Behind the Fence

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Trash to Treasure

Before you head out for the recycling center, grab a few water bottles or other plastic cylinder containers and have some creative fun. Paint, paper mache, colored sand and joint compound can transform those otherwise ugly containers into pretty vases for giving flowers from your garden. On Wednesday, April 7, I will be conducting a workshop on ‘’Trash to Treasure” at 12:30 p.m. at the McCracken County Library. We will use paper mache to cover empty coffee creamer containers. To register contact the McCracken County Library at 555 Washington Street Paducah, Kentucky 42003 or call (270) 442-2510, Toll-free 866-829-7532

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Warm breezes, daffodils, pansies and surprises. Everyday I take a walk around the yard and potager to see what new little sprouts have arrived. My surprise today was violas or Johnny-Jump-Ups. Last spring I bought the seeds on a whim and tossed them around some pavers. They sprouted but didn’t do much, just sort of sat there. I didn’t give it too much thought as it was only a package of seeds. To my surprise and delight, there are now sweet little violas blooming all around the pavers.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My First Helleborus Bloom

Today I saw the first bloom on my helleborus (Lenten Rose.) It is a bit late as they are usually the first bloom of the season appearing in late January or early February.  Given to me two years ago by gardener friend, Dick Holland, I have waited patiently for it to bloom. Today was the day!

Cover Girl

Yes, that’s me on the cover of the March/April Paducah Life magazine. It took 60 years, but finally I am a cover girl! The attention generated some interesting requests. The McCracken County Cooperative Extension Office invited me to include my potager on the Garden Tour on April 13 (which I had to decline due to some unexpected family needs.) But I have agreed to give a talk at Market House Coffee on May 1 (in exchange for their used coffee grounds and filters) and to help a second grader with a science fair project in the fall.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Potatoes in Bags

This will be my third year to plant potatoes in the potager. So far I have had very limited success. In the past two years I have used potato bags from Gardener’s Supply, filling them with compost and top soil. The potatoes were very good, but pretty scarce. This year I used Mel’s Mix (equal parts of compost, vermiculite and peat.) I used the bags again, but also experimenting with the “high rise” method described on the Square Foot Garden web site. The high rise is an open ended 12-inch square box; it can be 6-12-inches deep. Directions for planting potatoes using this method, as well as the traditional method of “hilling up” are in the Square Foot Gardening book or click on the web site at the bottom of this page.

from 2008 garden

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Free Plants

Free plants are readily available with just a little effort.

Taking advantage of an unusually warm day in March, yesterday I spent the entire day, cleaning off beds, pulling weeds, trimming herbs and just generally puttering around in the potager. Cutting back a lavender plant, I was pleased to see it survived the winter very well. I don’t recall the variety, but it must be hardy and worthy of propagation. I took five tender stems about 4 – 5-inches in length, stripped the leaves from the lower two-thirds and put it in moist potting mix with added moisture crystals. Off to the green house to join the rest of my free plants. Taking a quick inventory, I counted 3 rosemary, 6 thyme, 1 Peggy martin Rose, 5 Knock-Out Roses, 2 Crepe Myrtles, and 20 geraniums, all from cuttings last fall.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Why do I want to blog?

 Because I am passionate about my potager (or kitchen garden,)  I tend to talk about it non-stop. I notice the eyes of my non-gardening friends and family glaze over in boredom. I think I have been hidden by more than a few of my friends on Facebook.  I need an outlet! (Okay, the real reason I want to start a blog is I just watched Julie and Julia and thought "How cool is that?")  I do hope to have interaction with other gardeners and if no one reads it, well I will have a journal, something I have often considered but have never put to practice.  Now to start blogging...........