However, there are some key, but simple things you should know before attending the show so that you don't get a headache later (for starters, to get in you'll need a ticket or cash -- no credit cards for entry). Some of these things are funny and some of these are serious. You may want to purchase, order or ruminate over something while at the show so this guide will hopefully get you thinking about the right things. Look out for # 10!
THE 10 THINGS TO KNOW, BEFORE YOU GO TO THE SHOW (ah, poetry):
1. Water. How much does it need? How often does it need it? Is all that water going to attract mosquitos, algae, mold? Am I really going to spend $500.00 for something that needs that much agua? Wow. You guys are going to get so much more than just 10 things out of this! Before you commit, know the commitment or get help.
TIP: Water lawns less often, but for longer periods of time.
2. WHERE Am I? Knowing where you are... or what zone you live in is important. Sometimes these shows can have not-so-local vendors selling swings and talk about things they shouldn't so know your zone, know what grass grows best so you can ask the right questions about seed and weed and know when those things can be dealt with best. By the way, if you are in Middle Tennessee so you are in Zone 6b (officially). But we're also a little Zone 6a and 7a, too. Admittedly it's confusing and there is still a little bickering about our zone being changed to "b". Most of what will grow in Zone 7a and zone 6a can be grown in 6b. That's pretty much what you need to know. Need to see it on a map to understand? Go here. However, I have grown plants outdoors for years that I keep being told can't grow in our zone, or even two under us. The whole zone thing is just a reference, but it can be confusing to vendors, too.
3. What grass should I be growing in Middle Tennessee? I get questions from people who have been to Georgia and Florida and fall in love with St. Augustine grass or zoysia. It's great, my parents have St. Augustine... but you aren't going to get it to grow here for very long and zoysia is getting better but needs more tweaking before you spend lots of dough on it. Middle Tennessee is a transitional zone for grass and therefore needs a more transitional grass like fescue. Fescue is a cold season grass so it's green in the winter and most year round. It gets weak and whimpy in July and August but picks back up late August. Don't call me in December through June and say, "my fescue grass is dead -- I only planted it 3 years ago". That's not fescue. It's bermuda. Bermuda, just like a weed will overtake your yard when fescue is weak during the heat of summer and especially if your yard is weedy and has been neglected by proper nutrition. If you went outside today and looked at your lawn and it's brownish, whitish with green spots here and there, it's bermuda. The green spots are what's left of your fescue. Proper nutrition of a yard will keep the bermuda and weeds out. I was kidding when I said "don't call me" -- please, call me. I'm nice, I promise. And I'm less likely to crack jokes in person.
4. Am I a bad person for killing weeds? I'm sorry, I don't do philosophical questions and if someone at the home and garden show tells you you are an "evil weed killer doer", you're at the wrong place. However, weed control is a very important factor in having a beautiful lawn. A four-leaf clover might be lucky, but it's still a weed. Dandelions, broadleaf weeds, and other types of weeds can attack a weak lawn. There are very good weed control products on the market today and they are usually noted what type of weed the product was developed to get rid of. Organics are getting better and better but are still a little way off on competing with non-organics. If you have the time, energy and money then use organics. Otherwise, they'll catch up in a few more years.
5. Are you a tool junkie or a tool sucker? Tools are great. Since the earliest of days, cavemen developed tools to make life easier and better (well, I actually wasn't there but I'm sure it happened). But tools do not always make our lives easier. Sometimes they are much more hype than help. Personally, I'm recalling my great terra cotta roasted-garlic cooker purchase. I think I still have it and have NEVER used it because it was an impulse buy. But it is doing a great job taking up space in my kitchen. I think I'll keep it as a reminder. If you see a cool tool, don't make an impulse buy but take their information so you can research and then order it from them if you still want it. If you want a new "tool" for the garden try this: The topsy turvey tomato grower thingy. It works, I've seen them in your yards full of tomatos. It's not my style, I like staking them in the ground, scaring away the squirrels and building scare crows... but you are not me. To order one or read about it, click here, or look for one at the Home and Garden Show.
6. Don't buy that shammy OR that rake! Look, this is an addendum to #5. Nobody in our area, except maybe Gregg Bolling, is going to buy one of those whacky shammies that can clean everything from stinky butt to cigarett butt from those local vendors in the mall at Christmas time. Likewise, you don't need a high-tech rake for $50.00 because it's going to save you money in making the job go by faster. Look, 4 months from now, if you are really, in fact using it, it's going to break. All rakes that are used break, get crushed or if you're in Lockeland Springs -- get stolen. Buy the cheap one with the larger head fan and be prepared to buy another. Even including cost of gas, you're much better off.
7. This product is not available elsewhere! Then forget it. You don't need it. THINK: If it's that good, then Home Depot, Lowe's, Lesco, Worm's Way or your favorite local hardware store will have it. This product "only available here" will probably be in Big Lot's in less than 6 months selling for $1.99 instead of $99.00. Then, as everything does, it will be proven to cause cancer. So... control your impulses.
8. Which way to see the two headed goat? Okay, sure you're at the fairgrounds, but if you came for the two headed goat you're about 7 months early. Relax and take a stroll through the vendors areas. Look at the set ups that they have and refer back to rules #1-7.
9. Okay, I'm skipping #9 because #10 is much more important.
10. WARNING: The Home and Garden Show will give you a bad back!
Okay, so the 2007 Nashville Garden Show won't really give you back pain, but the BBC has some warnings for beginners and not so beginners to heed in regards to gardening. So keep this in mind when choosing equipment or deciding to take on a project yourself.
The BBC put out a report detailing the rise in trend of backpain. A Gallup poll of more than 2,000 adults found that nearly 42% had suffered from back pain. Of these, nearly half (47%) said their problems were a result of working in the garden.
In the 35 years of age and older category it was 56% who said their back pain was a result of gardening. The article goes on to say that most problems stem from not knowing how to lift and bend properly.
Why the sudden increase in back pain? Experts say that it is the Lawn and Gardening shows that are inspiring people to get out and work but are not inspiring people to work smart. But it's not necessarily the one's like our 2007 Nashville Home and Garden show, but it's the on TV variety.
- how do I calculate how much lime to put in my yard?
- how do I calculate how much sod or seed I would need in my yard?
- important note at bottom for our maintenance clients
Middle Tennessee typically has a high acid ph and lots of clay. Lime pellets break down both the clay and acid content to a more manageable and broader plant loving level. Yes, there are plants, like azaleas, that like acid, but not too much acid nor do they like being planted in dense clay. Lime helps resolve those issues. But how much lime do you put down? Well, that would vary based upon the soil acidity in your lawn. February is a good time to take a soil sample to see how much acid your yard contains, but in general, we would use about 40 lbs of pelletized lime per 1,000 sq. ft about 2 to 3 times per year.In plainer terms, take the square footage of your lawn areas (see diagram). Let's say you have 2,000 square feet of lawn, you would use 80 lbs. of pelletized lime. 3,000 sq. ft you would use 120 lbs. of lime (adding 40lbs for each 1,000 sq ft).
Being able to calculate your square footage is important in putting proper amounts of seed, fertilizers, etc., in your lawn. If this is rocket science to you or you don't have the tools or time to do it --- see the note below this next section.
Here's how to determine square footage (this can also be calculated to find out how much sod would cost, too -- call us for details):
- On a piece of paper, sketch out your yard-- don't sweat over it, just a simple drawing is fine.
- Section off your lawn into squares and number them.
- Take section one and measure it using a pedometer, long measuring tape or "guestimating" by walking it off. Measure both ways to find the length and width.
- Repeat this step for each square. Do not include garden beds, sidewalks, patios, driveways, etc.
- Multiply the length x width of each square to find the square feet for that area.
- Now add all of the square feet (length x width) from each square together to get your square yardage (a typical E. Nashville house may have 900 to 1200 sq. ft in the front yard alone).
NOTE: While not being 100% accurate is not a problem in calculating how much lime or fertilizer you should be using, being decently close is important. If you're not sure if you've measured correctly, call us or another professional to come and measure for you. We have professional tools to measure you yard and ArtHouse Gardens will do this at no cost. Also, please note the recommendations on the bag of lime (pelletized), fertilizer, seed, etc. These will differ from product to product so use their suggestions. You will need to know your square footage to determine amount of product to use and how many bags to buy.
Want a free quote for sod? Take these same #'s that you've calculated and email us or call us at 615.243.5499. Otherwise, contact us and we'll come out and take the measurements for you and assess your yard. We give advice for free. Last year we gave advice to an E. Nashville neighbor family and they won a neighborhood association award for their lawn.MAINTENANCE CONTRACTS: This year we will be adding small sections of sod in trouble spots in your lawns at no extra cost . Also, you do not need to put lime down--- we do this for you automatically.
TOOLS: Gloves, pruners/scissors, hammer, cutting board, paper towels, water and vase
I always laugh when I hear the term "forcing forsythia" or in reference to another plant. I'm a creative and visual person so when I hear this term I picture forsythia being forced into a car at gunpoint or something of that nature (yes, I'm only 58% normal brain functioning capacity as I am reminded daily). And while there is one camp that adores forsythia and another that hates it, there is a way to force forsythia in such a way that all will love it.
In case you don't know, forsythia is that arching plant in your yard that is budding right now and will have yellow flowers on it in the next week or so. Forsythia is a key to understaning when to take on other projects in the garden, too, which we'll get into further down. Forcing forsythia refers to removing branches of the forsythia and growing them indoors for a beautiful stand alone arrangement, or mixing them with other flowers for your enjoyment.
Forcing forsythia is really easy, too and needs to be done soon. Here's how:
Just cut a few branches from your forsythia (or other favorite spring blooming shrubs like Quince) on a day when the temperature is above freezing. Make sure you cut each branch all the way to the main stem. Later on you can cut the branches to the size you need them for your vase or arrangement. Bring the freshly cut branches inside and immediately put them in water.
Take each branch out of the water and cut the end off again. The forsythia branch will not drink enough water if not given a fresh cut. Now, pound the cut end of the branch with your hammer to split the end. Trust me, it will love it as now the branch has a better means to drink water. Just like in humans a scab will start to form over your cut so immediately place the end into a vase. In forcing flowers, we do not want the scab to form. Repeat this with each branch.
Keeping your branches "moist" is important for several days since indoor winter air is usually very dry. You can accomplish this by wrapping the branches in damp paper towels while they are still in the vase and misting them for several days.
In about two weeks you will begin to see the buds about to burst on the branches. Before long the shrubs branches will be blooming and there will be beautiful spring color in your home.
Make sure you change the water in the vase every few days for lasting color. The forced branches should last several weeks inside for your enjoyment.
Try this technique with other early spring and spring blooming plants. Don't be afraid to experiment.
Forsythis is an "indicator plant". The bellowy blooms tell you that the soil is above 45 degrees and the roots are active. The blooms also tell you it's time to prune your roses, fertilize some grasses, trees and shrubs (careful, not spring blooming ones).
The standard "goldenbells" variety can grow 8 to 10' in height and width so crowding them in a small area is not recommended. For smaller areas or yards, try the Fiesta variety which only grows 3' in height and width.
After bloom ends in spring, prune tattered shoots to ground level; you can remove up to a third of the plant's wood each year.
Forsythia looks best when the branches are long and arched.
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Here are a few DO NOT DO'S this Valentines Day:
1. Do not buy her an appliance for Valentine's. You will pay a serious and eternal price for this. Oh, unless the appliance costs less than a diamond ring. Women love saavy men. It's very important that when giving appliances you should always take the time to wrap them.
2. You didn't buy into that Vermont Teddy Bear commercial did you? Idiot! You could have gone to Opry Mills and put one together with her. I hear that there's a great new "camoflauge bear" collection for 2007. TIP: Get her a gift certificate to build-a-boar and she can take a friend with her on a more convenient day. Don't be lazy, put the gift certificate in a card and sign it. Spray the card with Aqua Velvet to increase your "chances" later.
3. Be classy. You don't have to spend a lot of money to show how much you like/love someone. Think creatively and if it can be wrapped, well, wrap it! TIP: If you're buying her a can of beer... 'wrap it' in a bag you big dope!
4. Don't be over the top. If you hope, plan on, wish that you will be with her the next Valentine's Day then don't set yourself up for failure. Eventually you will not be able to top the previous year's celebration --so play it cool, play it romantic and play it to win. Okay, the bottom line is that if you go over the top for your date--- our wive's / girlfriends will hear about it and we'll pay. Look out for your brother and back off a little, okay?
5. Do not buy her a heart shaped diamond ring. Please, I beg you. It's not too late to send it back (or if it is too late to return it, you could take a screw drive and bend it into a circle or something not resembling a heart).
6. So you think you're just going to be able to walk into F. Scott's without a reservation on Valentine's? Doh! TIP: If all else fails, Publix has a great deli --- and it's classy (see you there, Greggg).
7. Unless your date lives in Antioch, cheap lingerie does not say "I Love You". It says, "you are a tramp". So, be sure to include a box of chocolates, too.
8. Thinking about proposing on Valentine's? Ehhhh, there's a better date out there. Valentine's is not very original. TIP: April 1st is a great day for a proposal.
9. Look, V-Day is about her. If you focus on her, listen to her and look at her like she's the only woman in the room... then, later on it will be about you too. TIP: Wait 'til she gets up to use the powder room to get that babe's phone # that is sitting across the room. Remember, you've already invested a lot of dough with the date you currently have so you might as well stick it out the entire evening.
10. No, Sudoku is not an appropriate Valentine's gift or activity.
11. I am often asked, "Do we need to go out on Valentine's or is it okay if we stay in?" Feel free to stay inside since it's been 15 degrees for the past 2 months and she's going stir crazy. While you're at it, watch pay-per-view. Something like the "Best of WWWrestling" or anything with a lot of touching to stir up those romantic feelings. TIP: If you've purchased a wrestling video for her --- don't be an idiot ---wrap it.
12. TIP: Pheromones is not a noise that one of Charlie's Angels makes so don't waste your time looking into this.
13. Never, ever take serious advice from bloggers about dating relationships, love or beer. Okay, maybe the beer part is okay. Don't drink beer and drive! Take a cab, call a friend. You know the drill.
If you've got a TIP to share, leave a comment! We'd love to hear from you.
I have been blessed to be a volunteer leader with Habitat for Humanity. Normally (we had a baby), on this very week that includes Valentines day, my wife and I would be taking 20 people from scattered parts of the globe to Africa to build houses in some of the shanti villages. A "shanti" is a home made of tin, car doors, glass pieces -- basically anything that can be found for free. Usually way too many people live in these homes. There is generally only one room -- the kitchen and the bedroom (one and the same). There is sometimes an outhouse out back or shared nearby. These shanti homes are set up in such a way that makes rape a bit more likely, perhaps even as a form of intimidation in gaining "control" of a household. This could be a large factor for the contribution of AIDS.
Who would have thought that Habitat for Humanity could help with issues like rape and AIDS? In Africa, they do so much more. In order to become qualified for a house, residents learn how to budget, how to work efficiently in order to keep a job, how to say "no" to outsiders who want to force themselves into a family's home. If they can make it through this program, which they can, then they are on there way to getting a house and keeping it.
Last year we built a home in a small village called Masiphumalele which means "We Will Succeed" in Xhosa. The Government has historically referred to it as Site 5. To see more photos, other than the ones on this page, that I took in Africa, visit this link. The people in 'Masi' were wonderful and while it was a few hours drive from the site we built at the previous year, we were welcomed by some of the same faces as before who were there leading us as we built. Everyone within the village was kind to us and would have given us the clothes off their back if we would let them. Amazing. We were supposed to be the ones giving, but it was really the other way around.
We took this year off from traveling due to not being able to part yet with our 14 month old. She's too adorable. But, in honor of Valentines Day and the AIDS crisis that affects many right here in Nashville, we are partnering with V's Boutique to benefit Nashville CARES who is working with families and individuals who feel those effects locally. Nashville CARES, like Habitat deals with mending hearts and minds, not through housing, but through medical and social services. Currently 2,000 people are being helped with the aid of Nashville CARES.
So, this Valentines Day we celebrate Nashville CARES by trying to raise a little money and awareness. Here's how:
For $50.00, Cupid will carpet your driveway/sidewalk with a plush row of rose petals on Valentines Day to set the mood for love or friendship.
For $20.00, Cupid will bring a cute bag of rose petals to your door to use as you like. Hint: A nice warm bath with fresh rose petals is recommended. However, a bed lined with petals or a table top for a romantic meal is good, too.
For either of these services, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday night -- 8pm.
All proceeds benefit Nashville Cares (make your check out to them directly) or donate online to their site.
More photos this month in honor of Mardi Gras.
3. The final type of garden office is the one that takes the best of both worlds. The versatile garden office has wide doors that swing open (like a barn) or perhaps it's a small commercial electric garage door with large windows built in for viewing your yard when it's closed. A closed garden office can be transformed to an open garden office by rolling the desk out a few feet onto a deck or patio with ease. There are so many ways to create a versatile garden office and not everyone (or most everyone) will be able to afford this option.
- Cordless phone, internet phone or a really long chord
- remote internet access (or really long chord) and laptop
- An indoor/outdoor desk (or patio table) If the area is covered then the sky is the limit Preferably an old desk with drawers for pens, paper...
- A dog, cat, bird or all of the forementioned to run around and give you that much needed distraction from time to time
You will also need shade and strategically placed plants/trees/arbors to give your garden office "walls". Just as a good designer will plan your landscape to have "rooms" or unique sections your garden office needs to have that same feel. If it does, you are far more likely to use it on a daily basis.
Even if a garden office is on your list of needs this year, contact us for other great ideas for your lawn and stay tuned to this blog. You can subscribe to this blog below.
But my hatred of the weather predictors is diminished by the fact that I fear dehydration and starvation as there's no more milk or bread within a 175 mile radius of Nashville. Further, I was going to start my New Year's resolution today of jogging 5 miles a day, but now I'm calling the whole thing off! I think I'll protest the snow by staying inside and playing spider solitaire --- or heaven forbid --- clean.
The good news is only 15 more days of Snowbird (Sorry, Bill). Oh, and Franklin didn't get any snow. Perhaps I can get some milk there. Of course that would mean removing my little musical piggy slippers and additionaly require me leaving my house. I think I'll stay home because I don't have a snow shovel to clear a path.
I meant to post this last November. A huge storm blew through East Nashville very suddenly. So fast and hard that soccer players in the park did not even have a chance to flinch. A wreck happened ahead of me and blocked traffic. I got out of my car to watch the guys playing soccer since the sun had come out and was very intense against the black clouds. Then an amazing thing happened. A beautiful rainbow formed from end to end. It was amazing. Click on the picture for more.
Traditional Jazz is a visual and aural sensation. Like folk, blues, bluegrass and classical music, Jazz paints pictures with tones and lyrics. The slow withdrawal of winter and the oncoming march of spring has given me a sense of musical renewal and to the roots that I love. If you haven't pulled out or bought a good traditional jazz CD recently I command you to do so (laughing)
Artists I'm currently listening to:
- While originally deemed a "fluff" jazzist, Harry Connick, Jr has proven himself to be a true jazz artist. His understanding and even innovation of jazz continues to evolve like the great masters before him.
- The Preservation Hall Jazz Band continues to give us staple product. My affinity for them is perhaps due to the many times I've spent listening to them live.
- Rosemary Clooney would be categorized more in the "vocals" area, but she's played a lot in our home, too.
- Locally you should check out Teren Bose and the Swingset or Annie Selleck. Both are top notch performers and they live here in Nashville.
What are you listening to right now? There's no right or wrong answer. Music is subjective.
WHILE we're on the topic of Jazz, we can't deny that a little jazz is coming on the horizon for our yards, too. That is if you planned ahead and planted your tulip bulbs last fall. Perhaps daffodils are your preference. But no matter, for some of us the jazz is near. This picture was taken in my yard last spring.
The best way to develop your yard is to journal it. In the journal note what bloomed and when. Note what performed poorly and what performed great.
Take pictures of your garden beds and date them. This will aid in knowing what type of bulbs to plant and when.
Lilies, for example, come with different bloom times. Look on the bulb package to see whether your bulbs are early spring, middle spring or late spring bloomers. If most of your bulbs are early spring bloomers, then be sure to plant middle and late ones too to keep the color coming.