Monday, February 9, 2009

Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish

From friend Yasmin, Steve Job's resonant commencement address to the graduating class at Stanford . March to your own drum. Stay open to what unfolds. A must read, a reminder.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Green Roofs

blog with an intro to green roofs and some inspiring photos.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

On and Off the Couch...Feb. To-Do's

February in Philadelphia:

We're going to have temps in the high 50's, maybe 60's this weekend! And sunny skies. How I miss Chicago, but the February thaw, which has been for my 13 years in Philly a rite of passage, is one heck of a consolation prize. (Of course, there are so many aspects of Philly living that commend it, not the least it's brilliant growing opportunities...almost everything thrives here!...and its proud tradition of horticultural excellence.)

But I digress. Purpose here is to offer some February "to do's" for those of us itching to get in the dirt.

Fertilize acid-loving evergreens with Hollytone. Fertilize other trees and shrubs with compost (if you have your own, it's time to turn it). This is also a good time to provide a cover of compost to gardens. DO NOT apply compost to acid-loving neutralizes the soil!!! We're big on compost, and often use mushroom compost as a stays dark, looks beautiful, has initial smell less offensive than Right Dress. Plants literally burst forth. Longterm benefits to soil are substantial. Drawbacks...weeds love it, too but they are easily removed in such loose medium; application in warm weather can burn young plants.

Buy seeds. You can use those left from last year, if they've been stored cool and dry, but don't count on them. Build systems to start them indoors.

Pre-order heritage or other hard-to-find vegetable, fruit plants. The offerings are fascinating. Last year I was loving richly flavored Black from Tula, tangy and prolific Green Zebra and so sweet Sungold tomatoes. One of our clients described her miniature globe eggplants (I'll get the name of the variety) that she just popped onto the grill...a delicious, buttery consistency to the filling. Another grew red corn, with red tassles...wish I'd captured on the camera. If you send here your favorites, I'll post them! Cross Country Nursery is fairly local if you wish to pick up but she also ships...this grower has everything and then some in the way of tomatoes, eggplants, peppers...all organically grown.

Ask us for herbs...we have the best resource for just about everything you can imagine, and more that you can't.

When snow melts and you can see the soil, check your perennials..stomp back into the ground any that may have heaved.

Clean and sharpen tools, machinery. Organize your shed or garage so that when the first day hits, you'll be a happy, organized camper. Make lists of what tools, provisions, you'll need.

Fix fencing, garden and raised bed structures. We'll have the soft ground for it...purchase the materials now.

Prune Viburnum, azalea,'ll lose bloom, but this is a good time to identify the branching, determine what needs to go. Also, fruiting trees may be pruned now, before they set buds. Prune grapes. Raspberries and other caning fruit plants.

Check the tender summer-blooming bulbs and tubers you may have stored in your basement or garage....Make sure they are neither too moist nor too dry and provide what they may need. I'll be sharing what we've learned about storage vs leaving in the ground next fall.

Tear pages from your garden magazines, bookmark web pages and books to better communicate to us what you'd like to see in your landscapes this year.

End of the month...if weather allows, it's not too early to prune roses. Be brutal! I'll share more on the subject.

We are available and happy to help you with any of the above tasks, or just to talk...give a buzz or send an email or leave a note in the comment box below, and we'll respond.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Same Game, New Name

We've changed our name to Galka Outdoor Design, LLC and we have a new logo. We'll still use Romancing the Garden as it applies, but our new name will better identify the professional services we currently provide, and some that we'll be incorporating (stay tuned). For me, it's a new chapter. A shot in the arm!
Many, many thanks to great guy Jon Crane and his team at Crane Marketing Communications for their generosity, talents, expertise in developing the identity. And for listening so well. What an incredible gift! The business cards, letterhead are crisp, clean and beautiful, and our upcoming brochure will be a wow. We DO get by with a little help from our friends.
Jon's sister Susan is the dynamic PR maven at the Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia.

A Chet Baker Valentine

Chet Baker, My Funny Valentine . It doesn't get better. And there's more!
Click on the link, and when the new window opens click "play". If you wish, it will stream through all of the songs on the playlist. Minimize the small pop-up player, and navigate back (back button) to this page. Piece a' cake. Close the player when you've had enough (how could you ever...). Chet had a tough life (and you thought yours was no walk in the park) but oh, what voice and horn, especially on these romantic recordings from his early years.
Happy Valentine's Day!
This is a trial run. Listen, but please don't download the files.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

You Are Style

Goyles... Looking for a cheap fix to the winter doldrums?
Get yourself a pair of ridiculous boots!
My style, such as it is, was featured in a December's Huffington Post.
I thought I was filling out a survey, late one night when I should have been working.
A month or so later, I got a note from Kira at Huff Post, saying they'd like to publish what I wrote but needed photos. Photos I did not have, or time.
Paul took a few at Solebury Orchard (the BEST Honey Crisp Apples, and they ship), and poor Deidre (one of the crew...more on crew later) had to rush through the rest one morning before work.
This entry is the result.
A vanity thing, I suppose; but I tell you, it was a boost to get some very kind reader comments.
Back to the boots, they do make me smile. And they're great for gardening, especially when it's muddy. They're comfy and you can hose them off. I have Frogs and Ladybugs and Bumblebees. I love my boots. You can find them at this site. Kids sizes, too. Make sure to order one size smaller! than you usually would. They run very large.

Wearing Winter White

Today's snow was of the large-flaked, fluffy type. Just beautiful. The first such snow we've had this year. The way the snow collects on trees and shrubs and what remains of summer plants reminds us of the four-season beauty of the landscape.

And I am reminded of Chicago winters...and happy to be in Philadelphia!!

Images of Spring!

Nick is digging me out. The view out my window is of splendid white icing on the earth. But it's cold! It helps to think of the colors of spring, which will be here soon (wishfully thought).

Tulip at left is Sun Spot...a mid-season double with long-lasting bloom that I discovered last year. It's a variable two alike.

This is my first blog entry, and it's a learning process. I'll get this figured out and add to it regularly, to remind friends and client-friends of the beauty of nature and it's possiblilites for us!

I'm an amateur photographer with a camera that takes great macros. I'll have many images and things horticultural to share, and hope you'll share yours with me. Click on any to enlarge for a bold shot of color. (Remember to hit the back button to get back here.)

Exotic Emperor, a double viridiflora tulip.

Tulipa Temple's Favourite...Tall, large-cupped, late. Elegant.

Iris Bucharica...this little iris is quite rare. It's petals develop a paper-like quality as they mature. Midseason.

The simplicity of Tulips Ivory Floradale (with a bit of red dusting
if you look closely) and Orange Queen. Mid-season Darwins.

And the wow of Parrot Tulip Professor Von Roentgen. Late season.


Emerged! This is Tulipa Monsella, an early-blooming double and a beauty.

Orange Princess. Purple feathering!

A diminutive species tulip, Titty's Star

Bulbs in the landscape...


Tulips don't come back reliably, so we replant each fall
(actually, we plant into winter) and fertilize with Bulbtone.
That's by far the best. We fertilize in summer, after bulbs die back, too.

Properly placed, the season is long.

There are early, mid and late varieties. The trick is to blend them
into a border to create a month or more of color. It's like painting
with invisible don't see the paint til spring.

When planting, more is definitely more.

Daffodils come back reliably, as do Dwarf Iris, Crocus, Galanthus,

Anemone and a host of other really cool bulbs.


Welcome to my new blog!
We're in transformation, and we don't know just what that means...but we know it will be better.
My wishes to all for dear friends, loving family, warm and cozy home and gardens that nourish the soul.
They will endure.
Joyous hope for what's to come.
And patience.
I was crazy enough to be one of the few million who witnessed the Inauguration a few weeks ago...and I'm so glad I went...cold, my back ached from standing for so long in a 12 inch space, and I honestly don't think Obama saw me in the crowd. Shame.
But energy was high, reverence was in the air.