Some gardeners may be surprised to learn that when a landscape designer begins the process of creating a garden plan, the actual plants to be used are one of the last things specified. Many steps typically occur before the nursery catalogs are consulted. The creation of useable space, or outdoor rooms, is the central thought connecting the various stages of design. General categories of outdoor rooms include the arrival and entry space, the living and entertaining space, the food preparation space, the dining space, the recreation space, the work and storage space, and the garden space. Most of our Blackridge yards are modestly sized, yet adequate to incorporate the concept of outdoor rooms. As we move into e.e.cummings’s “mudlucious…puddle-wonderful” springtime, it may be time to consider pulling out your pencils and planning something for your outdoor living space that will make you smile.
Are there problems in your yard such as wind, noise, lack of privacy, or lack of functional features? Would you like to link your gardening with other hobbies, such as flower arranging, cooking, and bird watching? Do you want to emphasize elements of your home or the topography of your land? Would you like to increase the value of your property? Would you just like a nice place to sit in the shade? Do you want to prevent the kids and the dogs from running into the street? These are only a few of the questions that should be pondered when you are going to make a change in your landscape. Perhaps before you head out to the garden centers or order your stock online without a plan in mind, you will want to designate an outdoor room, decide how to structure it, and then furnish it with lighting, water, ornaments, benches, and finally, plants.
Many Blackridge neighbors and Blackridge Garden Club members (including me!) look forward to buying eggs and honey from Ashlee Esplen's parents. Not only do the chickens merely have good welfare, they have names, and roam freely over a large area, except at night (for their protection!).
I got an email from Ashlee the other day mentioning that her parents' chickens were featured in Backyard Poultry magazine. She mentions that it is a great article to read and that the peeps in the wagon photo are from their farm.
I thought our BGC blog readers would enjoy the article, which is embedded below:
Found at LVC: A pair of reading glasses, pink and blue mottled design, +2.5 lenses. Nancy Del Presto has them. Please let us know if they are yours. Thanks!
Gluten Free? Vegetarian? Vegan? Observing Lent? Diehard Carnivore?
In planning, and in tszujing, the buffet menu for the benefit, we tried to accommodate a variety of dietary needs. We've got a red meat, a poultry, a seafood, and a vegetarian entree, plus we've got GF options (and meatless and vegan proteins) on the appetizer, salad, and dessert tables. We're also planning to provide a special Rice Pomodoro plate to one of our friends who is both GF and veg. If you need something special, please let us know by Thursday, so we can be sure to order it. Longue Vue is great about special diets.
I've noticed that it's an available feature on Weebly, which hosts our site.
Any member could start a conversation thread about, say, where s/he saw a great bargain at a nursery, or if s/he just divided her irises and is looking for good homes for the extras, or is s/he has a question that s/he would like input on from the membership. Any and all other members could reply. For instance, I know that sometimes I receive queries from other members via email that I then pass along to another gardener who might have more expertise than I. In that instance, the forum could cut out the middle man, and help other readers who have the same question.
We could use it for anything we'd like, and we can control the privacy settings, just as we do with the membership directory. I think it can be a fun and useful way to keep in touch.
Author, Judy Diorio
Judy's Blog is written by Blackridge's gardener-in-residence, Judy Diorio. Judy has lived in Blackridge for 25 years, and writes the BGC's "In The Garden" column for the Blackboard. She has studied horticulture and landscape design and is currently preparing to be a Pennsylvania Certified Horticulturist.
Allegheny Co Extension--Hort
Arboretum at Penn State
Audubon Soc of Western Pa
Birds and Blooms
Longue Vue Gardens
NYT--Gardeners and Gardening
Organic Gardening Magazine
Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
Pittsburgh Botanic Garden
Post-Gazette--Home & Garden
Royal Botanical Gardens
ScienceDaily--Plants & Animals
US National Arboretum
Western PA Conservancy
Wildlife Resource Council
American Orchid Society