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Garden Design Tips- Growing Well Newsletter

Spring is popping out all over. Welllll!!!!

The Good Earth Farm and Garden Center is going to pop out as well!

Join us for our Grand Opening on Saturday, April 15, 8:30 – 4:00 and Sunday 8:30 – 12:30. We’ll have specials on all kinds of the supplies you’ll need for Newsletter your gardens, lawns, pets, chickens, goats and other farm animals. We’re all in on healthy soils, plants, animals and people and think everyone else should be grooving that as well!

Look at this list of activities (and I think the flower arranging might be the best of the fun...) •Live music performed by the Grey Whisker Pickers (Saturday afternoon) •Local crafters of all kinds -honey, soap, greeting cards, catnip toys and more •A visit from the local chapter of the House Rabbit Network – with rabbits! •Tool sharpening by our Felco tool rep (bring your garden clippers) •Farm animal diet consults by our Poulin Grain rep (bring your questions) •Floral arrangement classes by the same genius who gave us such a great class at Christmas (registration required)

•A curated native perennial plant selection (check here to see the list) to support local pollinators and other beneficial insects.

And SOOOOOO much more! It’s a happening and we hope to see you!!! We’ll also have pansies, perennials, trees, shrubs, summer bulbs, potato and onion sets, soil amendments and fertilizers to help bring spring to your landscape. We’re looking forward to showing you how all of the changes have turned out.

Grand Opening Floral Arrangements 4/15/23 – Spring Bouquets 10:00-11:30am and 1:00-2:30pm ($60 includes flowers, supplies and a jolly good time!) We’re delighted that Keyth is returning to do spring flower arrangement classes (sim- ilar to the holiday one but with an array of spring flower stems – beautiful color!!). He’ll show all of us how to create beautiful arrangements from this season’s cut flow- ers. This will set you up to do your own arrangements when local cut flowers become available. Registration is required (hard limit of 10 per class) – please call the store at 978-632-0991 to reserve your spot.

And our workshops continue after the Grand Opening as well – here’s what’s coming up and - be sure to register to hold your place!

April 22: 1:00-2:30 Homestead Brambles and Berries program with starter plants ($15 plus the cost of the plants) Berries of all kinds are essential to a healthy diet. We’ve all heard that news – but what aboutgrowing them? There are some specific needs to meet for many kinds of berries...blue, straw, rasp and black, lignon and cranberries. Come and meet the plants and learn what they need to thrive. These are starter plants so smaller and more cost effective than their larger nursery stock relatives (and better tasting varieties at that!!) April 29: 10:00- 11:30 and 1:00-2:30 Bare Root Fruit Tree Program ($15 plus the cost of the tree[s]) Bare-root trees experience less shock after planting and develop a stronger root system over all. Come learn about how to plant them so they experience as little shock as possible. Trees are shipped dormant and it’s best to plant them as early in the season as possible. Order your Apples and Peaches ahead of time (find the list here to reserve your favorite variety or pick out what you want at the workshop). Limit 10 per session May 6: 10:00- 11:30 Mineral Mixing Day ($15 plus cost of mix). New England soils are very old and damaged soils – but you can change that!!! Learn how to mix a complex stone dust mix that gets added to all kinds of soil to bring your soil back to life. You will actually mix the mix yourself and take it home for your garden(s). Ask all kinds of questions too!! Space limited so reserve early. Cost of mix (weighed out individually at the end of the workshop) to be determined by current delivered prices. Limit 10 per session

You noticed that we have a list of perennials available for the Grand Opening (click here)... so we thought it might be time for some basic garden design thoughts. We know everyone is heading outside with plans for the coming season...here are a few tips to think about as you make your plans – nothing in depth – don’t panic!!!! We’re starting with a couple of questions that I wish more people would think through before a project gets started rather than in the middle of a project!

These questions sound very basic. That’s why they’re so often overlooked. If you take the time to answer them though, you’re less likely to be disappointed in the resulting garden.

What are your resources for creating the garden – in both time and money? Time and money can be interchangeable. More time equals less money and vice versa. It’s better for everyone if there is some thought to this before getting involved in a large project.

What are your real reasons for wanting a garden? The answers can range from cut flowers, bird, butterfly and wildlife habitat, keeping up with the Joneses, increasing property values, key line of sight entertainment from the kitchen sink or food production. Whatever answer is your answer becomes the starting point for all of the decisions that you’ll be making. With those basic questions out of the way, it’s time to look at the design/decision process it- self.


Buying and planting in terms of the odd numbers 1,3,5 and 7. Odd numbers make it hard- er for your two eyes to slide between plants and not notice them. The critical numbers are 3 and 5 – both for the ease of design and the strain on the pocketbook. Here’s how this plays out...

Single plants (1’s) are for dramatic accent and should be used with some restraint. Too many singles creates a “dot to dot” feeling and doesn’t give the eye any chance to land and rest. That’s why this kind of garden looks “busy” but not necessarily a place you want to hang out in for long.

Groups of 3 and/or 5 plants should be the foundation of all but the smallest garden. This provides the visual weight that is often lacking in gardens that develop from those trips to the garden center! Depending on the size of your garden, select at least three (and most likely more) varieties of plants that you like and get more of them. Use diamond and trian- gle configurations for planting so that the plants create a visual mass. Plant groups of 7 add real visual weight and should be used almost as carefully as the sin- gle plant. The major exception to this is the large garden where groups of 5 and/or 7 are the key to moving the eye along through a much greater distance.

Next - look at the kind of flower that the plant has. Flowers can be generally described as “spikes” – think Delphinium and Lupines, “flats” – think the whole daisy clan, and “cups” or “irregulars” – think tulips and peonies. The best gardens use a combination of flower types that bloom at the same time. This adds appeal for both the human mind/eye and the animals who share the garden. The classic combination is the delphinium – daisy - peony early to mid-June display that is seen in so many garden pictures. The list of native plants has all of these flower structures but not at the same time!! This is where your creativity and personal taste comes in as you fill in the gaps...

And finally - Look at the texture of the green part of the plant. In the above classic combination, there is a complete blending of leaf textures. Peonies have stately, large, glossy, smooth edges leaves. Delphinium have grey green mid-sized leaves with toothed edges and the leaves rise up the stem. Daisies have smaller, glossy simple leaves with a subtle serrated edge. These leaves create a visual tension that exists even when these plants are not in bloom. There is still interest in that section of the gar- den. Obviously, all plants have leaves and they should be factored into the design. Some plants (hosta, ferns and various groundcovers) are selected primarily for their leaves. Leaf texture is even more critical if flowering will be limited for any reason.


There you have it, This newsletter of Garden Design Tips!

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