Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm Too Sexy for this Lawn

Cornell and Ithaca kids have arrived in town and that means Fall 2009 is just around the corner. As August closes it's a great time to update your fall wardrobe, not only for graduate school or the office but also for the garden. As requested by Kevin, I have pulled together a short list of must-haves for Fall 2009.

Lumberjacks Unite
Seen throughout the GAP, J. Crew, Urban Outfitters, and even Target, plaid seems to be making a comeback. What once was associated with lumberjacks and 90s grunge bands is now hip and chic. Search the GAP and Target for your ATM deals; browse Urban Outfitters (BDG Breezy Button-Up Shirt seen here) for Gold Card glam.

DIY Denim
Across the covers of Nylon and Ready Made, denim is staking its claim - and appropriately so, as denim is perfect for fall activities in the garden and at the bar. When the temperature drops, bust out your last season jeans to flaunt in the garden - your knees will appreciate the coverage when you kneel to harvest bulbs. Also, it's a smart fashion choice when working with hedge trimmers when cutting back trees and shrubs, and from shovels when dividing your hostas. Check out Ready Made for a DYI work shirt, patchwork jeans, and romper. You'll look great and save money too.

Green Garden Accessories
Fall calls for cleaning up the garden after a beautiful summer and preparing for next year. You are destined to get down and dirty with your plants, tearing out annuals, dividing perennials, and trimming back trees and shrubs. Why not do it all stylishly?! Today's Garden Center recently released its list of Top Products for 2010, in which Angela's Garden is featured for it's garden accessories. There is a plethora of gloves, hats, aprons, and bags to choose from, and Angela plays off the ever-so-popular Vera Bradley print theme. Angela also has a line of "green" accessories, which are made from organic fabrics and nontoxic dyes.

West County Gloves is also one of my favorite recent finds. Finally, empty Evian and Poland Spring bottles are going to good use, in the form of gardening gloves! The gloves come in a number of different styles, including ones for kiddies. Check out the website to learn more and get your own pair; I'm getting mine in pink.

That's it for now - I'm off to find the perfect pair of wellies.

Plant on and rock on,

Song for the Garden: Tenderoni - Chromeo

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Stay Tuned...

Hello friends!

It has been an incredibly busy week here for the plant geek/fashionista - thesis writing, loan exit interviews, explosions at the cafe, weeding and lawn mowing, the list goes on! As a result, I will not have a formal post this week. However! I will have TWO postings next week: one on garden fashion for fall (thanks for the request, Kevin!), and another on either top garden magazines or what to plant for fall (Crystal is dieing to know what to do with her weedy garden patch before frost).

Until then, plant on and rock on,

Song for the Garden: Hurry Up and Wait - Stereophonics

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Give Me My Plantkinz!

Through conversations with friends and old residents during House Dinners, I have learned that a number of my friends don't have plants because they claim to have black thumbs. Just last week my friend and cafe supervisor Heidi mentioned she feels she lacks knowledge about growing "real" plants and is a much better "virtual farmer" with Facebook's Farm Town application. Well Heidi, growing real plants just got a thousand times easier with MyViolet.com!

MyViolet.com (created by the global African Violet grower Optimara) is like Webkinz for plants. Like Webkinz, MyViolet plants come with their own online authorization code when purchased at big box stores as well as a number of local garden centers. Once you have created your online account, you can register your plant by giving it a name, selecting its variety (the Stephanie is a personal fave), and uploading a personal photo of your new pet plant. Dr. Optimara is by your side every step of the way, giving you health tips and assisting you with regularly updating your violet's "health chart." Although you don't get MyViolet points or cash to update your plant's "room" or "dinner menu" as with Webkinz, I think it's pretty cool that you can share the growth and progress of your violet with other budding plant lovers on the MyViolet blog. It's quite possibly the next best way for "plant" people to interact together online next to Farm Town - and hey! you're growing a real plant!

Although some people may claim African Violets are "grandma plants" or old fashioned (I personally have always associated violets with my grandfather's kitchen), Optimara is clearly bringing the plant into the 21st century with this website. Not only is the company making violets "cool again" through the use of online technology, it is also making it easier for new generations to keep house plants through online education and social interaction. MyViolet.com takes away the stress and worry of killing a plant, and in my book less stress is always a good thing. So for everyone out there who is a little afraid about killing their house plant, fear not! MyViolet.com is there to help you learn, grow, and become a better gardener.

Plant on and rock on,

Song for the Garden: Technologic - Daft Punk

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blame it on the System

A week ago I had a short conversation with a NYS apple grower at a cocktail party. He is a relative of a friend of mine and as a member of the Silent Generation he has a wealth of knowledge and experience in agriculture. As I explained my masters thesis project and outlook on agriculture – that organic AND conventional farming have both benefits and drawbacks, and to farm efficiently and environmentally agriculture should take the best practices from both systems to create a more “holistic" one– the grower expressed his disdain for organic certification. He claimed that the certification and process of organic farming under the current definitions and regulations is flawed and has a number of practices that can have notably detrimental effects on the environment. Some organic pesticides are known to be toxic to fish, a problem for local watersheds if runoff occurs during large rainstorms or spring snow thaw. Others such as Pyrethrum are toxic to beneficial insects. However, organic farming promotes practices such as no till and the use of cover crops to control for weeds and build soil health.

My relatives have a beef cattle farm in southern New Hampshire, and even though it’s not certified, the farm has been “organically” operated for nearly 100 years. The angus beef cattle are all free range and grass fed year-round. My uncles have decided not to go through the organic certification because of their age (one is in his 70s, the other in his 80s). However, can one argue that the farm is NOT organic simply due to the lack of certification, even if the practices used day to day on the farm could be considered as “organic”?

In closing the heated discussion with the apple grower, he asked what my future brings after the thesis – a job in the floriculture industry. He laughed at my answer, and said “well until next time, while you’re having fun with your flowers, I’ll concentrate my time and efforts on what really matters – making food.”

Ok class, flowers versus food. Discuss.

Plant on and rock on,


Song for the Garden: Ramalama (bang bang) - Roisin Murphy (it's SYTYCD Finale time, people!)