Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Squirrel Antics

While I was in Portland last week, we visited the amazing International Rose Test Garden. They had a nice little snack stand, so I purchased some peanut M&Ms to hold me over until dinner. About that time, along comes the most obese squirrel I've ever seen!

Photo courtesy of Natural Gardening who was also at the conference.

He, of course, spotted my treat and lumbered over to see what he could coax out of of me. Now, I was raised not to feed the animals and especially squirrels (rabies, anyone?), so as he got closer and closer, I realized he wasn't going to stop. I had visions of squirrels at Historic Bok Tower (I'm going to add that this is also the highest point in Florida) where the squirrels are actually so aggressive that they jump on your leg. I also had a flashback to elementary school when a squirrel attacked my best friend and she had to get a rabies shot. So, of course, I'm backing up and weaving in and out of people to get away from him. He would get distracted for a few minutes, but ultimately would find me in the crowd and come my way. Someone finally fed him some crackers and he left me alone. Everyone then thought he was really cute and continued taking pictures of him. I wasn't going to get close enough to get a picture, so I had to borrow one. After we got on the bus, I actually had one old lady say to me "was that you the squirrel was chasing? That was so cute!" I didn't think it was cute. And, fat squirrels like this sure don't endear the species to me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Northwestern Nurseries

I love visiting nurseries, but being as plant illiterate as I am, it's really hard to do that anywhere. But, especially 3,000 miles out of your home range. Yesterday, we visited two fantastic nurseries here in the northwest. I followed my plant nerd friends around for most of the day so I knew what things were. Iseli Nursery is know for conifers and Japanese maples and Terra Nova Nursery specializes in plant tissue culture and actually some tropicals, too. Portland is actually in Zone 7b-8a, so it should be very similar in plant material to us, but it's not. They lack our humidity and fall comes much earlier and stays cooler much more consistently. I did take some pictures of my own yesterday with Kim's point and shoot which was nice of her. We attended a session yesterday on making magic with point and shoot digital cameras, so I was inspired to try. I'm not sure I really have a photographer's eye, but maybe practice will help.

This is a Picea abies - which to me just means a conifer we can't grow. But, I thought the cones were pretty.

More conifers

I liked the contrast of this one between the brown and green. The texture in the tree bark is also cool.

Iseli Nursery

Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers. We can grow them, but they take more care than I usually give. Mine keep petering out from lack of water.


This is a new Coreopsis. I love coreopsis. Not only are they Florida's state wildflower, but they do awesome in my yard.


Echinacea is one that I would like to try in my yard. We saw many new beatiful cultivars and I actually caught one with a friend in it.

Echinacea & Bee

I'll finish this post with a very gatorish canna.


Today, we visit the Portland Rose Garden (it's supposed to be the best in the world), the Portland Chinese Garden, and the Portland Japanese Garden. We finish the day up at the Portland Zoo for an awards ceremony. Gardening in a Minute is up for a gold award for on-air talent. It should be a great day.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Gardens, Books, and More, Oh My!

I'm here in Portland, Oregon attending the 60th annual Garden Writers Symposium. I love that my job lets me do things like this. It's an awesome conference with great people. One of my favorite parts of the conference is the garden tours. Yesterday afternoon, we spent touring private gardens and a retail nursery. While I didn't get to see as many as I would have liked. (Kim took all of these pictures. She's in charge of the camera while we're here since she's the better photographer.)

My favorite private garden was Bloomtown. It was a great little house that was jam packed with different garden settings. She'd also turned her driveway into a kitchen garden with raised beds. It was really cool.

Kitchen garden at Bloomtown garden in Portland

This garden gate was an old window door. I fell in love with it and made Kim take a picture of it.

Unique recycled garden gate

My other favorite stop was Garden Fever. It's an urban specialty retail garden center and it was so cool! It had a great gift shop area and the nursery plants were displayed really nicely. It's right in the middle of a neighborhood. I wish we had something similar in Florida. Kim took a picture of me in the garden center. Obviously, I was cold.
Emily in the plant center

Last night, we did a little exploring of Portland. We ate at a local Brewery, hit REI, and then stopped at Powell's bookstore which Portland is famous for. One thing that really impresses me about Portland is there public transportation. It's amazing how well it runs. Luckily, Kim and Erin kept track of where we were at because I was really tired and I can't read maps. I hope to post more pictures later today or tomorrow morning, so be on the lookout.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Second Week of TV Shooting

We spent our second week filming for our upcoming TV show. I couldn't be there all week, so I didn't get too many pictures. It's been crazy at work lately and my blogging is suffering for it.

There is a great rose trial garden at the Plant City Campus. I really liked this rose. Sydney Park Brown did a segment on low maintenance roses. I have a knock out in my yard, but I love these old Florida varieties.

Here's our American Gothic Gardeners - Walter Reeves, our show host, and Sydney Park Brown, our consumer horticulture specialist. I love this picture of them.