October 30, 2011

The Windowbox and Southern Living

Ralph Anderson, senior photographer, SOUTHERN LIVING; me; Micah Leon, photographer NEWSCHANNEL4; noticeably absent: Gene Bussell (aka, 'Bubba') , Garden Editor,  SOUTHERN LIVING

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have your home or garden photographed for a major publication?  Do you imagine it wrought with anxiety over weather conditions...the exasperation of dealing with temperamental arTISTE-y stylists and photographers...poor syncopation of bloom...not living up to editorial expectations...discord over presentation, and, most disturbingly (if you're in the photo), a really bad hair day?  

Well, if you did, you would be so.......WRONGGGGGGG! (Except, of course, for the stress over having a bad hair day).

Now I can't speak for most shelter magazines, but I can attest (after four shoots with them) that working with SOUTHERN LIVING is an absolute joy.  I would even go so far as to say that I have become good friends with them (Bubba, Ralph, RR.....ummmmm, am I speaking out of turn? :) An expression of southern warmth, I might add, unique to SL and their staff.....and not unfrought with risk... as it is hard to tell a friend that their gorgeous photo shoot might not make it to print...SIGH...)

But I digress.  Bubba, SL's Garden Editor (not unlike a vampire), absolutely refuses to have his image recorded under any circumstances, so no pic of him on this blog....anywhere.  Despite this character flaw, Bubba is an amazing gardener and creative photo stylist with a memory for all things horticultural that is quite intimidating actually (sorry, Bubba).   He is also a great shoulder to cry on when Oklahoma weather drives me to drink or I have run out of good reading material.  Or I'm just antsy and need someone to bug about nothing in particular.

Ralph, oozing Southern charm with a suave, slow drawl to match, has unwittingly taught me quite a bit about photography.  He can make any weather condition and light quality work.  Not just work........sing.  Scale any rickety ladder, muck through any poor-draining flower bed, he will, to get that perfect shot.  My potager isn't exactly NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, but still...

Anyhoo, the whole experience is fun, not at all stressful, very educational for me, and bad-hair-anxiety notwithstanding, a rollicking good time.  Especially since, when all of the shots are in the can, and the hair-gods have spoken (fair or ill), we celebrate at my house with lots of good food (this year:  brisket, arugula salad, squash casserole, wild rice and chocolate cake....oh, and copious amounts of red wine...),  and recap the wisdom imparted, artistic genius expressed, and disasters averted during the shoot.

Don't believe me?  Then watch NewsChannel 4 at 4:30 on Tuesday afternoon.  Linda Cavanaugh wanted to see for herself, so she interviewed Ralph and Imeabout the photo shoot and why they like coming to Oklahoma City.  Oh, and about the window box; the reason they came, after all.  I'll show you some tease pictures tomorrow, with a compositional how-to on 4 Your Garden at 4:30 on NewsChannel 4 this Wednesday.

Of course, if you want to see the entire story and images...well, you'll just have to get a subscription to SOUTHERN LIVING now, won't you?  It never hurts to plant a little plug for good friends, you know?  :)

October 13, 2011

News Channel 4 Segment: Vertical Gardening

Got a minute?  Then join me and Linda Cavanaugh on News Channel 4 this afternoon at 4:30 to discuss vertical gardening.

With this beautiful weather, things are looking up, don't you agree?

October 12, 2011

How Do I? Overseed my Lawn

Rain, glorious rain. 

Saturating, steady, soporific, seed-germinating, sigh with contentment (and relief), kind of rain.  Blessed, life-giving rain. The kind we finally had this weekend. 

So, quite obviously, I am feeling better about the weather.  Better and quite smug, I might add (do forgive  my arrogance), because about three weeks ago, I over seeded my lawn and now it's well, almost lush! (A concept I had, quite frankly, forgotten.)

Over seeding is an annual ritual I greatly look forward to, as its timing is the clarion call to finally banish the dead and tired ol' lawn and replace it with  succulent green sprouts of newly sown grass. Usually for me, this occurs mid-September, though you still have plenty time to get yours done.

I over seeded the bermuda area of turf with a perennial rye (DON"T use an annual rye...you will regret it!)  This year I used 'Pizzazz', but most any variety would work. The fescue areas, thinned out from high traffic and the heat and drought, got an application of a fescue seed...this year I think I used 'Millenium', but there are many blends and varieties from which to choose.

My tiny urban lawn is a weekend kind of project.  More like a long morning or afternoon.  If you want to try it for yourself this year, here's the how-to:

1.  Scalp the turf.

Don't do it all at once though, you'll clog your mower.  Take it down in stages.

AND SAVE THOSE CLIPPINGS!  You will use those later.  I find my recycling bin works just fine as a way station until I am ready to use them.

2.  Apply the seed.

Use a drop spreader (vs. a rotary spreader) for this, unless you want lots of grass germinating in your flower beds.  If you must use a rotary spreader (even a small hand-held version can work for a small area), don't get anywhere near the border of the lawn.  Sprinkle grass in this area by  hand, if need be.

I adjust the application rate based on the condition of the turf, but you will find guidelines on the bag of seed itself.

3.  Cover the seed.  

For a couple of reasons: to keep the seed moist and protect it from drying wind and sun, and...hide it from the birds who find bare seed easy pickins'.  It will germinate far more quickly if top-dressed with those saved clippings or peat moss.  I usually just spread the clippings by hand, though I have also used a perforated mesh baler on occasion.

4.  Be patient

Keep the lawn moist.  Water lightly and frequently (vs. deeply and infrequently after your turf is established).  Obviously, having a sprinkler system is quite an advantage at this stage.

Given the right conditions of warm, still days, and cool nights...and the occasional gentle rain, your seed will start to germinate in a 
week or so (I have had some seed germinate in as little as four days.)

Try not to mow until the seed is about three inches long, but DO keep leaves off the tender blades.  You don't want to suffocate the little darlings.

Fertilize with Milorganite (I talk about it in a previous post here simultaneously, or later, and pat yourself on the back for a job well done!

I assure you, your lush emerald turf will be appreciated by neighbors and visitors of any persuasion.