I admit it. I have never understood the allure of garden gnomes. Ugly, dumpy and slightly creepy in a pervy kind of way, gnomes always make me wonder about the sort of person who chooses to use them as garden accents.
Why do they like these creatures? Are the gnomes perceived as funny, cute, hip, what? Did somebody this poor homeowner loves foist gnomes upon them as a gift so now they feel like they have to set them out in the garden—at least for a few weeks until they can claim that some neighborhood kids took ‘em?
What is the story?
The situation is completely different with zombie gnomes, however. Created by Los Angeles-based couple Chris Stever and Jane DeRosa, these gruesome gnomes make no attempt to hide their creepiness behind props like whimsical pointy hats. Happily noshing on pink flamingos and other hapless garden dwellers, they broadcast what many of us have suspected all along. “Yes, gnomes are creepy,” they would say if their mouths weren’t full of tasty flamingo meat. ” In fact we are the blood-thirsty undead come unbidden into your yard.”
Buoyed by their forthrightness, and my longtime love of all things zombie, I ordered some up right away. If you’d like some zombie gnomes for your garden, go to Chris and Jane’s Place, the couple’s shop on Etsy. Be aware that it says on their website that due to increased demand it may take up to five weeks for your zombie gnomes to arrive.
I figure that’s fine. I need a little time to let the cute turtle and rabbit statues out in the backyard know that they’d best get their affairs in order.
I’m long overdue with a post. Sorry about that. In between work and the heat and the rain and more rain, it’s been hard to get everything done in the garden and post to my blog too. I’ll make this one short so as not to wear out my welcome with worm talk.
But I just have to say that the worms really love the new condo they moved into a few weeks ago. As I explained in my May 7 post, I wasn’t that keen on my one-bin system so I moved everyone into a new bin with four stackable trays.
The other bin was working just fine. But its design made it hard to actually see the worms eating or just wriggling around doing worm stuff. I figured the trays would make it easier to interact with the worms at feeding time, or if I just want to take a peek to see how they’re doing. And it is easier, and much more enjoyable.Read More»
If you love flowering bulbs, but recoil at the thought of having to look at their withering foliage long after the blooms are gone, Cornell University has good news for you.
Knowing that the right plant combinations could successfully hide fading leaves, researchers at Cornell spent four seasons putting bulb/perennial pairings to the test at the university’s trial gardens in Ithaca, New York.
Their results, including some helpful photos of the two plants progressing together over several weeks, are available on the university’s website: http://www.hort.cornell.edu/combos.
As someone who has mostly tried in vain to effectively pair up plants in ways that really do hide ugly, yellowing foliage, I’m grateful to Cornell for putting real energy into actually testing plant combos to see what works and what doesn’t. When deciding which pairings looked good and worked well together, the researchers considered the same types of things gardeners think about: color, foliage type and texture, bloom times and the rate at which the perennials they planted mature.Read More»
Peaceful people, I’m telling you what: By the time you get to the point in “Turn Here Sweet Corn” where Atina Diffley is fighting to defend her Eagan, Minnesota, farm against Koch Industries’ attempts to run a crude-oil pipeline through it, you’re going to want to get yourself a pitchfork and help her and her husband Martin stand their ground.
Published by the University of Minnesota Press earlier this year, Diffley’s memoir is often billed as a David vs. Goliath tale, an inside look at organic farming and a love story combined. That’s an apt description, but readers will likely gravitate to the thread that draws them in. What kept me turning pages was the love. Love between Atina and Martin, love of growing healthy food organically, love of the land and other loves more difficult to define.
“Turn Here Sweet Corn” may have been the words Diffley read on a roadside sign when first visiting Martin’s Gardens of Eagan farm. But those words could just as easily be read as a term of endearment coined by a farmer for his/her love. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Diffley thinks that too as this is no ordinary memoir, and it’s no farming primer either. Warm and lyrical, Diffley’s writing is enviably good by any standard.Read More»
I’ve written about my worm bin a few times over the past several months, so some of you probably know that I started vermicomposting back in February. I’ve wanted to try composting with worms ever since I read Amy Stewart’s book, The Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievements of Earthworms, a few years back.
I opted to start simply with one of those inexpensive plastic storage tub bins that don’t have stackable trays like the more high-tech worm bins do. With the tub, you just layer some shredded newspaper and other things worms like for bedding in the bottom, add red wigglers and then keep them fat and happy with kitchen scraps so they’ll eat, poo and reproduce until you have a bin filled with nutrient-rich worm compost to use on your plants.
After three months, I can definitely say that the tub system worked just fine. It didn’t smell, the worms seemed healthy and food was definitely being turned into vermicompost (poo). But I have to say that I got tired of digging around in a big bin full of decomposing food scraps to see the worms in action. Amy Stewart wrote a lot about how much she enjoyed sipping her morning coffee while watching her worms enjoy eating things like banana peels, and I wanted to do things like that too.Read More»