Passionate about gardening sustainably for the place you live


New Jersey gardener and author Mike “The Gardener” Podlesny interviewed me recently for his popular Vegetable Gardening Podcast, and you can listen to it here (scroll to bottom). Despite the veggie-centric podcast title, Mike interviews all kinds of gardeners about any gardening topic you might imagine. I’m delighted to have been his guest.

In this 39-minute podcast — entertainment while you’re making dinner, no? — we talked about what makes a water-saving garden, how much planning it requires, the pleasures of gardening for wildlife, lawn reduction, permeable paving, garden blogging, and more! I hope you’ll take a listen, and then let me know what it’s like to practice water-saving gardening where you live.

I welcome your comments. If you’re reading this in an email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment link at the end of each post.
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Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

Come see me at Festival of Flowers in San Antonio, May 28, time TBA. Get inspired to save water in your garden during my presentation at San Antonio’s 19th annual Festival of Flowers. I’ll be at the book-signing table after the talk, with copies of both The Water-Saving Garden and Lawn Gone! available for purchase. Tickets to the all-day festival, which includes a plant sale and exchange, speakers, and a flower show, are available at the door: $6 adults; children under 10 free. Free parking.

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Where there’s a whale, there’s a way


Moby, my 10-year-old whale’s tongue agave (A. ovatifolia), which for 22 days has been sending a bloom stalk skyward, seems to be in transition. The stalk is now about 10 or 11 feet tall and holding.


Meanwhile, clusters of yellow flowers are emerging along the asparagus-shaped stalk.


The clustered flower buds on sturdy stems remind me of broccoli. Why is everything about Moby’s flowering so evocative of vegetables?


I can’t wait to see what it looks like when the spear-like tip unfolds. Will the flowers add another dozen feet in height, as shown in Shirley’s images of a flowering Agave ovatifolia a few years ago?


Moby’s bloom stalk doesn’t have much clearance left, not with live oak limbs only 12 feet up. Still, where there’s a whale, there’s a way. Perhaps Moby knows what he’s doing.


Many other succulents in my garden, like this trio of soap aloes (A. maculata), are sending up their own bloom stalks in solidarity. There’s also a tall, leaning ‘Chocolate Chips’ manfreda flower spike above the aloes’. Can you see it? And there’s Moby in the distance.


Here’s a better view from the other direction. The manfreda is growing in a container placed in the raised bed along the back of the house, so you walk under all those Dr. Seussian flowers as you pass by.


Honeybees love the aloe flowers and scooch right up those dangling coral tubes to collect pollen. Every time I walk by, I enjoy a close-up view of their work, which never worries me. They’re far too busy to bother with me.


Tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis) is flowering atop its own long stems, attracting butterflies.


I can’t overlook these shorter bloom spikes coming up on a potted aloe (at bottom) on the back steps. Purple oxalis (Oxalis triangularis), spikeless, is flowering with abandon too.


In the gravel garden out front, ‘Frazzle Dazzle’ dyckia (Dyckia choristaminea ‘Frazzle Dazzle’), a native of Brazil, has sent up multiple spikes of golden flowers. The deer usually find these and chomp them down, so I’m enjoying them while I can.


This is one of my favorite dyckias, totally hardy here in Austin’s zone 8b, drought tolerant, not lethally sharp like many dyckias, and with a cute, tribble-like appearance.


That’s my garden happenings! By the way, if you live in or near Austin, I hope you’ll make time to come see me at Hill Country Water Gardens tomorrow at noon for a short garden talk and booksigning afterward — part of the many happenings during the nursery’s Lily Blossom Festival. See News and Upcoming Events below for more details.

I welcome your comments. If you’re reading this in an email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment link at the end of each post.
_______________________

Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

I’ll be speaking on April 30, noon-12:30 pm, in Cedar Park, Texas, at Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery’s Lily Blossom Festival. My free talk is called “How to Garden Water-Wise, Not Water-Wasteful.” An old proverb reminds us that The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives. Don’t be a water-guzzling frog! I’ll be sharing my tips for making a garden that is water-wise, not water-wasteful. Stick around after my talk for a book signing, with autographed copies of Lawn Gone! and The Water-Saving Garden available for purchase.

Come see me at Festival of Flowers in San Antonio, May 28, time TBA. Learn more about water-saving gardening during my presentation at San Antonio’s 19th annual Festival of Flowers. I’ll be at the book-signing table after the talk, with copies of both The Water-Saving Garden and Lawn Gone! available for purchase. Tickets to the all-day festival, which includes a plant sale and exchange, speakers, and a flower show, are available at the door: $6 adults; children under 10 free. Free parking.

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

Bloggers, let’s go to Minneapolis Garden Bloggers Fling!


OK, bloggers, now let’s get in formation! Why? Cause the Fling slays, it slays, it slays, it slays.

With apologies to Beyonce for appropriating her lyrics, Garden Bloggers Fling really does slay. This non-commercial, blogger-hosted annual garden tour/blogger meetup is the best value for the money in terms of seeing lots of beautiful and intriguing private gardens, a curated selection of public/community gardens, a nursery visit or two, and always a few surprises, like last year’s blogger happy hour and generous goodie-bag giveaway at Lee Valley Tools in Toronto.

The 9th annual Garden Bloggers Fling will be held this July 14-17 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Fling hasn’t been hosted in the Midwest since 2009 in Chicago, so this will be a fun new region to explore!


Why go? The Fling is your portal into a gathering of like-minded — i.e., garden-obsessed — people from all parts of North America and beyond (shout-out to bloggers who’ve attended from England and Spain!). Not just people who love gardens but those who, perhaps like you, are obsessed enough to blog about it. In fact, meeting fellow bloggers from all walks of life is half the fun of the Fling. Don’t worry about being an introvert who doesn’t know anyone. These are your people. You’ll find things to talk about.


The Flingiest bunch of all has to be the Texans. I say this as an unbiased (ahem) member of the Texas garden blogging contingent. We are legion. I believe Texas garden bloggers have outnumbered every other state’s attendees since we hosted the first Fling back in 2008. In fact, 13 Texas bloggers are currently registered for this year’s Fling.

You can see who’s already signed up, and where they’re from, right here. In a spirit of friendly competition, consider this your challenge, bloggers from other states! (I’m looking at you, California and New York.) Is no one from your state or region listed on the attendees page? Then you should come represent!


This year’s local hosting committee is led by Amy Andrychowicz of Get Busy Gardening. She and committee members Kathleen Hennessy of :29 Minute Gardener and Mary Schier of My Northern Garden are working hard to share with us the best gardens Minneapolis and nearby St. Paul have to offer, as well as planning a happy hour and meals for us, lining up sponsors, and arranging transportation. It’s a big job, and they are volunteers with busy lives, just like the rest of us, so I offer them my thanks in advance.


There are still a few spots left on the tour, which is limited to a manageable 70 or so bloggers on two touring buses. Don’t miss out! To view the itinerary, click here. To register, click here.

I hope to see you in Minneapolis!

Note: All photos above are from previous Garden Blogger Flings. I don’t have any Minnesota garden photos yet, but I’m looking forward to photographing some during the Fling!

I welcome your comments. If you’re reading this in an email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment link at the end of each post.
_______________________

Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events

I’ll be speaking on April 30, noon-12:30 pm, in Cedar Park, Texas, at Hill Country Water Gardens & Nursery’s Lily Blossom Festival. My free talk is called “How to Garden Water-Wise, Not Water-Wasteful.” An old proverb reminds us that The frog does not drink up the pond in which he lives. Don’t be a water-guzzling frog! I’ll be sharing my tips for making a garden that is water-wise, not water-wasteful. Stick around after my talk for a book signing, with autographed copies of Lawn Gone! and The Water-Saving Garden available for purchase.

Come see me at Festival of Flowers in San Antonio, May 28, time TBA. Learn more about water-saving gardening during my presentation at San Antonio’s 19th annual Festival of Flowers. I’ll be at the book-signing table after the talk, with copies of both The Water-Saving Garden and Lawn Gone! available for purchase. Tickets to the all-day festival, which includes a plant sale and exchange, speakers, and a flower show, are available at the door: $6 adults; children under 10 free. Free parking.

Do you review? Have you read my new book, The Water-Saving Garden? If you found it helpful or inspirational, please consider leaving a review — even just a sentence or two — on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites. Online reviews are crucial in getting a book noticed. I really appreciate your help!

All material © 2006-2016 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

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