Garlic

The sunken gardenMy great-grandmother Corlie, first proprietess of Garland Nursery credited her long life (91 years) to Listerine, honey and garlic.  Personally, I think it was good pioneer stock, plenty of activity, healthy eating, and the fact that as a woman she didn’t operate heavy machinery.  Her husband, William, died in a farming accident.  At any rate, when garlic planting time rolls around, I remember and celebrate her memory.  Corlie was one of many women that cast a long shadow and shaped who I became.  She died when I was 4, so it wasn’t a personal relationship that influenced me.  Rather, it was the respect and honor that others gave her that made her appear larger than life and one to be emulated.    So, great-grandmother Corlie, this blog is dedicated to you.

Garlic is a staple in my house.  I use it in almost every dish I prepare.  The only thing I use more of, in terms of quantity, is another member of the Allium family, the onion.  I have garlic powder, garlic salt, minced/roasted garlic in oil, and heads of garlic.  I prefer freshSoft_neck_garlic garlic.  If I’m in a hurry I will use minced garlic.  The powder is so old, I probably should throw it out, but every now and again I run into a recipe that calls for garlic powder, so I keep it around.  As far as the garlic salt, I really need to toss that.  If I have garlic powder and I have salt, why do I need garlic salt?

This past weekend, we brought back our Garden to Table (G2T) class that had been on vacation through the summer.  We celebrated, discussed and tasted: Garlic, nuts, and hops.  I figured that it would be a good opportunity to taste test the different varieties of garlic that we sell.  And the best way to get to enjoy that pure flavor is to roast the garlic.  Roasting creates a buttery texture and lets you enjoy the subtle (and not so subtle) differences in varieties without the sharp flavor of raw garlic.  Unfortunately, our garlic shipment 3 weeks later than and 2013 and 1 week later even than I expected.  So, we didn’t get to sample all 9 varieties that we sell.  But thanks to the farmer’s market and 2 of our smaller suppliers of garlic, I was able to roast and sample 5 different varieties.  I had only roasted garlic 1 other time.  It is so amazingly simple, I’m surprised I don’t do it more often.  The basic steps are:  1.  Remove a lot of the skin.  2.  Cut off the tops of the cloves.  3.  Place on aluminum foil.  4.  Pour olive oil over the head.  5.  Seal up the foil.  6.  Place on a baking tray and bake at 425 deg for 35-45 minutes.  The larger the head, the longer it takes.  The elephant garlic took a full 45 minutes.

Hard_neck_garlicI was unprepared for how much people enjoyed it.  I will admit that if even one person compliments me on my cooking that it goes to my head.  So it wasn’t like I had 100 people raving about the roasted garlic.  It was probably 4 that mentioned how wonderful it was.  Like I said, it was easy, so it wasn’t my cooking skills that made it delicious.  It simply was delicious and I didn’t screw it up.  What that tells me is that there are many people out there that enjoy encountering something new,  prepared simply, with fresh ingredients. We sampled the roasted garlic on crackers, although sourdough bread pieces would be lovely as well.

We sampled the following varieties: Elephant, German Red (hardneck), Spanish Roja (hardneck), Inchelium Red (softneck) and Shep’s EZ Peel (softneck).  The staff got to sample German Porcelain, a hardneck variety that we ordered but were cancelled on.  In general, hardneck varieties are stronger flavored but do not have as long of a storage life (4-6 months).  Softneck varieties are the ones you see more commonly in the stores.  They have a nice but milder flavor but a longer storage life (6-9 months). They also are the kindGN-Handout-Garlic used for braiding.  Elephant garlic is actually more closely related to leeks than garlic.  It is extremely mild and sweet.  My favorite was Spanish Roja, followed by Inchelium Red and then German Red.  Although I used to eat more Elephant garlic, I am no longer a fan.  The Shep’s EZ Peel was almost as large as the Elephant garlic and I wonder if I roasted it long enough.  Many people did enjoy it, because we sold a lot of it that day.

When I buy garlic, I rarely know what variety I am purchasing.  Grocery stores don’t list a variety.  Shopping at the Wednesday farmer’s market in Corvallis, I had to ask most vendors what variety of garlic they were selling.  There were a few vendors that labeled the variety.  If you are looking for a specific flavor profile, you probably need to be growing your own garlic.  Growing garlic isn’t difficult.  However, it is not a quick crop so it requires some dedicated space.  You plant in Sept-October and you harvest in July or August.  I have 2 small raised beds.  I do not have enough space to grow the amount of garlic that I need to supply my cooking for a whole year and have other home-grown, fresh vegetables to eat.  I decided I would grow the other stuff and buy the garlic.  But now that I have tasted the roasted garlic again, I’m thinking I really need to lease some land-or take over a little plot at the nursery to raise some garlic.  I need to space the cloves 4 inches apart in rows that are 8 inches apart.  From each clove, you harvest a head of garlic.  If I want to harvest 36 heads (that’s 3 heads to cook per month), I’m going to need a space 2 feet wide by 4’+ long.  Okay, that’s really not that much space.  But it’s going to be occupied for 10 months of the year.  And you’re probably going to rotate that planting space every 2-3 years.  I might be able to make that happen.  Especially if I install a couple of raised beds at the nursery.  There’s a lot of property.  It has to be sunny.  And I can’t pick any location that can be used to grow pumpkins!  Maybe I can talk my husband into taking out the front lawn?

Wherever I decide to place my garlic growing enterprise, this is what I’ll need:  Well-drained, fertile soil.  A typical garden soil would be great.  However, most of us have compacted clay soil.  If we don’t have a dedicated garden spot with well-amended soil, we’re going to have to work in a lot of compost to get the bed ready before we plant.  The location of the planting should be in full sun, as much sun as possible.  The area needs to be weed free initially and kept weed free.  There needs to be a water source, as garlic needs to be watered regularly when the plants are growing green leaves.

You break up the head of garlic into individual cloves.  Plant the cloves 1-2″ deep with the root side down.  Make a note of that when you break out the cloves.  It’s far easier to see which is the root side when you’re looking at the whole head as opposed to just the clove.  I’ve mentioned planting distance above.  As the garlic begins to grow in the spring, it should be moderately fertilized.  Use a higher nitrogen fertilizer, organic preferred.  It could be a liquid feed, if desired.  If you use a liquid fertilizer, apply every 10 days to 2 weeks apart.  An organic meal fertilizer could be applied less often.  When the foliage stops growing, you stop fertilizing and ease back on the watering.  Flower stalks emerge in early June and need to be removed.

Once the leaves begin to brown  and 2/3 of the leaves are brown, it is time to harvest the garlic.  If you loosen the soil around the roots with a spading fork, you should be able to pull up the garlic by hand.  Tie the leaves or stalks in loose bundles and hand under a covered area.  Garlic stores longer if cured with stalks and leaves attached.  Good air circulation is essential.  Curing takes 2-3 weeks and as long as 2 months depending on the  humidity and air circulation.  Once curing is complete, trim the roots.  If storing garlic in sacks, cut the stalks off 1/2 inch above the bulb and gently clean the bulb with a soft bristle brush.  Avoid stripping off the papery skin.  Hang garlic in netted sacks for air circulation on all sides.  Perfect storing conditions are at room temperature.

Okay, I want you to report back to me.  Let me know if you tried growing garlic for the first time this year and if you were happy with the result.  Let me know if you bought different varieties of garlic at the farmer’s market and roasted them and established a favorite variety.  I want to know which one you liked the best.  Finally, if you love garlic but you would rather let someone else grow it, let me know.  I’d love to hear why you love garlic and why you choose not to grow it.  Is it a space issue?  Time?  What?  I’d love to hear from you.  In the meantime, Happy Gardening.

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Have an Extreme Autumn

Article by Guest Author Kate Hemlock

IMG_1993After the “Extreme Winter” we just experienced here in the valley, with record-low plant-destroying temperatures, followed by the one of the hottest and driest “Extreme Summers” ever recorded, I am ready for an “Extreme Autumn”. An Autumn with sunny 70 degree days, clear cool nights, and misty mornings. An Autumn with the brilliant color of fall foliage, a bountiful harvest of produce and pumpkins, and the jewel tones of Fall Mums.
Chrysanthemum plants, also called Garden Mums or just Mums, are a porch and patio IMG_2093staple for homes and gardens for the fall season. Even one flowering plant, snugged up to a pumpkin or perched alone by a door, brings instant cheer and a feeling of festivity wherever it is placed. Available by August at NW retailers, Mums can be placed ready-to-go in the pot they came in, added to planters with other hardy textural plants such as Euphorbias, Heucheras and grasses, or planted into garden beds to add a pop of color where petunias and other summer color plants have long dried up. They can tolerate full sun to part shade, but perhaps last the longest with their display of color where they get some shelter from the heat of summer’s last scorching days. As the multitude of flower buds open and fade, pluck off the spent flowers to reveal light for the next buds to open and keep the plant fresh. Keep these thirsty plants well watered, but avoid the standing water of a drip saucer for more than a few hours. Varieties such as Decorative Mums, Belgian IMG_2119Mums and many Spider Mums differ from their tender Florist-mum counterparts in that they can all be tucked into a garden bed during or after flowering, and expected to return every year as a hardy flowering perennial plant. After all flower buds have opened and the look of the plant has completed its service, cut the stems back about half way and plant into a less conspicuous bed or border. Requirements are full to part sun and good soil drainage for a plant that will return for many years.
Or, be like me, and when the mum has faded, chuck it into the compost and move on to pansies for super long lasting cool season color. Have an “Extreme Autumn” and enjoy the harvest and abundant fall color!

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Diva Arrives and more

IMG_0427All of us at the nursery breathed a collective sigh of relief on Tuesday when the cooler, rainy weather arrived.  The nursery staff, like the rest of Oregonians, runs the gamut of cool lovers to heat seekers.  After a long run of 85-100 deg days, we were all sick of watering and sweating.  The plants were happy, too.  Many of them sprung back to life, looking almost fresh.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the sun as much as the next person.  July-October are my favorite months of the year.  I have greater mental and physical health in the warm, sunny weather than the cool, rainy stuff.  But sometimes it is just nice to get a break.

One benefit of the cooler temperatures was that I baked the zucchini rellenos I featured in last week’s blog.  I shouldn’t admit that I wrote about them before I actually tried the recipe.  I trusted the source and the recipe looked simple enough.  And it turned out nicely.  My husband and I enjoyed it.  But I made some discoveries.  “4 medium zucchinis” is open to interpretation and the size of the zucchini impacts the baking time.  I had to bake mine an additional 10 minutes.  Also, the recipe did not specify whether to peel and seed the tomatoes for theIMG_0396 sauce.  I did not and it turned out nicely, but doing so might yield a more attractive sauce.  As in past experience, I was surprised at how sweet homemade tomato sauce is.

The second benefit of the cooler weather is it got me thinking about fall, my favorite

season.  Many of the plants in pots and in the ground are looking a little peaked after the hot weather.  Many of the customers at the nursery are looking to replace such plants.  We have some fresh stock of summer annuals and perennials but also we have a supply of fall bloomers, like Rudbeckia, Sedums and violas.  We even got several flavors of Callibrachoas (Million bells) that will flower up to and possibly past the first frost.  So things are beginning to perk up at the nursery.

IMG_0366croppedAnother new introduction is Diva, the newest addition to the Garland Nursery pet family.  Diva is a 9 week old Cavalier King Charles spaniel, from a local breeder.  She arrived last week and has captured everyone’s heart with her youthful energy and gorgeous looks.  She resides with me and my husband but truly she is shared by all.  Her schedule fluctuates with mine…she will be at the nursery whenever I am.  Next week that is Monday-Friday.  Feel free to come by and say hello.

Next week starts the show circuit.  Karen, Lee, Erica and I will be visiting the Farwest Nursery Show (put on by the Oregon Association of Nurseries) at the Portland Convention Center.  That show will be followed by several distributor shows and our buying group convention.  This year we be looking for copper sprinklers, good buys, and anything new.  Let us know if there is something you’d like us to search for.

Have a happy Labor Day!  Enjoy the sunny days in the garden as well as the cool days, when we get them.  And come out and visit Diva!

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It’s Harvest Time

IMG_7317It’s harvest time in the Willamette Valley. My husband and I have been enjoying blueberries, strawberries, beans and summer squash from our garden. We have two small raised beds at our home and a small collection of veggies in pots at my parent’s house. The snails are so prolific at home that I find I succeed much better with the above mentioned produce, rather than leafy greens. Tomatoes do well for me also, and they are just beginning to ripen. My husband eats the cherry tomatoes like candy!

As many of you know, I love to cook. I have a large collection of cookbooks, subscribe to 2 cooking magazines and am always on the lookout for new recipes. My sister, our advertising consultant, and I were brainstorming about blog posts last week. I had made some gluten free blueberry muffins using coconut flour. Erica and Lora were enjoying them, so we talked about a blog about harvesting blueberries and making that muffin recipe. Well, the blueberry harvest is nearing an end in my garden. Plus I’m freezing most of my blueberries to use in green smoothies. (We Kid_Orchardwon’t delve into that right now.) So I wasn’t that excited about blogging about blueberries. Then I read the Sunday paper and I had an inspiration. The editor reminded us that August 8th is “Sneak some zucchini onto your neighbor’s porch night.” Okay, I know what you’re thinking…do we really need another day, another blog, another recipe about zucchini? Well, in my opinion, yes we do. Because either you grew zucchini and you need a new, delicious recipe to use said vegetable or you didn’t grow any but your neighbor is going to leave some on your porch Friday night and you are going to have to come up with something to do with it. Unless you (horrors) throw it away.
So I am going to give you a couple of ideas how to use that over-abundant, green vegetable. My sister-in-law gave me a subscription to Bon Appetit for Christmas. Last month there was a photo of a gorgeous zucchini salad with corn and squash blossoms. I decided to make it. Try finding squash blossoms. Granted I do have a zucchini and a pattypan squash plant in my raised bed. But the recipe called for 10 squash blossoms. So I pulled them off the plants, but it seemed like the squash didn’t mature after I pulled the blossoms off. Plus, the corn IMG_0363had to be cooked and cut off the cob. The end result was definitely not as pretty as the magazine photo! There were other zucchini salad recipes online that called for steaming the zucchini. Finally, I found one that was simple, tasty and I knew I could make come out like the photo. It is from Willi Galloway’s cookbook Grow, Cook, Eat. Willi is a Master Gardener, former editor of Organic gardening, and a blogger from Portland, Oregon. I had the pleasure of meeting her when she spoke at Garland Nursery while promoting her cookbook. She is down to earth and enjoys using all parts and stages of a vegetable. I knew her recipe would be simple and easy to prepare. And so it was. A little lemon juice, olive oil, romano cheese and thinly sliced summer squash and basil. Use both yellow and green squash for a visually appealing salad. Pretty, simple, and tasty. Okay, a mandolin is helpful but not a requirement. (I admit I own a mandoline but are much more comfortable using a peeler.) Yum. Checkout her recipe.

Another lady who knows a thing or two about vegetables is Renee Shepherd. From the Shepherd seed family, Renee has built her own successful seed business and established herself as an influential woman in food. Garland Nursery has been selling her seeds for a while and I love them! Renee’s Seeds has my favorite sweet pea blend (Queen of Night) and my favorite beans (Emerite French filet). She has a great website, blog, You-tube videos, and 2 cookbooks. I was thrilled when the sales manager for Renee’s Seeds (Kathy Chesus) visited me this spring and gave me a copy of Recipes from a Kitchen Garden. I knew that I would find a great zucchini recipe there. There are many in the book, but the one I chose to try was Zucchini Rellenos. I love Mexican flavors and Chile Rellenos are my husband and my favorite recipe. In the past I have roasted the peppers, peeled them, stuffed them with cheese, dipped them in an egg batter and fried them. Totally decadent, definitely gluten free, but a lot of work! I was excited to see if using zucchini in a casserole type dish would be simpler and still give the flavor I was craving. It did not disappoint! Here is the recipe….

Finally, a recipe I have shared in the past but worth repeating. Nigella Lawson is a culinary heroine of mine. I won 3 of her cookbooks. This recipe, however, I found in a magazine or newspaper (Parade perhaps). It is still a favorite to me and a crowd-pleaser at any potluck. I will not say that it is easy to make but it is fairly simple. It can be adapted to be gluten-free. My only problem with it is that I am the only gardener in Oregon that cannot grow mint. When I had a craving for it and went to make this dish 2 weeks ago, I was unable to find mint in the 3 grocery stores I checked. (It must have been an off day). So I bought a plant at the nursery to use. It probably was cheaper than the package of leaves anyway. Now I have the cut off plant waiting to see if I am courageous enough to try growing it one more time. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

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It’s Almost August? Really?

Brother of the groom and son.

Brother of the groom and son.

It’s been a busy month at Garland Nursery!  It seems like a blur, really.

First, Erica married Jim Kaminskas in her backyard.  Family and friends gathered to help them celebrate.  I had the honor of officiating.  Surprisingly, it went off quite well.  The rain stopped early in the day.  The train left before the start of the ceremony.  And the mole that has been plaguing their lawn did not make an appearance!  Erica’s garden looked spectacular.  She looked pretty darn good EWedherself.  And happy.  Best wishes, little sis.

Two weeks later, Garland Nursery rewards members had a special after hours dining and shopping experience, complete with a tour through Erica’s garden.  So many wonderful customers turned out.  Thank you to everyone who joined us.

Immediately after that we started preparing for our annual Art and Wine in the Garden event, which is coming up this weekend.  It Birdhousewas hot, hot, hot temperature wise.  We were spending a lot of time watering, but we were able to consolidate and open up space for the artisans.  There will be over 40 of them this week, selling their beautiful paintings, jewelry, garden art, birdhouses, baskets and more.  We’ve been holding this event for over 13 years.  At this point, I’ve lost count how many years it has been.  It is a great 2 days and we hope you can join us.

During the clean-up, one of our workers inadverently found a bald-faced hornet nest.  Now to most sane people, that discovery is an “Eek” moment.  But there are a few of us at the nursery that find all manner of insects fascinating.  Sharon especially was excited.  She did the smart thing and phoned a local gentleman who came out on Monday and collected the hornets to use for anti-venom.  Monday was the day that Garden Time tv came down to film a segment to air this Saturday about our Art and Wine event.  The timing was Garden_timeperfect and Jeff Gustin, creator (and cameraman) of Garden Time, arrived right at the same time as the hornet guy.  Jeff was super excited and ended up filming a segment about the hornet guy and what he does.

I would like to offer a special thanks to Jeff and Therese Gustin and Garden Time tv.  They share the gardening love and promote Garland Nursery.  It is always a pleasure to spend time with them, and a true treat to get to interact on camera (and off) with William and Judy, the hosts of Garden Time.  I’m going to put in a plug now to watch their program this Saturday at 8:30 on KOIN Portland.  The show is also broadcast on a Salem and Eugene affiliate.  To find out the particulars, check out their website: http://www.gardentimetv.com.

So, as I said, we have been pretty busy at the nursery.  We’re hoping that we’ve created a nice event and a beautiful environment to enjoy it in.  Please come see us, this Saturday and Sunday from 10am- 4pm.  There will be music, food, and wine.  Oh yes, and over 40 wonderful, creative people hoping that one of their pieces of art will speak to you.

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It’s Berry Picking Time

Berry_bowl When I was a kid, my favorite part of gardening was harvesting!  I loved digging for potatoes, pulling out carrots and picking blueberries.  Of course, I had to eat a few berries or a carrot as I went along.  They tasted so delicious, freshly picked.  Forget about pies and  jam, in my opinion there is nothing better than a handful of blueberries or one (or two or three) juicy strawberries enjoyed in the garden.  My husband is of the same mind, although I’m not sure that he had much harvesting experience as a kid.  Today, he enjoys picking a few berries, and later on cherry tomatoes, while he mows the lawn.

It is even a small ritual, harvesting the berries together.  Even in our tiny garden, we have 6 blueberries, 50 strawberries, 3 grapes, 3 raspberries and an apple tree.  Also, the neighbors planted a cherry tree and we figure anything that hangs over our fence is fair game.  So right now we are loaded down with fruit.  It is hard for me to know exactly when to stop buying fruit at the farmer’s market and grocery store.  But we are managing to work our way through everything.  Last year, I froze a lot.  I had been planning on having protein shakes for breakfast.  The frozen fruit works great for that, giving them a milkshake consistency.  It seems like I have spent most of my life on a diet.  My husband does well on a low carb eating plan but I have never been able toKid_Orchard make that commitment.  In the last 6 months, I have discovered I can stick better to an eating plan when I allow myself fresh fruit.  Because of my fickle eating plan, I didn’t manage to work my way through all of last year’s harvest, so I still have a lot of frozen berries.  This year I am concentrating on eating all of the harvest fresh.  Freezing is the back-up plan.  I have discovered a most delicious way to incorporate strawberries into the menu: spinach and strawberry salad.  Fresh spinach, strawberries, nuts and onions with a poppyseed dressing.  It is easy to prepare, simple and delicious.  Yum.  Click here for a copy.

Let’s be truthful.  I didn’t get anything fertilized this year.  The strawberries are showing the lack of fertilizer.  They are tiny.  Granted, I have not replanted in years.  Traditionally, Blackberries_Handyou are supposed to remove the original plants after 3-5 years and replant with runners or fresh plants.  I brought home new plants this year but my hubby couldn’t bear to pull the old ones out, so we planted them elsewhere.  I will say that my new ones aren’t very large either.  They got a starter fertilizer but not a follow-up.  Also, the strawberries are competing for water with the blueberries and apple tree.  We have been watering but it has been a dry spring.  The blueberries are extremely loaded with fruit.  The heavy branches are actually hanging into the walkway.  We cannot pass under our grape arbor without brushing the blueberries on either side.  We’re not complaining.  And neither are the birds that are enjoying a small share of the bounty.  We have noticed what could be a lookout bird on bareblueberry the rooftop when we are out gardening.  At least, romantically, that is what we think it is.  Even though there are a lot of birds in our neighborhood, we still have a lot of berries and cherries.  Unlike at the nursery, where the birds stripped the cherry tree before the cherries even ripened.  We do have a lot of pie cherries, however.

Erica and Jim have gotten into fruit/veggie smoothies because of the influence of Jim’s daughter, Mattie.  I thought I would include a recipe for a kale and blueberry smoothie.  I have tasted it and it is palatable.  If you’re trying to get your 5-7 servings of fruits and vegetables (and we are not counting pizza and french fries) by eating them for breakfast or a snack, this is a good way to go.  They use blueberries, kale, strawberries &/or blackberries, almond milk (or coconut milk), Barerootstrawberryalmond butter, chia seeds and unsweetened yogurt.  Erica and Jim don’t use a recipe, but there are numerous recipes on the internet.  I especially liked the one that looked purple rather than green!

Finally, Kathy has assembled some great recipes for our Garden 2 Table classes that we had this year.  Here is a link to them to give you some more ideas for how to use those fresh berries that are in abundance now.

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Hot Trends for Decorating the Garden that make Sense

kathy

New Contributor Kathy Weirich-Zane

With the warm days of summer quickly approaching I’m starting to conjure up images of myself relaxing in my yard. Whether I’m entertaining friends or just hanging out with my husband and our four legged companion Sam, I’m envisioning how I want my space to look, sound, smell and feel. Our outdoor living space encompasses every one of our external senses, which is why I think it is so important to make it a place we love to be a part of. In doing that, there are some hot trends for decorating the outdoors which I plan on incorporating into my own outdoor oasis.

Trend #1: It must be low maintenance but look good. Being in the nursery business as a buyer of hard goods for 9 years now and also becoming an avid gardener myself, I love doing some work in my yard but I don’t want to be a slave to it. This means I look for outdoor products such as furniture that will wear well in our wet and sometimes harsh IMG_9918winter environment. I want something that is attractive and can be left out year round without the worry of having to replace it the following year. Some great examples are powder coated patio furniture like the classic French bistro sets by Fermob. Another favorite for wear and tear are the concrete benches which now come in a variety of beautiful colors, textures and styles. And let’s not forget the super sturdy yet very attractive Seaside Casual furniture that is made from recycled high-density polyethylene. All of these items can be left to the elements and still be enjoyed year after year.

Trend #2: Create a “sound” garden. Does the sound of trickling water tickle your fancy and create a sense of calmness, peace and wellbeing? What about the clatter of song birds IMG_9910belting out their best chorus and the mental stimulation that comes along with it. Sound can come in many modes and can be just what is needed to make your outdoor living room complete. There are some wonderful ways I like to create harmonious sound in my yard to enhance my outdoor experience. The sound of water is one of my favorites while I’m unwinding in my garden and there are a lot of options for creating it. The choices are endless whether it’s concrete, glazed or lightweight acrylic fountains. Or maybe you want a pond with a waterfall and fish. You can also create your own beautiful and unique water feature by hand- picking allIMG_9907 the components yourself and easily putting them together. Rain chains are another fabulous audio and visual experience for those who like to sit under a covered porch in the middle of a winter or spring storm. If it’s the birds you enjoy hearing, which I do, then there are very attractive bird feeders and birdbaths to adorn your garden with. There is nothing better than hearing hummingbird’s buzzing right over your head to get to the hummingbird feeder you provided for them. Wind chimes are another option for creating beautiful rhythms while also offering visual stimulation. Gracenote Chimes and Music of the Spheres are wind chime companies that make their product right here in the USA and are tuned to actual music chords. While Woodstock Chimes also made in the USA, are known more for their aesthetically pleasing wind chimes.

Trend #3: Establish a garden with a sense of “smell”. Theirs is nothing more intoxicating than the sweet smell of fragrant flowers being carried along in the IMG_9914evening breeze. However, if you are left fragrantless near your patio area but you still want the aroma experience, candles are a great alternative. Garland Nursery carries my favorite candle brands; Legacy by Root and Tyler candles. Both have an array of fragrances to choose from, and Legacy by Root comes in a rainbow of colors too. Candlelight with an alluring bouquet will most definitely set the mood for a fabulous evening in the garden.

Trend #4: “Light it up”. My husband didn’t nickname me “the Moth” for nothing. This is IMG_9902because I feel lighting in the garden is one of the most important and I seem to be constantly gravitating towards it. For me, being able to enjoy your garden at night is one of life’s greatest delights. There are many selections of lighting to choose from and now-a-days companies have come out with environmentally and economically friendlier options. Companies like Viz Art Glass make these amazing “Chihuly looking” blown glass solar stakes that come in an assortment of bright and vibrant colors. There is also Allsop, which produces solar Japanese lanterns in all colors, shapes and patterns, as well as, cute solar table-top lanterns that can be placed anywhere or on anything and can also be hung. If that isn’t enough to get your garden sparkling with light there are also natural looking twig lights from The Light Garden that can enhance any covered patio area.

When you combine all of the above; the look, the sound, the smell, you get the “garden experience”, which is the over-all feeling it brings you. Don’t hold back, make your garden a sanctuary that you can’t wait to revisit over and over again. Remember, it’s your space and you can make it anything you want it to be. So have fun, see what’s out there, and be creative. However, if you need help making your dream garden a reality, please don’t hesitate to seek out the professionals at Garland Nursery. It’s what we love to do.

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