Category Archives: Retail Therapy

Canada has given us John Candy and Martin Short and Bill Shatner…

and some really cool garden gadgets. (borrowing from Jamie Farr)

So I was wondering the web, as I do, and I had the serendipity to stumble across Canadian Gardening. I came across some really clever ideas that I hadn’t seen before. I particularly liked the The GARDENA Spiral Hose Box.

Now if you, like me, find yourself drooling over this little number you’ll be very happy to know that I found it available on Amazon.

Canadian Gardening also pointed me in the direction of aHa! Modern Living where I found these great bird houses:

They also directed me to Alice Supply Co., which has far too many drool worthy garden gadgets than I can do justice to.

Now I just need to find a Molson to properly toast our Canadian gardening friends. Cheers!

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Forget Invention, Necessity is the Mother of Improvisation!

I’m sorry my dear international friends but this post is completely North American centric.

For several years now I’ve been trying to find something comfortable to wear in the garden during the spring and summer (as you may have guessed I’m not a big shopper, unless it’s plants, seeds and garden gadgets – okay I have a weakness for kitchen gadgets too). Now bear in mind that I tend to wear my grubbys until they fall off my body, and since I spend most of my time around the house I’m almost always wearing grubbys, so  I don’t go shopping for clothes that often… plus when I do it’s often at the thrift store.

The other day however I’d just had it (most of my grubbys are more rags than clothes and, apparently somewhere along the line I lost some weight so, the ones that aren’t are falling off) so I did something I hardly ever do and I went to Target. My hope was to find a couple of pairs of longish shorts and maybe a comfy pair of trousers I could step out of the house in. I was quite please to find a couple of pairs of nice long shorts, and a couple of pairs of cropped bottoms that went just below the knees instead of mid-calf (because mid-calf is such a great place for to trousers to hit the leg – talk about cutting you off at the knees!). Where I really struck gold though was when I went to find a pair of shorts to sleep in.

I found these:

Gilligan & OMalley® Womens Fluid Knit Bermuda

Forget sleeping in these! These are perfect for wearing in the garden – super comfy, loose, flowing, airy and they extend past the knees so that when you do kneel down you don’t get knees full of grit. I’m going to buy several more pairs and live in these until the cool weather comes our way again.

I Feel Pretty, Oh So Pretty…

Happy Earth Day everyone! As you can see I’m making a progress (slowly but surely) in reclaiming my garden.

Taming the Jungle

I Fought the Rubble and I Won!

View From the Garden

I have all of my squash and melons planted, I’m starting to get peas, I pulled all my onions and garlic over the past couple of days (a lot of that will be replanted but I needed to reorg the beds), most of my tomatoes, eggplant, tomatillos and ground cherries are in, as well as some okra and basil. Now I need to tackle my getting peppers in and then finding homes for all my left over seedlings (any takers?). I’m hoping they will find good homes at the plant swap I’m attending next week. The problem with the plant swap though is that I’ll end up coming home with as many/more plants than I took with me!

It hasn’t all been dirt under my nails though. Earlier in the month I felt compelled to add a little more art to the garden.

The first thing I found was this Witch Cowboy Boot Barbed Wire Birdhouse With Whisk Broom by Dan Towell. I featured some of Dan’s work in my “buy it or make it” post a couple of months back – he did the barbed wire trellis – but I didn’t realize it was the same artist until I found this little piece.  Anyway, I love this piece – it’s just so quirky and so perfect for a Texas garden.

This is the artist's picture which I think shows the detail a bit better.

Then, while in Santa Fe, we found this fellow. MrGF and I have been looking for a Green Man for our garden for years, but never found one that resonated with us (they either felt too severe or too jolly), but the minute we saw him we knew we’d finally found our man — he’s got a timeless quality about him. I have to say the picture doesn’t do him justice, in person he has leaves and vines etched into his hair and beard. He also happens to remind me of a dear friend who I don’t get to visit nearly often enough. Right now our man is in his temporary home sitting out in the dappled shade, among the flowers, listening to the birds sing and watching over my newly planted herbs and vegetables.

Finally, if you’ve been to Santa Fe you know that Saint Francis is beloved there. Now I give “lapsed Catholic” a whole new meaning, but I’ve always been fond of ol’ Frankie (it’s that whole talking to the animals, patron saint of the environment thing) and I was really drawn to this representation of him, so he’s found a little place in my garden as well.

P.S. MrGF has been playing with the new camera so there will be updated pics of “the cast of characters” soon.

Cha-ching, Cha-ching

Seriously folks, it’s time for an intervention! I spent so much time out in the garden weeding, planting, and bumping seedlings into bigger pots over the past couple of days that I completely forgot I had paying work to do! And then the “I need more plants” bug bit and, well, I ordered MORE plants. For those of you who are still in the “I think I’d like a little garden” frame of mind, let this be a warning that “a little garden” is a gateway drug to full-blown gardening obsession and this is an example of your brain (and dwindling pocket-book) on gardening.

Plants are all so pretty though…here is some of what I got. These plants are all known to work in my local climate and soil conditions; the pictures represent examples of the types of plants I got but not necessarily the variety. The pictures link to a site called “my garden insider“, “a website dedicated to providing gardeners with information and inspiration on the activity of gardening.” I hope they inspire you.

Happy gardening!

I Beg Your Pardon, I Never Promised You A Rose Garden…

Hello gentle reader,

I don’t even know how to begin describing the past couple of weeks – renaming my little patch from “Three Pea Homestead” to “Chaos Homestead” might be a start. The renovations are coming along, more slowly than the men folk had wanted, but that’s how it goes with renovations (I just keep thanking them and mentioning what a lovely home we’ll have when it’s all said and done); when they aren’t hanging sheet rock, installing French drains, etc. I have my very handy men prepping pathways and new planting beds for me. Which, as you will see, are sorely needed.

I know it’s technically still winter, but spring fever is in full force locally. It was in the mid-eighties (FO) here on Wednesday so Dad and I took a day off of the DIYing and took a field trip out to Tyler, Texas. For those that don’t know, Tyler is famed for its rose nurseries and is a key player in the rose industry in the United States. We visited Chamblee’s Nursery and had that “eyes bigger than your stomach” experience that you have at a buffet – needless to say, we both now have far too many roses to plant before the heat sets in.

Along with some

Cinco de Mayo

The Fairy

Nearly Wild

Mutabilis

and

Lady Banks

roses I wintered over, I now also have

Apricot Drift

Coral Drift

Peach Drift

Don Juan

Incredible

Koko Loko

Pat Austin

Prairie Sunset

Mountain Music

And then there are the ones that I’ve already got growing —

Climbing Pinkie

more Cinco de Mayo and

Rainbow Knockout

I’m sure if I dug around, I’d find a couple of other varieties that got lost in the shuffle. And one of my plant swapping friends is giving me a

Martha Gonzalez

There are a number of other nurseries in the area (including Bob Wells – who I like to get fruit and nut trees from). At some point we’ll have to make a weekend trip and find all the little hidden gems East Texas has to offer; perhaps we’ll even venture as far east as Shreveport, Louisiana to visit the American Rose Society Gardens.

The next day I fell even further off of the “no plant buying” wagon and got a few flats of annuals to brighten things up a bit. All this is before I’ve placed my mail orders and gone to my plant swaps. It might be time for an intervention, what do you think?

In and amongst it all, I managed to start readying the garden beds for transplants (the good thing about weeds is that most of them make great chicken and rabbit food — free feed rocks!); running around frantically looking for my copy if Carrots Love Tomatoes to make sure that I can plant beans with my onions (which, by the way, is a no-no). This weekend I plan to start bumping the hundreds of beautiful tomato and other plants in the greenhouse up to 4 inch pots – oh, and I mustn’t forget to get all those plants I bought in the ground. Plus I want to spruce up some of my terra cotta pots and bring a bit more color to the hardscape aspects of the garden. So, if you don’t see my for a while no need to send out the virtual search party, I’m just outside working through this to do list. I’ll be back, it may not be until the temps hit triple digits, but I promise I’ll be back.

To put another twist to our tag line de jour, I’ve recently come across a number of articles about the mental health benefits of gardening. If you’re like me you love picking up a handful friable soil or well-developed compost and inhaling deeply, perhaps you even feel a natural high when you do so? Turns out that, as reported in The Atlantic, “M. vaccae, a living creature that resides in your backyard compost pile, acts like a mind-altering drug once it enters the human body, functioning like antidepressant pills to boost your mood”.  NPR’s food blog also broached the topic. If you’re so inclined,  The Journal of Horticultural Therapy offers a scholarly take on this topic. And after a long day’s toil in the soil I recommend spending the evening with the fur family for even more mental warm and fuzzies— which I’m off to do. Adieu!

These are a few of my favorite things… seed catalogs

If you’re old enough (and American) you may remember pouring over the Sears and/or JCPenny’s annual wish book, dog earring its pages and wondering which of its many delights Santa would leave under the tree. Well it’s the same for gardeners.

At this time of year we gardeners (at least for those of us in parts of the northern hemisphere) anxiously awaiting the arrival of various seed catalogs (otherwise known as garden porn) and wonder what marvels they’ll offer to delight and intrigue us; but there are seed suppliers and then there are seed suppliers. The following are some of my favorite places to source seeds and plants (this is by no means an exhaustive list); the majority of these suppliers are heirloom and/or organic suppliers and small businesses. (Please note that I’m not opposed to the use of non-GMO hybrid seed, there are some fantastic hybrid plants out there. I just happen to like playing with heirlooms, sometimes even seeing what hybrids I can come up with.)

Now before you dive in I must warn you that, the seed habit can get a bit expensive (especially if you are like me and just have to try new things every year). However, don’t despair if you are on a limited budget because I plan to do a follow-up post on more frugal ways of acquiring plant stock (seed swaps, plant swaps, garden clubs, etc.). S0 for now enjoy browsing through the catalogs and let your imagination run wild.

(Companies in bold are companies that I have bought items from and would do so again).

D. Landreth Seed Company
The Oldest Seed House in America, est. 1784, with more than 900 Heirloom Seed varieties, roots, onion, shallot, garlic sets, tubers, Heirloom flower bulbs more than 50 Dahlia varieties plus Classic Garden tools and equipment. Their mission is  to provide quality seeds to our customers. They are committed to buying American, employing American and keeping our local economy as their main focus. They  are non-GMO and most of their seeds are open-pollinated. All seeds are hybrid. A few of their seeds are F1 Hybrids which means they do not breed true. In particular, our Black Pearl Hot Pepper and the Fairytale eggplant. Just about everything else is open pollinated and heirloom.

Seed Savers Exchange
Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds. Since 1975, their members have been passing on our garden heritage by collecting and distributing thousands of samples of rare garden seeds to other gardeners.

Southern Exposure Seed Exchange
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange offers more than 700 varieties of vegetable, flower, herb, grain and cover crop seeds. They emphasize varieties that perform well in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, although gardeners and farmers from all over the country grow our seeds and I look to them for plant varieties that will do well in extreme heat. They specialize in heirloom seeds and primarily offer open-pollinated (non-hybrid) seeds.

High Country Gardens
Beautiful Plants for the waterwise garden.

Abundant Life Seeds
Abundant Life Seeds have been protecting the genetic diversity of rare and endangered food crops since 1975. Their goal is to offer true-to-type open pollinated varieties grown using only certified organic or biodynamic farming methods.

Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply
Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply originated in 1976 on tiny Peaceful Valley Road in Nevada City, California. They are dedicated to preserving the environment by providing  cost-effective, state-of-the-art, organic growing supplies and the information and tools needed to apply them. They strive to provide growers at every level, from home gardeners to commercial farmers, with great service, low prices and the best selection of quality products available.

Trees of Antiquity
Heirloom fruit trees for your home. Their heirloom and traditional fruit trees exist thanks in great part to the home gardeners who continue to explore beyond the store shelves in search of a treasured trait that has eluded many of our supermarket aisles. They encourage everyone to maintain this search and share in the revival of these relics from the past. It’s a unique experience to bite into a fruit that explodes with a complexity of sweetness chased with a dash of tartness.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
Baker Creek carries one of the largest selections of seeds from the 19th century, including many Asian and European varieties. The company has grown to offer 1300 varieties of vegetables, flowers and herbs—the largest selection of heirloom varieties in the U.S.A. The company has become a tool to promote and preserve our agricultural and culinary heritage. All of their seed is non-hybrid, non-GMO, non-treated and non-patented.

Raintree Nursery
Raintree selects fruit varieties for flavor and ease of growing with over 800 cultivars for the American Gardener, shipped directly to your home since 1972! They have a great selection of unusual varieties for the permaculturalist.

Botanical Interests
Botanical Interests’ goal is to inspire and educate the gardener in you so that you can create beautiful and prolific gardens. They offer:

Over 500 high-quality varieties
Many heirloom seed varieties
A large selection of USDA Certified Organic seed varieties
Guaranteed – the germination rate of every variety is tested before we package it
All our seed is untreated
No GMOs – we enthusiastically signed the SAFE SEED PLEDGE: We do not knowingly buy or sell genetically engineered seeds or plants

High Mowing Organic Seeds
High Mowing Organic Seeds is committed to providing the highest quality, 100% organic seed to growers. When you buy organic seed, you have the assurance that the seed was grown without synthetic chemicals and you are supporting farms and companies that are committed to organic agriculture with your purchase.

Johnny’s Selected Seeds
They are an employee-owned company and one of the first signers of the “Safe Seed Pledge”. They may not be solely organic or heirloom, but these two aspects go a long way with me.

Territorial Seed Company
Territorial Seed Company specializes in seeds, live plants, flower bulbs, tools, and garden supplies and is another signator to the “Safe Seed Pledge”.
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A late breaking entry from my friend Theresa who reminded me of the following group. I have not done business with them, but she has and says she would again.

Native Seeds/ SEARCH
Native Seeds/SEARCH conserves, distributes and documents the adapted and diverse varieties of agricultural seeds, their wild relatives and the role these seeds play in cultures of the American Southwest and northwest Mexico. They promote the use of these ancient crops and their wild relatives by gathering, safeguarding, and distributing their seeds to farming and gardening communities. Native Seeds/SEARCH is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Tucson, Arizona.