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The golden rule of gardening is to pay attention to local conditions of weather and soil.

~Carol Williams~
 


















From the GTG Garden and Greenhouse

The greenhouse is cleaned and ready to receive the new plants arriving later this month. We're excited, all the new coneflowers and hellebore should be here and ready in time for our fall SALE in October.
We're planning to attend the FarWest Show to see new varieties in person, meet our suppliers and attend workshops. Considering the brutal summer we have had so far in tennessee, we'll be looking for more drought and heat tolerant plants that thrive on neglect. I don't know about you but I have found myself sitting in front of a fan much more often than pulling weeds lately.

Staying cool,
Belle

Green Thumbs Galore LLC

 

Meet me Under the Shade Tree

by Dava Stewart

Records have been broken this summer, and I’m not talking about at the summer Olympics. As of July 30, 36,974 high temperature records had been set in 365 days. Of course, every year records are going to be set, and there have been some minimum low temperature records set, as well - 6,085 of them. Math isn’t my strong point, but even I can see that’s a whole lot more hot than cold.

This is not just an oddball year, either. This year continues a trend of breaking many more high temperature records than low temperature records. While the politicians and scientists argue about the causes, gardeners are just trying to make sure our flowers, fruits, and vegetables survive!

Along with the heat, the majority of the United States is experiencing drought this summer. Gardeners everywhere are learning better watering techniques and the value of a good shade tree. Here are just a few ways you can keep your plants happy and your body cool:

1. Conserve water. As the drought worsens, many municipalities are dealing with terrible water shortages. If you live in an area where water use is restricted, there are a few things you can do to save your garden.

    • Save your dish and bath water. It’s called gray water, and you don’t want to use it to water your vegetables or fruits, but it’s good for flower beds. Just make sure the soaps you use are non-toxic.
    • Get a rain barrel. It doesn’t have to be a fancy, expensive item. There are lots of DIY rain barrels that can be built without spending much money. Capturing that precious rainwater becomes more important the less often it happens and keeping garden run-off out of storm drains and rivers is good for our environment.
    • Improve your soil. The healthier your soil, the more efficiently plants can get what they need from it. Most gardeners are on top of this one, drought or no!
    • Mulch, then mulch some more. If you are using organic material for mulch, you are improving the soil and conserving water. It’s hard to overemphasize the importance of mulch!
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2. Choose your plants carefully. If you are like me, you choose many plants because they catch your fancy. I’m making the following adjustments in the hopes my plants will stand a better chance of survival.
    • Look for drought-tolerant varieties. Having grown up in Tennessee, where the months of July and August are almost always dry, most of my plants don’t survive unless they are drought tolerant. But, since it has been extra dry the last few years, I’ve been choosing more carefully.
    • Seek out plants that are naturalized to your area. The jewels of my garden are the plants that might grow there even if I hadn’t planted them. Many native varieties are tough, and can adjust better to changing conditions. Many natives also have hybrids that come with the same toughness and better manners to fit a more structured garden.
    • Plant trees. Shade trees keep the soil - and the people! - cool. They give us a place to rest, and they are beautiful. Fruit trees bloom as beautifully as any ornamental in the spring, then provide both food and shade. Planting trees is the way to go and there are tree varieties available to fit most any space restriction..
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While adjusting to changing conditions may take some extra work, the benefits taste sweet. Whether you grow strictly flowers, edibles, or some wonderful combination, the joy that your garden brings probably cannot be measured quantitatively. Relaxing in the shade, while enjoying the greenery after a day of record-breaking temperatures is one of the most rewarding experiences a gardener can have!





 

August in the Garden:

:Permanent Marker:

Cool Drinks:

Less uninvited guests: