Category Archives: Gardening

Straw Bale Gardening

I have been a huge Square Foot Gardening fan for many years but my wife recently turned me on to a new gardening method called “Straw Bale Gardening” she learned about online from sites like Pinterest and Garden Web.  I was super resistant to trying it out as we have always had such great results with the Square Foot method and probably would have never got around to trying it out if it wasn’t for Bethany.  I was traveling for work one week in early 2016 and when I came home Bethany had completely set up a straw bale garden in our backyard.  This post documents the entire process with pictures and even a time lapse video. Continue reading Straw Bale Gardening

Preserving the Harvest by Liz Porter

Many of you know that we have been attending classes at Lady Slipper Nursery on Saturday mornings.  This Saturday we had the opportunity to attend Preserving the Harvest by Liz Porter of Buckeye Creek Farms.  Liz led a fun, informative class and gave tips for both newbies and veterans alike.  She had excellent suggestions for tools, methods, and resources.  Specific topics discussed were pressure canning versus water bath canning, blanching before freezing, canning additives, and the canning of Continue reading Preserving the Harvest by Liz Porter

Homestead Master Plan

For those of you that have been following our build process, you know that we purchased land for our dream home a couple years ago.  We have been slowly working towards making our vision a reality.  Part of that process was taking what was in our heads and getting it down on paper.  We received the help of many people in helping to take a vague idea of our vision and slowly turn it into an executable plan.  Two key people stick out as key contributors though.  The first is Casey Norris with Lady Slipper Rare Plant Nursery and the second is Doug Bork with Elements Landscape LLC. Continue reading Homestead Master Plan

Merrilily Gardens

Our Saturday morning classes at Lady Slipper Rare Plant Nursery have been quite a joy, and this last Saturday was no exception! In the latest class we were privileged to learn from the owner of Merrilily GardensMerrilily Gardens is a local business that specializes in over 350 varieties of day lilies. The owner of Merrilily Gardens, Merrily McLaughlin (yes, you read that right), was especially helpful in explaining how to propagate daylilies. This is an inexpensive way to get your landscaping dollars to go further.  Furthermore, splitting your day lilies is actually good for the plant.  It is advantageous even if you do not want more day lilies (You can always give the cuttings to friends and family to share the pleasure of these beautiful plants). Continue reading Merrilily Gardens

Ladyslipper Saturday Morning Class – Hans Rueffert

A couple of weeks ago we wrote a post about a class we attended at Ladyslipper Rare Plant Nursery taught by Farmer’s Organic.  Yesterday we had the privilege to attend another class, this time led by the renowned Hans Rueffert.  Hans is the chef and owner of Woodbridge Inn in Jasper, GA.   Hans comes with a list of credentials including appearing on Next Food Network Star, CNN, and The Doctors.  The biggest reason this chef has my ear, however, is his triumph over aggressive cancer.  This man was given a 2%  chance of survival and was told on several occasions that he would not live beyond 24 more hours. Hans emphasizes food quality above food quantity and approaches his meals with a different twist on carpe diem – “Eat like there’s no tomorrow.”  Something to think about! Continue reading Ladyslipper Saturday Morning Class – Hans Rueffert

Ladyslipper Saturday Morning Class – Farmers Organic

For those of you that live in the Woodstock, GA area and that enjoy gardening you may want to check out Ladyslipper’s Saturday morning class schedule.  Bethany and I attended our first class last weekend.  It was all about composting and creating/maintaining living soil.  It was educational but also surprisingly interesting!  The presenter was Greg Parrish, the general manager of Farmers Organic.  He explained different aspects of soil, composts, and fertilizers and answered everyone’s questions related to those topics (and gardening in general). Continue reading Ladyslipper Saturday Morning Class – Farmers Organic

Ladyslipper Saturday Morning Class – Container Gardening

This post is meant to help those interested in container gardening to know how best to place their plants in the pot.  The examples shared in this post for plant layouts were shared during a Saturday morning class at Ladyslipper in Woodstock, GA.  For those of you that live in the area and that enjoy gardening you may want to check out Ladyslipper’s Saturday morning class schedule.  Regardless of where you live, hopefully this post will be helpful.

I attended the class with my oldest daughter, Mannah, and my mom, who we call Oma.  When we arrived, Casey, the owner of the nursery, taught a short lesson on Container Gardening, covering things like soil selection, plant selection, container selection, fertilizing, and other interesting things about finding success with container gardening. Continue reading Ladyslipper Saturday Morning Class – Container Gardening

Ladyslipper Rare Plant Nursery

Today was an awesome day of sunshine and gardening!  I have been looking forward to the last frost so I can get busy with our garden.  I checked the weather this morning and the 10 day forecast looks promising so we decided to get started today.  As many of you know, Mannah has taken an interest in gardening and asked if her birthday present could be to have one of the square foot garden raised beds for flowers this year.  I love vegetable gardening but I’ve never really gotten into flowers.  I’m hoping our growing knowledge of plants will rub off on each other and I will pick up some flower skills. Continue reading Ladyslipper Rare Plant Nursery

Blueberry Harvest!

I was hanging out in the back yard with our youngest daughter (Harvest) yesterday and decided I would go check on the blueberries since I knew it wouldn’t be long until they were ripe and ready to eat.  I was so excited to see the branches weighed down to the ground with dark, plump blueberries!  I ran inside and grabbed some bowls and worked for a long time with Bethany to harvest as many of the ripe blueberries as we could before sunset.  I would say Harvest helped us except she would eat all of her berries every time she reached about 20 in her bowl. Continue reading Blueberry Harvest!

Gibbs Gardens – A World-Class Garden in North Georgia

My mom (Oma) and Grandpa Jeff recently visited from Ohio and joined our family on a field trip to Gibbs Gardens. Gibb’s Gardens is located north of Atlanta at 1987 Gibbs Drive, Ball Ground, GA 30107 which is a very short drive from our house. I was expecting it to be nice but I was completely surprised by how awesome it was! It’s like a miniature Callaway Gardens, only without the Butterfly Garden, Biking, etc. I actually thought Gibb’s Gardens was better designed, more concentrated, and overall a more breathtaking experience. My whole family was constantly making “oohs and aahs” as we ventured through the gardens. The tickets were a little pricey for our family of 7 but considering the amount of fun we had it felt well worth it by the time we left. Below are some pictures from the gardens and you can also find out more information by visiting Gibbs Gardens website. One last thing, right before we left we grabbed lunch from the little snack shop near the entrance and ate our sandwiches and desserts near the stream you first walk by after you enter into the gardens. The food was delicious and the setting was so relaxing…a perfect end to a perfect day! Hope you have a chance to check it out for yourself soon! We highly recommend it as a homeschooling field trip, a family day out, a romantic date, or for a quiet place to break away from the traffic and stress of Atlanta. Continue reading Gibbs Gardens – A World-Class Garden in North Georgia