Gardener Question Time
I’m very flattered that John at A Walk in the Garden and Snow Bird at Gardens and Wildlife nominated me for the Leibster Award. This is one of a number of awards that garden bloggers give to each other as gestures of appreciation.
If you enjoy my blog, I heartily recommend that you also check out A Walk in the Garden as well as Gardens and Wildlife. Two very informative and entertaining blogs with different geographic perspectives – one from the American Southeast and the other from the North of England.
In any case, part of being a nominee for this award is answering questions from the nominators. So that will be the focus of this post. First, for John’s questions.
1. How would you describe your gardening style?
Obsessive, impulsive, impatient, colorful, informal bordering on chaotic.
2. What new plant have you been dreaming about planting this year?
A bunch of plants I probably have no space for, mostly shrubs and small trees: Hawthorne, Witchhazel, Red Buckeye. In terms of perennials, I think I will be planting things mostly that I already have. Oh, I would like to squeeze in some Camassia somewhere – I should have space for those.
3. What is the most important lesson you learned last year?
Taller plants that are late to emerge can be shaded out by shorter plants that come up earlier. Sounds obvious, right?
4. Flowers or foliage?
Flowers, flowers, flowers.
5. What characterizes the ideal nursery/garden center/etc. as the best place to obtain plants?
Good selection, knows how to take care of the stock, avoids pesticides especially neonicotinoids.
6. Potting soil: buy or mix your own.
Buy. I’m lazy about this kind of thing.
7. How did your love of gardening begin?
My father, who grew up in an apartment in Brooklyn, loved to putter around in our suburban yard.
8. What training/classes have you attended to improve your gardening knowledge?
I had been taking classes at the school of the Chicago Botanic Garden with the intent of eventually earning a certificate in garden design. Unfortunately, my work schedule has made it impossible to take any classes since early last year.
9. What plants together produce your favorite color combinations?
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum) and Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia) or Butterflyweed (Asclepias tuberosa). Or Grape Hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum) and Celandine Poppy (Stylophorum diphyllum).
10. What gardens are on your bucket list?
The Alhambra (Grenada, Spain), Longwood Gardens (Philadelphia, USA), Hummelo (Netherlands).
11. What is your favorite winter plant?
Plants with red berries – Winterberry (Ilex verticillata), Hawthorns (Crataeges sp.), Cranberrybush Viburnum (Viburnum trilobum).
And now for the questions from Gardens and Wildlife.
1. What is the worst injury you ever sustained while gardening?
Breaking a front tooth by hitting myself in the face with a plyers. Don’t ask.
2. How would you deal with wet, slushy, soggy leaves that refuse to be raked?
Leave them until spring.
3. Have you ever had an invasion of bamboo trying to colonize your garden?
No, but in her book Mrs. Greenthumbs, the late Cassandra Danz wrote that the only approach that works is to persistently cut the bamboo stalks off at ground level over a long period. Eventually the roots starve. Trying to dig them up is completely futile.
4. Do you have any irrational fears regarding an animal or insect?
I’m generally OK with animals and insects. My irrational fears are usually about people, and I’m not sure that they’re irrational.
5. Have you ever danced barefoot in the rain or hugged a tree?
Not really … is there something in your past you’d like to tell us about?
6. Do you believe that the moon can influence the growth of plants?
Never heard that before; I suppose anything is possible.
7. Do you have a favorite flower legend or superstition?
The one about how King Clovis of the Franks escaped an attack by following blooming irises across a river. This was why the iris fleur-de-lis became an emblem of France.
8. Have you ever used a plant medicinally?
Not that I can recall.
9. Which is more important to you, house or garden?
Garden, of course. Houses are a place to go when you can’t work in the garden.
10. Do you constantly talk/complain about the weather?
Probably. That reminds me of a joke regarding farmers who complain about the weather all the time. I heard it when I had a job that required me to travel extensively in Nebraska and the Dakotas. Anyway, here it is. Question: What do you call a basement full of farmers? Answer: A whine cellar.
11. What is the most you have spent on a plant last year?
I invoke my right not to incriminate myself.
So there you have it. In the next post we will return to Los Angeles.
This cracked me up! Thanks for the laughs. 🙂
Glad you enjoyed it.
Jason…..very funny. The most interesting part though was that you don’t have the room to plant things you would like. I hereby volunteer our backyard (hesitate to call it a garden)… we’ll buy the plant you choose, help you plan them… and do what you tell us to keep them alive. Like your father I grew up in an apartment in Brooklyn and need all the help I can get. Jackie
You’re on! Judy and I should come over in the spring and I’ll take a look at your yard and come up with some ideas.
That was plural…plants
Jason, I enjoyed your responses. Congrats on the honor. Happy gardening!
Thanks and same to you, Mimi!
I thoroughly enjoyed this entire post! so nice to get to know you better and congrats on the blog awards!
Most amusing answers – and pictures too! Congratulations!
To you as well!
Hi Jason, some great questions asked of you and some really entertaining answers! Well done. The Alhambra is on my bucket list too, the other two gardens I was unaware of so shall look those up.
Hummelo is Piet Oudolf’s garden, it may not actually be open to the public.
Jason, first of all congrats 🙂 I love your blog and thanks for following mine 🙂
What is a plant in the foreground? ( question 4)
That’s Anise Hyssop, Agastache foeniculum. Wonderful plant, fragrant and edible foliage, very adaptable and much hardier than A. rupestris.
Great stuff. BTW about 60% of medicines are derived from plants so I think you have probably used plant medicines even if you don’t know. Here in Italy many people sow seeds, bottle wine, take cuttings plant according to the phases of the moon; as the moon controls water movement on earth it is possible there is something in it. I’ve had success sowing carrots at the correct time and not when the time is wrong but I have to do things when I have time and the weather is right so don’t personally follow it, but I think it may be one of those things that if it were tested in a proper scientific way might just turn out to be true.
You’re right, I almost certainly have taken medicines derived from plants I just don’t know of any specific examples.
Congratulations! Loved your answers. The Alhambra is worth the trip.
Judy raves about it.
Agastache foeniculum – I used this in container gardens I assembled for a wedding client – such a great candidate – the bees on it constantly and when cut back, it regrew smaller blooms quickly and just in time. Loved reading your responses, and congrats on your award, glad I found you along with John’s blog recently – you are both kind spirited individuals, I can tell all the way from CT. Cathy Testa
A. foeniculum is a superstar plant as far as I am concerned. Thanks for your kind words.
You are a hoot. Where do you get all that mental energy? Looking forward to meeting you and Judy in Toronto.
I find that minimizing physical activity helps keep me mentally alert. It will be great fun to meet you in person in Toronto!
Very witty responses! It was certainly a great read 🙂
Glad to hear it.
Congratulations, Jason. I just loved your responses. What a lift to a cold dreary Friday morning!
Thanks, Jason, for your great responses. Your blog breathes a lot of fresh air into the blogosphere. I’ve been to Alhambra and Longwood, but not yet to the Netherlands. Will add that to my list.
Hummelo is Piet Oudolf’s garden and nursery in the Dutch countryside.
Congratulations! I loved your answers to the questions. Your blog is always such fun to read. Your sense of humour and plant knowledge and Judy’ s photography are a winning combination.
Thanks for the kind words.
Well done Jason! Funny and informative. I’d like a Red Buckeye too if I had a bigger garden. As it is I hesitate to devote enough space that trees need, preferring instead to have the sunshine for flowers. Longwood is very nice.
I’ve seen some gorgeous pictures in other blogs.
I love your post. You really are funny. I enjoy your blog a lot, and there is always an interesting post or an informative one. I´ve seen Alhambra. Very beautiful
One day I will have to get there.
Congratulations Jason – a well-deserved award!
You are always so clever. I loved reading these mini-interviews so much. Thanks for making my day.
Well done on tackling two awards so effortlessly!I really loved your answers, I was laughing away! I love your gardening style, and what a shame you don’t have more space for trees, I just love hawthorn too. Oh….goodness me, your poor tooth, I certainly felt that one…..and loved the pic of you NOT dancing in the rain.xxx
Well, someone actually offered me the opportunity to plant trees and shrubs in their yard, which made the whole exercise worthwhile.
P.s….thanks for the bamboo advice, it really is a problem here….it seems to be in everyone’s gardens….we may finally have got rid of ours!xxx
So entertaining! Congratulations–well deserved! That tooth injury: ouch!
It looked worse than it felt.
Good for you for simply finding the gumption to even do these. I’ve tried a few times but these awards seem to tie me in knots like nothing else can, and I’m not sure why.
That’s very surprising. Well, we all react differently to these things.
This was awesome! You had me going about your irrational fears about people! HA! And the teeth thing…holy cow! Loved seeing your combinations up there as always! Hope you have a great weekend! Nicole
You too, Nicole.
and congrats on the award!!!!
I really enjoyed this, Jason–thanks for the chuckles:). I see we have a few more things in common, a chaotic gardening style and a preference for flowers over foliage. But although I’ve broken or lost some crowns, I’ve never had it happen in the garden–yikes!
I really believe that the people who say the prefer foliage are just pulling our legs.
Congratulations on your away! i really enjoyed reading your answers. Your flower garden is so lovely! But I really look at foliage first; texture, form and colors can be as diverse as flowers and the effect lasts much longer here in the Deep South where summers are brutal on flowers. And I am not pulling your leg!
OK, I’ll take your word for it!
Always entertaining! Congrats on the award and all the best for a great 2015!
Same to you, Frank!
Congrats as you so deserve a bit of recognition….love the answers as it gives us a glimpse!
Very interesting! I never make my own potting soil, either. It seems like such a waste of time when there are so many good brands available.
Enjoyed this immensely, especially your ability to get along with garden critters but a bit wary of people sometimes. I feel exactly the same, so thanks for sharing.
You’re welcome, glad to meet a kindred spirit.