Posts Tagged Cool Springs Press

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™.


  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.


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 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, October 11, 2009 Puttering In Helen’s Haven

October 2009 GBBD 036

I have been nesting.  The feeling has been very similar to right before my children were born.  I wondered why I was feeling this way until  remembered the book.

This version of nesting is to finish loose ends before I sit down and work on the book.  Finish, clean, ponder, plant.  Once I get started on the book, there will be little time for anything else.  I’m so very excited.

Starting the book this week began with the  Table of Contents.  Once complete, this will gave me a map to go forward.  The middle part of the book  – the writing – will be easy, the final bit about commas, capitalization, etc will be tedious, but necessary.  For now, I’m all smiles.

I have been following my own list as I work in the garden.  I update these lists on a regular basis.  I hope you find The Month in the Garden – October useful as well.

On my mission for more productive space in the garden, more grass had to go.  I didn’t like the shape of this bit of grass.  It wasn’t efficient to mow, nor did I like to look of the curve.  Extending  it out made for a nice curve and allows for more  planting.

This week,  I cut the new edge, replaced the stepping stones to better fit the space, turned the ground to kill the grass, planted tulips, covered turned ground with 8 – 10 layers of newspaper, and top dressed with composted leaf mulch.

The new edge cut.  Not the the area reduced

Before - The new edge cut. Note the new area reduced

After with a top dressing of composted leaf mulch

After - Top dressed with composted leaf mulch

I have a habit of doing this; this reducing the lawn thing.  But think I’m done now.  I can see an area of the front that will be targeted for next year.

Last year, in the back, I did my last lawn reduction and I still like what I have left.  The scale is perfect and the kids enjoy the cool turf to play on.  But the front could have benefited from more…so more it was.   Not sure what will be planted there.  I will use the fall and winter to prepare the ground fro a spring planting.  The method I described above  preps the soil by letting nature take her course.  In front of the tulips, I  sowed seeds of  spinach and beets.

There were three other existing garden beds that I extended. Check out Lawn Refrom to see what others are doing to reduce their lawn.

This week’s mulch from the City of Raleigh was a bit sour.  This surprised me greatly.  I expect this type of condition in the spring.  The fall is usually well composted since the leaves have had a year to cook.  I laid it anyway.  The smell is finally gone.

Hoyt Bangs, owner of Waterwise Garden Design brought his class by to visit Helen’s Haven as an example of a waterwise garden design.  It is always fun to share my garden.

Planted poppies, Papaver fornesett ‘Summer’, Papaver ‘ Little Dancing Girl’, and Papaver ‘Pattty S. Plum’ even though I’m told  they are not likely to do well for me here, I must find out for myself.

Closed Helen’s Haven compost pile and set and began a new one in a different area of the garden.

Closed compost pile after 18 months

Closed compost pile after 18 months

At Helen’s Haven we cold compost.  Cold composting is basically piling yard waste and kitchen scraps in one area and let it break down naturally.  There is not turning, no following of formulas, not temperature to monitor.   It just slowly degrades.  This is a good method for areas when the product – the compost – is not being generated for use elsewhere in the garden.  It is a convenient way to reduce what goes to the city.  In about a year, this area will reduced.  I can use the space again to compost, use the compost that is made  or do nothing.  I each case, the area will have benefited, and so will the City.

Put up Fresh Basil Pesto for the winter.  Thought you would enjoy the recipe.  This blog post was also featured on Susan Reimer’s blog at  Baltimore Sun – Garden Variety

  • Planted Habranthus robustus given to my by my friend Amelia.  She actually dug up a bucket full and announced they for the taking to the JCRA Volunteers list serve.  I just happen to be driving by when the email popped up on my iPhone…I left plenty for others.
  • Planted 80 Apeldoorn Tulips
  • Planted 12 Cheerfulness Daffs
  • Planted 12 Yellow Cheerfulness Daffs

My garden, Helen’s Haven, was written about at My Corner of KathyCity Gardening

We have not yet had a frost.  Helen’s Haven is still in full flower with abundant wildlife.  We are also still enjoying fresh tomatoes from Aster’s Victory garden.  Two plants have provided our family and the neighbor’s with tomatoes since June.

Copy and photos by Helen Yoest

Helen Yoest is a garden writer and coach through her business Gardening With Confidence Follow Helen on Twitter @HelenYoest and her Facebook page, the Gardening With Confidence fan page. Helen also serves on the board of advisors for the JC Raulston Arboretum.

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