Category Archives: Gardener

Meet our Talented Team of Gardeners & Designers

Great teamwork is the only way we create the breakthroughs that define our careers.

~Pat Riley

Meet Ann Emanuelsen:

  Historical Garden Presenter; Future Master Gardener; Lifelong Gardener; Our Expert Weeder!

Meet Kathy Gilmour:

  Landscape & Horticultural Specialist; Lifelong Gardener; Our Expert Indoor/Outdoor Plant Doctor!

Meet Christine Statz:

Master Gardener; Lifelong Gardener; Our Expert Field Supervisor & Plant Installer!

Meet Kathy Chatel:

Lifelong Gardener; Future Master Gardener; Our Expert Perennial Divider & Tool Keeper!

Meet Darcy MacKenzie:

Lifelong Gardener; Master Gardener; Future Master Composter; Our Expert Veggie Farmer!

Meet Brendan Nolan:

Master Gardener; Lifelong Gardener; Our Expert Bed Edger & Foundation Layer (in many respects)!

Meet Tracie Brey:

Landscape Designer; Lifelong Gardener; Our Expert Hardscape & Outdoor Room Designer!

Meet Heather Lakatosh:

Landscape Designer; Master Gardener; Lifelong Gardener; Our Expert Softscape Designer with an artistic flare!

It is an honor and pleasure for me to work with such talented people who all share the same love and passion for gardening, wildlife, sustainability, and making our world a beautiful place!

May all your gardens grow,

Cultivate the LOVE this Spring!

I feel so blessed to have dear friends that truly love me for me.  Recently, front and center on my Facebook Page was a lovely garden poem from my beautiful friend.  How thoughtful of her to think of me.

I was so delighted after I read her Sunday morning message, garden stuff  has its way with me, that I nearly squealed like a pig!  My next immediate response was to thank her then share with my other Facebook friends.  And now, I am sharing with you; it’s just too GOOD not to!

Without further ado, this is the message Cynthia left for me. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

 Here are some tips for your GARDEN:

Go out to your GARDEN alone, while the dew is still on the roses.

Plant 4 rows of lettuce:
✿Lettuce be faithful
✿Lettuce be kind
✿Lettuce be patient
✿Lettuce really love each other

Plant 4 rows of squash:
✿Squash gossip
✿Squash indifference
✿Squash grumbling
✿Squash selfishness

Plant 3 rows of peas:
✿Peace of mind
✿Peace of heart
✿Peace of soul

No GARDEN is without turnips:
✿Turnip for meetings
✿Turnip for service
✿Turnip to help each other

To complete your GARDEN, you must have thyme:
✿Time for each other
✿Time for family
✿Time for friends

Water freely with patience & cultivate with love!

May all your gardens grow,

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Do Your Gloves Stand the Test of Time?

You cannot make a revolution with silk gloves.

~Joseph Stalin

I think we all agree most garden gloves look lovely and tempting on the store rack!  But, do they truly stand the test of time?

As you can imagine our team of gardeners go through gloves like water!  Eventually and predictably, fingers pop through the glove tips like pesky weeds bursting through soil!

This year I agreed to “test” Atlas® Gloves.  I am delighted to report they passed with flying colors!  Washed and used on a daily basis with much wear and tear, they held up beautifully!  Highlights:  hands breathe and bend with every movement, thin nitrile coating ensures great “feel” and protection with an extended cuff for comfort.

I can NOW confidently say Atlas® Nitrile Fit garden gloves are definitely my favorites!  Thank you Atlas® Glove for keeping our hard-working gardening hands soft to the touch!

May all your gardens grow,


Soil Solarization…an Eco-Friendly Process!

Even the richest soil, if left uncultivated will produce the rankest weeds.

~Leonardo da Vinci

I am excited to share with you the BEST organic technique to battle weeds, soil diseases, and pests when you are planning a new garden! Solarization uses a transparent plastic sheet to capture the heat and energy from the sun, which in turn causes a physical, chemical, and biological change in the soil without the use of chemicals.

The soil temperature is raised to lethal levels for many soil borne plant pathogens such as fungi, bacteria, nematodes, and pests along with weed seeds and seedlings. Soil solarization doesn’t only kill problem weeds at the surface, it destroys the roots below, all while making nitrogen in the soil more easily available to your new plants. Pretty cool!

Solarization isn’t a “quick fix” like chemical herbicides and pesticides. It requires a little time and effort on your part. The best time to solarize soil is during the months when the suns rays are strongest. (For Zone 5b that’s June-August.)

First, grab a cool beverage then roll up your sleeves!

Get your gear:
  • Lawn mower or weed trimmer
  • Shovel or tiller (for new beds)
  • Hose
  • Clear plastic tarp (0.001-0.004 mil. thick), available at most stores where paint is sold
  • Rocks, concrete blocks or something to secure the plastic in place
Get to work:
  1. Clean the area you want to solarize by removing rocks, twigs and other debris.
  2. Mow down any tall weeds and grass and rake the area so the ground is as level as possible. For new garden beds, till the area first and remove any large clumps of sod and weeds, and rake level.
  3. Moisten the area thoroughly with water until soil is dark but still crumbly. Lay the plastic down ASAP after watering.
  4. Cover the soil with a clear plastic tarp, placing it as close to the soil’s surface as possible. Air pockets will prevent the soil from heating to maximum temperature.
  5. Secure the plastic with rocks, blocks, etc., around the perimeter, or bury the edges in a trench.
  6. Keep the plastic in place for 4 to 6 weeks.
  7. Remove the plastic and plant your bed. Remember to cultivate no more than 2″-3″ below the soil and mulch deeply to prevent new weeds.

During the solarization process, the heat that is generated is hot enough to kill a wide variety of soil-inhabiting pests and noxious weed seeds. PLUS, solarization helps to stimulate the release of nutrients from organic matter already in the soil – a beneficial and natural bonus for treating garden soil where veggies, herbs or flowers will soon be planted!

May all your gardens grow,

Corona Pruners Take the Cake!

Instinct must be thwarted just as one prunes the branches

of a tree so that it will grow better.

~Henri Matisse

At the beginning of the growing season, I decided to branch out and try different pruners…just for the heck of it.  Without naming names, none worked.  Therefore, it is my conclusion that Corona Pruners take the cake!  I love my Corona pruner for many reasons but most of all, I love how effortless it feels in my hand and how easy it is to manage.

From this day forward, I will never sway from my Corona pruner again!  Like I have heard so many times before, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”!




May all your gardens grow!


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Inside Looking Out!

Inside yourself or outside,
you never have to change what you see,
only the way you see it.

~Thaddeus Golas

I am a die-hard gardener and can never get enough! For me, it is equally important to enjoy my gardens inside as well as outside – especially on rainy days or while laboring in my kitchen. If you’re like me and just being in your gardens is not enough, follow these simple steps and enjoy them all the time, every time!

Before you head to your favorite garden center, take time to sit (and stand) in the rooms that face your gardens. It is wonderful to enjoy your gardens (a labor of love) from many different views. Move around your rooms and look out all the windows to decide where and what you want to see.

Bonus: Fragrant plants are awesome when placed by windows, patios, sitting areas, or porches. There is simply nothing lovelier than a hint of lavender, lilac, or honeysuckle to name a few!

Double bonus: there are many plants that offer winter interest so be sure to include them in your thought process!

To keep a clear view of your gardens from inside your home and to help promote sustainable practices, remember “right plant, right place.” Proper plant selection allows you to clearly view your gardens from the inside and avoids unnecessary pruning.

More importantly, have a ball as you stroll around your house and decide what tickles your fancy! Gardens are such wonderful gifts to be shared and enjoyed by you and your family while inside looking out!

May all your gardens grow!