Thursday, February 24, 2011

Follow the Yellow Brick Road... to the Plant Wiz

Sooz was a busy, busy artist while I was gone to Florida. Well, actually everyone was. They repainted the entire "green" room a lovely soft white, including the roof, upgraded the displays, new curtains, new shelving, and TADA! A YELLOW BRICK ROAD! For 11 seasons now I have looked at this walkway leading to the counter and said to anyone within listening distance, "Wouldn't it be nice to have a Yellow Brick Road here, it is just PERFECT for it?", well leave it to Sooz - to listen and act! With Ashley's help she created a beautiful, whimsical rendition.
Come on in, walk down the Yellow Brick Road, you might find Sooz at the end, just one of our many Plant Wiz's. THANK YOU SOOZ, I love it!

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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Spring around the bend

What are those absolutely beautiful fragrant pink puffs in our picture today? Why that would be one of the hundreds of trees that we unloaded at the nursery this morning. Filled with the promise of Spring, this one arrived just a little bit ahead of our season here in Fallon so we tucked it up by the building to save the blossoms. But we don't mind, nope, not a bit. Pieces of it found their way home with a few of us tonight. Prunus blireiana 'Blireiana Flowering Plum'.
With Rose on the forklift, and Sooz, Candice and I on the ground, we inspected and unloaded hundreds of new trees and shrubs that will fill the nursery with the promise of more blossoms and greenery to come. It is a special day at the nursery when the first trucks of the season arrive. Usually we try and space them out a bit more, but with the storms forecast for over the hill, everyone came TODAY! Tomorrow we will get them all tucked into the lines, watered in - and then stand back and enjoy them. My how easy it is to love this business.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Planting Mental Health

Recent research shows just five minutes of active gardening a day decreases the risk of mental illness and increases the sense of well being. Until now, nobody knew how much time people had to spend in green spaces to reap these benefits. Really, it was any physical activity in presence of nature that was found to provide these results. (Garden Chic, Feb. 2011)

Life as a business owner must be extremely different for all of us. I often wonder what it would be like to go to auction to pick out cars, do you choose the colors that you sold last year, or just the pink ones that you think would look pretty driving down Maine Street. When you have a hardware store - how do you make the decision exactly how many nails are needed in any given month, and can you imagine trying to do the buying for a restaurant, not knowing how many people are going to venture through your door each day - and just what do you do with the leftovers? It's not like you can lose them in the freezer for a year or two until you are forced to clean it out like I do.

Well I don't order food, or cars, or nails - but I do order trees. Lots and lots of trees. This is the week that our very first shipment is coming in for Spring 2011. Over the last two years we have all been faced with uncertainty in our own personal financial lives, and in the business world it has been no different. So this year it is a little more difficult to put together an order for trees when the landscapers in our town are hurting and the local real estate market is in one of the worst slumps in the country. But, anyone who knows me, and if you are reading this that probably includes you, also know that I am the Queen of Optimists. So, I am ordering trees!!! and shrubs!!! and more trees, and a thousand roses, and flowers, and organic soils, and hundreds of varieties of seeds, and colorful gloves, and gardening books and anything else I can manage to find that will bring us back to the soil and our roots. I truly believe that if we all just dug our hands in the dirt a little more it would be a happier, calmer world.

And for me at this moment, it's time to head outside while the sun is shining and the wind has stopped and get some of that great mental health going. See you in the garden, Susan

What is Michelle up to?

As promised, she is getting ready to raise her first family of chicks, baking bread & painting. Catch up with her new artwork on display at Red Zinnia. Sorry, I'm not sharing my first loaf of ciabatta bread, it was so good I ate it all!
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sitting on the dock....

  of the river, St. John's in Jacksonville
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Books I'm Reading, this week.

In the morning I sit in my chair with the sun streaming in through the windows - read the local paper, peruse the many trade magazines that seem to come in every other day, and then I start in on my gardening books. Some days these books can give me just the inspiration I need to go and open the gates at the nursery when the wind is blowing 60mph, snow is falling and the temperatures might not get above 30 -like this last week has been treating us to.

This morning I choose a new book that was introduced to me from a friend and fellow gardener, Alice H. The Kitchen Garden Grower's Guide by Stephen Albert. A practical vegetable and herb garden encyclopedia, I am hear to tell you, it is a book that no serious gardener or chef should be without. From the soil to the plate, this manual is straight forward and easy to follow. It provides answers to basic and in-depth growing questions. It includes how to plant, how to grow and care for crops, how to harvest, how to store, and how to prepare vegetables and herbs. From asparagus and beet greens to Belgian endive and strawberries, this book helps readers organize a small garden close to the kitchen that offers their favorite, fresh-picked-at-the-peak-of-ripeness small crop. My own juicing garden is getting some revamping this coming season, and with this book in hand it will not only make it easier to plan and plot, but it also is inspiring me to try some new things.

Another that has just came into the store from my buying trip to Atlanta that will be added to my pile at home, What's Wrong With My Plant? (And How Do I Fix It?), by David Deardorff and Kathryn Wadsworth. This book is an EXCELLENT diagnostic tool. I actually bought it for the store so it will be at the information counter if you want to take a look. It breaks down into very simple, easy to read diagrams how to diagnose your plants ails, and fix them organically. Written in Microsoft's famous style of "Did it fix your problem- go to page 120, if not see below", it is a book that all of us can benefit from. (Rose already told me after she unpacked it and had a chance to glance through it, she wants 3 copies)
Got any new books that have inspired you this season? I would love to hear about them. Remember, only a few weeks till Spring is Sprung!! ahhhhhhh, Susan


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