Sunday, May 30, 2010

Famous Footwear - Me and Michelle Obama

I'm flattered to be in the same blog post as the First Lady. My new friend, Charlotte (Daffodil Planter) Germane, asked a few garden "rock stars" (I guess I'm a celeb now) to send her a pic and some words about their shoe-du-jour when it comes to the garden. Hands down (or is that feet), it's Crocs for me.

If you've got a minute, pop over for a fun read - also in the line-up are Angela Davis (blogging Gardening In My Rubber Boots), Shawna Coronado, Dianne Benson in her too, too sexy leopard skin footware, and, of course, the First Gardener.

Read it - Daffodil Planter

Friday, May 28, 2010

Growing A Greener World - Sustainable Comes to PBS

I’m going to let Joe Lamp’l, aka Joe Gardener, introduce himself: “I am a full-time gardening & sustainability communicator in the media. Former host of two national shows on DIY and PBS, I am currently producing and hosting a new show on this subject to begin airing nationally in spring, 2010.”

That’s from the little box on the left side of Joe’s Facebook screen. I wish he’d checked with me before posting it, because there’s some stuff he left out. Like the stuff about what a funny, friendly, nice, enlightened, sincere guy he is. I discovered that for myself last year when we got to hang out at the annual Garden Writers Association symposium in Raleigh. Here’s Laura Schaub's candid photo of Joe getting his cool on in my now notorious stingy-brim. Work it, Joe!
Joe’s newest, greenest, most ambitious TV adventure is Growing A Greener World, now showing on multiple public television (PBS) stations around the country. Joe’s impeccably produced, lusciously filmed HD video, 30-minute weekly show is a top-notch visual treat, but it’s the content that has me so excited.

I’m all about spreading the word on sustainability and praise Joe for this show. In his capacity as executive producer and on-camera host, Joe turns the camera on people, organization and events that are making a difference in our world, focusing on gardens and horticulture. The goal of the show is to raise awareness about the environment, and to motivate viewers to be good stewards of the planet.

See what makes Joe's show so cool at my Cool Green Gardens blog at Fine Gardening.

Urbanite - A New Mineral?

Even if you were paying really good attention in your Geology 101 class, you probably haven’t heard of urbanite. It comes in almost any color you can imagine, sits conveniently on the earth’s surface waiting to be loaded on a truck, and is as hard as concrete.

That’s cuz it IS concrete—recycled slabs of pavement seeking a second career. It makes sense to put such a durable and multi-use material back to work, instead of dumping it into landfills, then mining and manufacturing more.

Urbanite has lots of uses in the garden, as I was reminded on my Open Days garden tour in Pasadena last month. If you can build something with flagstone, you can generally substitute urbanite at a much reduced cost. It’s free, since scrap concrete is usually seen as a waste product that has to be disposed of. Most of the expense is in short-distance transportation and labor for installation. Better yet, if the concrete is from your former cracked driveway or patio, you can even scratch the cost of loading and transport.

See what else you can do with broken concrete at Cool Green Gardens

Severe Cutbacks

A few weeks ago I was taken to task about my word choice. It seems, in the opinion of more than one reader, that using "sucks" when describing many of the gardens I see might prevent me from reaching a wider audience.

I also mused about what a wonderful world it would be if we could eliminate gas-fueled tools. A reader offered, "Pretty good stuff. But I'd tone down the attack on folks who use power tools…I don't use chemicals in the garden, but do use gas in the mowers. I'm a sinner, not a saint."

Mae West allusion aside, I guess should set the record straight. I know that power tools are here to stay - they're just so damn convenient.

[Darn it! I said "damn". That pretty much locks up spending eternity in H-E Double Hockey Sticks.]

I've gotta admit, power tools are fast, convenient and allows a gardener to keep his monthly charges down. I only wish the guys wielding these tools had a microgram of understanding about plant physiology. As long as I'm dreaming, what if they had imagination and a sense of play?

Shear Madness - Plant Physiology 101

Whether it's you or a hired gardener shearing a hedge, keep in mind that leaves are the solar collectors that drive the plant's engine. Sunlight provides energy to convert carbon dioxide to carbohydrates, the food the plant needs to survive. If you're continually shearing off the productive leaves, it's like throwing a blanket over your solar collectors.

Read the rest and check out the delightful pruning fantasies at

Nibbling Through the Nosh-O-Sphere

You're probably a few months from that frightful moment when you machete your way to the back of your veggie bed, lift an umbrella-sized leaf and behold a zucchini big enough to have its own zip code. I don't know if this is an urban legend or something I heard on A Prairie Home Companion, but there's supposedly this town in Wisconsin (or San Diego or something) where at the end of summer, when the garden is pumping on all 12 cylinders, people sneak under stealth of night, dumping their unwanted green bioblimps on their neighbor's porch. The neighbor, in turn, fattens the collection with a few of their own and then tiptoes away on their own ninja escapade.

The Burden of Bounty

It's easy to go overboard planting fruit trees and other edibles, only to find that you'd have to be a reality-TV family like Kate & Nate and Their Horde of 38, to eat everything you've grown. Simpler to find a willing recipient for your overstock and find something else to feel guilty about.

You can find a welcoming home for your extra edibles by checking out what Santa Barbara Food Not Lawns is doing to make our area a healthier, better connected, sustainable community.

See how you can do this in your own neck of the woods - In The Garden of Ed

My Ten Commandments (Minus the Burning Bush)

This is my 50th blog post at Edhat. Overlooking my schizophrenic swings between writer's block and the fear of numbing repetition, blogging for Ed has made for a jolly good time.

Writing has been therapeutic. Putting my thoughts into words forces me to examine my beliefs about beauty, purpose and sustainability. Along the way, I have either confirmed what I already thought to be true, or reexamined long-held beliefs and come away with a fresh perspective.

Stupid = Ugly

Most gardens I see are either blah or they outright suck. If they were just ugly, I wouldn't be so pissing furious driving through suburban neighborhoods. After all, ugly is in the eye of the beholder. What one person sees as stunningly beautiful can trigger their neighbor's gag reflex.

Read the rest at Garden of Ed