Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Garden Gate Newsletter for June

We love this place!

The Garden Gate
3268 Fordham Pkwy.
Gulf Breeze, Fl. 32563

June Class Schedule

Cut Flowers
Flowers are used to mark every occasion in our lives — bouquets celebrate the birth of a baby, weddings and engagements, or other special celebrations and even help us mourn the passing of a loved one. Since Victorian times, certain flowers and flower colors have had special meanings and were used to convey tender (or not so tender) sentiments. Many of these meaningful flowers can be grown in our landscapes, either in an area dedicated to cut flowers or incorporated into other plantings. Join us Wed. June 9, from 10:00 until 11:00 A.M. to learn the about the language of these flowers plus how and where to grow them. Cost of the class is $5.00. Please call to register.

Shade Gardening
Even though shady sites can limit the plants that can be used, and are often hard to dig in because of roots, these areas can provide landscaping interest with color and texture. Many plants that grow in shade don’t bloom as long as their sun-loving counterparts but continuous color can be achieved by choosing species that flower in succession. Join us Sat. June 12, at 10:00A.M. Until 11:00A.M. to learn about plants that thrive in shady areas and how to successfully grow them. We will talk about under-story trees, shrubs, perennials, and ground covers to use in shade, how to amend your soil to plant them, plus other ideas to turn you shade into an low-maintenance asset rather than a landscaping problem. Cost of the class is $5.00. Please call to register.

Cooking Demo – Tomatoes!
Tomatoes will be the main ingredient in this cooking demonstration. Beefsteak, heirloom, cherry, grape – no matter the size and shape, they are delicious! Join us Sat. June 12, at 11:30A.M.when Kim Armstrong will demonstrate simple and exciting recipes using these home-grown favorites (we will talk a little bit about growing tomatoes in our area, too). The cost for this cooking demo (and tasting!) is $7.50. Please call to register.

Natural Pest Control
As the heat and humidity rise, so do the number of pest and diseases that attack our gardens and landscapes. Join us Wed. June 16, to learn ways to keep your plants healthy without using manufactured fungicides, pesticides, and other “cides”. We will discuss using organic products, physical barriers, beneficial insects and other wildlife, and companion planting plus other tips and techniques for less toxic gardening. Class will be held from 10:00 A.M. until 11:00 A.M. Cost of the class is $5.00 – please call to register.

Join us Sat. June 19 to learn about the craft of topiary — growing plants on forms or by pruning plants to create shapes. This ancient form of gardening is enjoying a resurgence in popularity right now, adding a touch or formality or tradition when used in the landscape or in interior spaces. You will learn which plants to use for topiaries and how to plant and grow them, whether in containers or in the ground. Tips for maintaining topiaries will also be discussed. We will provide all materials for you to make a topiary during the class, to take home. (This is the season to start topiaries to use or to give as gifts during the holiday season.) Class will begin at 9:30 A.M. until approx. 11:00A.M. Cost of the class is $30.00. Space will be limited for these classes, so please call to register.

Summer Containers
This class will teach you tricks to plant and maintain beautiful planters in summer’s high heat and humidity. Choosing the right plants for your growing conditions is only a part of successful summer container gardens. How to select plants for dramatic effect will also be discussed – combining “thrillers, fillers and spillers” (using flowers, herbs, vegetables, or grasses) to make fantastic, functional focal points in your landscape. Learn watering, fertilizing and maintenance techniques in the lecture part of the class. After the class, you are invited to put together a great container garden to take home. We will provide all plants and materials. This class will be held on Wed. June 23, and Sat. June 26, at 10:00A.M. Second session will follow immediately at approx. 11:00 A.M. Cost of the class is $5.00. Cost of the after-session is $25.00. Please call to register and let us know if you will be staying for both sessions.

News and Notes
Hot weather, rainy weather, steamy weather – it must be summer! Spring flowers are beginning to fade but the heat-loving flowers are coming on strong. Annuals such as zinnias, cosmos, and coleus are tried and true for summer color. Unlike in our grandmother’s time, however, coleus can now be grown in the sun and cosmos can be found in dwarf or double forms in a much wider range of colors. The dwarf zinnias are our favorites, blooming from now until frost with a low mounding habit that does not need dead-heading. They are available in pinks, oranges, reds, yellows, and whites. Try the Profusion series or the Narrow-leaf zinnias in hanging baskets or other containers or in the front of a flower bed. Plant breeders have also worked to improve some old-fashioned perennials. For example, there are many new forms and cultivars of rudbeckia (black-eyed Susans) and gaillardia, or blanket flowers. Some of the most recent and interesting breeding breakthroughs have been with Echinacea (or purple-cone flower). By crossing a yellow species with a purple species, a series of orange flowered Echinacea have been developed. These North American native perennials are now available in all the colors of a sunset or a sunrise. They make spectacular and long-lasting cut flowers, blooming from summer well into fall. Purple cone flowers like sunny sites on the dry side, with a little compost or manure to slightly sweeten the soil. Butterflies love them!

We are seeing lots of birds at our feeders right now, mostly hard-working moms and dads feeding their nestlings. The Carolina wrens that have built the nest in the canvas bag on our porch seem especially busy, not only visiting the feeders but also combing the gardens and container plants for insects for their ravenous young. This week, we have seen the wrens, chickadees, house finches, cardinals, sparrows, bluejays, and red-bellied woodpeckers at our feeders. And then we have our “other” birds — for those of you who have not met “the girls”, we now have six chickens (all hens) brought to us by a customer in early April. We have two California Whites (Beatrice and Gertrude), two Rhode Island Reds (Perryia and Katherine Hepburn), and two Americaunas (Betsy Ross and Martha Washington). We are busily preparing to build a new coop for “the girls”. Come by and check our progress.

We are planning a number of new upcoming classes and cooking demos, and we would love to have your input about garden subjects or related crafts that you would like to learn about. Ideas that we are working on include classes on meditation gardens, romantic gardens, gardening on the water, living roofs and walls or vertical gardening. We are always looking for ways to engage children in gardening or the environment, we are always interested in connecting cooks and gardeners, and we are always interested in passing along information that makes gardening easier or more successful. Please let us know your ideas for classes and other activities, by calling, e-mailing, or just stopping by. Thanks!

June 4, 2010 - Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Beauty, Community, Cooking, Customer Service, Education, Florida, Local Lore

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