Kaboom Moments: When Gardens Go Bang!

I’m kicking myself — again.  This time, it’s all because I forgot to bring my camera to a July 4th fireworks show.  It would have been a great opportunity to play with the fireworks feature on my camera.

That’s what I was lamenting when I noticed these white begonia blooms.  Kaboom!


The begonia story actually began last summer, when they were planted in a narrow strip along the north side of the house.  Fast forward through a hurricane, freezing winter temperatures, a blizzard that dumped three feet of snow, and spring, when I noticed small green leaves poking up in a bed of dead begonias.

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Red, White & Bloom — and Gnomes?

Gnome“Hi everyone.  It’s me, the Gnitty Gritty Dirt Gnome, giving Kevin a hand with this week’s post.  Before we get into some patriotic petals, I want to remind all of you that there’s still time to get yourself in the running to win two books.  Yup, two books — and both of them are all about gnomes.

“The first is Kevin’s copy of Gnomes, a classic if ever there was one. Lots of imaginative illustrations and stories about the lives and adventures of my peeps.  The other book is Garden Gnomes: A History, by Dr. Twigs Way, and it explains the lore of  we wee folk.

“To read Kevin’s interview with Dr. Way and to leave a comment to be entered into the drawing, please click here and/or here.

“And now, for the red, the white, and the blooms.  You know, if you squint, you can practically see the fireworks.”

“Happy Independence Day!”

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Book Review & Giveaway: “What A Plant Knows”


For many gardeners, the reasons for gardening come down to stimulating and satisfying our own senses: the scent of a summer rose, the feel of a freshly mowed lawn under your toes, the sound of morning songbirds, the taste of a homegrown tomato, or the sight of the saturated color of the season’s first peony bloom.

But are our senses the only ones being stirred in the garden?  According to a remarkable video and an equally remarkable book, the answer is “no.”  Our senses, it seems, are in good company with the senses of our plants.

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The Giveaway Goes To . . .

The Backyard Parables

At last, we have arrived at the big reveal — the announcement of the winner of Margaret Roach’s most excellent book, The Backyard Parables.  So without any further delay, the book goes to . . .

Now did you really think I would jump right in with the winner’s name?  Not only am I nitty and gritty, I’m also wordy — and a post just wouldn’t be complete unless I added a few hundred words of my own (as well as a few photos, each one dedicated to a season in my garden in honor of the chapters in Parables).

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Book Review & Giveaway: The Backyard Parables

The Backyard Parables

Parable is one of those Old — no, make that Ancient World words.  Just saying it conjures up an image of a toga-ed philosopher sitting on the steps of the Parthenon, eager and inquisitive students kneeling and sitting and catching each one of his words.

That’s kind of how I felt as I read Margaret Roach’s newest book, The Backyard Parables.  Okay, it wasn’t a toga party, but I could certainly imagine gardeners arriving from far and wide to her rural New York State garden — gathering about her as she shares the wit and wisdom of her words.   (Note to self: find out Margaret’s Open Garden Day schedule.)

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And The Giveaway Winner Is . . .

Not so fast.  Did you really think I would just announce the winner of the garden tools/seed embedded products giveaway without some sort of build up?  If all of these home/garden/fashion makeover shows can drag on for an hour until the big reveal, I’m sure I can come up with a few hundred words.

Actually, I want to thank everyone who participated by adding their advice.  That was, after all,  the goal of the giveway — the chance to plant a seed and hope that it would germinate, take root, and grow.  Thanks to all of you, there is now a garden of information.

Some of the best gardening advice was instructional: “I ‘plant’ a milk jug beside each tomato plant.  Each jug has three small holes in the bottom side, aiming at the tomato plant’s roots.  Each jug is filled with water every day – at any time of day – to let the water seep in at the root zone.  Keep the caps to keep bugs and debris out of the jugs, but don’t screw them down tight, or you’ll stop the flow of water.” Cindyricksgers

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The Best Gardening Advice I Ever Got (and Blogoversary Giveaway)


Before I get into the heart of this post, let me get into, well, the heart of this post.  The Nitty Gritty Dirt Man blog is turning one today, and I want to thank all of you for helping to make this year inspirational and educational, as well as for joining me on a journey that I never imagined could happen by simply clicking “publish.” 

Perhaps the best illustration I can offer is the picture below, and it’s an image that completely astounds me.  WordPress recently added this feature to the stats page – a visual depiction of where the readers of this blog live and garden.

 This occasion has also brought to mind all of the lessons and tidbits of knowledge that I have picked up over the years.  In fact, it’s safe to say that gardeners dispense advice as if it is seeds – casting them about and hoping that one or hundreds will take hold and root and grow.

My earliest advice probably came from my mother.  I have very clear memories of being a child and pulling weeds from the yard and then replanting them in the beds of my toy dump trucks – a gardenscape if ever there could be one.   Mom’s advice probably went something like this: “Kevin, stop planting weeds in your dump truck.”

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