Elsewhere: A beautiful Autumn path found on Pinterest


Source: bluepueblo.tumblr.com via Douglas on Pinterest

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Garden Videos from Douglas’ YouTube Channel

I have a collection of garden videos on my YouTube Channel.

Here is the Gardener’s Notebook playlist from that channel.

Can’t see the video above? Watch this playlist on YouTube.

Please like this video and/or subscribe to my channel on YouTube. Your LIKES directly effect how many others will see this video.

A Different DIY Garden from Troy-Bilt’s “The Dirt” Newsletter

My most recent article appeared today in “The Dirt” Troy-Bilt’s monthly newsletter as part of the Saturday6 program. Get your own subscription to The Dirt by signing up on the Troy-Bilt web site.

A Different DIY Garden

By Douglas E. Welch

Diy garden

When most people talk about doing some DIY (do-it-yourself) in their garden, they are usually talking about building something – a wall, a shed, a trellis, whatever. I have thought much the same over the years, but this year I have been concentrating on another aspect of DIY in the garden. My recent DIY projects have consisted of building up the garden itself. This has meant building the soil, building the plantings and building some things you usually buy at the local garden store instead of making yourself.

Building the soil

One ongoing DIY project here in my back garden has been composting. While composting is certainly very popular, I still have many friends who think it is too work-intensive, too troublesome and sometimes too smelly to try themselves. In my case, though, composting is so integrated into my daily routine and my gardening that I don’t even notice it anymore. The bin gets filled with kitchen and brown garden waste and finished compost comes out the bottom. Nothing could be simpler.

Sure, I could go to my local nursery or home store and purchase bags of compost to use in the garden, but as I am sure you know, bagged materials can be quite expensive. In many cases, the cost is simply too high for me to consider. Also, why wouldn’t or shouldn’t I use the materials I already have at hand? I have more than enough leaves, limbs and kitchen waste to create quite a bit of compost. It seems silly to dump it in my city garden bins and then go buy bags of compost to replace it.

My compost has also facilitated a secondary DIY project. Instead of purchasing potting soil to use in containers and start seedlings, I decided to make my own. With all the talk of the unsustainable use of peat in potting soils, I decided to see what I could do using my own compost and a few supplies from the garden store. In my case this involved the simple process of mixing one part homemade compost to one part purchased coconut coir and a quarter-part perlite. There are a number of other potting soil “recipes” available on the Internet – some more complicated, some simpler – for you to try with your own compost.

Building the plants

For many gardeners, the first visit to the nursery each spring is almost a ritual. They pick up their flats of bedding plants – petunias, pansies, etc. – and start bringing the color back into their gardens. I prefer to try and create my own plants from those I already have on the property. It is a bit easier for me since I concentrate on perennials, but starting your annual bedding plants from seed is a great idea, too, and not that difficult, depending on the space you have for starting seedlings and your growing zone.

In my case, some of my plants begin the propagation process without any help from me. The many azaleas in my garden are very happy to start developing new plants through the process of layering. Wherever branches touch the moist ground, azaleas – and other plants – will often start to develop roots. These sections can then be detached from the main plant and potted up for growing or simply transplanted to another area of the garden.

For other plants, I take cuttings and root them in small, recycled containers on my makeshift potting bench. I have done this with rosemary – to create small rosemary topiary bushes – pittosporum and fountain grass. Of course, you can also gather seed from your existing plants and trade them with neighbors, or as I often do, gather seeds from plants you find along your walks. Just yesterday I picked up some wild fennel seeds, which I will try to grow in the garden.

The next time you think about doing a little DIY in your garden, why not reach out to the plants themselves instead of concentrating on the landscape. While building projects can bring some architectural beauty into your garden, I find that developing the soil and developing the plants in my garden is just as important, if not even more important, than building that new trellis or garden wall.

Photo: Lettuce entertain you



My favorite shared garden items for June 2012

Here are my favorite shared garden items for May 2012.

Please let me know in the comments if you find any of the particularly useful. I’ll keep my eye open for similar items — Douglas

Event: In Conversation with SAM WATTERS on Gardens for a Beautiful America, 1895-1935

In Conversation with SAM WATTERS on Gardens for a Beautiful America, 1895-1935

Friday, July 27
12:00 noon to 1:00 pm
Overseers’ Room, The Huntington Library

When Progressives took on the elevation of American culture and taste after the perceived vulgarities of the Gilded Age, women participated through the beautification of house and garden. In 1913, wives of the period’s one percenters corralled family and friends to found and fund the national Garden Club of America. Determined to promote by example horticultural standards and professional landscape design, members commissioned photo-journalist Frances Benjamin Johnston to document for publication and illustrated lectures gardening successes East and West.

Join Bill Deverell and Sam Watters as they discuss Johnston’s photography in the context of her era’s social and aesthetic agendas, the subject of Watters’ recent book, Gardens for a Beautiful America, 1895-1935, published in collaboration with the Library of Congress that holds the Johnston architectural archive.

To reserve a seat for the Graham event, please respond to Kim Matsunaga at kmatsuna@usc.edu by June 10.


Free Garden wallpapers for July 2012 – Sunflower

Here is a selection of free wallpapers for your computer desktop or smartphone. Right-click and select Save Image As… to download them to your own computer. On your smartphone, tap and hold, then select Save to Camera Roll. You can then attach the wallpapers using your phone’s preferences.

Desktop Wallpaper

iPad/Tablet Wallpaper

iPhone/Smartphone Wallpaper

Previous garden wallpapers:

Elsewhere: Worms Eat My Garbage …

My fellow Saturday6 blogger, Kylee Baumle over at Our Little Acre has a great story on getting started with her own worm composter. It sounds like it was quite an adventure, but one that is destined to return great rewards.

I haven’t really investigated vermicomposting much as I have so much of all types of green and brown garden waste that I simply add them to my standard top-down composters in the back yard.

Kylee worms

Worms Eat My Garbage … and Then They Poop
from Our Little Acre by Kylee Baumle


The Worm Factory 360 arrived about a couple of weeks ago and I unboxed it and looked everything over. I read the manual that came with it and started getting it ready for worms. The worms don’t come with it, so you have to either find a local source or order them online. I ordered them from Nature’s Footprint and was surprised at how much worms cost. (About $35 for a pound – that’s about 1000 worms – which works out to about 3½ cents per worm. I found that to be a typical price.)


I did a video with a local vermicoposting company back in 2010, Urban-Worms.com. They had a booth at one of our local farmer’s markets and I took the opportunity to talk to one of the owners on video.

Can’t see the video above? View “What is vermicomposting? by Urban-Worms.com” on YouTube

Look what I got in the mail! Troy-Bilt Tools!

Troybilt equip

As part of my association with Troy-Bilt’s Saturday6, I am allowed to select several review and giveaway items each year.

My most current choices were these cordless tools from their product line. My garden is small enough the I really don’t need gas-powered tools for the light work I do, so these tools fit right in. I have most of Troy-Bilt’s other cordless tools and I have found them to work quite well, so I look forward to putting these tools to work.

Watch the blog in the next few weeks for reviews of these tools and also the announcement of a giveaway of these, or other, Troy-Bilt tools.

Satsix small

** Troy-Bilt provided these tools as part of my participation in the Saturday6, but they do not control my opinions or reviews about these items.

Photos: Magnolia Blossom

Unfolding magnolia blossom here in our neighborhood

Magnolia Blossom

Magnolia Blossom Magnolia Blossom