Hello Fellow Gardeners!
It’s time for the annual City of Boston Mayor’s Garden Contest! I love this contest and encourage everyone in Boston with a front, back or side garden, window box or container garden to enter!
Residents and businesses can nominate their own or a neighbor’s garden. Why not make someone’s day? Only gardens planted by amateur gardeners are eligible. Just think, in a month or so you could be the winner of a coveted Golden Trowel! Deadline for entry is Monday, July 12th.
My tree garden needs some work to be contest ready. The impatiens I planted in late April are dried out, sprawling and spindly. However, the lavender, catmint and ivy are doing just fine.
This morning I replanted my tree garden with yellow snapdragons, white and purple petunias, grasses and Blue Dwarf argeretum in the front corners. All the plants come from That Blooming Place (TBP) on Route 53/Washington Street in Weymouth. They don’t have a website but don’t let that stop you from stopping by. The hanging plants are gorgeous and there’s a great selection of healthy potted plants!
A few years ago my tree garden earned an honorable mention in the Mayor’s Garden Contest. Unfortunately, tree gardens are no longer eligible for the Contest. I’m not exactly sure why but it’s a real shame. I’m going to enter anyway and try to get them to open this category back up.
Gardening around a street tree actually helps the tree. It is getting good soil, water and attention. You just shouldn’t mound soil around the base like a volcano because it may suffocate the tree and flowers or ground cover should be planted, never shrubs. Shrub roots could interfere with the tree roots.
Enough about me… Here are the Contest specifics:
Fill out the application form and attach or send up to five (5) photos. The judges will use these photos to narrow the entrants to five finalists per category. Site visits by the contest judges will determine the winners.
Applications can be mailed or filled out online. Go to www.cityofboston.gov/parks/gardencontest.
Photos and forms are due July 12, 2013 by 11:59PM. More details are at GardenContest@cityofboston.gov or call 617-635-4505.
Posted in Boston Gardens, City of Boston Garden Contest, Contests, Flowers and Plants, Local Beauty, My street-side tree garden
Tagged Boston Parks Department, Choosing Plants, City of Boston Garden Contest, Contest, Small space gardening, Window Boxes
Before you plant your Spring window boxes, containers or street-side tree gardens, please read this! Ellen Abdow, the talented owner of Perennial Gardens, is offering her 5 top tips for a successful flower garden.
As a featured speaker at two City Garden Ideas workshops, she famously introduced the phrase ‘Thriller, filler and spiller,’ the three flower components for a winning container, to the audience. Watch Ellen in this YouTube video from the 2012 CGI workshop.
Here are her 5 top tips:
Tip 1. Look, listen and learn from all the gardeners that have come before you and the gardens all around you. Indulge in some good books. I always buy the ones with the most pictures. (Janine likes The Well-Tended Perennial Garden). Subscribe to magazines and gardening blogs to learn about the latest trends and tricks of the trade. Go on garden tours in the city, attend the Garden Conservancy’s Open Days garden tours. See what you like in other peoples gardens, copy, and make it your own. Mass Horticultural Society, New England Wildflower Society and the Arnold Arboretum all have excellent lectures and courses throughout the year jam packed with great information.
Tip 2. Be honest: Make an accurate evaluation of sun vs. shade, and plant what’s best geared for those light conditions. There are so many interesting cultivars of plants for any light conditions. Read the labels, ask your local garden center for advice and guidance, and plant accordingly.
Tip 3. Food and water: Proper soil and nutrition grows healthy plants. Build a solid foundation and plants will grow easily. Take the time to evaluate your soil and add organic matter to create nutrient rich growing environments. Invest in good potting soil for hanging baskets and potted plants that drains quickly found at your local garden center. Water regularly, not too much, and not too little. Ask for expert advice, and use it!
Tip 4. Change your mind: If you don’t like the way your planting looks, change it out. Try something new. A garden is never finished. Be willing to take chances. Have fun, relax, and grow what makes your heart go pitter patter.
Tip 5. Use every inch of space you have: Stuff every centimeter of your space with plants. Mount shelves on the walls, hang baskets off the railings, try vertical gardening. You can grow almost anything in a pot, just remember that a plant in a container is totally dependent on you for water and food.
Ellen started her business in 1993 and she and her team actively design and install gardens in Boston and out in the suburbs. To learn more about Ellen and Perennial Gardens, visit www.perennialgardens.net.
By the way, that’s my tree garden 🙂 in front of the Perennial Garden truck. Happy planting!
Posted in Boston Gardens, Container Gardens, Expert Advice, Landscape Designing, Recommendations, Spring Beauty, Sunlight, Window Boxes
Tagged 5 Top Gardening Tips, container gardens, Ellen Abdow, Expert Advice, Gardening Basics, Perennial Gardens, Small space gardening, Window Boxes
The Balcony Gardener
Hello… Sorry about sending out the empty post! Pushed the Publish button by mistake.
With the holiday season upon us, I wanted to share a gardening book I recently found at Annie Bells, now K Colette, a store filled with interesting things in Portland, Maine.
The Balcony Gardener is a website and the name of an easy-read, tip-rich book that would be perfect for the beginner or intermediate gardener. Isabelle Palmer is the author and, like me, loves beautifying small spaces. I bought the book for $19.95 but see it on Amazon for $13.57. You can also buy signed copies on The Balcony Gardener website. The book contains useful tips about gardening basics like soil, tools and pots. Plus very helpful chapters on growing herbs and other edibles.
As the inside book jacket says, “Even with the smallest of outdoor spaces it is possible to create a beautiful garden, be it on a balcony, roof terrace or window sill.” I couldn’t agree more!
If you have a city gardener on your holiday list, this book is worth checking out. If you have a favorite “go to” gardening book, please share! We welcome your comments. Enjoy the day!
Posted in Container Gardens, Expert Advice, Flowers and Plants, Gardening Books, Recommendations
Tagged Choosing Plants, City Garden Ideas, container gardens, Expert Advice, Gardening Books, Small space gardening, urban gardening, Window Boxes
Hi Everyone. Just had to share these hearty beauties with you!
The 2012 American Garden Award just announced the flower winners of their annual contest. Each year six flower varieties are chosen by their breeders for their great garden performance. The varieties are planted and put on display at participating gardens and the public votes for their favorite. These are the winners and should be contenders for your garden next year. My favorite, by the way, is #2.
And the three winners are:
Grand Prize Winner
Begonia boliviensis ‘Santa Cruz™ Sunset’ from Ernst Benary of America
Begonia Santa Cruz™ Sunset lights up your garden with an abundance of scarlet/orange blooms. Its elegant softly cascading form is perfect for hanging baskets, urns or mass plantings in your garden. Surprisingly heat, drought and rain tolerant, this summer beauty thrives in any location from full sun to shade.
Second Place Winner (My Favorite!)
Gazania ‘Big Kiss™ White Flame’ F1
from Syngenta Flowers
Gazania Big Kiss™ White Flame has huge white and rose striped flowers that cover full, bushy plants. This carefree, heat loving and drought tolerant annual loves the sun and thrives in tough conditions, all summer long. Extra large flowers and plants make high impact displays in garden beds or containers.
Third Place Winner
Petunia ‘Surfinia® Deep Red’
from Suntory Flowers
‘Finally, the true deep red petunia gardeners have been searching for! For 20 years, Surfinia® has been the best-selling vegetative petunia series in the world, offering superior garden performance with no pinching or pruning needed. Enjoy ‘Surfinia® Deep Red’ in container gardens or in the landscape from spring through fall.
Posted in Awards, Begonias, Buying Flowers and Plants, Contests, Flowers and Plants, Petunias, Recommendations
Tagged American Garden Award, Begonias, Favorite Flowers, Gazania Big Kiss, Petunias, Small space gardening, Window Boxes
At the May 5th City Garden Ideas workshop, Ellen Abdow, the owner of Perennial Gardens, created a container garden before our eyes.
Now you can see it too… Click to watch and be inspired: http://youtu.be/snZwENQ7u1o.
Ellen chose a fiberglass pot and these plants to create the container garden:
- a purple calla lily in the center as her tall “thriller”
- begonias and impatiens to provide a bushy middle as the “filler”
- and healthy ivy to trail down the pot as her “spiller.”
Ellen generously offered the container garden as a raffle item at the end of the workshop. Congratulations to Liz K. who won the container and provided the picture above.
Enjoy your garden!
Posted in City Garden Ideas Workshops, Container Gardens, Expert Advice, Flowers and Plants, Lectures, Window Boxes, Workshops and Seminars
Tagged cold weather perennials, container gardens, Ellen Abdow, Expert Advice, Gardening Basics, Gardening Workshop, Window Boxes
I wanted to share a bio on Ellen Abdow, the smart and dynamic owner of Perennial Gardens, a landscape firm in Boston. She’ll share helpful gardening advice and will create a gorgeous container garden right before our eyes at the May 5th “Gardening Experts Speak! Tips for a Successful City Garden.” Come join us! Sign up today at citygardening.eventbrite.com.
Ellen is the founder of Perennial Gardens, LLC, a landscape design and build firm with clients throughout New England. The firm has a diverse portfolio and Ellen and her expert team have cultivated a reputation for careful plant selection, imaginative composition and skilled installation.
Ellen brings 18 years of knowledge to each and every project. She first got bitten by the gardening bug while teaching at Brookline High School and subsequently went to work at one of the area’s most respected nurseries. There she expanded her love and knowledge of perennials before launching her own firm. Today she gets great pleasure from helping clients hone their own personal garden visions and adapting these ideas in ways that will best suit their particular properties and lifestyles. Her work can be seen in numerous garden tours, on a walk through Boston’s Back Bay, or on line at perennialgardens.net.
Come hear gardening wisdom from Ellen! Sign up today for the May 5th workshop!
Register at citygardening.eventbrite.com. Cost is just $25.
Hope to see you there!!
Posted in City Garden Ideas Workshops, Classes, Expert Advice, Flowers and Plants, Lectures, Places to Visit, Window Boxes, Workshops and Seminars
Tagged City Garden Ideas, City gardening, cold weather perennials, container gardens, Ellen Abdow, Expert Advice, Flower Design, Gardening Workshop, Small space gardening, urban gardening, Window Boxes
Come get great advice and a dose of inspiration to make this year’s flower garden your best yet!
Join us Saturday, May 5th from 10am to noon for a lively, information-rich workshop called “Gardening Experts Speak! Tips for a Successful City Garden.”
This second annual City Garden Ideas event will be held in the auditorium of First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, at the corner of Berkeley and Marlborough.
Our featured speakers are talented, professional horticulturalists: Ellen Abdow, owner of Perennial Gardens, and Tom Smarr, The Garden Concierge and former Superintendent of Horticulture at the Rose Kennedy Greenway. What can you expect? Plenty!
Ellen will create a beautiful container garden right before your eyes. She’ll share gardening wisdom and offer insights into the hottest trends. Tom will offer up gardening basics on tools, soil, sun and choosing plants that thrive in every season. He’ll also talk about vertical gardening. That’s when blooms go up and up.
Register at http://citygardening.eventbrite.com. The cost is just $25! There will be plenty of time for questions and answers, loads of handouts and door prizes! This event is not to be missed!
If you have questions, call 617-267-6500 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to see you there!
Posted in City Garden Ideas Workshops, Classes, Expert Advice, Flowers and Plants, Lectures, Recommendations, Uncategorized, Window Boxes, Workshops and Seminars
Tagged City Garden Ideas, container gardens, Ellen Abdow, Expert, Expert Advice, Favorite Garden Flowers, Gardening Basics, Gardening Workshop, Perennial Gardens, Rose Kennedy Greenway, Small space gardening, The Garden Concierge, Tom Smarr, Window Boxes
Just had to share this! Walking tonight in Boston’s Back Bay, I was stopped in my tracks by a trio of spectacular window boxes. Night was falling but the red Ruffled Tulips with tinges of yellow stood out boldly. The tulips were paired with bright yellow daffodils, red ranunculus amid a backdrop of flowering branches. Just gorgeous! The Ruffled Tulips, also known as Parrot Tulips, are so unusual! Downright frilly! Pairing them with friendly yellow daffodils makes the display inviting. Daffodils are probably the easiest and most dependable flower to grow and win me over every year. The ranunculus was a lovely, colorful surprise. That flower has multi-layers of paper thin petals. It’s a hardy, cool weather perennial and is perfect for window boxes and containers. The flowering branches give the window boxes height and added dimension. The same flower and branch arrangement were seen on the stoop container. Outstanding. So far, this window box wins my vote for best display of the Spring season!