Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Calling All Gardeners! {And would-be gardeners} ...

Hi Readers!
You have no doubt noticed the weather is glum, chilly and damp. However, now is the time to think spring!

We've been doing just that here at Emmet O'Neal with our local garden expert and landscape designer, June Mays. For the past several years June has taught a garden lecture series each January here at the library. This year she started out on the 5th with a talk on the garden as a sanctuary. Last week she talked about the Potager, or decorative vegetable garden.

This Saturday, January 19th at 10:00 am she'll round out the lecture series with a two hour program on creating outdoor rooms. She will discuss design, furniture, plants, kitchens, and other things to consider when planning your outdoor room. An Architect, outdoor kitchen planner and furnishings expert will join us.Those of you who have seen June's lectures before know what a treat it is to hear her. If you are interested in gardening or are just getting started, please don't miss out on the last lecture in this series!

I thought I would re-cap some of her tips from the lecture on decorative vegetable gardens. I'll start with a couple of books June says are a must for gardeners working with vegetables:

Designing The New American Kitchen Garden by Jennifer Bartley
Edible Landscaping by Rosalin Creasey which June called "the bible of edible potager".
Southern Living Garden Book
The Art of French Vegetable Gardening by Louisa Jones

All titles are available from the library.

Some of the magazines June said are indispensable for the gardener are:

The American Gardener which is published by the American Horticultural Society
Fine Gardening
The English Garden
Gardens Illustrated

You can also check out back issues of magazines from the library. Our selection includes:
Alabama Gardener
Birds & Blooms
Garden & Gun
Mother Earth News
Southern Living which has a lovely gardening section both in print and on their website.

Speaking of Southern Living, June suggested you take a look at the idea garden which is tucked away on their campus near the parking deck for Lakeshore Rehabilitation Center. It's a great place for a quiet walk, or to gather ideas!

After the preliminaries were through, we then moved on to the nitty gritty of gardening - the garden itself!
Some flowers that work well in vegetable gardens include Dahlias, Italian White Sunflowers and Nicotiana.
Plants that work great when edging your vegetable gardens include Chives, Marigold, Parsley, Carrots and Salvia.

Of course we talked about what is perhaps the most important part of your garden, for both flowers and vegetables - your soil! For those of you who compost, June reminded everyone not to put meat or bones in your compost. We had several tips from the audience about compost. The biggest one being from a patron who said she picks up coffee grounds from Starbucks for her compost. We also talked about manure. June said unless you know someone with a farm and can get fresh manure, the best way to get it is to buy Black Kow Manure.

We looked at some gorgeous examples of scarecrows including this example of willow weaving

June suggests checking with The Alabama Cooperative Extension for a planting guide. You can find a brief guide here, or visit their website here and browse. This guide lays out for you the perfect time of the year to plant all kinds of fruits and vegetables in Alabama. You'll also find tips for general gardening and soil preparation.

That's it for my notes on last weekend's Garden Lecture Series.  I hope you will join us this Saturday at 10:00 a.m. for more from June Mays!

-katie m.

No comments: