Bzzzz August 29th, 2013

I am in the movies! Okay, not the big screen. More like the little screen—say, the size of your computer monitor. I and my garden are the subjects of a  video and Q&A story for Panera Bread’s new website and to promote their new “Live Consciously” campaign. (Update: The story and video have moved temporarily off the Panera website while they move things around. You can still see the video here on the Panera Youtube channel.

If you have one of those Panera guest cards that earns you discounts on sandwiches and free cookies, you probably received the same invitation to be in the (little) movies that I did. I received the email last fall. “Tell us about your hobby!”


Well, it was evening when I opened the email. I maybe had a glass of wine. Maybe two. I figured, “Hey, I’ll tell them I garden!” So I filled out their online form and rather than providing them with a bunch of answers to their open-ended questions, I referred them right here—to my garden blog.

Months went by and I didn’t hear anything. Frankly, I forgot about it as soon as I hit send. After all, gardening isn’t exactly an unusual hobby. Surely tons of gardeners wrote to tell the Panera folks about their rose gardens, their perennial gardens, their exotic gardens.

But then one day I received an email, “Hey, we want to come visit your vegetable garden, talk with you and make a garden video!”

There was a bit of back-and-forth and a few weeks later two videographers, an art director and account executive flew in from Boston and other parts north for a visit. They were at my house for nearly seven hours! For a two-minute video!

The older of my two Papillons, Sophie, was delighted at the opportunity to be in the movies. Sophie is one smart dog. She’s not the kind of smart dog who will do tricks. She’s the kind of dog who knows exactly how to make you do tricks.

During the interview portion of the shoot, which took about 20 minutes, Sophie sat right next to me, ears up and with her best I’m-ready-for-my-closeup smile on her face. Sarah was busy sniffing camera  bags and cables.


Sophie, the elder Papillon, never made it into the video.

Neither dog made it into a single shot!

The videographers were keen to see me work and move around, which was more than a little uncomfortable. The weeding was fine. I’m used to weeding. Sitting on my little stool and scratching out the unwanted weeds is as natural as breathing for me.

But having two guys with cameras follow me around as I walked in and out of the house, potted up a little plant, pick lettuce? Believe it or not, that’s not something I do every day. It was a wee bit uncomfortable.

But it wasn’t until I watched the video that I realized my unfortunate wardrobe choice.

Mom jeans. I was wearing mom jeans. Seriously? I had to wear mom jeans when people came over with cameras? What was I thinking? Ugh.

Watching the video now I also see how barren and new my first-week-in-June vegetable garden looks. The camera dudes were uninterested in my hosta garden.  The wisteria, peonies and roses had just finished their big display. But really, they were interested in the fruits and veggies.

And the eastern box turtle.

eastern box turtle

The eastern box turtle is the resident tomato muncher—and runaway star of the garden video.

Actually, the eastern box turtle stole the video. That’s the first thing everyone comments about. Even my brother’s first comment was, “Cool! You have a turtle?”

Well, no. The turtle actually has me. I am his personal gardener.

I’m pretty sure this is the same box turtle who has lived in the garden for about three years now. I often stumble across him as I’m digging and planting, watering or weeding. I know he’s the one who takes bites from low-hanging tomatoes because I caught him red-handed one day, front legs on a big red tomato and mouth open. I’m sure he’s the guy who nibbles at my strawberries too. That’s okay. I planted extra for him.

So, here’s the video. Watch for the shot of the turtle.

No comments on the mom jeans, please.



Posted In: Blogging, Gardening


Bzzzz August 14th, 2013

As I was browsing around over on Pinterest this morning, I was impressed with some of the solutions gardeners found to common gardening problems—organizing garden tools and supplies, protecting and supporting plants, labeling plants, nurturing and decorating. I have also seen some fabulous, clever and cheap garden solutions from garden tours in recent years, so I thought I would pull them out of the archives and share.

I have noticed that gardeners are quite thrifty in utilizing and repurposing available materials. Twigs, sticks and vines can be used to support plants, as trellises and even just for decor.

stick trellis or plant support

Sticks and vines clustered and tied to a center bamboo stake make a decorative and functional plant support

A series of larger sticks can be pushed into the ground for peas, sweetpeas and other plants that could use a bit of extra support. One year we used branches from mimosa trees that had blown down in a storm to create a cucumber trellis.

sticks used as pea stakes

Sticks can also be pushed into the ground to create vertical supports for peas, sweetpeas and other plants that need support.

mimosa tree branches for trellis

Tree branches salvaged after a storm were used in our garden to create a rustic cucumber trellis.

If you need to block off a path or area to discourage foot traffic, a collection of salvaged branches can do the trick.

Salvaged branches assembled to block a pathway

Salvaged branches assembled to block a pathway

Unusual materials can also be repurposed in the garden for many purposes. I have often seen marine-grade rope draped to create attractive supports for trailing roses and vines.

marine rope for roses

Marine-grade rope can be used to support trailing roses and vines.

How about repurposing sandbags? They can be used to create temporary walls, garden seating or raised beds.

raised beds from sand bags

Sandbags can be used to create temporary and movable raised beds.

Tree stumps can be unsightly and expensive to remove. If it’s large enough, a tree stump can be repurposed as a novelty garden seat, table or planter pedestal.

tree stump seat

A tree stump doesn’t have to be an unsightly eyesore in the garden. Re-imagine it as a garden chair!

Aren’t gardeners wonderfully creative and clever?

You can follow my board of garden solutions over on Pinterest.



Posted In: Gardening, Gardening Life

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