Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dearborn Press and Guide's First Yard of the Month!

Hassan and Nadia Dakroub with English Gardens GM Matt Borden

Seeing other people enjoy it [the garden] is my pleasure.” - Pearl Fryar

The idea for "Yard of the Month" came a few years ago.  During a wakeful night, I sleepily stumbled across a television documentary about Mr. Fryar's garden.  "A Man Named Pearl" tells the story of how one home gardener became internationally known. 

Inspired after winning the local garden club award for Garden of the Month, Pearl Fryar, the first black man to receive that local honor, turned a passion for carving the trees around his tidy brick ranch home into sculptural topiaries into first a local, and then a national attraction.  Now busloads of gardeners flock to Pearl's yard. 

With this idea in mind I contacted J. Patrick "Pat" Pepper with the thought that Dearborn should have its own such "Yard of the Month."  The young energetic editor of the Dearborn Press and Guide moved quickly to get approval and set up the program. The entries flowed in!  All I can say is "WOW!"  Our town has some impressive and creative yards!  It was a pleasure to review the entries and to check out these lovely homes. Yardeners are passionate folks. 

After careful consideration the July 2011 Yard of the Month (drumroll please) goes to Nadia and Hassan Dakroub, for their lovely organic English garden located in Springwells Park.

It was a pleasure chatting with the Dakroubs and spending time in their peaceful oasis. 
Upon meeting them, one would never guess these educators juggle jobs, family and garden tending, but they certainly do it well.

Cudos to the Dakroubs.

Thanks for making Dearborn a more beautiful place to live. 


Monday, July 4, 2011

What Color Mulch To Use? Free Mulch and a Cuppa Joe

Free wood chips
Where to find free mulch or woodchips?

Alongside our first home, with little cash, my husband and I landscaped the street side with cast off railroad ties and clearance junipers.  The tiered garden remains, but now the tiny twigs of shrubs nearly overwhelm the small brick home. 

Green gardening doesn't mean less green in the wallet.  There are creative ways to reuse materials meant for the landfill.

Lugging heavy bags of mulch home from the nursery is costly and hard on the back.  And those bags don't spread very far, do they? 

Ford Field

Each spring cities make mountains of recycled and chipped wood mulch available to gardeners in public parks.  This mulch can be used on gardens or to define pathways, and the pile is replenished weekly, through fall.  Starting in April, fill every available container and cart with this nicely shredded mulch. 

It's easy to distribute from gallon sized containers or a rolling garden cart and far less back breaking than shouldering heavy plastic bags.

Pre-puppy days, there was the occasional splurge on coco mulch.  The bags were light, and the contents easily distributed.  The deep brown mulch was expensive, but for a few days the garden smelled like chocolate!

 Lovely indulgence. 

The finished look of natural wood is far more authentic than brightly dyed chips. 

Unlike a purse and shoes, it's not fashionable to match the bricks to the mulch.

There's no bright red mulch in nature, unless one lives in central Georgia, perhaps.  For the rest of us, mulch should be subdued, framing the plants, suppressing weeds and keeping moisture in the soil.

Don't heap mulch up around the base of a tree, it's terribly unhealthy.  Leave at least a foot around the trunk.  The roots should taper outward like clawed feet
Love coffee?  So do evergreens, hydrangeas, ferns, azaleas, and other "acid loving" shrubs, trees and plants.  Starbucks offers a free grounds recycling program called "Grounds for the Garden."  Used coffee grounds are packaged in recycled silver packets and sealed with a flowery sticker.  On a daily basis the used grounds are found packaged and piled in a brass bucket near the entrance of the coffee shop.  If the bucket is empty, ask the barista for a bag of grounds.  Or, ask if you can call ahead for grounds. The car will smell extraordinary during the ride home.

Sprinkle the (cooled) grounds around the base of  each plant or shrub, water, or let just the rain slowly dissolve the compost.

Otherwise, fill a watering can with warm water and toss some grounds into the mix, for a quick approach.

Either way, the garden, and the gardener, will enjoy a well deserved coffee break.

More Articles of Interest:

Container Gardens -- Pots on the Spot

The Four "C's" of Curb Appeal

Turn Over An Old Leaf -- How to Compost