Gardens hold more than dirt and plants. They hold power. They heal.

Gardens foster community and relationships and awaken the senses while they provide hope and teach patience and fortitude.

Gardens contribute to our quality of life whether we're working in them or sitting back and taking them in.

Here we will dig deep and expose what all gardens hold, teach and reveal.

Garden Lovers Check-it-out List for the MN State Fair

August 26th, 2011

There is so much to eat at the fair that it's hard to remember that there is also so much to learn there as well. The horticulture building at the Minnesota State Fair is a nature lover’s fun and education zone and I highly recommend you check it out while you are there.

Following is a list and dates of some things that sound interesting for the next six days. (Please see the State Fair Daily Schedule website for a full list of each day’s activities). I will post the final week’s schedule on Tuesday August 30th.

All educational classes mentioned are in the Agriculture Horticulture Building – Area C

Saturday, August 27th
  1. 1pm - Backyard Composting, the Easy Way: This class is taught by Larry Cipolla, a Hennepin Master Gardener and should help you get that compost bin going.
  2. 3pm – Growing Glorious gladiolus: The MN Gladiolus Society will be sharing all their know-how on growing these beautiful flowers.
  3. 4pm – Container Gardening: I can’t wait for this one! Container gardening is so much fun and the more you know, the more you can grow.

Sunday August 28th 
  1. 10a.m. - Low-maintenance Perennial Gardening: Even those of us who love to garden appreciate a low-maintenance one and hopefully Janet Pauley, a Goodhue Master Gardener, will have some great ideas.
  2. 1p.m. – Fall Garden Tips and Lasagna Gardening for Spring: This just sounds so interesting.

Monday August 29th
  1. 1p.m. – Starting Seeds Indoors: Plants add up quickly but seeds are inexpensive and knowing how to start them properly indoors is valuable, and cost effective, knowledge.
  2. 2p.m. – Basic Landscape Design Principles: Jim Calkins from the MN Nursery and Landscape Association should provide easy –to-follow design basics for your yard.
  3. The Flower Show entitled Minnesota Enjoys is available for viewing for most of the day but for 9am to noon when it is closed for judging.
  4. Noon to 6pm – Kids Flower Detective:  Children 12 and under get to show their smelling skills by identifying flowers from their scent. Super cool!

Tuesday, August 30th
  1. Noon – Pots for Christmas Cheer : Get some tips on creating festive holiday planters.
  2. 1pm – Ten Tips for Growing Terrific Tomatoes:  Master Gardener, Kathleen Wenzel is going to help all of us grow the tastiest tomatoes. 
  3. The flower show and kids flower detective shows mentioned above are going on today as well.

Wednesday, August 31st
  1. 10 am – Herbs- Growing, harvesting, and preserving: Shirley Mah Kooymen, a Hennepin county Master Gardener, leads this class.  I am most excited for the preserving part, as that is the area with which I have the most difficulty.
  2. 11 am – Pruning in the Home Landscape: Just plain smart class to take as pruning is an art best done with knowledge and know-how.
  3. 3pm to 6pm - Home Sown Gardeners will be volunteering at the MNLA gardens; come find us and let’s chat!
  4. 3pm – See How We Do It! Master Gardeners Tell All: This should be very very interesting!

Home Sown Gardens has a new website!

August 15th, 2011

Hello all.

Just a quick note to tell you that we have a new Home Sown Garden's website! Please check it out when you have a moment and let us know what you think.

Thanks so much and have a lovely week!

Take care!

We Won the Neighbor Lottery

by Heather Ford-Helgeson
August 12th, 2011

My husband and I moved into our second home in South Minneapolis last spring.  Our first we owned for eight years and though we loved out home, we did not love our street; busy, loud, and we hardly new anyone around us.  The home across the street was a rental and the renters were the worst! These guys couldn't have been less than 30-years old and yet still had a juvenile infatuation with fireworks. Though the worst of their pop-crack-popping was over July 4th, they did not feel inclined to regulate their hobby to one month; bringing out the annoying nose-makers at various times throughout the year, mainly late in the night.  We would find firework shells on our roof and in our lawn all the time.  It saddens me to say this, but I really hate the fourth of July now. Ugh! I hope that changes over time.

I have a pretty good chance of getting over my 4th of July hangup now as I am in neighbor heaven.  When Matt and I closed on our current house, we took the first week to clean and paint before we officially moved in.  Within that first week, all of our neighbors directly around us came and introduced themselves. We were shocked and pleasantly so.  I was pregnant at the time and we even received baby gifts from some of the neighbors! I still get choked up just thinking about it.

One of the highlights for me has been our neighbors to the north.  We don't chat all that often, as we're all busy, but when we do, it's comfortable and easy and I get the best feeling from them and, the kicker, their landscaping it an absolutely wonder! Eric, the garden master, has been working on his yards for over 18 years and every single bit is perfectly sculpted.  I try so hard not to stare too long but I have to admit, when I wake up and pull back my curtains in my bedroom most mornings, I spend at least a few minutes dreamily looking into his back-yard; fountains and ponds, container gardens, perennial grasses everywhere, white tall-phlox so tall and gorgeous they make my heart skip a beat, and so much more! His work inspires me and makes me love my block all the more, as I am proud to have a neighbor of such grand creativity and imagination.  It will take me a long time, I have no doubt, but I will make my yards into something that makes me feel how I do when I look into Eric's yard; peaceful and hopeful.

Eric has a blog entitled Garden Drama and please click the title and check it out.  You will learn something, I guarantee it, and you will be inspired to if not garden, to at least enjoy gardens all the more.

Is there a garden and/or gardener that inspires you? If so, tell us all about them in the comment section below. We'd love to read about it.

Thanks for your time and I'll write again soon.

Take care.

Some Physical Pains May Be in Our Heads

by Heather Ford-Helgeson
August 5th, 2011

We have all heard someone say something along the lines of, “Oh, I love to garden (or insert whatever hobby or sport here) but I can’t do it anymore because of my back (or knee, or ankle, etc).” I’ve said it in the past myself.  I had back troubles starting at 16.  In my mid-twenties it was especially bad as every couple of weeks my back would “go out” and I would spend most of my time laying in agony and if I had to leave my bed, I'd have to crawl.  Chiropractors didn't help, a back specialist didn't help, what finally helped was exercise. I lost 25 pounds, got down to 23% body-fat and my back episodes came fewer and farther between and I accredited it to strengthening my stomach and other muscles. However, a spot in my back remained sensitive to the touch, started to get bad again and then I started having pains in my neck and shoulders.  Any specialist or doctor I’d see, they would tell me I had a slipped disc.  This year I’d had it and had an MRI and there was nothing. Nothing!  So finally, after two years of my husband pushing me to, I read a book.

The book is, Healing Back Pain: The Mind-Body Connection by John Sarno.  Using numerous examples, Sarno illustrates how our bodies, and backs in particular, are designed to handle an immense amount of physical toll but we are not so great at handling stress and worry.  He believes those things are causing our back problems, and a lot of other physical pains, more than anything else.  Take, for instance, stomach ulcers, something that use to plague a lot of people but as medications and surgical procedures fixed them, they became rare.  Suddenly, back pain, digestive issues, and conditions like fibromyalgia took the forefront. Sarno believes that the body will find a physical out for mental issues and if one physical malady is medically cured but the underlying mental issue that started the pain is not resolved, the mind will find another part of the body for the pain.  It's an interesting perspective and I’ve decided to take it as my own.

I think exercise helped me a lot in the beginning in part because of the strength I gained, especially in my stomach muscles, but it also helped me mentally as a release. However, the mind is tricky and since I wasn't dealing with the things in my life that were troubling me, eventually the exercise ceased to do the trick and my brain found it's outage again by causing more pain.  In reading this book, I am learning to tell when I'm suppressing something and having a physical reaction to it. When my shoulders start to tighten or that spot in my lower back starts to hurt, I tell myself over and over again, there's no reason for the pain, it's mental and my stresses don't belong in my body and with enough concentration, this usually works.

Pain is important, it helps us know when something is wrong and when we have it on a regular basis, it is prudent to get help to find out where the pain is coming from.  However, if there is no physical malady, our mind is the next best place to look.  Perhaps we cannot completely fix how we handle the emotional parts of life, but in being aware of where we store our stress and sadness, that in its self can be the beginning of then end to chronic pain.