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Organic Gardening

2016 Gardening Classes

I am patting myself on the back today for posting my 2016 Gardening Class Schedule so early.  The truth is that I was feeling guilty about having received several requests (Thank you!) so I made it a top priority. In response to student feedback, the 2016 Course Schedule has changed a bit.  The new offerings should provide students more flexibility in their choice of classes - and give me more time for writing, and for at least one special overseas garden tour.  (Gardens are the best vacation destinations!) Courses #1 through #5 will be offered as a single “Gardening Essentials”...

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No-Fail Flowers to Grow from Seed

No-Fail Flowers to Grow from Seed

Remember the glorious spring season of pastels when it seemed like every tree and shrub was in bloom? Has your garden gone monochrome green for the summer?  With a few seeds and some good soil it is easy to make your summer garden as vibrant as HD TV and in full motion with bees, butterflies and hummers. Every spring I head out to the garden with rake and seed packs in hand. By the summer solstice, my garden has its summer bloom in full swing. Why not just head to your local nursery for some 6-packs of annuals?  One would think this would give you a definite head start, but here are some...

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Is your garden Bugging You?

Is your garden Bugging You?

It is June, the time of year when every kind of bug makes its way to my Summerfield, NC garden.  I have already seen big fat rust colored potato bugs with a brood of newly hatched babies, aphids on my hellebores, flea beetles on my eggplant, slugs on my hostas, cabbage worms on my kale and kohlrabi, and now the cucumber beetles and Japanese beetles have arrived! How do gardeners control these thugs without poisoning themselves or the bees and butterflies that are happily floating around the garden? The number one thing to understand is that bugs are your friends.  Most are beneficial to your...

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Gardeners’ 12-step Program

Gardeners’ 12-step Program

Honestly, April and May ZOOM by me every year.  There are so many spring garden events, seminars, plant sales, and tours – and of course the annual trek to Big Bloomer Flower Farm in Sanford, NC.  (Check my website for a calendar of  local NC Triad gardening events:   http://www.learntogarden.net/ellen-blog/garden-events/) But I cannot wait to get out to my own garden!  Every day there are new plants peeking their first leaves out of the ground.  Every day new blooms appear that I have not seen for a year.  This year I added a totally new garden. Yes, I know that last year I said I was “done”...

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Greensboro News & Record – Sunday Gardening Section

Greensboro News & Record – Sunday Gardening Section

You know there has to be some EXCITING NEWS for me to sit at my computer two nights in a row to share this with you.  What’s up? I hate to jump the gun on the Greensboro News & Record’s announcement, but if you don’t get the Sunday paper you might miss it!  Just in time for Spring, our LOCAL newspaper is introducing a LOCAL gardening section in the Sunday Life Section.  Starting THIS SUNDAY, March 22, 2015 subscribers in the Piedmont Triad will be reading about gardening news that is specific, timely and relevant to our own area!   N&R Life Section Editor, Cindy Loman, explains...

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Spring! Day 1 – Vegetables to plant NOW

Spring!  Day 1 – Vegetables to plant NOW

Was their ever a date gardeners so eagerly await as the first day of spring?  It is confirmation that the worst of winter is truly behind us, and in the Piedmont Triad area it is definitely time to start planting our vegetable gardens! If this is the first year you have grown vegetables, the most important thing to do is prepare your soil.  You will need to break up our compacted clay soil, add some lime to raise the pH to about 6.5, add 6 to 8 inches of compost and till it in.  Test both your native soil and the compost you are adding.  Soil testing is FREE in NC!  You can very easily...

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2015 Gardening Classes

2015 Gardening Classes

I am rushing to get all my "To Do's" done so I can leave for the beach with my stack of gardening journals and  a scratch pad to design my next garden renovation.  (Yes, I am hopelessly addicted!)  Even at the end of September the garden is hard to leave behind.   I cannot lie, I love gaudy plants! The good news is that the 2015 Garden Happy! Course Schedule is published.   I would love for you to make plans to be here with me next year to see the garden in 4 seasons, and learn how you can create your own personal paradise.  You may view the schedule and itinerary...

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Greensboro area Spring Gardening Events

Greensboro area Spring Gardening Events

Can you not wait to GET OUTSIDE?!!  That’s where I have been, loving every minute of this gorgeous spring!  It is “the pastel season” as my realtor, Betty Hill, explained when we moved here 13 years ago. The garden is my great escape.  I do not carry my cell phone out with me and I probably won’t return your call before dark when I come in for Chinese take-out or a peanut butter sandwich. Is it insane to drive 2 hours to Sanford, NC to spend 5 hours tromping through every inch of “Big Bloomers Greenhouses”? Then two hours driving home trying to remember the names of the 30 different...

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Guerilla Gardening

Guerilla Gardening

Ellen, can you tell me more about where to get the flower shells ? I have a friend who teaches gun safety, etc. especially to women and she might be interested in these. You might want her to come to your place to demonstrate the use of a shotgun for this purpose!   Wouldn’t be the first time you did something radical !  Thanks, Sandy Gotta say, I LOVE this idea!   Imagine shooting Greensboro's empty fields full of wild flower seed ... could be "guerilla gardening" at it's best!  Yes, Sandy I will be ready for a demonstration as soon as these hit the market!  (Hopefully in the near future.)...

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Extreme Gardening

Extreme Gardening

This quiet week between Christmas and New Year's could be my favorite of the year. It is the time when no one expects you to be home, much less answering the phone. Nothing is urgent, especially not in the garden.  It is my quiet time to reflect on the year that is almost over and look back on fun and interesting news I have been too busy to share. Here are a few of my favorite things – especially some EVENTS you won’t want to miss! Extreme gardening #1 -   Once every three years, there is an international competition in horticultural sculpture, called "mosaiculture," in a major city...

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