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E-Garden Almanac: June 2007

E-Garden Almanac

The E-Garden Almanac is the push-button, real human journal of Kelly D. Norris. All errors, grammatic grievances, and opinions are that of the author. Kelly is a freelance writer and Master Gardener from southwest Iowa. His passion and obsession with horticulture, plants, and gardening embodies nearly every function of his life. The E-Garden Almanac serves as the web extension of his columns, articles, and lectures.
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Sunday, June 24, 2007

I win, I win!

For Immediate Release
Contact: Jennifer Gillette

Kelly D. Norris Receives 2007 Silver Award of Achievement

Washington, DC – June 11, 2007 – Kelly D. Norris received the Garden Writers Association Silver Award of Achievement for Magazine Writing.

This national award recognizes individuals and companies who achieve the highest levels of talent and professionalism in garden communications.

Norris received the Silver Award of Achievement for his article entitled The English Influence: Jekyll & Robinson, Part I. The piece was published in the fall 2006 issue of The Heirloom Gardener.

“This is the benchmark for excellence in horticultural communications,” says Steve Dobbs, president of GWA. “These recipients are the cream of the crop. When they write or talk about gardening, people listen.”

Kelly Norris is a Hixson, Shinoda, and Perennial Plant Association Scholar at Iowa State University where he majors in horticulture. He is heavily involved in many horticultural organizations and horticultural communications at the national, regional, and local levels.
Since the early 1980s, the GWA Media Awards program has recognized outstanding writing, photography, graphic design and illustration for books newspaper stories, magazine articles and other works focused on gardening. GWA is an international organization of more than 1,900 professional communicators in the lawn and garden industry.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Future posts

I love posting to my blog but haven't had the time to share with you my thoughts and feelings about horticulture this spring. But, I've still been writing. Here are a few of the topics you can expect to see this summer here at the E-Garden Almanac:

1. Kelly's Iris Picks of 2007
2. Plant profile: Tradescantia 'Dazzler'
3. Plant profile: Trollius ledebourii
4. The Black Sedums
5. Asiatic Lilies and the Pleasures of the Summer Garden
6. Tool Time (in the garden)

I've got a couple of speaking engagements this summer and you can bet that a post will follow. Watch for recap posts from:
June 27 lecture to Clay County Garden Club
August 5-6 lecture at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds Summer Garden Show

Stay tuned!

What a Spring It Has Been

Indeed! My absence from posting is perhaps evident of exactly what kind of spring it has been. Flooding rains and teasing warm temperatures in March followed by a bitter cold spell in April spelled disaster for my Iowa garden. Our nursery, Rainbow Iris Farm also took a hit and we lost many irises this spring as well as the traffic of people who come to enjoy them.

The spring of 2007 certainly won't go down with fond memories but the lessons it has taught us about gardening in an ever turbulent world should prove to be invaluable. We live in a world that is in a constant state of environmental flux. "Green" and "eco-friendly" are two of a gamut of hot button words that we hear on a daily basis. But how do these practices relate to gardening? How can you be more "green" in your backyard?

These are questions that I explore on a daily basis. I often struggle with the answers (which are often in the form of more questions) and continue to evaluate and change those practices that are not in accordance to this style of thinking. I already avoid the use of herbicides and chemical fertilizers when possible (but I'm certainly not against it if the situation warrants it). I allow many things to go to seed to provide a food source for wintering birds and am increasing the number of shrubs that I'm installing in my yard for additional shelter.

I could show improvement though in how we mow our lawn. We still use a heavy-duty, large scale lawn mower to get the job done mainly because of the size of our property. We use an outdated, gas and oil guzzling push mower for trimming jobs that itself melts half an ice cap each time we fire it up. We burn more than we compost. Our daily trash gets bagged and thrown into a burn barrel in the backyard.

The struggle for most is the realization that a near drastic call to change is necessary if you're committed to doing your part to preserve the quality of life on our planet. Critical evaluation of our current life practices (in and out of the garden) is necessary if we have any hope of moving towards a more environmentally secure world. Don't back away from the computer with the idea that I'm preaching doom and gloom. The planet will still be here and most likely the human race will be here for a long time. But the world we live in is going to change and we're going to have to adapt. We've changed the earth and it's responding.

It's been one hell of a spring here in Iowa. But I have an uneasy assurance that we've got more where that came from.