll bet we can count on some blooms here.I’ll feed them next week. The bed looks much better.

Ivy gone from under the roses. I'll have to remember to stay on top of it.

Ivy gone from under the roses. I’ll have to remember to stay on top of it.

I have pruned the hydrangeas so that they will make a mound leaning back toward the house. They don’t look like much now, but they will be beautiful in just a few weeks.

Hydrangeas after deadheading. They look like a bunch of sticks, but just wait.

Hydrangeas after deadheading. They look like a bunch of sticks, but just wait.

We continued deep cleaning the beds. I like this job because it gives such an immediate feeling of satisfaction when viewing the finished project.

deep cleaning the flower and shrub beds

deep cleaning the flower and shrub beds

Almost to the end of the upper front walk, we stop for a late lunch break. The cleaning and pruning is going well and we finish by the end of the day.

deep cleaning the flower and shrub beds

deep cleaning the flower and shrub beds

My notebook is full of ideas on how I will have flowers in bloom and accent plantings ready for the tour. Remember, timing is everything.

This series will include a number of articles in sequence. If you would like to receive them by email, subscribe in the box which is located in the upper right sidebar or click “follow.”

To see a previous article about this lovely landscape garden, CLICK HERE

As usual, I would just love for you click here to go to Amazon and purchase the ebook edition of my wonderful book, Requiem for a Redneck to go on your Kindle. I have also noticed that Amazon now has a free Kindle app for iphones and tablets. Is that cool or what?

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