Preparing the garden for an early spring event. Part three of a series.

According to WordPress, this is my one hundredth article. Yay.

 Oops, I’m going to have to do something about the Knockout roses or they will bloom too early. The Rome, Georgia Junior Service League Garden Tour is scheduled for April 28. I’m in pretty good shape with getting things ready for the tour. On March 28, I took a walk through the garden to see if I was missing anything. I’m glad I did, too, because I noticed that the Knockout roses were covered with flower buds. I want these plants to be in bloom for the affair and it looked like the first flush of flowers would come too early.


knockout roses starting to bloom too early for the event

knockout roses starting to bloom too early for the event



I know from experience that these roses will put out a big flush of flowers and then rest before blooming again. I was afraid that this would mean no flowers for the tour. That just would not do. I thought about it for a while and then decided that it was time for what I call “No Guts, No Glory.”

 No Guts No Glory means that if you think you need to do something, but are not quite sure, then you go ahead and do it and take a chance. This usually means that if your idea doesn’t work you are a piece of trash but if it does work you get to be a hero.


cutting flower bud to delay blooms

cutting flower bud to delay blooms



I decided to cut all of the flower buds from the roses and see if a fresh bloom will show up at just the right time. So we went through the yard and cut off every flower bud from every rose plant. Will it work? I sure do hope so. The buds were cut off exactly one month before the event. The plants now look like this:


knockout rose with flower buds removed to delay blooming

knockout rose with flower buds removed to delay blooming


As I walked around I noticed a couple of things going on that would be gone before the tour so I took a few pictures. Here’s something nice going on with a pieris at the back porch entrance:


porch entrance-early spring with pieris

porch entrance-early spring with pieris


And I loved this picture of a palmatum Japanese maple with azaleas and spirea in the background:


Palmatum Japanese maple with azaleas in the background

Palmatum Japanese maple with azaleas in the background


The front entrance looks well tended and inviting


Well shaped plants at the entrance

Well shaped plants at the entrance



Stay in touch. Will John the plant man get everything done in time? Will the roses bloom just at the last minute? We’ll see.

To read part one of this series, Click Here

For part two of the series, Click Here

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

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 in your yard in N.W. Georgia, send me an email at


A thank you and a love story

A big event in my life is rapidly approaching. For this week’s article I have decided to share my “thank you” to the Rome Area Writers group.  I have been a member of this group for over four years and they have helped me in many ways. Their motto is, “Writers helping writers.” This piece was written for my reading at the April 14 meeting.  I hope you will like it.  It is also a love story.

John Schulz, Dekie Hicks, and Speck the coon hound

John Schulz, Dekie Hicks, and Speck the coon hound

 Thank You Rome Area Writers

 This month’s prompt, I believe, is “why do I write?”  I have thought about this and the only answer I can come up with is that I often get little movies going on in my head and they develop over a period of time to a point that becomes interesting and I feel a need to tell about them.  So I sit down at my computer which has evolved from a word processor which evolved from an IBM Selectric which evolved from an Underwood manual.  I love the computer because of the back space feature which lets me delete and start over.

 The movies develop while I am writing and the changes rapidly turn the story into something I never thought of.  I love the mutability.  I love the way the story develops as I write it. I love the way I can think about it later and think, “I should of put a coon dog in there” and then go add it to the story.  It gives me a feeling of power, also.  Fiction is wonderful.  If I don’t like the way someone is behaving, I can change them or kill them off.

 It kind of reminds me of a John Prine line

“We talked all night ‘til you said something neither of us knew”But all of that is not my message tonight.

My message is to say thank you to RAW.

And to tell you that I will probably miss the next meeting.

 A little over four years ago, I was living by myself, changing my lifestyle into I knew not what.  I had decided a year before to spend some time writing that book that I had always wanted to write.  I had made a lot of changes in my life and I was casting about, looking for direction.  I had exorcised a lot of unwanted people, places, and habits. I was looking for a start on something different.  All I really had going for me was my landscaping and my book.  I had even gone so far as to throw the tv out the window. 

 I maintain the flower beds in the library garden in Rome, Ga, and one day while I was there, I saw a sign that read “Rome Area Writers meets Thursday.”  So I thought that would be fun.  I showed up Thursday and found nothing—no meeting—nothing.  So I researched it and found that the meetings were on the second Thursday and I had gotten the third.  I was ready the next month.

 I went to the meeting and enjoyed it so I joined.  I remember being extremely nervous about my first reading and saying something like, “I’ve never done this before” but it went well and the nice people made me feel good about myself and about my writing.  So I kept up the writing and the readings.  It felt good.

 But I was looking for an editor and thought, “what better place to find an editor?”

And I found one, too.  I met with her and we made a financial arrangement.  I will never forget the first editorial discussion when I showed up to find my manuscript red lined all over the place with some big yellow magic marker lines thrown in for color, interest and contrast.  It was worse than any graded paper I ever got back while majoring in English at the University of Georgia.  I was a broken man.

 The editor pointed out lots of flaws and things that needed changing.

I said, “But I like it that way”

She looked me straight in the eye and said,

“You ain’t Faulkner”

And of course, she was right.

 So I listened to the editor and made the changes and went through many more editing sessions.  It got easier and easier.  My work was turning into a book and I was excited.  I looked forward to second Thursdays at which I shared my progress and at which I received lots of helpful reaction. 

 I had explored many self publishing options and checked out companies like Authorhouse, X libris, and Trafford.  I decided they were rip offs.  I have always had a good talent for spotting a scam. I did more research and then more research and figured out that I needed to do it myself.  So the editor and I set up Wheredepony Press and began a learning process.  The learning process turned into a two year endeavor. The book was published. The book, Requiem for a Redneck received excellent reviews and won a first place award from the Independent Publishers Book Awards for “Best Southern Fiction.”  We were validated.

 Somewhere during all of the editing and publishing I had fallen in love with the editor.  I had started out to write a book and had ended up with a book and a partner.  I had found the direction that I had been looking for.

 One of those movies that goes on in my head still has me pausing in front of the sign that reads “Rome Area Writers meets Thursday night”

 That sign made a lot of difference for me.  I met wonderful, helpful people and entered into a new dimension.  I am happy for that.  That’s what I wish to thank you for.

 And next month’s meeting?  I don’t think I will be here because the meeting is on Thursday night and I will be preparing for a wedding which will be on the following Saturday, May 14.

 The editor and I will tie the knot.

Thank you, Dekie Hicks for giving me direction

And Thank you, Rome Area Writers.

 Thank you, Dear Johntheplantman Readers for all of the support you have given.  This site has become popular way beyond my expectations.

 John P. Schulz



If you would like a consultation with John Schulz, Landscape Artist, in your yard,

Please contact me by email

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?


Visiting the Chieftans plant sale

The Chieftans Museum 26th annual plant sale.

I was honored this week to be asked to participate in the Chieftans plant sale.  I have attended the sale a number of times in the past, but it was quite an experience to participate from the “inside.”  I took my trusty little camera and was issued a nice yellow apron which would identify me as a volunteer.

johntheplantman is on the job

johntheplantman is on the job

The Chieftans Museum/Major Ridge Home is located in Beautiful Rome, Georgia and is “Dedicated to become a nationally recognized destination to experience 19th century Cherokee life and the events leading to the ‘clash of cultures’ that culminated in the Trail of Tears.”  I’ll tell you about the plant sale.  You may find more about the museum HERE.

The ladies who put this sale together comb the area to find herb plants, perennials, ferns, flowering plants, and many hard to find an unusual specimens.  They began the sale years ago in the yard of the museum, but it grew and grew until they had to move the sale to the cattle barn at the local fair grounds.  The ladies did an amazing job of putting this year’s collection together—there were thousands of plants, all labeled, priced, and identified with picture signs.

I got to the fairgrounds around 8 a.m. and found a lot of activity going on all around.  There were three sales tables being organized and stacks of “beer flats” at the entrance.  Visitors started showing up and the place soon filled up with browsers and plant buyers by the hundreds.

Thousands of plants were set up in categories with tags and pictures

Thousands of plants were set up in categories with tags and pictures

A holding area was set up in some of the stalls at the rear of the cattle barn and one of my jobs was to find people with full boxes of plants if I could “take this to holding, and, by the way, here’s another box.”  The holding area soon began to look like a garden in and of itself.

The holding area became a garden

The holding area became a garden

Marion is a dynamo.  I couldn’t believe her energy and her horticultural knowledge as she took on the role of resident expert.  It seemed that if no one else knew an answer to a question, they were told, “Just find Marion, she’ll know.”

"Find Marion, She'll know"

“Find Marion, She’ll know”

I enjoyed looking at one of the largest displays of herb plants that I had ever seen.  I looked and saw replacements under the tables.  Volunteers went around and pulled replacements out from under the table and replaced the ones that had been sold.  I enjoyed rubbing the curry plant and smelling my fingers.  Mmmmm. I like curry. I got hungry.  They had fresh donuts at the head table.  I like donuts, too.

Finding just the right herbs.

Finding just the right herbs.

Lots of lovely ladies had a good time finding what they were looking for and learning about new plants.

"Is this going to grow in the shade?  Why not? I want it to grow in the shade.

“Is this going to grow in the shade? Why not? I want it to grow in the shade.

I was delighted at the amount of fun everyone was having, especially the volunteers who were rather knowledgeable and extremely nice and helpful.

"This will give you the effect you want. That's my story and I'm sticking with it."

“This will give you the effect you want. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.”

I may have gotten the figure wrong, but I think I was told that last year the plant sale generated a $27,000 profit to donate to the museum. I thought that this was an amazingly successful fund raiser.

If you would like to read more about the history of the Chieftans museum, go to their website HERE.

I also thought that you might like a nice picture of my town–Rome, Georgia.  This is taken from the top of Myrtle Hill in the cemetary.  Rome was built around seven hills–sound familiar?

Rome, Ga. looking down from Myrtle Hill. Photo by Dekie Hicks

Rome, Ga. looking down from Myrtle Hill. Photo by Dekie Hicks

These articles are brought to you by John P. Schulz, author of the novel, Requiem for a Redneck .  You can read more of the adventures of John the Plant man here:


Or the print version:

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