Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Meet Our Community: Noelle Johnson, desert gardener, designer, and teacher

 


Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Every week we're introducing a member* of our Fling community here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)


Noelle Johnson



Gardening in the desert is challenging, and traditional garden media tends to ignore our area. There’s a widespread myth that cactus and rocks are the only things you can grow in the desert. As a horticulturist, I love dispelling that notion and showing people what’s possible.

My website AZ Plant Lady is a one-stop resource for those who want to learn how to create, grow, and maintain a beautiful garden that thrives in a hot, dry climate. Within the site, people can learn about desert gardening on my blog, set up a landscape consultation, learn where I am speaking next, or sign up for one of my online classes.

I garden in the low desert of Phoenix, Arizona, and I love flowering plants and BLUE pots! I've also recently become enamored with a variety of succulents and a few different cacti. I don't like high-maintenance plants, with the exception of my roses. My goal is to use plants that need pruning once or twice a year at most. In landscapes I design, I mix the textures of spiky succulents with the softer, mounded shapes of shrubs, ornamental grasses, and groundcovers. Many lush, green flowering shrubs and groundcovers are well adapted to hot, arid climates. 

My favorite plant is probably desert willow, a small tree native to the Southwest that produces pink flowers spring through summer. There are several new varieties, and 'Bubba' is my current favorite. I’m growing five different desert willows in my garden.

When I was growing up in Southern California, my parents would take me to The Huntington Library and its gardens in Pasadena. It's still one of my favorite places to visit. I like their focus on drought-tolerant gardening and spectacular landscape design.

I have an active Facebook group called The 'Dirt' on Desert Gardening. I've also been featured by the filmmakers at PlantPop. And if you're interested in my online courses you can find them here.


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Thanks for sharing your work and your gardening passions with us, Noelle! You can follow Noelle on Facebook, on Instagram, and at her blog AZ Plant Lady.

Photographs courtesy of Noelle Johnson.

Friday, October 23, 2020

Meet Our Community: Melissa Denney, Houston Garden Girl

 


Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Every week we're introducing a member* of our Fling community here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)


Melissa Denney



Firecracker fern in the hellstrip
When people struggle with gardening, I don’t believe it’s because they can’t garden. Oftentimes, they're just planting the wrong kinds of plants for their region. I love helping people successfully garden in zones 8-9. I started my blog Houston Garden Girl ten years ago -- after I found out there was such a thing! I’ve learned that a lot of folks in Houston are not from this area and don’t have the know-how to garden here. I hope my blog and social media help local gardeners understand what they can grow here and when it can be planted.

My Instagram feed is new and currently focused on my indoor gardening. Since the stay-at-home orders in March, I’ve spent more time in my house than I ever have in the past. It’s been a fun challenge to adjust my skills to indoor gardening. Now I'm discovering an entirely new gardening social network and a new generation finding creative ways to garden in small indoor spaces.

Outdoors I grow flowering perennials, fruits, and vegetables. I love low-maintenance plants, and most of my gardens survive on a fair amount of neglect. I have a 50-ft. hellstrip full of perennials that I haven’t watered in years, including three roses and a pomegranate. It’s been fulfilling watching that strip of Bermudagrass-turned-garden inspire my neighbors to convert some of their grassy patches to flowerbeds. The other thing I absolutely love is gathering produce from my yard. Over the years I’ve had peaches and apples, but those are difficult to keep alive more than 5 years here in Houston. The easiest producers have been figs and citrus. Then of course there are tomatoes, basil, peppers, and eggplant, which I love having in summer.

I prefer plants that are easy to grow in Zone 9. Don’t fight the climate you live in. There are great plants for every climate. My favorites for low maintenance and long bloom time are firecracker fern (Russelia equisetiformis), rock rose (Pavonia lasiopetala), white trailing lantana (Lantana montevidensis 'Alba'), shrimp plant (Justicia brandegeana), and candlestick plant (Senna alata), a host plant for sulphur butterflies. For indoor plants, I’m developing a strong affinity for aglaonemas, syngoniums, and sansevierias -- easygoing houseplants with a huge variety of leaf patterns and colors to keep things interesting.

Claude Monet's garden at Giverny
My favorite U.S. garden is Denver Botanic Gardens. I lived in the Denver area in my mid-20s and absorbed a few harsh lessons about gardening on the Colorado Front Range. I learned so much about Colorado gardening at DBG, and I took all my visitors there. It is a must-see! 

I weave a garden tour into most of my international travels. The most memorable garden I’ve been to is Claude Monet’s house in Giverny, France. It was surreal to be in the same place Monet was when he painted so many of his great works. And it’s a beautiful garden with lots of blooming perennials -- right up my alley.



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Thanks for sharing your work and your gardening passions with us, Melissa! You can follow Melissa on Facebook, on Instagram, and at her blog Houston Garden Girl (archived).

Photographs courtesy of Melissa Denney.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Meet Our Community: Angela Judd, food grower, citrus lover, and YouTuber

 

Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Every week we're introducing a member* of our Fling community here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)


Angela Judd



Growing in the Garden is where I share inspiration and tips to help others be successful in their own gardens, with an emphasis on how to garden in the low desert of Arizona and other hot climates.

When I first began gardening, it was difficult to find specific information about gardening in my climate. I started my garden in Mesa, Arizona, with one 4x4-foot raised bed and gradually added one raised bed or container at a time. As I began to have success, I shared pictures of my garden and what I was learning on Instagram, joining the supportive gardening community there.

I started my blog to reach a broader audience. Blogging has pushed me to continually learn new things, practice them in my own garden, and then share what I’ve learned on my website, YouTube, and other social channels. 

My writing journey began with articles I wrote for a Master Gardener newsletter. Writing didn’t come easily to me, but I kept at it. My writing muscle was stretched even further this year by writing a book. How to Grow Your Own Food: An Illustrated Beginner’s Guide to Container Gardening comes out in May 2021. 

My favorite place, however, is not behind the computer, writing about gardening, but 
out in the garden with hands in the dirt. From only one small raised bed 12 years ago, I’m now up to 18 raised beds, plus several in-ground beds and containers. Vegetables, herbs, flowers, and fruit trees – I love growing them all. As the mother of five children, I especially enjoy growing and preparing food from the garden for my family.

Although gardening in Arizona has its challenges, we are lucky to be able to grow citrus easily. We almost take it for granted. I love the endless variety of 
available citrus (17 different types grow in my garden), its year-round greenery and fragrant blossoms, and the harvests. 

My favorite public garden is The Butchart Gardens in Victoria, British Columbia – easily the most beautiful garden I’ve ever seen. Difficult as it is to imagine, Butchart was once a worked-out limestone quarry. I had no idea what to expect when I visited, but then a curving path opened up to an amazing view, and it literally took my breath away.



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Thanks for sharing your work and your gardening passions with us, Angela! You can follow Angela at her blog, Growing in the Garden, her Instagram, and her YouTube channel.

Photographs courtesy of Angela Judd.


Friday, October 16, 2020

Meet Our Community: Jim Charlier, Buffalo gardens advocate and garden art experimenter

 

Photo: KC Kratt

Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Every week we're introducing a member* of our Fling community here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)


Jim Charlier



My front garden
I consider my Buffalo, New York, garden a design lab for my garden art experiments. I’m an art director/graphic designer and spent my formative years in advertising agencies; since 2000 I’ve been self-employed. Gardening is my creative outlet, devoid of client input, opinions, deadlines, and change orders. But there’s still a budget to work within!

My artistic garden projects include a diamond-shaped dwarf pear tree espalier, a grass-and-paver checkerboard garden, a hanging sculpture with two fountains, and what may be Buffalo’s most famous garden shed, designed in the style and colors of our 1897 Dutch Colonial home. 

Everything about gardening is relaxing to me: weeding, watering, trimming, digging, planning, and planting. I lose focus on everything else when I’m working in the garden. Some days I forget to eat until evening. 

I started my blog, Art of Gardening, way back in the blogging frontier days of 2007, to share my own garden and those on my travels. I also showed off what other Buffalo gardeners were doing. At the time I was president of Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest garden tour in the U.S., which today features more than 400 urban gardens and 65,000 visitors. (We get more than 3,000 visitors at our garden alone.) This free annual event is always held the last full weekend of July. Because of Covid-19, Garden Walk Buffalo went virtual in 2020. 

The checkerboard garden & famous shed
I created a video about my garden in the summer of covid and am co-author of the book Buffalo-Style Gardens: Create a Quirky, One-of-a-Kind Private Garden with Eye-Catching Designs. Teaming up with Elizabeth Licata of Garden Rant, I co-planned the 2010 Buffalo Fling, which was attended by 80 bloggers from around the country. I hope you had a good time! 

I also helped start a horticultural tourism group that eventually became Gardens Buffalo Niagara (GBN), now merged with Garden Walk Buffalo. I’m most proud of the fact that GBN has granted more than $100,000 to clubs and community groups for more than 100 garden-oriented beautification projects. 

I learn from any garden I’ve ever visited. That’s a reason I like the Fling so much. One garden that I think heaven will be like is the Gentling Garden, which we visited during the 2012 Asheville Fling. I revisit my blog post about it whenever I'm feeling wistful and want to be inspired.








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Thanks for sharing your work and your gardening passions with us, Jim! You can follow Jim at: 

ArtofGardening.org

Instagram

Facebook

JCharlier Communication Design

Buffalo Style Gardens Book site

LinkedIn

YouTube

Pinterest

Photographs courtesy of Jim Charlier, except as noted.


Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Meet Our Community: Loree Bohl, fearless gardener and author

 

Photo: Gerhard Bock

Let's get to know each other!


Since we're not able to meet up in person this year, let's meet online. Every week we're introducing a member* of our Fling community here and on Instagram, in their own words. We're excited to see what everyone's talking about and sharing with their followers!

(*Any garden blogger, vlogger, podcaster, or Instagrammer who follows our Instagram or is a member of our Facebook group. If you'd like to be considered or recommend someone for a Meet Our Community profile, email us.)


Loree Bohl



Danger Garden is about plants -- my love of plants and garden design. I started my blog to connect with like-minded gardeners, but it has turned into so much more. I’ve tracked the development of my Portland, Oregon, garden for 11 years and along the way met many interesting people. I hear from followers who say that I’ve inspired them to look at gardening (and spiky plants!) differently. That’s a huge compliment.

The Pacific Northwest is home to great gardeners and fantastic nurseries. We’re lucky to be able to grow so many different kinds of plants here. I love to push the boundaries of what people expect to see in a Portland garden, and, yes, that means agaves and cactus, yucca and nolina, along with hardy ferns and proteaceous plants. We really do have winter here, complete with ice storms, snow, and a record low of 14 F in my garden. But I don’t let the fact that something isn’t hardy stop me from growing it. This means that every spring the Great Migration occurs as container plants are moved out to the garden for their summer vacation, and then in fall they’re moved back undercover to stay cozy over the winter months. 

I love agaves maybe most of all but also adore mosses and ferns. Currently I’m rather obsessed with bromeliads. I have at least a half-dozen favorite gardens, but at the top are
Lotusland and The Ruth Bancroft Garden. Each was created by a woman with a strong vision and the passion and work ethic to make it happen. 

My first book, Fearless Gardening: Be Bold, Break the Rules, and Grow What You Love, is coming out in January 2021. The pandemic has changed the way I’ll promote the book, with no big garden shows or in-person events for the foreseeable future. On the upside I’ll be able to talk to groups across the country via online webinars, so I’m all ears if you’re part of a group that might want to have me give a talk. Let me know!




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Thanks for sharing your work and your gardening passions with us, Loree! You can follow Loree on her blog Danger Garden and her Instagram.


Photographs courtesy of Loree Bohl, except as noted.