Saturday, November 7, 2009

Peony Planting

This week we're planting more Peonies for spring blooms. In the coming years we should have quite a nice stand of red, white, and soft pink peonies. Until recently we were only growing whites and pinks.

If you are planting your own peonies remember to always improve the soil with compost. Peonies need well drained rich healthy soil. Always plant the buds just 2' below the final soil line in full sun. Mulch encourages voles and rot.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Last Flowers of the Summer

We are finishing up our wedding season with one more to go. Here's a few more photo's from this year. Look for us at the local holiday farmers Markets for beautiful red winterberry holly for your indoor and outdoor decorations. This is the real stuff not faux.
Keep Shady Grove Gardens in mind for Christmas gift certificates.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Fall's here and we still have flowers!

It's Zinnia, Calendula, Dahlia time of year. Love the colors. We are all enjoying them while we can.

Next week at the Saturday Watauga County Farmers Market we will have sweet Italian Peppers, storage sweet onions, decorative mini pumpkins in white and orange and deep orange Cinderella pumpkins, along with a wide array of berries for home decoration.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Flower Arranging Workshop- September 14th
Shady Grove Gardens is offering a fun 1/2 day flower camp and field day. Use their fresh cut flowers to fill 2-3 of your own vases and get more on site. Monday September 14th 9AM-1PM at the Creston, NC farm. Flowers are provided and you my cut more from the pasture and fields. $50 per person includes refreshments and farm fresh flowers as well as a short demonstration and all morning design advise. The theme will be new color combinations for fall designs. Reservations are required. 828-297-4098

Come join the fun and use all these great flowers and many more.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Well, we've finally able to break out of the rain and the cold spells to do some planting. Squash and pumpkins are in the ground but we are still waiting on the zinnia and peppers to catch up. They hate cool weather.

After spending days digging a long ditch to lay a water line for warm water to the seedlings we now have water, just not the warm water I was hoping for. It's really been a rough season for watering all the way around. Too cold, too hot. Not enough water pressure...... Anyway, I still like growing all our own seedling as it allows me grow the exact varieties I want for our vegetables and cut flowers. It's very time consuming though. I spend 1-2 hours a day and sometimes twice a day watering and fertilizing the seedlings and the perennials. It does allow me to check how everything is doing each and everyday. 

I'm posting some photos from the farm today. Water continues to be a problem out there as well. The pump made for a solar panel burned up again this spring. We seem to be the last farmers in North America sticking a hose in a puddle or stream for water. It's just a siphon. I have definite ethical issues against pumping water out of a stream. When we get enough money we will put in a well or buy another pump to go with the 2 spring boxes we already have. It's a good thing we are on a hill. 

The rain has really helped the perennials. The salvia here, is the best I've ever seen it. Next week is a huge wedding week. 3 Weddings, all small but non-the-less very important to the couples. We will spend all waking hours next week cutting and preparing the flowers for Saturday. Some one tell me why June the 20th is so popular for weddings. Blue and white weddings at that. We're keeping our fingers crossed on the larkspur. It looks very healthy, but will it just bloom already.
Update: We put in a 15,000 well with minor improvements on our water issues for 5 acred of flowers.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Deer Damage Prevention

Deer seem to be the number one problem for gardeners these days. Here's some links and information I hope you find helpful. Your goal is to make your garden less appealing than someone else's. In the long run I believe that with the elimination of our natural large predators, it is up to humans to control the deer population. They not only eat gardens but in some areas they are decimating the natural vegetation. This destruction of natural areas increases with each season.  Wild plants already have extreme pressure on their populations. What's the longer term answer? Increased hunting and hunting season. Open season on does and the use of birth control for the deer. So if you really care about this issue lobby your legislatures for longer hunting seasons, longer bow seasons on doe as well as bucks. On another note I hate guns and dislike hunting so this pains me to encourage all the above. But we are at our limits. Traffic accidents, airplanes and our need for food is starting to outweight other ethical considerations.

On a lighter note here's some things to try. Garden's Alive hosts an archive of gardening articles, with an excellent source for ideas to control deer. So try this link.

 We now have an electric fence in the winter on our field in Zionville. Deer here at the house and nursery are fairly new but a much greater problem that at the farm where our neighbors hunt. But the deer population is increasing at such a rate we are slowly working on a very long double electric fence at 'The Peak'.

 Of course it is hard to hunt around houses. And as you know deer have figured that one out.  But we have had some success with high test monofiliment line, blood meal and 8-track tape. The 8-track tape is hard to find these days but I use it short term to scarce the deer, plus it make a great low frequency hum when the wind blows. I like to think the deer dislike it.

For planting I'd suggest inter-planting things they don't like: yarrow, mints, monkshood, foxglove, salvias. I've also had good luck with hardy geraniums, especially 'Biokovo'.  For some reason the rabbits are eating my 'Claridge Druce' but that's another story.

There is also a motion detector sprinkler I'd use it we had enough water pressure called Scare Crow mentioned here: 

Let me know your solutions and I'll post them.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Why I Love Renee's Seed

A bucket of Sweet Peas, the seed if from Renees Seed I love using Renee's Seeds for our flowers. Their seed packets are covered with helpful information, beautiful artwork as well as filled with great varieties. 

Over the years I've especially appreciated the packets that offer 3 varieties. It allows me to try out just a few of something like new squash and at the same time comparing them to other varieties.

They are our go to place for Sweet Peas. The web site is filled with helpful gardening articles, recipes, a link to their newsletters and of course a place to buy their seeds. In the seed section, you will not only find excellent descriptions but the artwork on each seed packet and helpful photos.
These photos are some of our Sweet Peas Harvests.