***Giveaway! Win a copy of Garden Rules by commenting below. *** Holly is the winner – congrats!
Jayme Jenkins and Billie Brownell dish the dirt to new gardeners in their book, Garden Rules.
I remember being a new gardener and feeling like I’d stepped into a new world, complete with a whole new language as well as new ways of doing things. I had trouble remembering the difference between annuals and perennials, felt like a great big meanie ruffling up the roots of plants before transplanting, and had a vague idea that irises were supposed to be planted “high”, but wasn’t entirely sure what that would look like.
Billie and Jayme walk you through all the things that more established gardeners just seem to know, and have plenty of fun along the way.
Here are a few of their manifestos:
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Gallon of Roundup
No Glove, No Love: Practice Safe Gardening
And one of my favorites – Only Virgins Should be Sacrificed to Volcanoes, about the evils of mulch volcanoes. I have a neighbor I should print that page out for!
Jayme and Billie were kind enough to provide two excerpts, one written by each of them, so you can get a sense for their shared voice and see if the book’s right for you. Without further ado:
Deadheading Isn’t Just for Rock Concerts
“Long before the classic band the Grateful Dead developed a cult following, gardeners removed spent flowers, which is called “deadheading.” Cutting off shriveled flowers can help plants produce more new blossoms and extend their bloom time. This is because plants are always trying to complete their life cycle by going to seed. When dead flowers are removed, the plants refocus their energy on producing blooms, rather than producing seeds.
You will find that some dead flowers are easier to pinch off than others. Take the threadleaf coreopsis. I love this plant for its little daisylike blooms atop fine, threadlike foliage. However, it is a nightmare to pinch off every little flower as they shrivel up, one by one. For this type of plant, it is easier to wait until most of the flowers are spent, and then give the whole plant a nice haircut to about half its size.
In no time at all, threadleaf coreopsis produces more flowers. And it’s not the only plant that likes a haircut; dianthus is another example. Be creative in finding the best deadheading techniques for your plants, or ask your local nursery friend for help.” (Jayme Jenkins)
The Allergist’s Garden
“Until I moved to Nashville, I had no idea how miserable allergies can make you. But after living in “Allergy Central” I now dread spring, especially when juniper pollen is drifting about. And I’m not the only one; it’s estimated thirty-five million Americans suffer from seasonal allergies (not to mention asthma).
What I didn’t know until recently is that many landscape plants are male, because the seeds or fruit, aka “litter,” produced by the female plants are not desirable—sweetgum for example. But it’s the male plant that produces pollen. Because plant breeders have learned to propagate plants by cloning only male plants, virtually all of those sold are males.
What can you do to create an allergy-free garden? Well, you can plant more female plants, which will “trap” pollen (oh, those old stereotypes never go away), use gravel instead of mulch for paths, don’t let weeds go to seed, keep the lawn mowed (especially if it’s Bermuda), and plant shrubs and flowers that naturally produce less pollen (forsythia, hydrangea, tulip, and azalea, for example). Go online to check out plant options that are best for your area. And Live Free and Breathe Easy!” (Billie Brownell)