The 2007 Nashville Garden Show is a week away. Get your tickets now! Admittedly, I'm excited. I even like the 007 reference, "Live and Let Grow". Kudos to them. The cost for adults is $8.00 and it's a great way to see what's new, what's back and what you should be buying. From those that just want to get out of the house and into the great outdoors that are actually indoors... or those that are even slightly interested in their gardens should attend this show. And don't worry. You don't have to speak latin to communicate with anyone.
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.