Posts Tagged Gardening With Confidence

Plantluck Dinner – A Winter Solstice Celebration Meal

Happy Winter Solstice

On Monday, December 21, 2009 at 12:47 PM EST we can take a collective breath as we begin to see the days grow longer.  Longer days are here again.  As we go from the point of days with shorter daylight to days with longer daylight, there is a cause of celebration.

To celebrate, Helen Yoest (that’s me!) of Gardening With Confidence™ and 3 fellow social media friends created a Winter Solstice meal just for you.

We treated this meal like a potluck dinner.   Each of us offered up what ever we fancied,  but agreed the recipes would be plant-based – not necessarily vegetarian; but a recipe that used a plant as it’s main ingredient.  As such, we are calling this meal, a Plantluck Dinner for a Winter Solstice Celebration Meal.

The planners for your Plantluck Dinner for a Winter Solstice Celebration Meal:

Lynn Felici-Galllant
Indigo gardens

Kath Gallant/Blue Moon Cafe
Fan Blue Moon Market & Cafe on

Teresa O’Connor
Seasonal Wisdom
Fan Seasonal Wisdom on

Helen Yoest
Gardening With Confidence
Fan Gardening With Confidence™ on

Kelly Senser

Solstice Stuffed Acorn Squash



4 medium acorn squash, locally harvested if possible

2 cups Lundberg’s long grain brown rice

1/3 cup shredded carrots

1/3 cup minced, dried sweet cranberries

1/3 cup minced, dried sweet apricots

1/3 cup whole, hulled pumpkin seeds

1/3 cup minced red onion

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

4 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 tablespoons chopped mint

Preheat oven to 350° F. Cut the top ¼ of the acorn squash, and remove all seeds. Place the squash and the tops face down in a roasting pan. Add ½ cup of water and cover loosely with foil. Bake at 350° F for 45 minutes to an hour, or until the squash is soft to the touch. Set aside.

Meanwhile, blend 2 cups of Lundberg’s long grain brown rice with 4 cups of water and ½ teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 50 minutes. When the rice is tender, drain and pour it into a large bowl and allow it to cool. When cool, add the carrots, cranberries, apricots, pumpkin seeds, red onion and 2 tablespoons of parsley.

Whisk together balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, mint, pepper, remaining salt and remaining parsley. Toss with the rice and fruit medley. Fill each acorn squash and enjoy!

Lynn Felici-Gallant and Kath Gallant

Recipe by Kath Gallant, Chef and Proprietor of the Blue Moon Café, Exeter, N.H.

About Kath & the Blue Moon Café:

For nearly 15 years, Kath Gallant has nurtured the New Hampshire community through the Blue Moon Café in Exeter. The award-winning café serves creative, abundant cuisine, and is committed to earth-wise education about food and wellness. When not in the kitchen, Kath tends a 2000 square-foot organic vegetable, herb and flower garden that supplies fresh fare to the café, and is presently at work with her sister-in-law, garden designer and writer Lynn Felici-Gallant, on the café’s first (and much-requested!) cookbook.

Today, Kath and Lynn are serving up Solstice Stuffed Acorn Squash.  “I love this dish, especially at the holidays. The natural shades of the rice accented with the vibrant jewel-toned cranberries and apricots served in a savory squash reflect the colors and the spirit of the season,” says Kath.

This dish will be on my Solstice celebration table.  “Rice and fruit-filled acorn squash is my favorite of Kath’s recipes from Blue Moon. It is at once healthful and beautiful, and the combination of flavors, fragrance and textures satisfies all of my senses,” says Lynn.

Seasonal Wisdom’s Kale with Feta and Bacon

Here’s a tasty way to eat more healthy winter greens.  This recipe combines nutritious kale with bacon and goat cheese to create a delicious dish your entire family will enjoy.

Lucky for us, kale grows well in winter in many places, and it’s hard to beat this green’s high nutritional content.  Kale is simply loaded with vitamins A and C, not to mention B vitamins, calcium and other minerals.  At our house, we make this dish whenever nutritious comfort food is needed on a cold, winter night.


3 slices of bacon or vegetarian-style bacon (preferably organic, local or sustainably raised)

1 bunch of kale leaves, chopped

1/3 cup of chopped red peppers (I use frozen peppers from my garden)

1 medium sized onion

1-2 cloves garlic

2/3 cup of vegetable broth

1/4 cup of dry white wine

1-2 tablespoons of feta cheese

1 tsp of Dijon style mustard

1 tsp fresh thyme (1/2 tsp of dried thyme)

1 tsp fresh rosemary (1/2 tsp of dried rosemary)

Pinch of cayenne

Salt and pepper to taste

Fry bacon until crisp. Place cooked bacon on paper towels to drain. In remaining bacon fat, sauté garlic and onions in cooking pan at medium heat until onions are translucent. (If using vegetarian-style bacon, add olive oil while cooking bacon and also while cooking onions.) Then, add red peppers and cook a minute or so to soften.

Add herbs, mustard, broth, white wine, and salt and pepper.  Stir to mix well.

Then add chopped kale and stir well. Cover pan and cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally. A few minutes before done, add feta and stir well. Serve warm.

This recipe makes a yummy side dish.  But these greens also make a great quiche:  simply add a cup of milk or almond milk; 3/4 cup of shredded cheese; and three eggs to the above recipe. Pour mixture into uncooked pie crust and bake at 375° F for 35-40 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when a toothpick stuck in the center of the quiche comes out clean. Let it sit a few minutes before serving.

Teresa O'Connor Seasonal Wisdom

About the Author: Teresa O’Connor (aka @SeasonalWisdom on Twitter) writes about gardening, local foods and seasonal folklore for online and print publications as well as on her blog

Teresa co-authored “Grocery Gardening: Planting, Preparing and Preserving Fresh Foods,” (Cool Springs Press) – coming out in January 2010 – where she reported on  nutritional research about produce, and provided tips for purchasing fresh foods locally.

GWC’s Sweet Potato Casserole


6 Sweet Potatoes

Bag of mini-marshmallows

Some butter – optional – I happen to put butter in everything

Some brown sugar – I used 1/4 cup

Proportions can change depending on  your preference.  Add more or less of any ingredient to suit your taste

Boil potatoes with skins on.  Can be boiled a day in advance.  When done (when a knife easily enters the potato) let cool.

After the sweet potatoes have cooled enough to handle, remove the skins.  At this point, the skin will just slide off.

Pre-heat oven to 350° F

Place ingredients directly into an oven proof dish.

Chop or mash the sweet potatoes with a folk.

Sprinkle brown sugar over top

Sprinkle 3/4 mini-marshmallows over top

Dot with butter (if desired)

Mix all together

Cook at 350° F for about a half hour or until heated through.

Add the reminder of the mini-marshmallows on top for garnish.

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

Recipe for Apple Crumb Pie

Crust (if you don’t already have a favorite of your own):


1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon margarine

1 cup flour

1/4  teaspoon salt

2 to 3 tablespoons cold water

Step 1: Using a fork, cut margarine into flour and salt (already in bowl); combine until particles are about the size of small peas.

Step 2: Add cold water, one tablespoon at a time, tossing with fork until the flour mixture is moistened and dough almost cleans the side of bowl.

Step 3: Gather dough into a ball and place on lightly floured surface. Using floured rolling-pin, roll dough until it’s about 2 inches larger than inverted pie plate.

Step 4: Fold dough into fourths; place in pie plate.

Step 5: Unfold and ease into plate, pressing firmly against bottom and side.

Step 6: Decorate edge as you deem fit. I use my fingers to create wave pattern (image 4). Note: I actually use both hands, but I needed one to snap the photo. :0)

Pie filling:


4 or 5 golden delicious apples (or your favorite baking apple)

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Step 7: Peel and slice apples, then place inside crust

Step 8: Mix sugar with the cinnamon. Sprinkle over the apples.

Step 9: Mix all ingredients together until moist and crumbly. Place on top of the apples.

Crumb topping:


1/2 cup sugar

3/4 cup flour

1/3 cup butter (margarine may also be substituted)

Step 10: Bake pie at 400 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes, until edges are lightly browned.


While I bake this pie for various occasions, it’s a family tradition to present this dessert—warm from the oven—to each child’s teacher during appreciation week in May. We draft a poem to go along with it, which typically begins something like this: “An apple for the teacher is a customary treat/So we baked you a pie to let you know you’re sweet …” Fun for all!

Kelly Senser is a nature-loving mom who enjoys wildlife gardening and outdoor play. She’s a senior associate editor at National Wildlife magazine. Follow Kelly on Twitter @klsnature.

I hope you enjoyed our Plantluck Dinner – Winter Solstice Celebration Meal.  A meal sure to please all of us looking who are forward to longer days!

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Sunday June 21, 2009 A week puttering in Helen’s Haven

I fell into a hole of my own doing.  Before I had the flea market gate properly installed, I tried installing it myself.   Others are made up of DNA, I’m made of  DIY.  Not unlike DNA failing, this time,  my DIY ability failed me.  Not deterred, I just got the right person for the job.  Problem was, I had to get rid of my mistake.

A piece of re-bar I intended to use to support the gate was buried to what appeared to be the center of the earth.  I worked on it.  I had Brian (my summer helper kid) work on.  I worked on it some more.  It’s still there.  I can’t seem to dig it out.  In the meantime, there is a hole in the ground with re-bar rising from the earth, surrounded by a chunk of concrete.   In between all these efforts, I passed through there with mail in one hand, yard waste cans in the other and I fell in the hole.  Ouch.  Nothing broken, legs scratched and bruised; mail muddy.  It could have been much worse.  This is chit worthy; I will ask hubby for a hand.

Crabs 002cLily and Aster were at the Y camp in Arapahoe, NC this week.  After my husband returned from dropping them off, he visited our friend TD.  We are usually rewarded with crabs after visiting.  As such, here are the remains of breakfast Monday morning.  You can take the girl out of Chincoteague, but not Chincoteauge out of the girl.

First thing Asters did when he returned from camp was to check on his cucumbers.  Looks like he will have a bumper crop.  They neighbors are very happy with his success too.

Asters garden 014

This is the week 20 of us  JC Raulston Arboretum volunteers open our gardens to the 172 volunteers plus JCRA  staff members.  It’s a casual tour, not meant to be gussied up, just open for a week so folks can go by.  It’s fun to do and to visit with other volunteer friends.

We’re having a heat wave.  Friday’s heat index was 100, Saturday’s 106.

Fathers day 008

My blogging friend from Tennessee told me not to blog about it, but how can  I not?  When Tina with In The Garden visits the garden of other bloggers, she sends a gift of a garden name marker.  Here is a photo of Helen’s Haven.  I just love it.  Most of my readers know I’m  all about naming the garden – click here Creating a Garden Name It seem all the more important to me; I had a name, but no sign.  Now I both.

Summer Solstice 022

With the summer solstice here, I reflected on the shortening of the days.  I feel a sense of sadness with the summer solstice.  Contrary, in the dead of darkness, the winter solstice is my happiest time.  Despite the dark and cold, at least during  the winter solstice, the days become longer again.  We and other hosts, celebrated with a solstice party at the home and garden of Jayme Bednarczyk and Phil Abbott.  Our party was to celebrate and raise money for the JCRA Seasonal Celebrations.  I’ll post about the party later this week.

Helen Yoest and David Philbrook

Helen Yoest and David Philbrook

Jayme and Phil’s garden will also be open for the 2009 Garden Conservancy’s Open Days tour also benefiting the JC Raulston Arboretum Open Days Tour

Oh what fun we had in the garden this week:

I have a full week ahead including meeting 3 garden bloggers Les A Tidewater Gardener, Janet The Queen of Seafood and Racquel Perennial Garden Lover…this is gonna be fun!

Helen Yoest

Gardening With Confidence

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Sunday June 14, 2009 A week puttering in Helen’s Haven

Well,  it was an interesting way to start my week.  I packed up the kids and sent them to camp only to find out camp starts today.  I’ll never live that one down.  I deserved all the grief they gave me.

The humidity was somewhat at bay, but the temperatures were high.

What's so amazing about this photo?  It exist in Helen's Haven.  Must have been under the bunny's radar

What's so amazing about this plant? The fact that it exist in Helen's Haven. Must have been under the bunny's radar

MadonnaRaleighYoest 016c

My friend Madonna Phillips invited me over to her garden for wine and to pass off a voodoo plant she no longer desired.  Madonna and Greg’s garden was in the March 2009 edition of Better Homes and Gardens Path Finders.  Notice the purple cone flower in the photo to the left?  It looks tall, and it is.  Now look at it with me in the photo.  I’m 5 foot 10 inches.MadonnaRaleighYoest 034c

Saturday, I took the kids to the Sunshine Lavender Farm‘s open house where we ate lavender ice cream, admired all the lavender, and best of all, hooked up with fellow garden blogger and friend


Flower Garden Girl. Anna has been blogging for about 4 years – nearly ancient in internet years, specifically blogging years.   While I’m no newbie to blogging (18 months), I still bow to a member of the blogging community that paved the way in garden blogging popularity.  Like Tina at In The Garden, whom I met and posted about last Sunday June 7th post; I felt I knew Anna.  This is the power of the internet.  A place to make the world one.

Anna and I have so many shared interest in addition to gardening, kids, family, Church.  Her kids our grown; mine yet to fledge.  She is passionate about everything she does and I like that in a person.  Her enthusanthusiasm is infectious.  It was a fun encounter and I always like my kids to meet my friends.  It was also a good lesson in internet meeting.  We hear too much of the bad.  But there is also a lot of good.

FFG and I also tweet together-  she being @FlowerGardenGal, and me, @GWConfidence.  In fact, we found out each other was going to the open house through our tweets.

Anna, come visit me in my garden,  Helen’s Haven.  I promise I’ll not put you to work.  We can sit on the back porch and watch the wildlife, sip some tea, and talk about life.

Even in the heat, I managed to enjoy my time working in the garden.  Here’s some of the fun:

  • Thinned out some aggressive natives wildlife plants from the Mixed Border including bee balm and salvias.
  • Divided some daylilies.
  • Loaded up Cosmo, my trusty Ford 150 pickup truck, and hauled a load to the Raleigh yard waste center.  While I was there, I picked up a load of composted leaf mulch.  I knew I would be doing some planting this week and wanted to tidy the beds I was planning to disturb.
  • Visited the NC State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh.  Made the rounds to some of my favorite growers including John and Diva at Archer Lodge Herb Farm, Oasis, and Weston Farms.  Brought home with me a regular swamp sunflower and a new dwarf, bronze fennel for my hungry butterfly larvae, Sedum mediovarigeatum stone crop, Rudbecka hirta, fleabane ‘Profussion’, giant elephant ears. dwarf Ginko biloba ‘Green Pagoda’, weeping mimosa, lily of the valley, and some other things including the first peaches of the year – yummmm.
  • Applied mulch to tidy up the beds disturbed from planting.
  • Started a twibe on tweeter for garden writers coming to Raleigh for the Garden Writers Association meeting in September #gwa.

I’ll post about Sunshine Lavender Farm another day. My blogging friend posted our visit today on her blog Flower Garden Girl. Her recount of our conversation was very funny, no doubt, even funnier than the actual story. She can spin a tale; she has a knack for that!

I’m very familiar with the term, “Country come to town.”  In fact, I embodied that expression on a recent trip to NYC.  I believe there is a term for a city slicker going to the country.  Not sure, though, of  the term for a suburbanite like me going to the country, but I sure  acted goofy to the people driving behind me.

I couldn’t help but gawk at all the scenery on the stretch of road between Sunshine Lavender Farm and I85.  I kept pulling over, or slowing down to let others pass me so I wouldn’t miss a thing.  At one point, I pulled over and this young, cute cowboy (in a truck and cowboy hat) stopped to see if I was broke down and needed help.  When I told him I was only taking photos, he just tipped his hat and moseyed on.

Here are a few of my roadside views.

SunshineLavenderFarmYoest 142c

SunshineLavenderFarmYoest 149c

SunshineLavenderFarmYoest 155c

Got any idea what this is?

SunshineLavenderFarmYoest 081c

Give up?  It’s a tick in the middle of my back.  Gross!

Helen Yoest

Gardening With Confidence

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Sunday June 7, 2009 A week puttering in Helen’s Haven

Ah, the power of the internet.  Without it, I wouldn’t have a blog, wouldn’t have this ability to journal my week in Helen’s Haven and wouldn’t, no doubt, ever have had the opportunity to meet Tina Ramsey from Tennessee.

Tina Ramsey and Helen Yoest

Tina Ramsey and Helen Yoest

I got to know Tina through her blog, In The Garden, a group blog she writes with Lola, Dawn, and Skeeter.  Tina is also on Twitter @TinaInTenn, but she only occasionally tweets.  I, on the other hand, tweet often and  can be found at @GWConfidence.  But, I digress.  Tina is also a Garden Coach in Tennessee so we share that, as well.

Even though Tina and I never met before, we knew each other fairly well.  We knew each others gardens, trials and tribulations, but we also knew “who” each other was.  We are kindred spirits.  We share many of the same opinions and attitudes about gardening and life.  We got to know each other no differently than any other friend-making ways, sharing tiny bits of information until we started calling each other friend.  Its just the means of finding friends can different today with the internet.  And that was the case with forming our friendship.

With her husband and son and my three kids, we mused about the garden.  I must say, Roger was a great sport, he even acted interested as we chatted on.  I wasn’t too worried about her son getting bored since he fit right in with my three kids.

I plan to visit with Tina often through her blog.  Tina, know that I’ll stop by regularly to visit, but I just may not have time to stay for tea ;~) In other words, I may not leave a comment, but I keep in touch.   When my friend Beth finalizes our plans for the Tennessee tour, I will be sure to stop by for some tea then.

During Tina’s visit to NC, she also visited with Cameron, another blog friend from Chapel Hill.  Cameron’s blog, Defining Your Home Garden,is another blog I read.  Cameron and I have met, but we have yet to visit each others garden.  I hope that changes soon.

My next visit with a blog friend will be with Les Parks.  I got to know Les through his blog A Tidewater Gardener. I’m looking forward to this visit.  Les and I also have a mutual friend in Mark Weathington, Assistant Director at the JC Raulston Arboretum.  Mark told me it is a garden not to be missed.

When I visit with Les, not only do I get to see his garden, but also get to visit the nursery, and tap his brain for his knowledge of woodies (yes, I’m always the opportunists.)

TinaInTenn 021

Music to my ears this week was when my friend’s son, Brian, needed work for the summer.  I told Brian what I needed done, and he said “I can do that, my dad makes me do yard work all the time.”   Nothing I had on the list had a priority until I had some help; strong help.  So my fun this week was shared with Brian:

  • Took down the last rouge Ligustrum.  I think I told kk it was 80 feet tall.  That was a good exaggeration.  It felt like it though.  It was probably only 25 feet tall.  Big none-the-less.  Some of that monster fell over the neighbor’s woodland property behind me.  As I was over on the other side, one of the owners stopped by to see what was going on.  More music to my ears, and a major Hail Mary pass, he sees me cutting up the limbs and ask what I planned to do with the debris.  I told him I was loading it in the truck and hauling it off to the yard waste center.  To which he replied, “Why not just put it in our naturalized area and let it rot with the rest of the debris?”  Why not indeed.  Thanks, Owen!
  • Added two more Leylands to fill the void the Ligustrum made.  It will take a while for these to catch up with the others, but I no longer worry about this sort of thing.  It will happen when it happens.
  • Before the Leylands could go in, I had to moved a Hellebore and a Jack-in-the-Pulpit.  Hope they make it.
  • Dug out the spreading Forsythia.  Last week it was pruned back; this week bits were dug out.
  • Mowed.
  • Pruned roses.
  • Pulled more ivy.
  • Listened to the frogs, chased bunnies, watched the yellow finches on the feeder.
  • Added pine straw to the back woodland and crinum gardens to tidy up.  Pine straw is misbehaving causing trouble in Cary where pine straw is igniting causing devastating fires.   Flicking cigarettes and trash such as a bottle acting as a magnifying glass can easily ignite pine straw.  Think about it’s use.  Think about using an ashtray and a recycling bin.
  • Pruned the fig to clear the path.
  • Transplanted a yarrow from the Victor Garden to the front garden path.
  • Mended reed fence attached to chain linked fence.
  • Cleaned and filled birdbaths.
  • Fretted of the lettuce bolting.
  • Trim hollies.

My most exciting gardening news this week was cleaning out and hauling unused nursery pots to my friend’s nursery for their use.  I have held on to so many nursery pots hoping to use them.  But I had too many.  Too bad Raleigh doesn’t have the capability to recycle these pots.  The pots did spur this story Sex and the City Garden.

Aster still smiling after loading nursery pots

Aster still smiling after loading nursery pots

I had help loading them into Cosmo, my trusty Ford 150 pickup truck.  Aster is a good little worker.  Thanks buddy!

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In Print – Elizabethan gardens delight visitors

Virginia Dare

Virginia Dare

Metro Magazine

Here’s the originial copy:

The Elizabethan Gardens

By Helen Yoest

The Elizabethan Gardens is a unique American garden, with a definite nod to 16th century England.  Built on the site of the first English colony in the New World and staying authentic of the era, these gardens offer a wide appeal.

Horticulturists, nature lovers, history buffs, and culture seekers find their way to this historic site on the Roanoke Sound in Manteo, North Carolina.

Nestled under a canopy of Southern Magnolias, pines, dogwoods and ancient live oak trees, the garden was originally funded more than 50 years ago by the Garden Club of North Carolina and designed and built by M. Umberto Innocenti and Richard Webel.

A visit to The Elizabethan Gardens is very much like touring a great English estate.  Ten acres of gardens are designed with a mixture of both formal and naturalized areas.

The formal areas include an entrance garden designed with desirable parterres of clipped boxwood and filled with annuals to reflect the seasons.  The Shakespeare’s Herb Garden is filled with culinary, medicinal and sweet smelling herbs.

Of particular interest is the Sunken Gardens with a magnificent antique fountain donated by The Late Honorable John Hay Whitney, former Ambassador to the Courts of St. James and Mrs. Whitney.

The fountain dictated the design of a formal parterre pattern of clipped boxwood and yaupon hollies.  Surrounding the fountain is a circle of eight Crepe Myrtles.  Each year, the trees are pollarded to maintain their size.  In doing so, the ends of each branch form gnarled orbs that have become individual works of art.  During the summer, their watermelon-colored flowers are simply striking.

The naturalized areas have you trod on ground softened by fallen leaves and pine needles with walls of azaleas and camellias.

A summer stroll will reveal many different types of hydrangeas.  Climbing hydrangeas grace the Gatehouse wall in the Courtyard.  The sweet scent wafts the area making it difficult to venture on.  Linger long enough to satisfy, but then be ready for the sight of lacecap and mophead hydrangea blooms beckoning you in blue.  Naturally pink cultivars also abound along with Oak leaf hydrangeas with their white blooms fading to a rosy pink.

Lining the Great Lawn are daylilies offering several weeks of great color and delight.  Perennial sunflowers, rain lilies, Stokes Asters, Gardenias, and coneflowers will also welcome you, as well as, the wildlife.

The natural paths will lead you to the octagonal shaped Gazebo.  Built to period specifications with a thatched roof over looking the Roanoke sound, it is also sighted at the perfect moment to rest.

As you journey back, you will meet Virginia Dare, or at least the artist’s rendition of the first child born to the new world, if she had lived.  Sculpted in Italy by American sculptor, Maria Louis Lander, in 1859, the statue stands at the place of the child’s’ birth, now a young woman looking towards the future.


The Elizabethan Gardens

Open year-round seven days a week

Closing times vary with season

1411 National Park Drive

Manteo, NC 27954

(252) 473-3234

Self guided tour open 7 days a week year round

Be sure to visit the Gatehouse Gift shop offering unique items and plants propagated in greenhouses located on the gardens grounds.

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Sunday May 31, 2009 A week puttering in Helen’s Haven

First harvested butterfly of the year

First harvested butterfly of the year

With the first butterfly emerging yesterday, I can officially kick of a new gardening year.  It’s always thrilling to see one emerge.

At lunch with GG this week, we found a discarded  outdoor fireplace that would make a perfect chrysalis house.  It was too heavy for me to put in the van or I would have it here now.  The only thing keeping me from reaching for the additional strength needed to make it happen was that it was bent – a little – and I wasn’t sure if I could make it work.  Well, that and the fact that I wasn’t totally convinced it was in the trash.  No answer when I knocked at the door.

  • Signed up for the 2009 Butterfly count.  Haven’t hear back for the coordinator.
  • Moved Heuchera ‘Dolce Black Current’ from one area of the Red Bed to another.
  • Thinned Bee balm, purple Salvia, obedient plant
  • Pulled Artemisia
  • Cut down a volunteer Holly.  Couldn’t believe I let it get so big.
  • Mowed with my neighbors mower…still waiting for our part to repair the wheel.
  • Relocated 2 squirrels.
  • Two loads to the yard waste center.
  • Measured rain from storm.
  • Bummer, it doesn’t look like Colocasia esculenta ‘Rhubarb’ made it through the winter.
  • Scratched poison ivy.

Do doubt there was more, I just can’t remember it all. I have more important things on my mind right now, like three kids getting out of school for the summer on June 3rd.  The excitement should last , oh I don’t know, a week at  least!

Copy and Photos by Helen Yoest
Gardening With Confidence

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Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend, May 24, 2009 A week puttering in Helen’s Haven

It’s really been two weeks since I posted all that goes on in Helen’s Haven and Gardening With Confidence’s world.  I’ll just gloss over the highlights.

Last Sunday I didn’t post because  my family and I were in

Us in Time Square

Us in Times Square

New York City to soak up some culture.  My kids want to go back.  So do I.  We visited the Natural History Museum, took in Lion King, ate multiple pieces of pizza pie, went to  Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, checked out the Statue of Liberty, and acted like goofy tourist in Times Square.  The usual.

This was the first time I took all three kids.  Most years, I will have one in tow or go with a friend.  One year, Lily and I did some gardens.  This year, we didn’t go to any.

They loved the subway and I loved how they compared it to other transit systems they have experienced so far – those of  Spain and France.

My gift to these young’ins,  is the gift of travel.  I’m giving them the opportunity to be wide-eyed and bushy-ed-tailed all around the world and the USA too.  Oh for a stronger dollar.

Saturday, I visited Nancy Goodwin’s Montrose.  It was a lovely day in the garden.  Montrose looked awesome. Magical.   I’ll post about that next week.  Here a sneak photo to pique your interest.

Montrose.  Photo taken in the Blue Garden

Montrose. Photo taken in the Blue Garden

Helen’s Haven is a test garden for Proven Winners.  This week was spent planting pots and beds with this years’ selection.  Check out this photo – it’s really Christmas in May!!!

Proven Winners selection for Helen's Haven to grow

Proven Winners selection for Helen's Haven to grow

I’m pleased with some of the container combinations I created.  Results will be posted later in the season.

As I came and went, I managed to have some fun in the garden:

  • Transplanted a ‘Blue Chip’ form the North Border to the Sidewalk Garden.
  • Fretted over the Cow birds that moved into Helen’s Haven.  My friend, James Baggett, Editor Country Gardens soothed me by reminding me they are native birds.  We may not like what they do, so  plan to just observe Mother Nature as she intended.  He’s right, of course.  Just as I was about to take Jame’s advice, they moved on.
  • Planted a Virginia sweetspire ‘Henry Garnet’ I picked up in Wilmington, NC
  • Planted Rose of Sharon ‘Lavender Chiffon’.
  • Pruned peonies and  roses.
  • Mowed.  Tried to mow this week, but the wheel fell off.  It just fell off.  Ordered new part; need to borrow mower from our dear neighbors.  Not the first time I’ve had to borrow from them.
  • Trimmed back half the Bee Balm to stagger bloom times.
  • Called to the frogs.
  • Set up another rotting fruit station for the wildlife.
  • Added another flat tray ground feeder for the birds such as Mourning Doves and Towhees
  • Had Heather help me whack back the Forsythia.  Need to work on it a little more.
  • Racked Magnolia leaves.  ‘Tis the season to drop leaves.  Should be over soon.
  • Planted a Red Homestead.  I’m excited about this.  Hope it makes it through the winter.  The reds and purples look GREAT together.
  • Planted King Tut near the fountain (one of the Proven Winners.)
  • Read up on Copperhead snakes since I heard there had been some sightings and bitings in the neighborhood.  Working in a garden once, on my knees, I came nose to nose with a Copperhead.  I’m not sure where doing the right think came from, but I froze, then slowly backed out and away.
  • Leveled some pots.
  • Pitched some stories to my editors.

It was a good couple of weeks.  Wrote my column, drafted another story, blogged, client consults, maintenance, design, preparing for a couple of talks…all in the world of a Garden Coach.  Very happy I’m able to work in a field that gives me so much satisfaction.

Enjoy this spring…it’s the only one we will have this year!

Copy and photos by Helen Yoest

Gardening With Confidence

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