Monday, July 18, 2011

A great list of ground covers

After spending a good amount of time in the garden pulling weeds, I have been thinking about what ground covers to add. Here is a great list from Better Homes and Gardens. Most of them are for our zone too! Thyme is my favorite since it tastes good too.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Benefits of Vegetable Gardening

photo credit: gusandotherthings via pinterest

As we have just planted our midsummer vegetable crop, we have been looking forward to enjoying the many benefits of our labor. We only have a small vegetable garden, but we managed to plant a couple varieties of tomatoes, green peppers, red peppers, jalapenos, "big tom" peppers, tomatillos and various herbs.

Here are three reasons to start a fruit and vegetable garden:

1. There is an ever growing list of fruits and veggies that we should buy organic. This can be frustrating at times when the prices are high, the organic produce is less than appealing at the big box supermarkets and it's hard to remember which ones are high in pesticides. Planting a few of these in your garden will help ease that burden at least a little bit.

Here is a list of the fruits and veggies that you should consider buying organic whenever possible:

bell peppers
grapes (imported)

Many of these are a great and simple addition to the garden!

2. Fresh produce is only a few steps away! One of our favorite things to do in the summer is check our crop and pick ripe fruit! It's exciting to watch something grow into a beautiful perfect piece of produce! It's also fun to make sauces with peppers (my personal plan with the tomatillos and "big tom"peppers) and herbs and freeze them for a quick and easy meal during the winter months. Canning, freezing and storing is a little bit of work for a LOT of benefit!

3. Sharing with others! It's so nice to receive fresh produce from a friend or neighbor. Really, it's the way humans functioned for thousands of years before our consumer dependence on big box stores began. What a great way to be generous and develop a sense of community by planting a garden and sharing it with those around you!

Get out, start planting and share the bounty!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Garden Design meets Floral Design

It's finally that time of year when arrangements can actually be made from the garden! Snowball viburnum is in full bloom, a few tulips are still hanging on and the peonies are about to burst. Here at Olive Branch we love cutting gardens! A garden is meant to be enjoyed right? So, plant some flowers that can be used in the house and if you need arrangements for parties or weddings let us know! We now offer floral design services! These arrangements filled with viburnum, waxflower, purple spider mums and tulips were used for Hotel Deco's first luncheon banquette. We are very excited to be a small part of this hotel's opening!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fine Gardening June 2011

Hello fellow gardeners! We're very excited that Mike was asked to contribute to the June 2011 issue of Fine Gardening! He listed a few of his favorite picks for the Northern Plains region. The issue is on newsstands now so go check it out if you get a chance! Fine Gardening always has excellent ideas and tips whether you're an avid gardener or just want something easy. This one is particularly good with a mouth-watering article on heirloom tomatoes. Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Garden Friend

We found this guy relaxing on an iris pod recently. I think he was just as curious about us as we were about him! We also had an interesting encounter with a squirrel today. He charged at the cat! Luckily, there was a sliding glass door between them! Hope you are enjoying your fall. The weather has been beautiful here. There is a lot of fall planting to be done!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A really big pet rock.

Water Features make great companions.

Adopt one today. There are many boulders out there looking for a good home. Nothing is better than the sound of water in the garden. Especially on a nice summer night. This particular stone is a basalt column which is a very dense volcanic rock.

A recirculating bubbling boulder really does make a great companion to any landscape. They are great as welcoming accents or clustered together for a very full sound. If you are using just one make sure to place it close to where you do most of your outdoor living. If it is placed too far away it might get lost in the rest of the garden. All that is needed is a nearby power outlet and enough room to dig a basin to hold the water.

Bubbling boulders fit into almost any space. If you have a open space, a larger and more prominent stone is preferable. If your space is more intimate, a smaller boulder with nice subtleties is probably best. Your local stone supplier should have a selection of pre-drilled stones to choose from, or you can pick your own and have them drill it for you. The character of the stone will determine the amount of noise it will produce. A smooth stone like the one above has a very consistent bubbling sound, while a rough stone will have a inconsistent splashing sound. If you already have a space in mind these characteristics will help you pick your new garden companion.

Here is a picture of basalt before it is harvested.

Columnar basalt at Sheepeater Cliff in Yellowstone. pic. from wikipedia

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sculpture so real even the birds are fooled

Here a young blue jay is trying to make sense of this artful handrail. I guess this means we were successful in capturing a bit of nature in this recycled steel handrail. I should keep in mind that he/she is just a young bird and not yet wise to the world.

Since installation, this functional sculpture has attracted many comments and much wildlife. Both being of the positive and negative sort. Of course we get the occasional comment about it being a pile of rusty twisted metal or something someones grandpa pulled out of their barn. Bird droppings are sometimes right where you don't want them, however, for the most part, the comments are kind and the wildlife is entertaining.

When presented with an opportunity fix or improve a space it is important to not only think functionally but also aesthetically. Seize the day, go out on a limb and try something new.