Come rain or shine the last week of April and first few weeks of May are when the roses in my garden start their spring show. Even though we are a few weeks behind because of cooler than usual weather, the roses are right on schedule. This is good because Mike Shoup of the Antique Rose Emporium is coming for a visit in just a few days.
Mike is an expert on heritage roses so I thought it would be appropriate to invite him to speak on the subject when the roses are at their peak. To make the event even rosier Mike's talk is at the Arkansas Governor's Mansion where heritage roses abound in the gardens.
I know not everyone can make it to the lecture and not everyone has roses blooming yet so I'm giving away a copy of Mike's book Empress of the Garden. It's a big, coffee table-sized book that defines rose varieties by their personalities, which makes it easy to decide if a rose is right for you. Mike introduces us "Balloon-skirted Ladies" and "Petite Party-goers" as well as "Mysterious Ladies." And let me tell you it's always good to know you've fallen for a "Petulant Diva" before you bring her into the garden.
If you'd like to win a copy of Empress of the Garden tell me what you love most about roses – fragrance, color, rose hips? Just post a comment below. I'll select a winner at random on May 8th, 2013.
Congrats to Nancy Olig! She's the winner of this month's giveaway. Check your inbox Nancy for an email explaining how to get your copy of Mike's book. Thank you to everyone who participated!
What's the secret to a bountiful vegetable garden? Healthy soil. Good soil, combined with ample sunshine and consistent moisture will produce a garden that’s easy to maintain and very productive.
Out at the farm we give the soil a leg up with Jobe's Organics Fertilizer. Their products contain three essential microorganisms - bacteria, mycorrhizal fungi and a unique species of Archaea. Archaea sets Jobe's apart from other microbial fertilizers because it is so aggressive, quickly breaking down material into nutrients for plants. Our tests of Jobe's resulted in better looking plants, with increased resistance to weather extremes.
Do you want to try Jobe's Organics out in your own garden? Leave a comment below for a chance to win an 8 pound bag of their Heirloom Tomato and Vegetable Food.
I'll pick a winner on March 6th at 9:30 a.m. CST.
Congratulations to Jim Allen! He's the randomly selected winner of the giveaway. Get ready for a a bountiful vegetable garden this summer Jim!
Congratulations to Anita Spence! She's the randomly selected winner of the Self-watering Greenhouse. Check your email Anita for confirmation!
When it comes to sowing seeds I love English peas, sweet peas, hyacinth bean vine, gourds, yard long green beans and of course, sunflowers.
What's your favorite plant to grow from seeds? Tell me for a chance to win a Jiffy self-watering seedling greenhouse. This handy seed starting tray comes with starter pellets, a no-mess self-watering mat and a lid to keep in moisture.
Enter your response in the comments section below and I'll pick a random winner on Wednesday February 6, 2013 at 10:30 a.m. CST. Click here for the official rules.
Congratulations Duyen! You are the winner of the WaterWise® Easy Container Watering Kit from Proven Winners®. Thank you to everyone who participated. The correct answer is Diamond Frost® Euphorbia.
One way to get the upper hand on a drought is to choose plants that have low moisture requirements.
This one of my favorite plants to use as a filler in both flower borders and containers. It holds up like a champ even during the driest weather. Can you guess what it is? Tell me in the comments section below for a chance to win a WaterWise® Easy Container Watering Kit from Proven Winners®.
Need a hint? It’s a plant in my Platinum Collection from Proven Winners®, which you can check out here.
I'll select the winner at random and announce the name on Wednesday September 5, 2012. Click here to read the official rules.
Wow! Thanks to everyone for participating in the contest. What a great response! Just goes to show how much we all love our tomatoes.
The correct answer is 'Arkansas Traveler' and the winner is Mike Lyons.
Can you name this tomato variety?
Answer correctly for a chance to win a tomato t-shirt from Bonnie Plants. Leave your response in the comments section below. I'll select a winner by random drawing on Wednesday June 6, 2012. Click here for the official rules.
Here are a few clues.
- It's an heirloom that originated in the Ozark Mountains before 1900.
- Keeps producing during periods of drought and hot weather.
- Mild fruits with pink coloring are produced on indeterminate vines.
Need more help? Search the Bonnie Plants tomato selector.
5 Tips for Growing Better Tomatoes
Don't plant too early! Flowering and pollination that occurs when temperatures are below 55 degrees F can result in malformed, poor quality fruits. This is also referred to as catfacing.
Plant deeply. Remove the lower leaves and plant your tomatoes as deeply as you can dig into loose, rich soil. Up to 2/3 of the plant can be buried. New roots will develop along the buried stem. Don't believe me? Read more about planting tomatoes deeply on BonniePlants.com.
Tomatoes prefer a slightly acidic to neutral soil (pH of 6.0 to 7.0) rich in phosphorous and calcium. To increase calcium, add crushed eggshells or a spoonful of bone meal when planting.
Tomatoes don't like fluctuating moisture levels. Water consistently and cover the soil with mulch to retain moisture. Avoid overhead watering as it encourages leaf disease.
Staking is important to expose leaves to sunlight and keep fruits off the ground where they may come into contact with soil borne diseases, or slugs and snails. Get the stakes in early so you don't have to worry about damaging mature root systems.
From a gardener's perspective a tomato is a fruit. It forms from the ovary of a flower and contains seeds. Therefore it is a fruit.
Now a cook might tell you different because tomatoes are not often used to sweeten a dish. They are served as vegetables so they are vegetables. Right?
Tell me your opinion for a chance to win an awesome Garden Patch Grow Box™ and a packet of 'Jelly Bean' and Roma tomato seeds from my Bountiful Best collection from Ferry-Morse Seed Company.
The winner will be announced Wednesday March 7, 2012.*
Congrats to Debbie Chen! She's the winner of a Garden Patch Grow Box™. We suggest planting it with tomatoes!
*Winner will be selected by P. Allen Smith and his staff based on the merit of their comment. Click here to read the official rules and legal mumbo jumbo.
Congratulations Jim Wales, Julie N., Sandy Masingillo, Cindy Menn and Martha Wilson! Ya'll are the winners of the Weed or Wildflower Giveaway. Check you inbox for an email!
Thank you so much to everyone who submitted a comment. What a great response! We've got another giveaway coming in Monday's newsletter so be sure you're subscribed.
Grape Hyacinth (Muscari armeniacum) is a spring flowering bulb that will easily naturalize. In Arkansas the blooms pop up in lawns along with wild violets, henbit and spring starflower. It's said that a weed is just a plant growing in the wrong place. So what do you think about grape hyacinths? Weed or wildflower? Tell me your thoughts in the comments section below for a chance to win one of my Bulb Garden decks.
So tell me is this a weed or a wildflower?
*Winners are selected by P. Allen Smith and his staff based on the content of the comment.
We've got lots of giveaways coming this year. If you don't win today, check back for more opportunities! To give everyone a chance contest winners are limited to one win every 3 months.