All the photos in this blog were taken by me. The information is taken from friends, books, magazines, conversations at nurseries, the internet and a few of my own amateur-gardener thoughts. Please feel free to share your own knowledge and experiences in the comment section that follows each posting.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Gurus and Guppies

I have Garden Blogger Overwhelmedness (GBO), a condition that happens when too much gardening activity happens in one week and the blogger doesn't even know where to start. I've been writing this in my head all week and it keeps growing into something just short of Pillars of the Earth, which clearly no one would have the patience to read. I will edit best I can, but things are really blooming these days.

As promised, I want to introduce you to Carla, one of my favorite Garden Gurus. I was so excited when she asked me to come see her new greenhouse that she got from FarmTek. Her garden is simultaneously, beautiful and functional. As we entered, the greenhouse is on the right housing several seedlings waiting for warmer weather. She also keeps supplies, fertilizers, soil and tools handy and organized. When you're inside it feels warm and inspiring. Of course I left wanting one.  

Carla also has several interesting pots featuring a nice selection of succulents immaculately dressed with naturally colored gravel. 

Garden Gossip: She told me that I gave her a tip to buy larger quantities of gravel at a pet store. Its the gravel that's used in aquariums and you can get different shapes, sizes and colors to match your pots or hues in the plants. Imagine that! I actually passed on something useful to one of my gurus! 

Carla will plant her tomatoes on trellises that she had built in the back-side of her vegetable beds. This is a great way to utilize space as she puts the tomatoes in the back and rows of other plants in front. For me, supporting a lumbering tomato plant can be a challenge. Mine always seem to grow taller than the cage and begin falling all over each other. Her trellis helps  keep them actually anchored to something. I look forward to seeing her garden when she gets her summer vegetables planted and her tomatoes on the trellis. 

She has several beauties in her yard, but one that sticks out is a variegated Euphorbia. It adds so much color and texture to a prominent spot. Take a look at it next time you're at Green Thumb (did you join their Facebook page yet?) and tell Carla you saw in on this blog. 

Among several tomatoes in her greenhouse (which are probably in the ground by now) she has San Marzano, Yellow Pear and Red Sibierian. I will be able to try these this year as she gifted me some!

Thank you, Carla. I am grateful to my Garden Gurus. They have taught me so much and my garden has grown into a place I love spending time in. It's become a place to relax, entertain, make beautiful bouquets for inside the house and most importantly, to eat from! Therefore, I am most excited to tell you about my new category of gardeners... the Garden Guppy! 

The Garden Guppy is someone who is excited to learn and who I can share a little bit of my ever-growing knowledge with. A Garden Guppy enhances my passion for gardening because I imagine what is around the corner for them. A bountiful vegetable garden that creates a salad to be proud of! Or, an amazing rose that hardly needs anything but a glass vase, or a sweet, sweet strawberry that puts a big smile on her daughter's face. 

My first Garden Guppy is Tricia! She called me to ask if I'd come over and help her get three vegetable beds started. Are you kidding me? So exciting! Even though she had to call me because I got the date messed up, I rushed over and was thrilled to see that this was going to be right up my alley. I told her to get some chicken manure and compost (as mentioned in my first posting, "Introducing"). We will be planting vegetable this week after her manure "cools off". We planned a simple garden with not too many plants as it's her first year. We're devoting half of a bed to strawberries because her daughter loves them! If you're a Garden Guppy, follow Tricia's garden with me and see what happens. I don't have photos because I screeched out of my driveway when I realized I messed up the meeting date and forgot my camera. Not the best start to becoming her guru someday. 

Full of good sense: Plant a pot of Heliotrope and place it next to a door that you frequently go in and out of. Preferably a partially shaded door. Mine is on my back porch. When you walk outside you'll be greeted by a strong scent of vanilla. The deep green leaves contrast the purple flower so beautifully, but the scent is over-the-top yummy! 

OMG! Did I not tell you yet? Pam Pierce is coming to town. Who is THAT, you say? She is the author of "the bible", Golden Gate Gardening. Okay, I understand those of you that don't live in the area may not feel the excitement, but bare with me. For those of us that are here, this is a great opportunity to hear a very knowledgeable gardener. The Guru-est. 

Garden Gossip: Pam Pierce, author of Golden Gate Gardener will be at Guadalupe Park on May 22nd from 10:30 - 12:30. The topic is, "Year round Food Gardening- Get the Most Out Of Your Food Garden Space"! Can you believe this? I am hoping to go, if you'd like to make a date of it! 

It was almost 75 degrees today as I went on a Garden Tour with Elaine and two of her wonderful friends. Today was South Bay Open Day, a program put on by The Garden Conservancy. The Garden Conservancy was established 20 years ago and is "a national institution to save and preserve America's exceptional gardens for the education and enjoyment of the public".  We went to four gardens on the tour. It was fantastic! And I mean fantastic! I've never been on a garden tour before and it caused my GBO (remember my condition?) to peak! I took over a hundred pictures that I will share with you in my next posting. I need time to edit and share only the very best. One of the homes had a two-acre Japanese-style water garden that may as well have been at Butchard Gardens. The pond, "dotted with waterlilies" was 2,000 square feet. Seriously. 
Most of all, I enjoyed meeting my new gardening friends, Judy and Melinda and spending time with Elaine, my next-to-be featured Garden Guru! 

One Garden tip before we go: Lorena, a lovely and highly educated gardener at Yamagami reminded me that when you plant tomatoes, pick off the lower little leaves to create "open wounds" that roots can grow out of. Then bury the stem deep in the ground leaving only the top of the tomato exposed. This will create a very strong base for the plant as roots will grow from several areas out of the main stem. Also, water it in the ground at planting (make sure to plant it with some vegetable food!) and then leave it alone for quite awhile. Lorena says don't water it for two weeks, but I don't know if I can do that. 

I think its finally warm enough to get some vegetables in the ground. I went to Yamagami on a rainy afternoon,shopped with an umbrella and left with: Black Beauty Eggplant, Yellow Baby Watermelon, Pimiento de Padron Pepper, Ancho Pablano Pepper, Fanfare Cucumber, Spanish Spice Pepper and Early Sunsation Pepper. Oh, I couldn't resist just one Early Girl Tomato to add to my collection from Carla! 

I feel my GBO getting better already.  May the sun shine brightly on you this week! 


  1. Great info, Whit! I have been spreading chicken manure and watching how the sunlight travels in my yard. A Girl Scout I was not but I am figuring it out : )
    I am going to ask for a Heliotrope for Mother's Day! It looks beautiful and I love the scent of vanilla. Sunny Days my friend! Your guppy! Tricia

  2. Ok, just a tester to see if I can figure out how to post something here...


If you don't have g-mail, you can comment as "anonymous" and it will let you proceed!