Cleaning up rose bed number 2

After a busy weekend that didn’t allow for any time in the garden, I spent an hour or so in the back garden today after a morning in my office paying bills and processing deposits. This office time is the traditional Monday morning task to insure that all the bills for the week get into the mail.

I have a page long list of things that need to be accomplished in the garden before our big summer party later this month. This will also be a party to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, so I want to have the garden looking as nice as I can — both for myself and my wife.

Today’s task was the Spring/Summer cleanup of rose bed #2 in the back garden, much like I did with the larger bed a few weeks ago. There are 2 large pine trees overarching this bed, so there was a thick mat of needles over the bed. In some ways, this made the cleanup easier, as they matted together and came up almost as one unit. All this went into the leaf pile for a future trip through the chipper shredder and then into the compost bins.

Rose bed #2 Before

Rose Bed 2 cleanup by Douglas Welch (douglaswelch) on
Rose Bed 2 cleanup by Douglas Welch

Rose bed #2 After

Rose Bed 2 cleanup by Douglas Welch (douglaswelch) on
Rose Bed 2 cleanup by Douglas Welch

Just as with Rose bed #1, my wife will re-edge this bed in some fashion. I am thinking of trying a wine bottle edging here, as it is the smaller bed, but we haven’t yet collected enough bottles to complete the circle. Maybe after the party?! (LAUGH)

Hope your garden is doing well! Add a comment and let us know what is happening. You can also Tweet us at @gardenersnotebk on Twitter or drop us a line on the AGN Facebook page.

Event: Encino Cactus Festival To Highlight Fire Safe Vegetation

Encino Cactus Festival To Highlight Fire Safe Vegetation

Image Courtesy LACSS

With the dry heat of Summer soon upon us, many Los Angeles residents are turning to nature for ways to stay cool, limit water use, prevent fire danger and add beauty to their lives.

It will not surprise you then, that Los Angeles Firefighters are among speakers at a special event addressing these issues and more. We hope you’ll join usSaturday and Sunday, June 11-12, 2011for the:

Los Angeles Cactus and Succulent Society
11th Annual Drought Tolerant Plant Festival
City of Los Angeles – Sepulveda Garden Center
16633 Magnolia Boulevard
Encino, CA 91406

The show runsSaturdayfrom9:00AM – 5:00PM, with presentations starting at 10:00AM; and continuesSundayfrom9:00AM – 4:00PM, with kids events starting at 10:30AM.

On Saturday at 1:00PM, LAFD Assistant Chief Mark Stormes will engage attendees with an informative discussion of“Vegetation Management in the Los Angeles City Brush Zone”.

For additional information about this event, please visit:

Submitted byBrian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department

Follow@LAFDand@LAFDtalkon Twitter and find us onFacebook

Photo: Go, Potatoes, Grow

Potatoes in children's garden on Twitpic

Wow! I saw this picture come through Twitter today from @deltagardener. That is one fine looking potato patch. They replied to my Twitter post with:

deltagardener @gardenersnotebk we harvest on June 14, cook them and serve them for picnic lunch for kids

Wish I could have a potato patch like this. Need much more sun (and motivation (LAUGH)) for that, though.


Event: #Saturday6: My Skinny Garden at Lowe’s Naperville Saturday June 4th!

My fellow Saturday6 member, Gina from My Skinny Garden, will be holding her Lowe’s appearance this Saturday in her native state of Illinois. You can find complete information below, including time and location. If you get a chance to drop by, please tell her I said HI! — Douglas

My Skinny Garden at Lowe’s Naperville Saturday June 4th!

Tomorrow morning I’ll be joining the Troy-Bilt team at Lowe’s in Naperville, IL to try to answer your gardening questions while they show off their awesome equipment.  If you are in the area, please stop by to say hello!  I would love to be able to meet some readers.  If you do stop by, remind me to tell you about the “thrown objects room” at the Troy-Bilt facility.  I visited in early May and had the opportunity to see all the crafty ways they test safety and noise level on their equipment and I’ve been planning to write about it but haven’t gotten around to it, yet.  It was far out!

1440 South Route 59
Naperville, IL.  60564

via My Skinny Garden at Lowe’s Naperville Saturday June 4th!.

Disclosure: This post is in conjunction with my paid partnership as one of the Saturday6 from Troy-Bilt. All thoughts are my own.

I Like This – June 3, 2011

Garden and outdoor-related products from AGN

A recent sale from my stores reminded me that I had several garden-related products in my stores over there. Here are links to all the pretty flower and outdoors items I have created. You can use the arrows to move through the various product or click any link for a larger view.


Make Custom Gifts at CafePress

Direct link to products

Bad examples in garden advertising and what to do about it

Carol O’Meara over at Gardening After Five has a bone to pick with gardening-related television advertisements and I must agree with her.

“The three-second scene shows a man grabbing the tree by the trunk in order to lift it from its pot, which proves that the fellow doing this is an actor, not a gardener.  A gardener knows this is a no-no.  Grabbing the tree by the trunk to lift the heavy root ball from the pot puts the tree at risk of damage to the bark, which is sensitive in spring growth.”

I must agree with Carol on this point. The realities of advertising often means that the gardening examples seen most often are bad examples. As I commented on the blog…

Good to know I am not the only person who screams back at the TV! (SMILE) Usually my outbursts relate to bad technology use or depictions, though.

Ah, but you did the correct thing in response to this ad…you wrote about it and the right way to do things.

Where would we garden bloggers be without all the bad examples we see every day?!? (LAUGH)

This particular ad calls for a detailed post, using the advertisers named, such as “Don’t plant trees the way!” In that way, you might actually catch some folks who have viewed the ad — just the people that need the info the most.

I do believe that the best thing we garden bloggers can do is use the bad examples as great fodder for future posts. I often find that responding to the things I read and see is much easier than creating blog posts out of whole cloth. That said, my own garden usually provides much to write about, even if it is my own form of bad examples or simple mistakes on the garden.

What bad gardening examples have you seen lately? Share them in the comments!

Photo: Agapanthus in the garden

A bit of blue splendor from one of my recently divided agapanthus in the back garden.

Agapanthus Flower

Rose Bed Cleanup Today

Tackling another project in the Summer garden cleanup here today. This is the large rose bed in the back yard. Not many roses left here, as the trees have blacked the sun more and more in the years we have lived here. I am thinking of ideas to refurbish this bed, but cleaning it up after the big Spring leaf-drop was definitely needed first.

We used many of the “extra” trees that were planted in the garden as edging around this bed and others. After several years, these small limbs and trunks have broken down almost entirely. I think we will still be able to use some of them, but I am already looking for replacements. I am going to try out some wine bottle edging around one of the smaller beds as a test. If it works out, I might expand it to others.

Here is a look at the rose bed before and after…

Rose bed cleanup Before

Not a bad change. My wife likes to do the edging, so I think she will work something up there. I want to top dress the bed with some of our compost to make it look a bit nicer and also cover the new soaker hose I also installed today. I think the squirrels were the one’s chewing holes in the old one, so a bit of “out of sight, out of mind” might be best.

Video: Bob Jones, Sr talks about seed germination testing at Chef’s Garden, Inc. #saturday6

While the Saturday6 was touring Chef’s Garden, Inc., Bob Jones, Sr. met us in the lab. This high-tech space is fit into a retired shipping container, but has some very high-tech stuff inside. One topic he spoke on was the germination testing they do on their seeds. Chef’s Garden is a business, after all, and poor germination can result in poor earnings from the greenhouse and the fields. The same is true in your garden.

In this short video you can see one of their lab-based germination tests while Bob talks about the importance of the length of the seed radical in judging overall seed health. It is of first importance that the seed germinates, but also important that the seeds are healthy enough to carry the plant to full growth.

Watch “Germination Testing at Chef’s Garden” – iPod Ready Video

Here is a close up photo of the germination test seen in the video.

Germination test at Chef's Garden, Inc.

Do it yourself!

Of course, you can do some quite similar germination testing in your own garden. it doesn’t take a fancy lab. As you may have seen before, you can place the seeds on a wet paper towel, folder half the towel over and place the entire pack in the fridge or on your kitchen counter. After a few days, depending on the germination time of the given seed, you will start to see something very similar to above.

If you test germinate 10 seeds from any given variety you can quickly gain a percentage of good seed in each batch i.e. 1 germinated seed = 10% germination rate, 2=20%, etc. If you have old seed lying about, you may want to test it before committing it to seed starter trays or your garden.

Years ago, I did this germination test with my young son as a home science project to give us something to do on a lazy day. You can see the results of that test in this blog post — The Seeds of Time. In this test I simply laid the seeds on some damp paper towel in a tray.

Disclosure: This post is in conjunction with my paid partnership as one of the Saturday6 from Troy-Bilt. All thoughts are my own.