Category: Events

Garden2Blog 2014

Garden 2 Blog is an annual event that I host at my farm where top garden bloggers from all over the country converge with industry leaders and discuss new trends. It’s really a highlight of the season and I am so looking forward to learning from it. I’m proud to call the Natural State my home and I’m excited to share it with a group of people who love being outside as much as I do. To show off some of the gardencentric characeristics of the capital city we’re going to take a tour of a few public gardens in Little Rock and the rooftop garden at the Clinton Library.

With 23 garden bloggers and 9 sponsors, we’ve got our hands full! I’m so grateful for our partners for making this event possible, because without them there would be no Garden2Blog. They are an exceptional group of industry leaders who are making great strides with their products, and I’m thrilled that they’re coming to share their knowledge.

It’s my pleasure to welcome bloggers because I’ve seen the work they do and am continually impressed with the way they merge the physical with the digital, the garden with the blog. Gardening goes back a long way in my family, and I’ve often felt that it was an art that was dying out through the generations. But these days, the virtual garden has helped revive gardening and green living. It’s now trendy to have a plot to garden in an urban setting, and this is partially due to the efforts of people sharing all the benefits of getting out in the garden online. The best part about it, though, is the wealth of knowledge becoming accessible for everyday people and new gardeners.

My mission is for us to grow in our passion for gardening by learning, and I hope that Garden2Blog 14 will advance that mission. Be sure to follow along on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I’ll post pictures and giveaway a few goodies.

#G2B14 Bloggers
Susan Fox www.GagasGarden.com
C.L. Fornari www.GardenLady.com
Rebecca Sweet HarmonyintheGarden.com
Lisa Steele www.Fresh-Eggs-Daily.com
Kathy Purdy www.ColdClimateGardening.com
Jan Bills TwoWomenandaHoe.com
Mary Beth Shaddix www.MaryBethShaddix.com
Christina Salwitz PersonalGardenCoach.wordpress.com
Robin Horton www.UrbanGardensWeb.com
Kylee Baumle OurLittleAcre.blogspot.com
Jenny Petterson www.JPetersonGardenDesign.com
Lamanda Joy TheYarden.com
Michael Nolan www.MyEarthGarden.com
Chris Van Cleave RedneckRosarian.wordpress.com
Teresa Byington TheGardenDiary.com
Robin Wedewer BumbleBeeBlog.com
Kenny Point www.VeggieGardeningTips.com
Steve Asbell www.TheRainForestGarden.com
Kelly Smith Trimble Blog.DIYNetwork.com/MadeRemade/
Jerusalem Greer www.JollyGoodeGal.com
Janet Carson UofACEsmg.wordpress.com
Linda Ly www.GardenBetty.com
Stephanie Buckley www.TheParkWife.com
Julie Thompson Adolf JuliesGardenDelights.com
Tina Wilcox www.OzarkFolkCenter.com/herbs/yarb_tales.aspx

Books Published by G2B14ers
A Homemade Year: The Blessings of Cooking, Crafting and Coming Together by Jerusalem Greer
Pick Fresh by Mary Beth Shaddix
Indoor Plant Décor: The Design Stylebook for Houseplants by Jenny Peterson and Kylee Baumle
Four Seasons of Roses by Susan Fox
Color by Numbers by Steve Asbell
Fine Foliage by Christian Salwitz, co-authored with Karen Chapman
Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens….Naturally by Lisa Steele
Refresh Your Garden Design with Color, Texture & Form by Rebecca Sweet
I Garden: Urban Style by Michael Nolan
The Creative Herbal Home by Tina Wilcox, co-authored with Susan Belsinger
Coffee for Roses by C.L. Fornari
A Garden Wedding by C.L. Fornari
The Cape Cod Garden by C.L. Fornari
A Garden Lover’s Cape Cod by C.L. Fornari
Gardening in Sandy Soil by C.L. Fornari
A Garden Lover’s Martha’s Vineyard by C.L. Fornari

Sponsors
Proven Winners
Jobe’s Orgranics
Laguna
Flexzilla
Bonnie Plants
Troy-Bilt
Le Creuset
Hubbard Life
United Solutions
U.S. Foods

Small Beginnings, Big Rewards

Children who are involved in gardening reap benefits that are both tangible and intangible. Studies show they tend to eat more vegetables and be healthier overall, while growing a portion of their own food provides them with a sense of self-reliance, knowledge of plants, awareness of the seasons and higher self-esteem. Involvement in gardening helps them understand their connection to the earth and encourages eco-friendly living. Moreover, hands-on experience with gardening connects them with the agricultural roots of America.

I believe that teaching children to garden helps them to see the parallels between the care and growth of living things with the care and growth of their own lives, families and communities. You could say that it’s my mission to grow more gardeners so I was delighted when Bonnie Plants asked me to travel to southeast Arkansas to meet Emily McTigrit of Star City’s Jimmy Brown Elementary School.

Emily grew a 16-pound cabbage with a circumference of 43.5 inches this year, making her Arkansas’ Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program winner.

Bonnie Plants Cabbage Program provides more than one million free cabbage plants to 3rd grade classes around the country each year. This program fosters a love of vegetable gardening in youth. Here’s how it works: Children raise their cabbages at home or in the school garden with the goal of growing a monster-size cabbage. The variety, the O.S. Cross, produces giant heads, and some have been known to grow up to 50 pounds. That’s right— a 50-pound head of cabbage! At the end of the season, the child who grows the largest cabbage in the state wins a $1,000 scholarship.

Emily was presented with her check in a school-wide assembly, and I interviewed her for my TV show. She told me all about how she watered and fertilized the cabbage, made sure to pick a sunny location and how the 16 pounds of cabbage provided her family with buckets of coleslaw.

Visit BonnieCabbageProgram.com to see more big cabbages and learn how to participate in the program.

Let’s Hang Out

Hangout Starts at 6pm cst

Watch Live!!

I’ve spent most of my life learning about things like gardening, farming, design and décor and I always want to share these new ideas with my friends and followers. It’s amazing how our communication channels have changed over the years and just how many of them there are- books, television shows, videos, print articles, radio shows, my website, social media… you name it, I’ve used it! Now there’s a new technology that I can’t wait to try out, because it brings you, the viewer, into the conversation unlike ever before.

This Thursday at 6pm CST, I’ll be hosting my first Google+ Hangout all about chickens. Don’t know what a Google+ Hangout is? Don’t worry, I only recently found out. Essentially a video conference, Google+ Hangout allows you to “hang out” with a group of people in an online chat room and have a virtual conversation, meeting, brainstorming session, or any other type of get-together.

The brilliance behind it is that while my friends and I have this conversation with one another via webcams and our Google+ accounts, YOU can watch and engage on YouTube. It actually streams live, so you can comment on the video and we’ll be able to answer your questions and comments in real time. For a guy who has a habit of responding to fan questions once a week, this is a huge improvement in communication!

Speaking of communication, I can’t wait to kick off the chat where I’ll be joined by a few poultry experts and friends alike. Dr. Mikelle Roeder, a nutritionist from Land O’Lakes Purina Feed, Jeff May, a poultry specialist with Dawe’s Laboratories and Keith Bramwell from the Department of Poultry at the University of Arkansas will share their chicken wisdom and insight. Kylee Baumle, a garden blogger and backyard chicken owner and Heidi Berry, another chicken owner and gardener will also join in for what I suspect will be a fun and very informative “chicken chat”.

Want to get involved? I’ll share the link to the chat on my Facebook page, Twitter, and homepage- all you need to do is head over from 6-7pm on Thursday and click on the link to join in. If that time doesn’t work well for you, don’t worry- you can still get the chicken scoop! A recording of the entire conversation will stay on my Farm Raised YouTube channel. While I’m really looking forward to getting together with these guys, I also think it’s a great way to share information on a topic that I find to be more and more popular with my fans. I hope you’ll join me!

Second Annual Garden2Blog

What’s the easiest way to keep up with the gardening world? Garden blogs. You talk about folks that have their fingers on the pulse. You’ll find garden bloggers at flower shows, horticulture trade shows, and touring gorgeous gardens and industry facilities. Like green reporters they suss out all the latest trends to bring to readers of their blogs. A garden blog is also an informative resource for region specific tips and news.

I’m pleased to say that this week 25 garden bloggers will be here in Little Rock for our second annual Garden2Blog event. For two days we’ll tour area gardens and hang out at the Moss Mountain Farm Garden Home. In addition to the bloggers team members from several of my Garden Home partner companies will be there. It’s a great way to get industry and media folks talking.

For me the event offers an opportunity to hang out with people who share my passion for gardening and learn a thing or two while I’m at it.

I’m kicking off the celebration with a giveaway. Tell me about your favorite garden blog for a chance to a Garden2Blog goodie bag, three signed garden how-to decks, The Year-Round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabbour, a trio of manure teas from Authentic Haven Brand (love this stuff!), Fun with Winter Seed Sowing eBook by Monica Milla, Container Gardening for All Seasons by Barbara Wise and I Garden Urban Style by Michael Nolan.

I’ll select a winner on Wednesday May 9th, 2012. Click here for the official rules.

Congrats to Nicky from DirtandMartinis.com. She’s the winner of the Garden2Blog giveaway. Thanks to everyone who submitted a comment. Great blog recommendations!

The group at our inaugural Garden2Blog in 2011.

Great Garden Blogs to Follow

Edible Gardening

The Casual Gardener

Seasonal Wisdom – Teresa
Our Little Acre write Kylee hanging out in front of the Arkansas Governor's Mansion playhouse.

Garden Humor

The Grumpy Gardener

Good Enough Gardening
We literally rode into Scott, Arkansas on a storm. A tornado was spotted in the area as our bus was making it's way to Marlsgate Plantation.

Garden Design

Gardening with Confidence

Garden Smack Down

J. Peterson Garden Design

Miss Rumphius’ Rules
Annie & Bren. Annie owns & operates Authentic Haven Brand moo poo tea and Bren hosts #GardenChat every Monday.

Small Space Gardening

Life on the Balcony

Urban Organic Gardener

Container Gardening on About.com
Fern from Life on the Balcony, Mike from Urdan Organic Gardener, & Jenny from J. Peterson Garden Design Peterson

Design

Urban Gardens

Kerri from ContainerGardening.About.com, Shirley from Garden World TV, Robin from Urban Gardens, & Laura from Punk Rock Gardens

General Gardening

BG Garden

Red Dirt Ramblings

The Garden World Report

Southern Post Journal

Our Little Acre

Punk Rock Gardens

The Garden Buzz

The Garden Faerie

Garden Girl

Heavy Petal Nursery

Read Between the Limes

North Coast Gardening

Me and Lois from Bonnie Plants. Love me some Lois.

Arley Hall Comes to Arkansas

After years of hospitality from the Ashbrook family at Arley Hall I’m excited to welcome Lord Michael Ashbrook to my home. I can only hope that it’s half as inspiring to him as my visits to Arley have been to me.

I stumbled upon Arley when I was a graduate student at the University of Manchester. While exploring the grounds I struck up a conversation with an elderly gentleman who turned out to be the 10th Viscount Desmond Ashbrook. He introduced me to his wife Elizabeth and we became fast friends. Over the years I’ve developed quite an attachment to the people and gardens at Arley.

So I’m excited to welcome Lord Ashbrook to Arkansas. He’ll be here to give a lecture about the estate and gardens that have been in the family for more than 500 years. If you are going to be in Little Rock that day I encourage you to plan to attend. Here are the details.

When: Wednesday, March 28, 2012
12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m. (Bring your lunch! Drinks will be provided.)

Where: Clinton School of Public Service, Sturgis Hall

How: It’s a free lecture, but you do need to reserve a seat. Email the school at publicprograms@clintonschool.uasys.edu or call 501-683-5239.

Lord Michael Ashbrook

The double herbaceous border is the crown jewel of the garden, planted in 1846.

Lady Elizabeth Asbrook and me walking down the Ilex Avenue. These evergreen oaks (Quercus ilex) were planted in the 1850s.

Arley Hall stands on the site of the original house built in 1469.

Monticello Heritage Harvest Festival

“But though I am an old man, I am but a young gardener”
Thomas Jefferson to Charles Willson Peake 1811

Thomas Jefferson is one of my biggest heroes. He and George Washington loomed large in my imagination as a child and throughout my school years. In fact my graduate work focused on the tour of English gardens that Jefferson and Adams took together in 1786. I’ve been happy to see the renewed interest in the personalities surrounding the founding of our country and have enjoyed the numerous histories and television programs such as the John Adams series.

Although I’m a few centuries too late to meet the man, I can still learn a lot from Thomas Jefferson by visiting his home Monticello. In fact, I used many of the ideas gleaned there to design the Garden Home Retreat.

On September 16 I’m heading to Monticello for the fifth annual Heritage Harvest Festival celebrating Jefferson as America’s “first foodie.” Appropriate title don’t you think?

You can learn from Jefferson too when you attend this family-friendly weekend featuring food, music and workshops.  I’m giving the keynote address Reflections on Jefferson: Gardening, Farming and Democracy on Friday the 16th at 6 p.m. Hope you can join me for a lively discussion and good food. Click here to learn more.

The mountain top estate and other farms encompassed over 9,000 acres at its peak.

Construction on the house that we know today was started in 1769.

Lord Burlington's Chiswick house and gardens. Jefferson visited English gardens with John Adams in 1786

The 1,000 foot long vegetable terrace with views of Mount Alto beyond.

Flowers specific to Jefferson's time line the walks at Monticello today.

A springtime view of the gardens and orchards, which were essential to the vitality of the estate..

Jefferson's garden book, which he kept from 1766 - 1824, illustrates this commitment to trialing new plant varieties & his scientific appraoch to botany, farming & gardening.

Jefferson kept a pet Mockingbird sometime during his tenure as president between 1801 - 1809..

Photos courtesy of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.