Archive for Helen’s Haven

Sunday, January 10, 2010 Puttering in Helen’s Haven™

As punishment to last week’s complaint of cold weather in the 40s, I was given even worse weather this week where it stayed in the 20s and 30s.  It was a cold week in Helen’s Haven™.

Gardening With Confidence™ was recognized as Ecosystem Gardening’s 2009 Garden of the Year.

Gardening With Confidence™ was mentioned in Susan Reimer’s Garden Variety’s Blog again this month. Thank you Baltimore Sun!

And Lisa Gustavson with GetInTheGarden listed her favorite wilidlife bloggers in Follow the Leaders.

Thanks for mentioning Gardening With Confidence™; it’s an honor to be mentioned along with so many great, passionate wildlife bloggers.

365 DAYS IN THE GARDEN – everyday, there is something to do garden related….

4.  Break ice on bird feeders, added suet feed to supplemental feeders.

5. Read Plant Delight Nursery Catalog.

6. The early spring issue of Country Gardens arrived – Nice!

7.  Spoke to a garden club about Adding Winter Interest to your garden.

8. Ordered Pathenocissus tricuspidata, Boston Ivy ‘Fenway Park’ from Plant Delight Nursery.  Will pick up in April.

9.  Worked on three presentations, Creating Privacy Hedgerows, Designing With Vines, and The Business of Garden Coaching.

10.  Finalized plans for Garden Bloggers meeting in Buffalo!  This going to be so much fun.

Buffa10 Bloggers Meet-Up, 2010;


BOOK REPORT

Sent in full submission package to publisher.  Now we wait.  In the meantime, I wrote another chapter today.


WHAT’S SHE WRITING ABOUT NOW…
The Amaryllis Lives on in the Garden
January Garden Maintenance

The early spring issue of Country Garden had a nice little story I did about Beth Jimenez and Amelia Lane and their hypertufas through their business Lasting Impressions

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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Sunday, January 3, 2010 Puttering in Helen’s Haven

It has been a cold week in Helen’s Haven; so much so, I was too weak to work in the garden at all. Hardly leaving the mid 40s, I felt I needed to wait until the 50s returned.

This month, is my 2nd blog anniversary.  It started as a diary of garden goings on in Helen’s Haven: what was growing, blooming, planted, pruned.  It also included what the kids were doing in the garden.  Their joys in the garden, as well as, their antics.

Today, this Sunday post remains the same, with more focus on the what was done in the garden during the week. Surprisingly, these Sunday posts receive the most hits.  I don’t know what this means, but thank you for stopping by. Actually, this weekly post surpasses my most favorite posting – This Month in The Garden – where I give monthly maintenance tips for our zone 7b gardens.

Often, I’m asked how I got started writing a garden blog.  Given that my day job is already as a writer (and garden coach & scout), how do I find the time and interest in writing for free?  My answer, a release.  It is such a release to write this blog.  It’s the only avenue I have to write anything, I mean anything, I want.  I can write in first person, it can be pillar or pale.  It can be about books, plants, travels, people, or profiling a garden.

The profiles came about as I wanted to share great gardens in NC and beyond.  I get to see some great gardens through my work with Better Homes and Gardens and their special interest publications such as Country Gardens and Nature’s Garden.  But for so many reasons, none of which are due to the garden not being worthy of publication, they are not selected.  This gives me a chance to profile their garden as a thank you for sharing it with me.

Reflecting on the last 2 year’s worth of post, I’ve decided to continue much as I have been, with a small difference.  The difference will be frequency.  I’m thinking I’ll continue to post this weekly update.  I find it to be a valuable reference of my garden goings on and I think the reader can glean what they can be doing in the garden, as well.

I will continue to profile gardens (because they are so much fun to write), write book reviews (so, Mr. Media Man, add me to your list), plants (so, Ms. Grower, add me to your list, Helen’s Haven trials plants ) and of course, I’ll continue to write about my cute, sweet kids, named after flowers, and their antics (see the category, Flowers That Talk.)

I’m also going the bandwagon in the What I do in the Garden 365 DAYS IN THE GARDEN.  Not sure if it is a real challenge, but sounds like something I would like to do.

For my long time readers, it is no surprise that I am writing a book.  I haven’t officially started.  I have a committment from my publisher, but I’m still in the process of putting the details together: sample chapter, tone, table of contents, etc.  After this, I hope to actually begin writing the book.  To keep track of all that I am doing, I thought I would begin to include  a BOOK REPORT in my Sunday post.  This will update you and allow me to chronical my progress.

I’ll also include a section on WHAT’S SHE WRITING ABOUT NOW…. This section will link the posts I wrote during the week, as well as, linking This Month in The Garden.  You may ask, Why would I continue with the monthly maintenance guide when the hits are so low?  Cuz one day you will visit and will need it.  When you do, I will be there  for you.  It might not be today, or next year, but when you are ready to read about garden maintenance tips in our zone 7b gardens, you will have the resource as close as your friendly Garden Coach, Helen Yoest at Gardening With Confidence™.

365 DAYS IN THE GARDEN

  1. Photographed 6 locations in the garden to begin a new project following a bed’s monthly progress
  2. Cracked ice in birdbaths
  3. Read seed catalogues.

BOOK REPORT

This past summer, I decided to work in earnest to publish my book.  For a very long time, I’ve wanted to help gardeners with their gardens.  As a garden coach, I work with gardeners to build the garden the always desired.  As a garden coach, I guide them on to how to look at their garden.  I believed, there was a book idea there and convienced a publisher of this too.  Then, my publisher, Roger Waynick, Cool Spring Press, started to waffle.

Hmmm, when faced with this kind of reaction, do I defend the book idea or do I walk assuming he knows more than I do.  Or perhaps, just perhaps, my  brilliant idea needed some refining.  My publisher challenged me to do a market study.  So, I did.  Well, he liked the resultes of the survey and apparantely my approach, because, this was posted on Twitter soon after his review, “@gardenpublisher If anyone wants to learn how to sell a book idea, ask @helenyoest. She just convinced me to do a book that I was unsure about. Great job!”

So the beginning began.  Over the New Year’s break, I put together the information in the Cool Springs Press Submission guidelines.  If nothing else, it was an exercise in organization.  Organizing ones thoughts is never a bad idea.  Hopefully, next week, I can tell you how much he liked it as well….hope so!

WHAT’S SHE WRITING ABOUT NOW…

What do You Want to Know About a Plant?

I’m Gonnas

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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Sunday December 27, 2009 Puttering in Helen’s Haven

What a week in the garden.  It rained on Christmas, so I didn’t have to make up any excuses about being outside.

Nature put her breaks on me so I could focus on celebrating with my family.  Then lo and behold, the skies cleared, the temperature rose, and I was out playing in the garden once again.

The wintertime is a great time to clean up, gear up, and read up on gardening for the next season.  But in Helen’s Haven, the winter is a season we celebrate.  Helen’s Haven is a four season garden with plenty of interest in each season, especially the winter.

As I cut back The Red Bed, I evaluated what I wanted for the coming year.  The castor beans were a huge hit this year.  Bold, lush and red; the drama they brought can be matched by no other.  However, after the frost, when they needed to be removed for the season, it was like felling a forest.  I may have had a bit more than needed; especially considering the amount of work they were after the frost.  Castor beans will continue to grace The Red Bed, but in smaller numbers.


I have plenty of seed to share.  Let me know if I can send some to you!

Also in The Red Bed, the hedgerow I started last winter is taking shape.  Having planted daylilies there (divisions from clients and friends), they became a maintenance headache.  So, as much as my neighbors love them, I decided they needed to go.  I made an attempt to remove them, but I know I didn’t get them all and will be after them for quite a while.  I left one patch on purpose because I do love them.

But the goal for the south side is to have a nice tapestry hedge to attract wildlife.  The plantings included in the hedgerow are, a spice bush, camellia, variegated box, Rose of Sharon, Gold Totem Pole, Knock Out Rose, Japanese Black pine, Abelia ‘Little Richard’ and Forthysia.  These plantings are a continuation of the Southern Magnolia that anchors the Southwest corner of the house.

Fledging Hedgerow

Another area in The Red Bed that needed my attention was the Forsythia.  There were four big clumps that needed to be removed.  This is one of my favorite harbingers of spring; but it can get a little unruly.

The aster, banana, elephant ears, daisies, ruellia, salvias were cut back.  kk decided he had no room for the Invincibelle Spirit, so I planted it in The Office Border.

For some time now, I have considered putting in an edge along the back lawn area where it meets the twin beds.  Left over from a job were 15 Ever-edges.  Laying them out to see how they will look, there they sit until I can decide.  It’s looking like it will be a good investment to at least try.  There are enough to be able to tell if the look is something I want.  Cut edges just don’t last long enough.  Given the look of that back area, a crisp formal edge is necessary.  Whether I go with this edge or another, an edge will be addressed in 2010.

Added Christmas tree cuttings to the wildlife brush pile

Wildlife brush pile

Fresh Cut Christmas Trees Versus Artificial Trees

Christmas Tree Afterlife for Wildlife

Merry Christmas to All and to All Good Gardens

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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Merry Christmas to All and to All Good Gardens!

From my family to yours, we wish you a very merry Christmas!


Two thousand nine, was just divine,

Count your blessings and mourn your losses,

Show your garden who the boss is.

Begin again in two thousand ten!


Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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Sunday December 20, 2009 Puttering in Helen’s Haven

The Sunday Before Christmas

It was a slow gardening week at Helen’s Haven.  The kids last day of school was Friday, so any preparations that involved their Christmas needed to be complete.

While Helen’s Haven slept through sleet and snow and rain, I waited to garden.  The next dry, sunny day, I will be out in the garden again – despite the cold.  I just don’t want to be cold AND wet.

The hope of a Christmas season snow was dashed by a mere degree.  The kid’s disappointment quickly faded dreaming of sugarplums and Santa.

This story about Suzanne Edney’s design is a good Garden Coaching lesson to evaluate your garden for winter interest.  Winter Interest Under Way for Umstead Hotel and Spa

Tomorrow (Monday) at 12:47 PM EST will bring the Winter Solstice.  For this light starved gardener, the Winter Solstice is a much anticipated day.  To celebrate, fellow bloggers and I created a Plantluck Dinner – A Winter Solstice Celebration Meal.

When you finish Bobby Ward’s book Cholorphyll in his Veins: J.C. Raulston: Horticultural Ambassador, please share with me your comments so I can post and share for others to see.

The decorating is done, for me and my clients.  If you are still looking to be inspired, have a look here:  How to Decorate a Birdbath for the Holidays &  How to Decorate a Container for the Holidays.


Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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Sunday, December 13, 2009 Puttering In Helen’s Haven

This week has been cold, too cold for my liking.  No much going on in the garden – not because it is cold, that wouldn’t stop me, but rather, I’ve been busy getting ready for the holidays.  Going to parties, parties, and more parties, for and by everyone, it seems….plus another chapter in my book.

There is still maintenance to do in the garden, if you are so inclined, This Month in the Garden – December

When it is this cold, a little December Inspiration goes a long way.

This piece shot in Raleigh with Beth Jimenez and Amalia Lane with Lasting Impressions Making a Hypertufa Trough – Better Homes and Gardens finally came out.

Spoke to the Wake Forest Garden Club.  Lots of fun.  From that preparation, I wrote a couple of blog post that will show up this week and next.  Here’s the kick off. Book of Six © Six Easy Pieces to Create Awesome Christmas Decorations.

Here’s another How to Create a Boxwood Topiary for Your Holiday Decorations.

If you need to be reminded how to choose a live tree, these tips are for you Book of Six © Six Tips When Choosing a Live Christmas Tree.

And finally, my  friend Kathy Jentz, published and editor of Washington Gardener Magazine got me to do this Honest Scrap Award, Honestly Who Cares?

I made it to the Farmer’s Market and was happy to see the apples are still plentiful. Picked up 2 big bags of Pink Ladies.  While I was there a chocolate croissant met with $3.00 from my wallet, passed through my lips, and landed happily in my belly. I look for this baker every time I’m at the NC State’s Farmer’s Market and I don’t know their name.  I am ashamed of this.  I will make a point this week to get their name and place of business.  I do know they are in Durham, so I’m grateful they come to Raleigh to sell.  They make the best croissant outside of France…in my humble opinion.


Friday night, I went to the preview party (and sale) at Goldbug Studio in Raleigh. They are a wholesaler with the most interesting wares selling to places like Anthropologie.  I make no secret that Anthropologie is my favorite store in the whole wide world.  Ashley’s art is exactly what you would find at Anthropologie, so I’m not surprised.  Even the studio she works from could be the back drop for an Anthropologie’s catalogue photo shoot.

Goldbug opens to the public 2 times a year.  I am already waiting for the next opening.  I wanted to get so much more, but I was over stimulated on Friday night. The next morning, once recovered,  I went back only to be disappointed to find, what I dreamed about all night was already sold.  That will teach me.

I passed this opening to my girlfriends at The Bloomsbury Garden Club.  A few went and emailed me their thanks for turning them on to it…summed it by saying, “Magical.”  Magical indeed.  Part vintage, part fashion forward, part nostalgia.  I wish I could have spent the night.

The ones that got away.

I did bring home a gold bird, a silver bird, a gold pumpkin; and of course, a gold bug.  I now regret, I didn’t get a blue bird and a green bird, and…..

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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Sunday, December 6, 2009 Puttering in Helen’s Haven

Weston Farms design

We finally had our killing frost – in the front gardens.  The front gardens are lower than the back by 16 feet.  As such, it is not unlikely this could happen; but it always amazes me when it does.

It was a quiet week in Helen’s Haven.  A cold kept me stuck inside most of the week, although I did get a chance to mow.  I even missed the launching of my friend, Bobby Ward’s new book, Chlorophyll in His Veins: J.C. Raulston – Horticultural Ambassador.  I still got to post about it and Bobby brought over a copy for me on Friday.  He was wise to stay 10 feet back.

For maintenance tips for the month of December, please visit This Month in the Garden – December

If working in the garden isn’t inspiration enough, try this as a pick me up – Fine Gardening – December Inspiration – ‘Tis The Season for Evening Lighting

At the Farmers Market, I visited Weston’s Farm store to see their Magnolia wreaths.  I hope to get to the farm next week or so.  Erin Weston does very good work and I like her style.  While there, they shared with me their  secret to keeping the Magnolia wreaths fresh looking.  I forgot to ask if I could share her secret.  I guess I better keep it to myself until I get permission to share it…in the meantime, I plan to try it,

Weston Farms design

I’ve been snipping greenery around Helen’s Heaven and around the neighborhood, with permission of course, to have conditioned prior to use in clients homes and businesses.    On Tuesday, I get to demonstrate creating holiday decorations for the Wake Forest Garden Club by using just snips from the garden.  I’l show uses with Leyland, Magnolia, holly, red-stemmed dogwood, and more.

In keeping with teaching how to create natural decorations, I have begun to post tips to decorating for Christmas around the home.  Here’s a tip Number of lights and ornaments for your Christmas Tree.

We have some cold weather now and for next week.  I’ll dress in layers and try not to complain…but just for the record, I don’t like cold weather.

Frost Angel

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening with Confidence™

Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her facebook friend’s page, Helen Yoest or Gardening With Confidence™ Face Book Fan Page.

Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum

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