Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Congrats to the Greater Providence’s Southside Community Land Trust

This wonderful email found its way into my inbox this afternoon. The Southside Community Land Trust in Providence receives national honors from National Garden Clubs and is a 2012 Award of Excellence recipient!! Way to go guys!!!

Winners Hail from Rhode Island, Virginia and Wyoming
ST. LOUIS (May 22, 2012)—National Garden Clubs Inc. recently announced the winners of its highest honor: the 2012 Award of Excellence. The winners, who were recognized at NGC’s annual convention May 19 in Buffalo, N.Y., include Southside Community Land Trust of Providence, R.I., Strange’s Florists, Greenhouses and Garden Centers of Richmond, Va., and Shane Smith of Cheyenne, Wyo.
“The Award of Excellence program annually recognizes three truly exceptional individuals, organizations or institutions that have made significant contributions to their communities in such areas as environmental and civic responsibility, conservation, beautification and promoting the love of gardening,” says Shirley Nicolai, president, National Garden Clubs. “By recognizing these deserving award recipients from different parts of the nation, NGC hopes to educate and inspire others in communities coast-to-coast.” National Garden Clubs Inc. is recognized as the largest volunteer gardening organization in the world.
Nominated by Rhode Island Federation of Garden Clubs Inc., Southside Community Land Trust, www.southsideclt.org, is an organization that fosters awareness of urban and sustainable agriculture programs and provides land, education, tools and support to encourage people to grow food in Greater Providence.  The organization was selected for the Award of Excellence based on its local efforts to provide ongoing gardening education and offer comprehensive urban agriculture programs. Among the many programs offered by Southside Community Land Trust are 13 neighborhood-based community gardens, a city farm located in the heart of Providence, and the Urban Edge Farm, a 50-acre business model farm that offers new area farmers a place to make the transition to commercial agriculture. Southside Community Land Trust also created an urban agriculture task force that brings together a coalition of growers, community professionals and environmentalists to collaborate with community development groups, farmers, chefs, policymakers and health care professionals to promote practices and policies that strengthen Providence’s local food systems. Katherine Brown, executive director, Southside Community Land Trust, accepted the Award of Excellence from National Garden Clubs Inc.
Nominated by Virginia Federation of Garden Clubs Inc., Strange’s Florists, Greenhouses and Garden Centers, www.stranges.com, is one of Virginia’s largest greenhouse growers and one of the largest retail garden centers in the U.S.  Strange’s, which has been led by four generations of the Gouldin family, has been a fixture in the local Richmond and Virginia business community for 75 years. They are one of the state’s largest greenhouse growers, as well as one of the largest retail/grower organizations and garden centers in the U.S., offering a wide variety of flowering and green plants to gardening enthusiasts as a viable alternative to “big box” greenhouse retailers. Strange’s offers to the consumer gardening educational opportunities through in-house seminars and how-to instructional materials. As a retail florist, Strange’s is a member of the Florist Transworld Delivery Association and is consistently ranked in the nation’s top 40 FTD florists for wire orders. They also support the work of numerous civic and non-profit organizations through sponsorships and donations of plants and floral materials, including the Science Museum of Virginia, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia Orchid Show. William J. Gouldin, Jr., president, Strange’s Florists, Greenhouses and Garden Centers, accepted the Award of Excellence from National Garden Clubs Inc.
Shane Smith, who was nominated by Wyoming Federation of Garden Clubs Inc., is a noted garden author, consultant and the director and founder of the award-winning Cheyenne Botanic Gardens, www.botanic.org, Wyoming’s only public botanical garden. This nationally recognized garden has been lauded for striving to promote the beautification and enrichment of the High Plains through gardening, volunteerism, education and stewardship. In the 1970s, Smith’s vision was to create a non-profit botanic garden and sustainability center in Cheyenne—a city situated 6,000 feet above sea level renowned for its harsh weather conditions. As part of this vision, Smith also directed the area’s efforts to construct one of the nation’s first solar-heated greenhouses on the site. He also was instrumental in developing the Paul Smith Children’s Village, the first public children’s garden in the U.S. to earn a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.
Smith is the author of the Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion, the top-selling greenhouse book on Amazon.com.  He serves coast-to-coast and internationally as a guest lecturer and consultant on greenhouse gardening, community greening, horticulture therapy and community-based botanic gardens.
Headquartered in St. Louis, National Garden Clubs Inc. (www.gardenclub.org) is comprised of nearly 190,000 members, 6,000 local clubs, eight regions, 50 state clubs, a National Capital Area club, and hundreds of international affiliates. NGC offers members extensive educational programs on topics of current interest such as plantings for public spaces, protecting aquatic ecosystems, greening and beautifying the community, conservation, recycling, floral design, flower shows, garden therapy, healing gardens and youth programs. Working in partnership with other organizations, NGC offers several projects, including Habitat for Humanity Landscaping and Penny Pines.  Among NGC’s most nationally honored projects are the Blue Star Memorial marker program and funding and support for the Butterfly Garden at the U.S. Botanic Garden.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Things are a little out of whack this spring....

          Unless you live under a rock, you are well aware that we are had a very mild winter which is now leading into a very unseasonably warm spring. I've been watching how things are emerging since the end of February. My Witch Hazel which usually is the harbinger of the RI Flower Show week, bloomed a whole month early in January. It also held it's flowers an insanely long time...the petals just dropped last week. The perennials in my gardens started to make their appearance from the soil at the end of February. That is unusual. This week, my gardens look like what they normally would look in about a month from now in the middle of April.

          My spring bulbs are on schedule which surprised me. I figured they would have made an early show this season especially since the ground never froze this year. Old favorites like the crocus are up now (which matches up to when I posted photos of them last year) and they are just now starting to fade. The white crocus are hanging out better than the blues in this nutty 70 something degree weather.

I planted some new things this past fall like these awesome little snowdrops. I love them! I actually think they are a little behind schedule and they should have shown up earlier in March. Go figure....

More Crocus by Lake Larson...you can see the white variety coming up. This photo was taken last week.

This is a new bulb to me...I can't remember exactly what it is. It's definitely in the Hyacinthaceae family. It very well could be a type of Hyacinthoides. I just scoured my Facebook fan page and personal page without success to see if I posted about planting them. I'll see if I saved the label from the bulbs packaging in my office because my curiosity is getting the best of me.

Now this is where I get concerned about what I see...my hydrangeas breaking their buds with gusto. These guys are insanely early. This winter with it's mild temps are setting us up for a hydrangea season for the books because there was very little winter damage on them. The majority of the Big Leaved Hydrangea bloom from buds on last year's wood. So, if we get temps that are below freezing at night for an extended period of time...these blown out buds could get fried. There goes our awesome Hydrangea season. :( If you have Endless Summer or any of their other cultivars, you'll be okay because they bloom on this year's and last year's wood. I only have one of those...my others are the more classic hydrangea. So, I'm wringing my hands over them until we get to our past frost date. I've also seen my clematis and Sargent's Crab Apple being over zealous about pushing new spring growth. I'm not liking seeing all of that either...

I was out and about yesterday and saw something I have never seen before in all of the years I've been involved with plants professionally. Flowering Plums blooming in March...before the Forsythia. I took this pic in Tiverton, RI at a client's condo complex. This is not right...not right at all! I also find it interesting the Forsythia and Korean Rhododendrons who are supposed to be blooming now are holding to their schedule. I've seen some Forsythia that are just starting to show some color. I'm baffled by why somethings are pushing blooms/growth on some crazy schedule and things that you would think would be blooming early because they usually do aren't.

Here's some news you may be aware of if you are a Facebook friend of mine. The office has a new customer service intern. :) His name is Ocean....he's Lars' cousin and their mothers are littermates. He's been here since the end of January and he was a total surprise to us. Lars' breeder was looking for a working home who could take on another boy and she had more girl homes lined up than boys. So to Rhode Island, Ocean came. A lot of people have asked how did he get his name. This was the O litter and Ocean was the blue puppy. The unofficial tradition with Deerwoods pups is the call name and registered name should start with the litter letter. (That actually makes it really easy to know who is out of who and who are litter mates.) So his breeder and family had nicknamed him Ocean and we had decided to keep it. First couple of weeks were a little bumpy with Lars and Ocean figuring each other out. Ocean is already "a lot of dog" in a little body and he's a very different puppy than Lars was. "Strong Willed" and "Pushy" are the words that gets thrown around a lot when talking about Ocean. At first, I wasn't sure if I had made the right decision to let him come and live with us...and that went on for a couple of weeks. But, now that he has settled in and we're more used to him...I'm looking at it as he was sent here to teach me something. I've even said to Eric "I wonder why he's here..." I wasn't looking for him at all and he found us instead. I just finished listening to a book about dogs and one of the sentences that stuck with me was "We don't find the dog we're looking for. The dogs we need find us." I think that is very true...I'm eager to see why Ocean found me.

Without further ado...the Larson Boys at Second Beach in Middletown, RI last week -


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I think I feel the same way!

As seen on facebook! :)

Garden Consultant HQ is starting to wake up from it's long winter nap. This was a winter of soul searching and getting back to what is really important for me and myself as well as the landscape design stuff that I do. I'm feeling good about this year and hope that this growing season is fruitful and prosperous. :)