Independent Garden Centers of America

Hey there. Your roving reporting is checking in. I am in the fair city of Chicago for a couple days, taking in the IGC Show. Several thousand gardening peeps will be here to discuss the latest and greatest innovations in the garden center business. I am not talking big box stores, I mean the independent folks. Tomorrow is a 14 hour bus tour of the finest, most innovative nurseries in the Chicagoland area. As if I could be any more exhausted. Nothing like being over stimulated for several days in a row. With all things gardening. And more gardening.

Of course, you know and I know, I dropped the trug on posting 365 on gardening. Would you believe me if I told you I never once stopped gardening and not a day has gone by that I have not been consumed by gardening in one way or another? Please, believe me. I’ll be able to ‘splain later. Wait, let me show you now:
The Rocky Mountain Gardeners’ Resource Guide. 384 pages. Covering 600,000 square miles. THAT’S what I’ve been doing.

So, I owe you a few days of catching up. OK, it will be hard, but I’ll go to 12 garden centers tomorrow and report back to you. They are serving fresh pie at one. Yes, I’ll let you know how that goes.

BTW, I am here to present on the Top Five Hot Button Issues and Gardening in the Intermountain West:Goldilocks and the water issue: too much or not enough; hitting pay dirt; going native isn’t pretty (enough);the land of fruit and nuts; and I WANT IT NOW! I’ll elaborate later.

If you have a pressing concern you’d like me to take up, on your behalf, with these nursery folks, just say the word.

Gardening 365, and its the 227th day.

Making up for lost time and the Tinsley House & Museum in Bozeman

OK, I owe you posts for Gardening 365 – Days 162, 163, and 164. I was on the road traveling to Montana and North Dakota. I stopped in to check on the Tinsley House in Bozeman, you may recall, I was dazzled by it last August when it was in its glory. It’s just starting to show signs of life, be it the middle of June, but, hey, that’s what our weather has offered up. Here’s a peak from the second story window:

On the return trip, I notice the lilacs are still in full bloom as we left West Yellowstone and eastern Idaho. At Island Park, the roadside streams were swollen and full of camas and Wyethia (white Mule’s ears).

Nostalgia was the order of the day in Lefor, ND. For the first time in many many years, I saw a garden where all the tomato plants were protected by what appeared to be old rusted tomato juice cans. The metal lids were tipped open. My guide and scout, TG, said, “you’ve gotta do something to protect them from the hail.”

We scouted his family ranch for the rhubarb plants he remembered as a kid. They were there, surrounded by the shelter belt and the dame’s rocket. We even found one leaf stalk that was red ripe and ready.

Big hoppers in the Dakotas

Our motto for the weekend: Let ‘er buck!

Gardening 365 – Days 111,110,109,108,107 & Dear Friends and Gardeners all

Hey out there in Garden Land! Looks like spring may actually decide to make an appearance in Boise, after all! ‘Bout damn time is all I have to say.

I am playing catch up w/y’all today. I was traveling since Saturday, I took a few vacay days to make a foray up to northern Idaho, the ever so humble yet breathtakingly beautiful Motherland of moi.

Friday, Day 107, I planted more greens and salad stuff: Amsterdam Seasoning celery (from Renee’s Seeds), Red Sails lettuce and more spicy salad blend.

Saturday ,Day 108, first day of the road trip, was all about wildflower and landscape observation and note-taking. We headed north, admiring the progress of blooms from 43 degrees north to above 45 degrees north. Above New Meadows a highway sign declares “45th parallel” – Halfway between the equator and the North Pole.” High low, high low, high so goes the drive to the northern Camas Prairie of Idaho and Grangeville. Great scenery and we caught the tail end of the jet boat races above Riggins. YeeHaw! New calves were everywhere. White blossomed wild pie cherry trees were in full bloom as were the wild plums. Note to self, remember the mile markers for those wild plums. Wild plum jam and liquor is on the agenda.

Sunday,Day 109, was the wildflower expedition on the hillsides above Orofino and Peck. Steep as a cow’s face, the mountainsides were warming up with showy wildflowers: the Balsamorhiza sagittata (Pursh) Nutt. (or arrowleaf balsamroot) gave the annual thumbs up “the range is ready.” My interpretation of this: “the cows are coming to dinner.” Balsamorhiza sagittata is the very first botanical latin I learned, and learn it I did from my charming and knowledgeable father in law, the late great forest ranger, Bob Newcomer. On the shady sides of the road cuts we found glacier lilies galore, two Indian paintbrush and a few wild larkspur.

Monday,Day 110, and my day to return to the high desert that is home, Boise. The ghastly funk cloud that hangs over the city is the first thing you notice when re-entering the valley. But it was warm and toasty and the ornamental pears and plums were responding to the first real heat of the season. The afternoon topped out at 82.

For my Friends and Gardeners, Dee and Carol, here’s my 2 cents of a report:

Finally, oh finally! My baby bok choi and mustard greens are making a show. The boks are big enough to eat as salad greens, the little “heads” haven’t come into their own yet. One big flower pot is FULL of baby arugula. At $5 a bag at the grocery store, if I harvest this carefully I can get about $15-$20 worth of arugula out of this over the next month or so. Not bad for the investment in a $2.29 seed packet. The onion seedlings are up too, but they need another week or two before harvesting. I can sow another couple dozen sets to keep the harvest coming. And that fellow veg gardeners, is the extent of my veg garden so far this season.

Tuesday, Day 111, I am back in the saddle. Working on garden projects, watered the salad greens, admired the tulips and sea thrift, noticed the fat blossoms on my apple espalier and counted as a loss, my 11 year old Royal Sunset climbing rose. I have no real idea what did it in, although rumor has it our unseasonably warm fall, way into November, came to an abrupt ending with a hard hard frost. Many plants had not gone dormant and suffered dramatically. Apparently I lost a newly planted purple smoke bush and a new red currant bush. Oh well. C’est la vie. That’s the way it grows sometimes.

I will endeavor to keep up with my 365 days from here on out.

Gardening 365 – Day 58

Last night, Gardens of the Wild Wild West’s Undergardener, Flyboy, had an epiphany. It is so remarkable I am sharing it with you whilst he runs out to file a trademark and copyright on it. Here it is:

I need to give you what you ask for – not what I want to give you.

This, my gentle readers, comes to him after being married to yours truly for almost 28 years. No, really.