Monthly Archives: August 2017

Mary Lou Heard Memorial Garden Tour

A bit of history about the Mary Lou Heard: In 1985, Mary Lou Heard opened Heard’s Country Garden Nursery, a magical nursery tucked away on a seldom traveled road in Westminster, California. The gardens were full of unique and often old fashioned annuals and perennials such as “Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate”, “Bleeding Heart” and “Four O’Clocks”. These, along with whimsical garden art, English and old garden roses, scented geraniums, herbs, vines and small trees made the nursery a delightful and special place to visit

In 1993 Mary Lou came up with the notion of a garden tour, “real gardens by real people”. This is a self-guided tour, where you drive from home to home at your leisure to view the gardens listed on the tour. The Heard’s Garden Tour was an instant success, bringing in over 800 garden lovers the first year and in later years, drawing in thousands of visitors. In 2000 Mary Lou Heard was diagnosed with cancer and two years later she would close her beloved nursery, and in her final Heard’s Country Garden Newsletter she wrote. “Though there are still many more gardens in my heat that have to be planted – the body is calling for a rest. Saying good-bye is the hardest thing I have had to do.”

The annual garden tour continues today, thanks to the Mary Lou Heard Foundation.

For those of us who had the pleasure of knowing Mary Lou Heard, this memorial garden tour holds a special place in our hearts. And for me, it’s especially significant, because it was at Heards Country Gardens Nursery,  I especially remembered waiting in line to purchase a chrysalis from the teacher, Cathy, the “Butterfly Lady”, but to my disappointment, by the time I made my way to the front of the line, Cathy was out of butterfly chrysalises. She did however have a couple of caterpillars, and upon assuring her I was growing pesticide free fennel in my garden, she sold me one of her Anise Swallowtail caterpillars. I ever so carefully took it home, fed it, fretted over it, until finally that memorable day came when my Anise Swallowtail Butterfly emerged from it’s chrysalis, I knew I was hooked.

Butterfly Garden – Wood’s Wildlife Wonder

This story brings me to tell you about one of the gardens on the Mary Lou Heard Memorial Garden Tour, it’s at the home of Helen and Ken Wood. The “Wood’s Wildlife Wonder” is filled with plants and trees selected to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Helen is a master gardener, her garden is certified as a North American Butterfly Association certified butterfly garden, Monarch Way-station and Native Habitat. Last summer I had the pleasure of attending a “butterfly tea” at her home and was amazed at the number of butterflies visiting her garden. If you live in the Orange County area, I urge you to take the Heard’s Garden Tour, and don’t miss stopping by the Woods Garden

A Healthy Garden

Gardening is an art form, and it requires a lot of care and work in order to grow the beautiful plants and vegetables that you want from it. So it’s important to choose the right tools in order to maintain your beautiful garden so that you can have it for a long time. Knowing how to choose the right tools will go along way in sustaining the look of your garden.

When selecting the right gardening tools for the job, you should know that a lot of tools come in packages. These packages will vary based upon the type of garden that you want to grow. So the first step in selecting your gardening tools depends on the type of garden that you want to create. Do you want a rose garden? A vegetable garden? A fruit garden? Or a general garden with beautiful plants and flowers that can add life to your home?

Once you’ve made your decision, it’s time to start looking for the right tools. You should have to spend more than you have to on the right tools, since most tools will do the job even if your garden is large or small.

To get help, you should go by your nearest gardening supply store and ask for some advice. Simply tell them your agenda and the type of garden that you’re looking to build, and they will point in the right direction in the form of a certain product or a gardening specialist. But no matter what solution they recommend, make sure that it doesn’t exceed your budget and the most you’re willing to spend on tools.Another tip is to consider the type of gardening store that you’re going to. Depending on the type of garden that you want to grow, you should visit the local store that specializes in the kind of garden that you want. There are indoor gardens, rooftop gardens, outdoor gardens, vegetable gardens, and more. So know which type of garden you want to make and select the store that mostly resembles it.

Holiday Gifts For Gardeners

If you missed the boat this year, forget about giving the same old garden gloves or trowel set and offer something more imaginative. Here are my top recommendations for the best holiday gifts for gardeners.

1.  Among the new tools I’ve pounced upon are ratcheted loppers with telescoping handles that extend at the push of a button, and ratchet pruners. Both forestall that wrist and thumb pain that becomes so common as we age. Gardeners who suffer from arthritis will find they can last longer, with less pain, by selecting tools that are specifically designed to substitute leverage for strength.

2. . It’s hard to go wrong by purchasing gift certificates for a gardener’s favorite local plant nursery. Such gifts are really more than the plants themselves, since the gardener gets to spend a pleasant spring morning outdoors, choosing exactly what tickles his or her fancy.

3.  Cash toward longed-for garden ornaments, structures, antiques, gates, fences, etc., mean a lot to gardeners, since such items are usually chosen as focal points after much soul-searching, and may represent more to the gardener than meets the eye. They are also costly, so the recipient will be grateful for the contribution you make. Gifts like this will be seen every day and the giver(s) remembered for their thoughtfulness.

4. How about paying for a month of gardener coaching or an online gardening class? A prepaid consultation with a landscape designer? A weekend’s worth of labor? A backhoe rental? Or installing a deer exclosure?

5. Garden books make welcome presents, though well-meaning friends and relatives of long-term gardeners are taking a chance by making a selection themselves. A better choice might be a gift certificate to a bookstore, or to Amazon, where an armload of used books can be purchased for a pittance. Since the information in gardening books rarely goes out of date (except, perhaps, for pesticides, preservatives, and pests), think about buying a collection of early books by garden writers, landscape designers, or photographers whose works your gardener admires.

6. Another option is art-quality picture books or videos of famous gardens from around the world. Even dyed-in-the-wool hands-on dirt gardeners enjoy being transported on an imaginary tour in the dead of winter. I particularly enjoy movies that feature beautiful gardens, such as Howard’s End, or My House in Umbria, even though the story may not be about the garden itself.

7.Garden tours abound locally in warm weather months, hosted by garden clubs, art and historical societies, and museums. Internationally, commercial tour operators who specialize in garden tours to far-off places, such as London, Paris Thailand, China, and South America offer trips year-round. Tickets to tours, near or far, will be warmly received.

Home and Garden Books For Every Beginner

Top  Home and Garden Books For Every Beginner and Designer

1. The Well Tended Perennial Garden: Planting and Pruning Techniques by Tracy DiSabato-Aust is a classic. Tracy is well known in the gardening world for her 20 plus years experience in maintaining gardens and in this book she tells you exactly how to prune perennials. Also, In the very first chapter, she speaks of designing a garden with its maintenance in mind.

2. Landscaping With Perennials by Emily Brown is another favorite of ours. Advice on garden layouts for slopes, shade, bogs, parking strips, creating cutting gardens, island beds, or a fairytale woodland garden is all here. Included are line drawings, photographs, plant lists and more. A real delight to read.

3. Gardening With Color by Mary Keen. A garden designer and consultant herself, Mary has filled this book with gorgeous full page photos. Excellent advice on designing with the six color categories for gardens including: blues, reds, greens, grays and white, and yellows makes this book another great choice for your library.

4. Armitage’s Garden Annuals: A Color Encyclopedia by Allan Armitage helps the gardener select proven specimen annuals that are interesting, important, and often overlooked. Armitage is a horticulturalist, teacher, and respected expert in his field and this plant reference guide is a perfect companion to his earlier Manual of Annuals, Biennials, and Half-Hard Perennials. Attractive and easy to use with inspiring pictures.

5. Designing the New Kitchen Garden: An American Potager Handbook by Jennifer R. Bartley was published in 2006 but I’m just now finding out about it. This lovely book describes how to create a garden that is not only beautiful and well laid out, but is also productive. Who wouldn’t want a kitchen garden, or potoager, as part of their landscape? If you love growing your own fresh fruits and veggies, learn how to do it in style!

6. All New Square Foot Gardener by Mel Bartholomew is my new favorite gardening book. This method has been around for 25 years so you know it works. I was skeptical at first. How can you “grow more in less space” like he says in 4’x4′ square boxes? Pictures with detailed instruction explains how to build these raised beds for your garden or deck. Great for everyone as well as kids and wheelchair bound gardeners

7. The Complete Compost Gardening Guide by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah Martin helps gardeners to not become compost failures. Unique, easy to implement techniques using heaps, bins, or enclosed composters make composting easier to create and tend.