Tuesday, February 22, 2011

How to avoid gardening blunders

Renegade Gardener is on the way to offer help
Don Engebretson, a gardening expert on HGTV and PBS, is coming to Richmond to help local gardeners avoid what he calls "staggering failure."
"Gardening can be fun, soothing, enriching and all of that, but don't always believe it when you see a landscaping project described as 'easy' or 'foolproof,'" he said. "Gardening is a lifelong learning process, and failure is part of the journey."
Engebretson, a gardening expert on the "TIPical MaryEllen" show on HGTV and PBS' "HOMETIME" show, an editor/writer for Better Homes & Gardens and contributor to other publications, will present seminars at next weekend's Virginia Home & Garden Show. The show takes place Friday, Jan. 15 and Jan. 16.
Engebretson's two seminars are also scheduled for Jan. 15and 16.
"The Top 10 Gardening & Landscaping Blunders and How to Avoid Them" will focus on common mistakes that have a detrimental effect on landscapes and will include mistakes that Engebretson has made at least twice during his 20 years of gardening. It's scheduled for Jan. 15 at noon and Jan. 16 at 12:30 p.m.
"Crafting Cool & Creative Containers" will be a hands-on demonstration of ways to use containers and planters throughout landscapes. It takes place Jan. 15 at 4 p.m. and Jan. 16 at 2:30 p.m.
The home and garden show will be held in the Farm Bureau Center at Meadow Event Park in Doswell. Vendors, exhibits, seminars and landscape showcases will be featured.
Fishersville-based author and syndicated radio host Andre Viette will present a seminar on his top 10 ways to have a beautiful garden at 2 p.m. Jan. 15. A question-and-answer session will follow.
"Those who attend will learn a lot, and perhaps some tips they would not expect, like using peppermint sticks or ground-up candy canes to help rid their garden of pests such as squirrels," Viette said.
Viette grows more than 3,000 varieties of perennials for sun and shade at his Andre Viette Farm and Nursery.

Tell us about your own garden

My own garden is in a subtropical climate. We are in the hills, about 1500 feet above sea level so humidity levels are a bit lower than it is on the coast but we get an average of eighty inches of rain a year, mostly in summer. It is volcanic soil so it drains quickly and we can grow a reasonably diverse range of sub-tropical and some of the easier cool climate plants. But I have killed silver birches and weeping cherries and conifers. They have all died for me because it is an inappropriate climate for them but it really is a beautiful place to live. Three- quarters of our property slopes down a steep bank and into a creek below and we carved a walk down through it and its rainforest. It's been there for centuries. It's beautiful.
Can you remember where your life's garden journey began?
I grew up in a place called Sedgemere, which is out of Christchurch. My dad was a great gardener and he taught me how to garden. I've been gardening for the whole of my 49 years. I am really more than 49 but the mileage I have done makes me look as old as I am. I can't remember the first thing I planted or grew. I suppose it was a vegetable because that's all we did back then. I do remember I lost interest in gardening when I got to a certain age because I discovered alcohol and women. So I stopped gardening for a while. Then I went back to it, so you know, I've enjoyed gardening and gardening has been good for me.
You trained as a journalist in Christchurch. What made you do that?
How the journalism thing came about is I did a two-year diploma in horticulture in Lincoln as a mature-aged student. I was working for a fertiliser company and they asked me if I would write a newsletter for farmers. I knew nothing about writing so I enrolled in a night course for a certificate in journalism at Christchurch tech. I did that and then I had never spoken in front of an audience in my life and I was petrified so I enrolled in a public speaking course. All of a sudden I find myself myself in Australia working for a fertiliser company. And over 27-and-a-half years ago this radio station asked me if I would do a gardening programme. My wife was horrified and said, "Oh you're not going to do that are you?" and I said that I would like to give it a try. She said "but what if they ask you a question you don't know?" and I said they are sure to and I will say I don't know but I will find out. That is how I have travelled ever since and it's been great.
Do you need a supportive partner to have a good garden.
I don't think it really matters too much. If you are going to have a great garden then most of the good gardens I know have a very enthusiastic gardener wife and a compliant husband who is prepared to dig the holes and shift plants. I'm one of those as well. My wife is a very good gardener and I have a dent in my forehead from saluting her and clicking my heels. If you have two people and one has more knowledge than the other then it is a lot easier than if they both have the equivalent amount of knowledge because then they argue about it.
What would you be doing if you weren't involved in gardening.
Good heavens I have never thought. It has been my life for so long now I just can't imagine doing anything else. Look at me visiting these fabulous gardens. What I do for work some people do for pleasure so how can you replace that?
What does the future hold for you.
I will keep going. I have to slow down soon. I am 77 now, though I don't feel it. I guess sooner or later I am going to have to ease back a bit because I am working seven days a week. I get up at 4.30 in the morning and get to bed at 8.30 at night in front of the TV after a whisky. I might just slow down a bit so I can have the whisky and not fall asleep.

In Australia Colin Campbell is to gardening as what Shane Warne is to cricket

In Australia Colin Campbell is to gardening as what Shane Warne is to cricket. But unlike the blond-haired cricketer, Colin is a Kiwi. Matt Rilkoff found out what the gardening superstar had to say for himself at the Taranaki Rhododendron and Garden Festival on Wednesday.
Who are you and why are you here?
I am Colin Campbell and I am part of a national gardening television programme in Brisbane Australia. I do a gardening talkback radio programme that I have been doing for almost 28 years. I write Queensland's gardening column in the Queensland paper Courier Mail. I have written a book and I write a number of magazine articles. We take garden tours around the world and around Australia and when I have time I sleep a bit.
Will you be taking garden tours through Taranaki?
One of the reasons we came here is A, I have never been to the Rhododendron Festival and the other is to suss it out because you can guarantee this time next year I will have a whole lot of people behind me saying, "Where are we going next, Colin?"
What are the characteristics of Taranaki gardens that make them so appealing to garden lovers?
Well they are all different. Every garden is different and that is the appeal. For me having studied horticulture in New Zealand and then I went to Australia for 35 years and then came back, a lot of the plants I used to be familiar with I have lost touch with and I can't even remember their names now, which is embarrassing. But obviously the rhododendrons are just marvellous to see and this certainly is a highlight. But the great diversity of plants in all the gardens we have been to is really special. The skill of the gardener in designing the gardens and laying them out is another feature. Some of the gardners may or may not have qualifications, and lot of them haven't, yet they have displayed incredible plant knowledge and skill in designing the gardens so they get the very best out of them.
Are there common elements to successful gardens?
Having judged gardening competitions for a number of years you look for certain things and you become a bit critical unfortunately, but you look for inappropriate planting for a start. You know combinations of plants that aren't happy together. That is the first thing I look at. Then the placement of plants and the curves and the general layout of the garden. But at the end of the day, now this is one of my criticisms of garden judges generally and people who judge, they become too technical. I've been to the Chelsea Flower Show and the Ellerslie Flower Show and people say to me "Why did that one win a prize?" And I say it won because it is very technically excellent. And they say, "but it looks awful". I think the thing is that at the end of the day it's the wow factor that sells to gardeners and when gardners walk into a garden and they see colour and beauty they stop and look at it. That is the essence of a good garden I think.

Study looks at power of gardening to grow local economy

A new report on the economic development strategy known as "economic gardening" has just been released by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy (CLOSUP), a research unit at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.
The report is based on CLOSUP's Michigan Public Policy Survey program with surveys of local government leaders from over 70 percent of Michigan's counties, cities, townships, and villages.
Economic gardening is a relatively new economic development strategy used to grow local economies by cultivating existing businesses, rather than, or in addition to, hunting for new businesses to relocate from the outside.
The report examines current economic gardening practices across the state, as well as the opinions of Michigan's local government leaders regarding the stategy's effectiveness.
Key findings include the following:
* Overall, only one-in-four (26%) of Michigan local governments statewide are currently engaged in economic development activities that they consider economic gardening. However, this relatively low percentage reflects the fact that most of the state's smallest jurisdictions conduct few economic development activities of any kind. When looking at the state's larger communities, the MPPS finds that two-thirds (67%) of these jurisdictions are currently engaged in economic gardening activities.
* The most frequently used economic development approaches targeted at existing businesses reported by local governments include granting of tax abatements or deferments to existing companies, fostering networking among local businesses and other organizations, and developing traditional infrastructure to support existing local businesses.
* More than half of all Michigan local officials surveyed (55%) agree that economic gardening can be an effective economic development strategy for their communities, with 88 percent of officials from the largest jurisdictions responding this way. Even in those jurisdictions that are least likely to engage in economic gardening today, 45 percent of officials agree the strategy can work, and only 7 percent disagree.
The report points out that few local governments target the new industries that statelevel efforts have focused on - such as life sciences, energy, and the film industry - and recommends that state-level economic development officials should consider whether new strategies to support local economic gardening activities could reconnect state and local efforts in a more coordinated strategy.

Show includes speakers on home improvement, gardening

The chance to soak up gardening and home improvement tips from the pros is one of the big draws to the annual Tacoma Home & Garden Show.
This year, several dozen speakers will share their know-how over the course of the five-day fair.
The Home Depot Showcase, for instance, will include demonstrations of new tools and product installations, along with clinics on laying pavers, installing veneer and stone, using Dremel tools, and other home improvement topics.
Check the home show website, www.otshows.com, for days and times the following speakers will appear:
* Marianne Binetti, News Tribune gardening columnist and an author and speaker whose gardening columns appear in numerous other publications, will explain how to have four seasons of color in home landscapes and landscaping with fruits, herbs and veggies
* Ciscoe Morris, popular gardening expert featured on KING-5 TV, Northwest Cable News, KIRO FM Radio , the Seattle Times and other media outlets, will talk about pruning trees, plants that attract hummingbirds, and answer audience questions
* Lorene Edwards Forkner, a gardening writer and speaker, will talk about fruits and vegetables that grow well in the Pacific Northwest
* Marty Wingate, a nationally known gardening speaker and writer, will discuss variegated plants and choosing the right ground cover to provide carpets of color and texture while staving off weeds
* Ed Hume, an icon of Northwest gardening, will show how to mix and match plants to their specific needs and solve vegetable problems before they happen
* Jim Ullrich, president of Wild Birds Unlimited, will reveal how to attract Mason Bees to gardens to help pollinate trees, berries and shrubs
* Bill Sweatman, a custom-home general contractor, will talk about selecting a contractor, working up plans, and executing a high-quality home makeover
* Some of the other home show speakers include: garden designer and writer Sue Goetz, Lakewood horticulturist Peter Punzi, soil expert Linda Chalker-Scott, gardening writer Mary Robson, soil expert Craig Cogger, Mark (Harp) the Pond Guy, mortgage expert Harj Gill, and representatives of the Tacoma Rose Society, Tacoma Orchid Society, Raintree Nursery and Olympic Landscape.