Every year, Macy’s teams up with Bachman’s, a local garden center, for a spring flower show on the department store’s eighth floor in downtown Minneapolis. I don’t recall how long the flower show has been going on, but I’m grateful that Macy’s carries on the tradition, which was started many years ago by Dayton’s and continued by Marshall Field’s.
It’s strangely warm in Minnesota this spring but, typically, the flower show comes at a time when seeing an actual plant in bloom is nothing short of amazing. This year’s theme is “Brasil: Gardens in Paradise” and admission, as always, is free.
There’s a lot to rave about this year, but I was most impressed by the gorgeous topiary toucan at the show’s entrance. Crafted by artists at Macy’s Parade Studio, the toucan features plumage made from “meticulously arranged” magnolia leaves. I’ll say! And what might all of those delicate flowers be on the bird’s beak and chest? Why those are thousands of Brazilian button flowers that were applied by Bachman’s floral designers.Read More»
I’ve read that you can always tell something is wrong with your worm bin if your worms try to escape. Too much acidity, heat from decomposing food and other organic matter, excessive dryness or moisture——there are a lot of things that make worms want to flee. I don’t know what happened in my bin, but last Wednesday morning I went down to the basement to check on the worms and was horrified to find most of them plastered to the underside of the bin’s plastic lid.
Not wanting to squish anyone, I carried the worm-covered lid upstairs to the kitchen along with the rest of the bin. Deadlines were pressing, but I couldn’t just let the worms suffer. So I made myself a cup of coffee, put on an old Smith’s CD (because nobody puts an upbeat spin on misery quite like Morrissey) and sat down on the kitchen floor to sort worms into a separate, clean container.Read More»
The publishing world has changed a lot in recent years, and if you haven’t already seen one, book trailers are one of the many things publishers are asking authors to make these days. When Timber Press asked Jeff and me to make a trailer, we were happy to oblige.
The only problem was our mutual love of toilet humor turned out to be a bit over the top for the folks at the University of Minnesota where Jeff is a professor. So after a couple of attempts, we finally came up with a trailer that’s gross, but still tame enough to get a thumb’s up.
Amy Stewart at Garden Rant was kind enough to post the trailer after she watched it this week. Thanks, Amy! Go here to see Amy’s post on Garden Rant and here’s the video if you’d like to see that, too.
This past weekend I did a couple of presentations at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum that had nothing to do with growing edible plants. And yet, on the breaks in between the talks, the number one thing everyone asked me about was how to grow something at home that they could eat.
Washing my hands in the bathroom, snarfing a quick sandwich next to my car in the parking lot, struggling to get my PowerPoint to work — it didn’t matter where I was or what I was doing, people really wanted to know things about growing food.
I honestly lost count of how many times I was asked whether it was safe to use water from rain barrels on edibles. Time after time, though, I told people the same thing: I wouldn’t do it. Though there are few studies on what’s in the water inside rain barrels, research has shown that it often contains chemicals from roof runoff and air pollution, as well as bird poo, mold, fungi and other stuff that sounds unappetizing at the very least.Read More»
I have wanted a worm bin for years, ever since I read Amy Stewart’s great book: “And the Earth Moved: On the Remarkable Achievement of Earthworms,” to be exact. Yesterday, I finally bought one while attending “Burst Into Spring,” an annual lecture series put on by the Isanti County Master Gardeners.
I was invited to the event to speak about my new book, “Decoding Gardening Advice,” and over the lunch break I got to talking with Roger Welck from Princeton, Minnesota. He’d heard my talk and wanted to know why I’d discussed compost, but hadn’t covered vermicompost.
Time was the only reason, I told him. Vermicomposting is touched on in the book. But I’d removed those slides from the presentation for that day because it was kind of an involved topic, and I worried that I wouldn’t be able to fit it in. “Damn you!” he joked, gesturing toward his vendor table laden with bagged vermicompost, worms in buckets and worm bins.Read More»