Saturday, August 30, 2008


The City of Hoschton (population somewhere in the area of 1,500) is trying to get itself into the Guinness Book of World Records, by assembling 4,000 scarecrows. Since I had planned to go to the Farmers Market there this morning anyway, I decided to take a camera along and snap a few pictures. Of the half dozen or so I took, I like this one the best. What it portrays, I don't know (enlighten me!) - a ghost with a small Christmas stocking in one of its hands. Hmmmm - it must mean something!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thank you, Fay!

I cannot remember the last time we had rain two days in a row - much less four! It drizzled a bit on Sunday, we had some showers on Monday, it poured off-and-on on Tuesday and Fay finished up with a bit more wet stuff yesterday. Today, it's sunshine again and maybe ninety degrees. My garden has been rejuvenated, and now there's lots more work to be done.

Meanwhile, I wonder if Gustav will come calling. He's welcome, as long as he is as mannered as Fay was in my part of the world.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Swallowtails are everywhere

Along with increasing numbers of hummingbirds, the ubiquitous bumblebees and the occasional honeybee, the swallowtail butterflies are now in evidence in my garden on a daily basis and - what else? - they LOVE those Buddleias.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Aaaaah, Sunflowers!

On Tuesday afternoons, from 4 to 7 o'clock, LoganBerry Heritage Farm in Cleveland holds a "front porch sale" of vegetables (tomatoes and cucumbers prominent on August 12) and sunflowers (while they last). Cleveland is not exactly around the corner for me (even though this is Georgia's Cleveland, not Ohio's), but I had heard so much good stuff about the farm and its farmers, Sharon Mauney and Tim Descher, that I knew I had to go there sooner or later. Last Tuesday was a perfect day; I won't bore you with pictures of the tomatoes I bought, and the cucumber is already 2/3 consumed, but "how 'bout them sunflowers!" . . .?? Gorgeous, aren't they?
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Green Tomato, Frying Not Required

This is one tomato that will not make it to my kitchen! The Tomato Hornworm is incorrectly named, because it's a caterpillar, not a worm. But it's a spectacular creature and in my garden at least it's welcome to all the tomatoes it wants to consume.
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Agaves, "Bloodspot" (top) and "Happy Crown" (bottom)

Posted by Picasa

Trade Show

I’ve spent the past two days at the Green Industry Trade Show of the Southern Nursery Association and come away with a number of observations and questions . . .

How effective is it for small nurseries to exhibit at trade shows? Aren’t they overwhelmed by “the big boys”, who have huge corner displays, splashy attention-getters (bright orange plastic bags, an airplane [yes, really!], stacks of huge ceramic planters, etc.), and a 12-man team of sales people?

At this show, the most impressive large exhibit was that of Carolina Nurseries (although I must say that its pillars and fence created an image of exclusivity and segregation that may not have pleased all visitors), while the most effective small one was that of Snowbird Farms. It had a tree in it – one tree - a Christmas tree, a Fraser Fir. That’s what Snowbird Farms grows and sells, and I hope the Henderson family did well at the show. They certainly have the product; if they also know and understand their market well, the show will have benefited them.

The oddest booth by far belonged to the Japan Nursery Association. Three of the four staffers did not speak English and the fourth was only minimally proficient. They had no business cards or brochures and their only hand-out was a plant list that did not have contact information on it. If I wanted to order 500 Styrax japonicum, I would not know how to do it. When I asked if they had a web site, where I might find more information, I was given a URL and then told that it is in Japanese only, “but you can look at the pictures” . . . . .!

Speaking of Japan, however, it struck me that while the Japanese were at this trade show (and the Australians and the Germans!), I did not speak with any U.S. exhibitor who has export interests. What a pity; such overlooked opportunities!

Yesterday’s media luncheon, with an odd panel of experts (I had the impression there was more expertise in the audience than on the panel, or at least as much), did nothing to assure me that the industry participants truly know who their customers are, how to communicate with them, or how to profitably respond to their needs and interests. That’s another pity.

Trends talked about: (1) plant more succulents (we all went home with two tiny samples, an Agave ‘Kissho Kan’, Happy Crown and an Agave x Mangave ‘Bloodspot’, both beautiful plants but neither of which can be expected to survive a North Georgia winter outdoors), (2) pay attention to the environment, (3) use less water more effectively. I left the event unsatisfied and that has nothing to do with the more than adequate lunch provided by Novalis.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Phlox 'Robert Poore'

This gorgeous Phlox has been in my garden for three years now and tolerates the heat and drought as well as anything currently in bloom.
Posted by Picasa

Purple Bean Vine

This tiny plant I bought just a few weeks ago is now a majestic vine, climbing up the rain pipe and producing clusters of flowers. See "Thomas Jefferson in my Garden", June 14.
Posted by Picasa