I’m interviewed in Boston Globe about Texas gardening and blogging


“When Spotlight won Best Picture,” I asked the Boston Globe reporter the day after the Oscars, “did you celebrate?” Heather Ciras was interviewing me for a non-investigative story (thank goodness) about gardening and blogging. The night before, I’d been happy to see my favorite movie of 2016 — a true story about the Globe‘s 2001 investigation of a cover-up in the Catholic Church, and an excellent film — get the top award.

“I worked the Oscars, manning our social media, so it was very cool when Spotlight won,” she replied, “especially since we didn’t think it would. There were some cheers, then we got right back to work because we were on deadline.” I admit it: I couldn’t help picturing actors Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams hard at work, following leads and sniffing out cover-ups.

With Spotlight fresh in my mind, I felt a bit awed to be contacted by a Globe reporter. She’d seen my blog in the Better Homes and Gardens Blogger Awards and wanted to interview me for her column in the weekend Address section about homes and real estate. Her column, she explained, usually covers home decorating and includes interviews with home bloggers, but for a change she wanted to talk with a garden blogger. Naturally, I was at her service!


We did the interview in late February, and I sent her a few pictures of my garden. I didn’t know if anything would come of it, but last week she emailed to tell me that the interview was online and would be in print on April 24! Yippee! Here are a couple of screenshots of the online version. I called all over town on Saturday to try to find a local bookstore that carries the Globe, so I could pick up a copy, but no dice. Happily, Heather has promised to mail me a copy.

If you’d like to know what a Boston reporter (still waiting for winter to end) asks an Austin gardener (hands grubby from manic spring gardening), click here to read the interview. Our conversation is condensed, so there are some abrupt segues, and I have no idea what the Texas-gopher reference in the title means. But I’m thrilled to be spotlighted, so to speak, in the Boston Globe!

Here’s how Heather summed up the interview: “Penick shared with us her thoughts on using less water, how interior design and gardening overlap, and why plantings are best enjoyed with a margarita.”

Exactly.

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

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!

I’m on Instagram as pamdigging. See you there!

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

My book recommended by Better Homes and Gardens!


Last night I was sprawled on the couch reading the new issue of Better Homes and Gardens (May 2016). Halfway through the magazine, I turned the page and saw the cover of my new book, The Water-Saving Garden, pictured along with four other gardening titles.


“Our favorite new garden titles,” it reads. What an honor! Thank you, BHG, for recommending my book to your readers!

By the way, I second BHG’s recommendation of Bill Thomas’s book, The Art of Gardening, whose design-focused look at the garden Chanticleer, with gorgeous photos by Rob Cardillo, is absolutely wonderful. The other titles look intriguing too. I notice another Ten Speed Press book (my publisher) made BHG’s list, Annie Novak’s The Rooftop Growing Guide.


By the way, if you don’t already subscribe to Better Homes and Gardens, you might consider doing so for their recent renewed focus on gardening content under the leadership of new editor-in-chief Stephen Orr, himself a garden writer and former gardening editorial director for Martha Stewart Living. This issue has a wonderful article, “Raise the Roots” by Debra Prinzing, about the design of an edible garden using Corten steel rings.


Oh yeah, baby! Regular readers know I’m strictly an ornamental gal, but this article tempted even vegetable-shunning me to think about where I might find room for a contemporary-styled veggie patch like this one. Coincidentally, the beautiful design is by fellow Ten Speed Press author Stefani Bittner, who co-authored The Beautiful Edible Garden: Design A Stylish Outdoor Space Using Vegetables, Fruits, and Herbs.

There’s lots of good garden reading for you! I’m thrilled to be included in BHG’s list. So, what garden books are you reading right now? Do share if you’ve found something really good!

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 talk at San Antonio’s 19th annual Festival of Flowers. Get a signed copy of my book after the talk. 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!

I’m on Instagram as pamdigging. See you there!

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

Lone screech owl and other creature features


Every day, through the open window, I hear the thin cries of cedar waxwings as they strafe the back yard, flying from ligustrums to yaupons in the greenbelt behind our house to polish off the late-season berries. With their sleek, tan feathers and robbers’ masks, they are among my favorite bird visitors.


Now that the weather’s warm, Texas spiny lizards have been sunning themselves on the brick chimney. I spotted these two as I was reaching to change (belatedly) our outside clock for daylight saving time.


The big one moved up the wall into the sunniest spot and posed for me. These skittish lizards have such interesting, scaly skin.


But our most surprising visitor over the past week is seen here. Where? Just under the eave, sitting atop the junction box for the string lights. See it?

We’d just gotten home from our spring break road trip, and we’d been up and down the back steps checking on the garden and the pool. On my third pass, I caught a glimpse of something gray under the eave and immediately thought, wasp nest. I froze and looked up, and that’s when I realized we’d been walking not two feet away from a tiny screech owl.


I softly called to the family to come look, and then I went inside to get my camera. He (or she) calmly held his ground, watching warily but not seeming alarmed as we gathered at a respectful distance to look and take photos.


He looks a bit quizzical, doesn’t he? Like, What are YOU doing here after a week of peace and quiet?


It looks like a cozy spot, but I wondered why he was here and not in the owl box. I could only hope that this was a male, standing guard as his mate nested in the owl box. We’d not seen any activity in the box before our trip, although by this time of year we normally have. In fact, I’d begun to think that we wouldn’t have a nesting owl this year.

After dusk, the owl flew off while none of us was looking, probably to hunt. I kept an eye on the owl box, hoping to see the male fly in with food for a nesting mate. But I saw nothing, and we’ve had no more owl sightings since last weekend. I’m still hopeful, however, that we just have a very shy nesting pair. Time will tell.


What else is going on in the garden? Dyckia ‘Burgundy Ice’ is blooming.


Fuzzy, yellow flowers staggered along tall bloom spikes are opening one by one.


On the front porch, the succulent dish is wildly overgrown. I need to take cuttings of these plants and replant the whole dish. And yet I do kind of like the shaggy look, so I keep procrastinating. Below it, a foxtail fern in a tall pot seems to be reaching out with tentacle-like fronds.


In other happenings, I was surprised and pleased to see The Water-Saving Garden featured in the spring 2016 issue of The Designer, the publication of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers (APLD).


Check it out — click here to read the digital issue, and look on page 17. My thanks to Bay Area designer Rebecca Sweet for her complimentary quote and to editor Katie Elzer-Peters for including my book.

If you love garden design, consider subscribing to The Designer. It’s free, and you don’t need to be a designer or a member of APLD to enjoy it. APLD members write all the articles, and in this issue you’ll find topics ranging from ways to use hedges to patio projects to photos of the home gardens of designers from Toronto to Nebraska to Arizona.

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 meet me at Zilker Garden Festival, Austin, TX, April 2 & 3
Get your gardening mojo on at Zilker Garden Festival! I’ll be at the brand-new Author Booth on both days between 10 am and 2 pm (near the main building entrance), and I’ll have copies of The Water-Saving Garden and Lawn Gone! for purchase ($20 each), if you’d like a signed copy for yourself or for a gift. Zilker Garden Festival is the garden’s biggest fundraiser (and it needs our support) and offers all-day entertainment, vendor shopping, plant sales, demonstrations, live music, a beer garden and food vendors, children’s activities, a garden train, a flower show, and a docent-led tour of lovely Zilker Botanical Garden. Don’t miss it!

Join me for lunch downtown at Holy Grounds coffee shop and cafe on Wednesday, April 6, at noon. As part of their Coffee with the Author series, KUT’s Jennifer Stayton will interview me and host a Q&A with the audience — i.e., y’all — and afterward I’ll sign copies of The Water-Saving Garden and Lawn Gone!. I hope to see you there for this intimate, lunchtime event. Holy Grounds is located in the main building of St. David’s Episcopal Church at 301 East 8th Street in downtown Austin. You can park in the surface lot in front of St. David’s main doors.

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!

I’m on Instagram as pamdigging. See you there!

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

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