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  Hi everyone!  My name is Diana Hartman.  I'm a mom, a business owner and a woman with many passions and interests!  Among those is gardening and landscaping, specifically in a fun and creative style.  I am currently learning all I can in regards to edible landscaping and my edible front yard landscape is one of my favorite projects.  I have so much still to learn and would love to start a community where we can discuss ideas, experiments (what has worked for you and for me and what we can try in a different way), sustainable techniques, art in the garden or landscape, use of different materials and ideas, involving children in our gardening and whatever else may spark our interest.  Please join me in learning from each other and sharing fun and creative ideas!  Please leave comments!


My daughter enjoying our edible front yard last summer.  We planted Sunflowers, Tomatoes, Basil, Corn, Lettuce, Garlic, Lavender, Carrots, Marigolds, Broccoli, Peas, Beans and Onions in these beds.  Edibles and Ornamentals combined make a beautiful front yard garden.

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Furry Pals and Green Landscapes...They CAN Peacefully Coexist!

Posted by Diana Hartman on May 1, 2014 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Ahhhh...I think Spring has finally arrived!  The sunshine is warm and the rain smells clean.  We have begun to venture out into our yards again.  The grass is turning green and flowers are starting to poke up through the soil.  Hmmm...what's this?  My dogs have dug a hole in the lawn?!  A yellow spot invades the expanse of green lawn?!  Muddy trails travel along the perimeters of the fence and head onto my deck?!?  Our two canines are an integral part of our family, but they do wreak havoc on our landscape.  Luckily, I have some tips for creating a more "dog proof" landscape so your dogs and plants can peacefully co-exist!

Before I share, I would like to thank everyone for the positive feedback I received regarding my last post "The Digital Detox."  It seems there are many out there that join me in the struggle to balance technology and appreciate the challenge of working towards that balance for ourselves and the future of our children.  Thanks for your response!

We did take the challenge ourselves and find a way to reconnect on Earth Day and for a few months this spring.  EverGreen is taking part in teaching a unit at Longfellow Elementary using the Farm to Schools curriculum.  This curriculum strives to increase the knowledge that local school children have about where their food comes from, the importance of local agriculture, and healthy food choices.  It is very exciting and rewarding as students plant, grow veggies and get a chance to prepare those veggies as a meal, as well as, complete many other fun projects and travel to local farms!  Take a minute to check out this great program at www.gvfarmtoschool.org.

And now, we get back to maintaining a peaceful co-existence between our furry pals and green landscapes!  I would like to begin by stating that I wouldn't give up my two dogs for anything.  They are wonderful pals, protectors, play mates for our children and motivators to remain active and running on our dog-friendly trails!  However, I am taking a new look at our backyard in order to make it enjoyable for them and aesthetically pleasing for the human residents of our home.  Check out the tips I have listed below.


  • Know your dogs!  Recognize their traits.  Different dogs create different challenges.  Some breeds and personalities are more likely than others to dig.  Some breeds prefer to look for escape or bark or forage for food when they are bored.  Certain breeds will not stay out of a water feature or pond.  Keep these traits in mind as you plan your landscape or how to modify your landscape.  I can tell you from experience that a waterfall and pond will not work well with a border collie!

  • Is your dog a digger?  Recently, one of our Weimaraners passed away and my daughter fell in a love with a short-haired border collie puppy, a McNab.  I'm pretty sure I've got a digger on my hands.  There are several things you can try to deter digging.  First, figure out why he's digging.  Is he bored, hot, etc.?  If he's hot, try to provide him with shady areas and lots of water.  I have also provided a couple of areas that he is allowed to dig himself a bed, one under a hedge and another under an apple tree.  To deter him from digging in certain areas, try mulch or landscape rock in that area.

  • Are there muddy paths that have been worn through your lawn where the dogs continuously use the same route?  Take these traffic patterns into account when landscaping your outdoor space.  Plan and direct traffic by using obstacles and barriers.  Think about creating hardscape paths along the areas where you cannot change the traffic pattern.  There is usually a muddy bare spot at the entrance to the yard.  Maybe lay a small rock or paver patio or path in this spot.  Another common area for a worn path to be created is along the perimeter of the yard.  Dogs like to travel the perimeter and keep an eye on their space.  Break up the perimeter with beds, potted plants, statues, benches, etc.  I am going to install metal corrugated troughs in various spots along the back perimeter of our yard in order to break up that path.  These are great to use for planting small gardens and especially plants that you want to prevent from spreading too far.  I am thinking raspberries specifically will provide us with fruit, privacy and the thorns will discourage dogs.

  • Choose plants with your canine pals in mind!  Choose strong, hardy plants, such as native and drought tolerant varieties or those from the evergreen family.  Thorny plants, such as raspberries and roses, will discourage the pets.    "Deer resistant" varieties are often good choices as well.  Please do check that all chosen plants are safe for your dogs before planting!  Here is a link to refer to:  www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants

  • Not sure how to keep those brown urine spots at bay?  Well, there are a few things you can try.  My mom had the patience to teach her dogs to use the bathroom in a designated area of her yard.  It can be done!  This makes clean up easier and saves the rest of your lawn.  I've seen some use a cute little fire hydrant to mark the designated area.  Watering your lawn extensively is another option which may work.  This dilutes the urine and toxicity of it.  One more option that I have recently found is to use a product called "Spot Gone!"  You can find it online for around $15 a bag and you sprinkle the product on the spot and after a while it disappears.  I have not tried this product and have heard great reviews from some and mixed reviews from others.  Might be worth a try!


  • Two of my passions are my edible gardening and my dogs...they can be tough to combine!  If you have been reading my blog for long, you will know that I have chosen to do my gardening in my front yard as Edible Landscaping.  I prefer this solution for many reasons.  You create a beautiful space that also produces a bountiful harvest!  I have expanded my front beds to the point that I am regretfully not able to partake in our usual purchase of a CSA through Gallatin Valley Botanical this year.  We produce enough vegetables to feed a vegetable loving family of four, as well as, spend time out in our front yard visiting with neighbors and watching the kids play with friends on their bikes and scooters.  This leaves the dogs plenty of space in the backyard that is not fenced off or otherwise used by our vegetable gardens.  If you prefer edible gardening in the backyard, there are some options.  The most effective is to fence off the area.  Other options are to try elevated beds, netting or bitter apple sprays to discourage your dogs from partaking of your fresh veggies or smashing your little sprouts.  I must tell you that in my experience the bitter apple sprays are not effective, but they're on the market so maybe they are for some.  I purchased a bottle of the spray to discourage my Weimaraner from chewing and he chewed up the bottle of spray!  Go figure! 

  • A healthy, hardy lawn is a tough lawn!  Be sure to fertilize, aerate and water well!  A well cared for lawn is much hardier and able to handle the stresses of dogs.  If you don't already have underground sprinklers, I recommend a system as they are a great investment in your lawn and will reduce your water bill immensely, especially if you choose to install a smart system or addition to your controller at little extra expense.  A hardy lawn will be more resistant to wear and tear.

  • Exercise your furry friends!  If your dogs are bored, they are much more likely to be destructive!  I can personally vouch for this!  I have been unable to run lately due to sickness and my dogs have been restless and troublesome.  I can't wait to be well and out on the trails with them again!  It is as good for us as it is for them!

So, don't give up!  You and your dogs can have the landscape of your dreams!  Work together using the tips above and you will have a beautiful landscape that you can share!  Feel free to contact EverGreen or reply to my blog if you have further comments, questions or would like help incorporating these tips into your landscape!

Websites referred to for this article:  http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/9006114/list/6-Ways-to-Help-Your-Dog-and-Landscape-Play-Nicely-Together, http://blog.petsolutions.com/dog-pet-care-corner/2011/4/22/ideas-for-dog-proofing-your-landscaping.html, http://www.diynetwork.com/outdoors/landscaping-for-dog-owners/index.html


Disconnect to Reconnect: A Challenge Presented

Posted by Diana Hartman on March 26, 2014 at 5:30 PM Comments comments (1)

I took a little break from writing over the winter and I am excited to begin again.  I have so many ideas to write about...maintaining a landscape with dogs...building a Man Space in your yard, and so much more!  However, I have chosen to start the season with a quick note regarding "The Digital Detox."  How many of you have heard this new term?  It's fairly new lingo, but a very essential part of our current lifestyles.

"We all need to make time to Digital Detox, disconnect to reconnect, and remember what it means to simply be human."

So...I finally purchased a smart phone last fall...and I ABSOLUTELY love it!  It is my daily organizer, my phone, my GPS, my music, my computer, everything in one little handheld device.  Do I struggle to balance my time with my phone and real life?  Doesn't everyone?  There are so many positives to the new technology.  Greater efficiency can definitely give us more time for our friends and family, but we have to be careful not to lose the human touch.  Picture this...you sit down to dinner with family or friends and each has his or her phone at the table.  You are all texting others.  Connecting, right?  Hmmm...what are we missing?  I took some time to do a little studying regarding the idea of "The Digital Detox" and what the benefits might be, because let's face it:  we don't always have the healthiest relationship with technology.  From endlessly scanning social media sites to incessantly checking emails, this digital obsession wreaks havoc on our minds and bodies.  Headaches are a definite symptom, as well as poor sleep quality.  Let me share a few interesting tidbits I found, then take me up on my challenge.

Living in the now.  Maite Baron, the founder of the Corporate Escape, a company that helps score of corporate executives negotiate the transition into lower-pressure lifestyles, states, "I teach them how to be in the present.  Stress and anxiety happen when you're managing the future."  That made me think.  Constantly checking email?  Constantly checking your calendar?  Limit your use so that It helps you, but does not control you.  Definitely something I could work on.

FOMO.  Have you heard this one yet?  More new lingo..."fear of missing out."  Our society is addicted to Facebook, Twitter, and all social media.  I receive complaints from friends, family, everyone that I refuse to join Facebook.  I know many stay connected, but we have to choose where and how to spend our time.  I'm not saying Facebook is a bad way to spend your time, just make sure your time is spent with those who are with you as well.  It can become a distraction.  It turns out that spending so much time on social media isn't helping our mental health either.  A recent study published by the Public Library of Science found that the more time a person spends on Facebook, the more dissatisfied they ultimately feel with their  own life.

Uninterrupted time.  How often can we complete a task or a conversation without interruption?  Even as I write this, I am being interrupted by constant text messages, phone calls, etc.  I want to stay connected, but maybe I should put that phone away for an hour.  How can we fully realize our thoughts, fully develop them if we don't have the uninterrupted time that it requires?  Particularly in the arts, creative engagement requires solitude to develop fully.

Google "Digital Detox" and see what jumps out at you!  Yes, I get the irony.  :P

So...what can we do?

There are several options from not permitting devices at mealtimes to turning screens off after 9pm to installing apps on our phones that restrict calls at chosen times.  The key is daily moderation and balance.  Technology is wonderful so let's take a step back, press pause and give ourselves the opportunity to create healthy relationships with technology.  It will determine the future of humanity.  Developing positive habits now, setting good examples for our children and filling our days with more meaningful social interactions will guide future generations toward healthier lives.

Just think about it and challenge yourself!  Disconnect to Reconnect.

I challenge to you to pick Earth Day.  A great day to put down our screens and reconnect with people and the earth!  Challenge accepted.  I will share next blog how we, as a company, chose to reconnect on Earth Day.  I would love to hear your stories regarding how you accepted the challenge too.


"The 7-Day Digital diet:  A Digital Detox Text:  Unplug Twitter and Facebook.  Put Off Email and Smartphone.  The New York Times, Feb. 7, 2014, by Teddy Wayne

"A Digital Detox Can Change Your Life.  Here's What To Know Before You Do It." The Huffington Post, March 7, 2014, by Alena Hall


Our Autumn Wonderland: Harvest the Gifts of Fall

Posted by Diana Hartman on October 1, 2013 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

I have struggled a little with what to write about this month...summer is coming to an end and with it gardening, camping, summer weekend trips, farmer's market and more begins to slow down.  Yet, I'm okay with this and almost ready to grasp on to this peaceful time of rest and reflection.


All summer I enjoy long days and endless time outdoors, yet fall arrives and I feel grateful to enjoy the cozy breezes, earlier nights and short walks/runs in which we relish the natural changes in our environment.  Slow down and notice the leaves turning, the critters preparing for a cold winter ahead.  Fall is one of my favorite seasons and that is what I would like to share this month.  Take some time to enjoy the subtle gifts fall has to offer and breathe in the autumn air.


Reflection is key in making the changes we need to make in order to improve ourselves, our lives and everything within our lives, including our gardens and landscaping!  Take a look at your gardens and yard and decide what you enjoyed most, what worked well and what you would like to change next year.

 I am really happy with how well most of my gardens grew and have an abundance of veggies to share this year.  However, there is one bed that didn't produce so well.  I need to reconsider what will grow well in this bed that tends to get a little more shade than most of the others.  Maybe I will try beautiful and delicious Swiss Chard in this bed next year...hmmm.

Maybe you would like to have had a better place to entertain or a more secluded spot to take time out...what would you like to improve?


Enjoy the colors!  Be sure to get out for crisp fresh air...so invigorating!  Be sure to take in the fall colors...so brilliant!  Whether you head up into the Bridger Mountains, up Hyalite or stay on trails in town, be sure to get out...and take your camera!  Some of my favorites for taking in the colors are right in town on the Main Street to the Mountains trail system maintained by the GVLT.

Have you walked the Sourdough trail from Goldenstein to Fairway Drive?  This trail is 2 miles of absolute peace and beauty!  Very easy ability level, a creek following the trail and plenty of leaves changing color make this the perfect destination for a quick easy walk!  You feel out of town and yet you are within a couple minutes of home!  You can take fun fall photos along this trail also.


More ideas...here are a couple of great resources for trails in and around Bozeman!



Be sure to get out there and breathe in that clean air and soak up those fall colors!  Enjoy!


While you are out taking in the colors, I hope you are inspired to create.  Pick a few of those brilliant colored leaves and bring the beauty inside!  I love to craft with leaves from fall...you are able to enjoy the color outside for such a short time!  I have a few craft ideas I have found for you if you need a little inspiration.  Most are fairly simple and the kiddos can help too! 

My daughter and I have created several pressed leaf artworks which we have framed.  Simply press your carefully chosen leaf/leaves in a leaf press or between the pages of a phonebook until dried.  Leave them to dry for a week or two, then carefully remove the leaves and arrange in an interesting pattern on paper.  Secure with double-sided tape, matte and frame.  This can be a beautiful gift from a child and simple or complex depending on the child's or your idea.

The following ideas are on my list for this fall...


Leaf Relief...these are beautiful!  Find the how to at cassiestephens.blogspot.com/2012/03/leaf-relief.html

Set the mood with Leaf Covered Candles...check out at http://www.marthastewart.com/274571/leaf-crafts#/269676

Another idea for a Fall Leaf Candle or use as a vase with a fall leaf mason jar...check out at http://gingerbreadsnowflakes.com/node/102

How about creating a leaf print shopping bag...another great gift from a child or for yourself...  http://www.marthastewart.com/269708/leaf-print-tote-bag?center=0&gallery=274571&slide=269708

There are endless leaves, endless ideas and endless creations so be inspired and create!


Look ahead.

Get excited about what's to come!  Leaves falling, piled...children jumping!  Warm apple pie desserts!  Cozy soups filled with local veggies!  Holidays with family and friends!  Skiing and sledding!  My 3 year old son put on his winter hat and mittens and prepared his plow truck for snow today!  He's got the idea!  Love the four seasons!  ...and don't forget hot chocolate with or without the peppermint Schnapps!


A Truly Tasteful Landscape...Edible Gardening!

Posted by Diana Hartman on September 3, 2013 at 5:05 PM Comments comments (0)

I am excited to be writing about my favorite topic this month...Edible Landscaping, an easy, healthy, inexpensive and best of all, beautiful front yard landscape design!  When you think of a vegetable garden, do you think only of work and functional use of space?  Take a look at what I have to say and at a couple of the websites that I will list and I believe you will change your mind.  Do you feel you are unable to have a vegetable garden, because the dogs and children will not stay out of it?  That was how I previously felt.  I am now taking advantage of the space in my front yard where a combination of edibles and ornamentals come together to create a beautiful space which produces an abundant harvest of vegetables (so much so that I am currently learning how to can the produce), as well as good use of the space with minimal time commitment!  It's two for one...a landscape that's beautiful and you can eat it too!


The benefits of creating a truly tasteful landscape...


  • there is no other landscape design that will produce an array of your favorite herbs, vegetables and fruits

  • this landscape design will provide your children or grandchildren with a healthy, chemical-free yard to play in and learn from

  • show off your design style in your neighborhood with a beautiful and elegant food garden...you will soon see others checking out your yard, then planting gardens of their own!
  • and as quoted from Rosalind Creasy, "One of today's gardening buzzwords is 'sustainable.'  You'd be hard put to find a more sustainable landscape style than an organically grown edible garden."  Be sure to check out www.rosalindcreasy.com.

  • edible landscaping actually requires less work than a lawn and provides you with a product!

I started my edible gardens the summer after I moved into this home.  I simply put an ad on craigslist for "free plants, you dig" and had a quick response.  My beds were cleaned out for me except for a couple of plants I had decided to keep and build a design around.  I started small and combined some ornamentals with the vegetables and herbs.  Daylilies with Strawberries in one bed.  The Daylilies are low maintenance and seem to hide the berries from the birds very well.  The larger bed was planted with Lettuce under  the existing Aspen tree.  This worked well for the cool season crop plus made Lettuce easily accessible right outside my front door.  The rest of the large bed was planted with Sunflowers in the back, Tomatoes in the middle and a front row of Basil.  Garlic was planted alongside.  Not only are these all ingredients that I use, they provided a nice foundation planting against the house.  And was my daughter excited when the Sunflowers grew tall enough that they bloomed right outside her second story bedroom window!

Since the first year, I have torn out lawn and added beds each year!  The second year I added a bed with Carrots surrounding Cucumbers with Lavender and Marigolds.  Marigolds are a wonderful friend to edible plants as they deter pests.  I also added a bed with a trellis on which to grow Sugar Peas and Green Beans.  I surrounded the trellis with more Carrots, Broccoli, Sweet Onions and more Marigolds.  My children love to eat the peas fresh off the trellis!  This year, the third year, I added two more beds.  Each bed with a style of its own.  One bed contains a cucumber tower (Cucumbers are great plants to grow vertically) Asparagus and Yarrow in the upper terrace.  Yarrow is another ornamental that provides numerous benefits for your edibles with little care.  The lower terrace is planted with more Broccoli, Beets, a beautiful plant, and Bee Balm, another beneficial ornamental.  Bell Peppers line up in the metal pots attached to the front of the bed.  The other bed, a late addition, is my salsa bed containing beautiful Red Cabbage, Jalapenos and Cilantro.

You might think all of these vegetables would create a lot of work, but I enjoy spending an hour or so once every week with a glass of wine weeding out my beds.  There couldn't be a more relaxing and rewarding way to spend an evening after the little ones are off to bed.  This is really all the time required once the planting is done if you keep your beds sized manageably.  And from these few beds in my front yard, I receive enough organic vegetables to last our family of four through the summer and into the winter!


A few tips for starting your own edible landscape...


  • Keep it small...you can, and probably will expand as the years go by...gardening tends to be an addictive hobby!

  • Keep it simple, especially at first...plant a few things that grow easily like Lettuce, Peas and Basil.

  • Be sure to plant edibles that you like to eat!  Your purpose is to grow vegetables in a beautiful way, but also to grow vegetables to eat.

  • Take advantage of your space.  You will be surprised at what you can grown in a small space, especially if you experiment with vertical gardening!  I produced more than enough cucumbers to eat, can pickles and share with others from a 4 square foot plot!

  • Think beauty when you plant...the mix of colors of foliage and flowers, harvest times so you aren't left with large harvested holes in mid-August and be sure to mix in some beneficial ornamentals!

  • Have fun with the design!  Try a pizza or bruschetta garden with Basil, Tomatoes and Garlic!  Plant a salsa garden with Tomatoes, Peppers and Cilantro!  Maybe try a trellis garden as a privacy screen with Peas and Beans! 

  • A couple of don'ts for edible landscaping...don't just plant in rows and don't get discouraged!  if it doesn't work out that year, you can and should change it up next year anyway!

  • Relax, maintain and enjoy!

So tear up some of that lawn and grow some fantastic food!  Feel free to comment or email with your questions and opinions on this month's topic!  I would love to hear from you!


What Are The Benefits Of Native Landscaping And How Does It Look?

Posted by Diana Hartman on July 30, 2013 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Well, it's already the end of July...summer is flying by!  I hope everyone is enjoying the sunshine we have been having! 

I would like to start off this post by saying "Congratulations to Paul Larsen!" the winner of our Water Saver Rain Sensor Giveaway!  We'll have to catch up with him later and see how much it is saving him on his water bill!

Another way to save water...landscaping with native plants!  We will talk more about the array of benefits of native landscaping in a moment, but first I would like touch on our edible landscapes.  It has been delightful watching the progress in our gardens and on our tables!  Our plates have been filled with foods created from fresh veggies from the garden and our local organic CSA from Gallatin Valley Botanical.  The kids seem to prefer fresh peas from the pod and crunchy carrots with stems still attached!

Here are a couple picture of my daughter with fresh beets, broccoli and lettuce she picked from our beds!


I like to get a little more creative in the kitchen, although there is definitely something to the simplicity of eating a fresh veggie as is!  I would like to share a couple of my creations this spring with you.  Both are super quick and easy, so you can enjoy the outdoors rather than the kitchen this summer!

Zucchini & Kale Flatbread with Balsamic Chicken and Dijon

Marinate diced chicken in a balsamic vinaigrette (I highly recommend Maple Balsamic Vinaigrette by Sweet Loretta's Cookstove found at the local Farmer's Market or the Emerson Grill.)  Sautee chicken, zucchini, and kale in a little olive oil.  Spread a flatbread with dijon mustard, chicken, zucchini, kale and sprinkle with a small amount of asiago cheese.  Throw on the grill until cheese has melted and flatbread is warm and little crispy.  Yummy!

Another fave...

Roasted Beet, Asparagus & Goat Cheese Pesto Pizza

Slice beets thinly and chop asparagus to approximately 3" lengths.  Drizzle with olive oil and a tiny salt and pepper and roast in the oven or on the grill for about 15 minutes.  Stretch your favorite pizza dough (We usually pick up "on the Rise" dough from the grocery store.) and spread with pesto.  (A pesto made from garlic scapes or basil works well.)  Place roasted beets and asparagus on the pizza and sprinkle with goat cheese.  Grill or bake pizza until melted and crispy!

Both of these recipes have been adapted by sharing ideas with friends until we found the perfect flavors!  Please share your favorite recipes using summer garden veggies with us so we can post them next time for everyone to enjoy!  We will be discussing edible landscape benefits and ideas next month!

Native Landscaping...What Does This Phrase Bring To Mind When You Hear It?  What Are The Benefits of Native Landscaping and How Does It Look?

Do you desire a beautiful outdoor space that is naturally low maintenance and uses less water, less energy and less chemicals?  Go Native!


  • Native plants require less water and maintenance because they are native to the extreme environmental conditions that exist in the Rocky Mountains.
  • They thrive in our environmental conditions while naturally resisting the pest problems that exist here without introducing chemical pesticides.
  • Environmentally friendly can be easier, less costly and aesthetically pleasing year round!
  • Montana is home to an array of beautiful and majestic native plants, ranging from modern, striking ornamental grasses to romantic climbing columbines to the breathtaking native blanket flowers to several varieties of Willow trees.
  • Plants that are native to Montana are able to handle the droughts and freezes that are a part of the climate here.
  • Native wildflowers are primarily perennials or self-sowing biennials, so they take care of the next year's planting themselves...again resulting in less cost and less maintenance.

Interested in taking a look at some of the many pleasing options of native plants, flowers, trees and more that are available to us?  Check out the following websites:

Check out the database at a local native plant nursery's website:  www.westscapenursery.net  Their website has some great photographs of the native plants they grow.

Try the Native Plant Finder at http://www.enature.com/native_invasive/

I have a small bed that I planted with native plants a couple of years ago and it is the bed that I purely enjoy...almost no maintenance required!  This bed has convinced me that I should "go native" when I get the chance to landscape my backyard next year!  The following are pics from my bed and another I designed recently for a client.  I also saw a beautiful native bed in front of La Campaina behind Lone Mountain Gymnastics.  Be sure to take a look next time you are out that direction.


I hope everyone enjoyed this post and more importantly, learned something new about native landscaping!  I would love to hear what you found most interesting about native landscaping and about your favorite native species.  Please share any photos you have of your native landscape projects.

Also, please forward this blog on to anyone else that you think may enjoy.  They can easily subscribe as well!

See you next time when we talk about edible landscapes and be sure to share your favorite garden veggie recipes with me so I can post them for everyone else to enjoy!

Resource:  www.enature.com, www.mt.nrcs.usda.gov, www.westscapenursery.net


Summer Is Here and Our Gardens and Lawns Are Growing...and So Are Our Water Bills...Yikes!!!

Posted by Diana Hartman on June 28, 2013 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

I really appreciate the response from so many of you that I received from my last post!  I think we all agree how healthy it is for us to spend some time outdoors, whether it be relaxing, working, gardening or exercising.  I even received some articles regarding "horticulture therapy," a therapy exclusively designed to use the outdoors as a healing method for ailments from physical to psychological!  Wonderful!  The power of getting outdoors is stronger than most of us realize!

I had hoped to get another post up sooner, but there has been so much happening...one of the most exciting is the edibles sprouting through the soil!  Watching the looks of excitement, joy and astonishment as my two kiddos would search out each new sprout and watch how much it would grow each day!  I must admit that I get very excited also!  It is quite amazing to see the growth of a little plant that wasn't there before, sprout up with a promise of beauty and fresh veggies to come!  The kids have so many questions (my two year old is in the"why? stage") and are learning so much about healthy habits, the earth, its cycles and life itself.


As we look at our gardens and lawns sprouting and growing, we also see our water bills growing...yikes!  Don't worry!  I have some water saving tips for you.

·         How Much Water Does My Lawn Need? - Try to water about 1" to 2" evenly distributed depending on your soil.  This should only take about 15 minutes and you can check by placing measuring cups around your yard as you water.  The most consistent and efficient way to water is with underground irrigation.

·         Reduce Waste - The greatest waste of water comes from watering too much, too often.  Most of the water runs off and is never absorbed by the soil and lawn.  Instead of watering for one long time period.  Try watering for 15 minute increments with breaks in between.  This allows time for absorption and minimizes run off.

·         Get the Most From Your Water - Water between 5 a.m. and 10 a.m. This is when the sun is low, winds are calm and temperatures are cool. Midday watering tends to be less efficient because of water loss due to evaporation and windy conditions during the day. Watering in the evening isn’t a good idea either because leaves can remain wet overnight—an open invitation for fungus to grow. By watering in the morning, you give the leaves a chance to dry out during the day.

·         Water Only What Grows - Make sure you are not wasting water on your sidewalks, driveway, etc.

·         What About Drip? - When it comes to watering trees, flowerbeds, potted containers or other non-grassy areas, you can apply water directly to the roots with drip irrigation. This will reduce the amount of water wasted through evaporation and runoff and help keep weeds from growing.

·         Set and Forget...Not the Best Method - Once in awhile, take a look at your sprinklers and inspect for clogs and leaks which can damage both your landscape and your water bill!

·         Does Your Sprinkler System Run in the Rain? - This happens to be something that really bothers me...I'm out and about and see a sprinkler system running while nature is providing more than enough moisture. We try to watch our water usage, recycle and be mindful of our resources, yet we run our irrigation regardless of the weather. I'm not sure why. This is wasteful of our resources, money and damaging to our lawns. Is it because people are simply unaware of the smart technology that exists for our irrigation systems?  If so, I'd love to get the word out!  There are devices that monitor the weather for us and automatically talk to your sprinkler controller. You can install a shut-off device to many controllers that automatically detects rain or moisture. These devices are inexpensive and let you take advantage of nature’s free watering service!  I have spent some time checking out the WR2 Wireless Rain Sensor that is made by RainBird and have found excellent reviews regarding its dependability, compatibility (it is compatible with some Hunter controllers, as well as RainBird), ease of use, cost and battery life.  It can save you up to 35% on your water bill!

"I have had this sensor now for a full season and it has paid for itself with the savings in water." -Robert Foster

I am so excited about this product, and unable to install it myself as we don't yet have underground water...hoping in a month or two...that I am offering the first person in the Greater Gallatin Valley to respond to this post FREE INSTALLATION of the WRS Wireless Rain Sensor.

I hope these tips can help you save a little on your water bill, as well as, save some of our precious resource! 

So, I would love to hear how everyone's gardens are doing...any new design ideas, pest deterrent tricks, plants that are growing better or worse than in years past...please share!  My asparagus played a little game with me this year.  I waited and waited, maybe not so patiently, for my asparagus to sprout.  Everything else had poked up and after nearly a month, I gave up.  My asparagus wasn't going to make an appearance.  Well, with an edible front yard, I couldn't leave a bare patch, so I decided to make a bed that would provide what I needed for a cabbage salsa for fish tacos...one of my faves!  Since it was a little late in the season, I purchased starts for a purple cabbage, jalapenos and cilantro.  I came home, sat down to plant and to my surprise tiny little asparagus starts were waving at me!  Well, guess it's time to build another bed!  I'll let you know what we come up with next post!

Take care everyone and hope to hear from you!


Resources:  www.rainbird.com, 2013; www.amazon.com, 2013; "Making Sense" in Lawn and Landscape, June 2013 by Jason Stahl


The Healing Aspects of an Outdoor Space

Posted by Diana Hartman on May 30, 2013 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (4)

The healing aspects of our outdoor spaces are endless!  After a winter of being inside and then surviving the Spring flu season (It was rough for us this year.  I hope the rest of you were more fortunate!), we are ready to be outdoors!

Whether you prefer sipping your morning coffee on the back patio, having everyone over for a neighborhood BBQ or spending your time designing, planting and dreaming of this summer's garden, being outside in the fresh air and having contact with nature has been proven to have many health benefits, socially, psychologically and physically.  Check out these websites:

Why be out there?  Check out http://www.nwf.org/Be-Out-There/Why-Be-Out-There.aspx for all the reasons you and your children should be outside.  Nurture the whole self with Nature!  Take the pledge!


Spending time outdoors is good for you, from the Harvard Health Letter...Vitamin D levels rise, you'll get more exercise, you'll be happier, concentration improves and healing and recovery is more rapid.  Read more on "A Prescription for Better Health: Go Alfresco" at http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Health_Letter/2010/July/a-prescription-for-better-health-go-alfresco?utm_source=mental&utm_medium=pressrelease&utm_campaign=health0710.


Check out "Why Getting Outside is so Good for You" at http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellness_articles.asp?id=1680 for more info. on Nature's Healing Powers.


In USA Today, read how we are encouraged to "think about our green space in terms of preventive health care," said Dr. Kathryn J. Kotrla, associate dean and chair of psychiatry and behavioral science at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine Round Rock campus.  http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2009-10-15-nature-anxiety-exercise_N.htm


"How much "green exercise" produces the greatest improvement in mood and sense of personal well-being?" "Just five minutes of exercise in a park, working in a backyard garden, on a nature trail, or other green space will benefit mental health." Read more on Science Daily at http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100502080414.htm


I feel these websites confirm what most of us already know at some level.  I know that while I was confined to my house for two weeks nursing sick children, myself and my husband back to health after having the stomach flu, our moods were low.  The moment we were able to head outside and be in the fresh air and sunshine, moods lifted and we felt better psychologically and physically.  To lift spirits while we were stuck indoors, I perused www.pinterest.com, one of my new found favorite sites for inspiration, and found a few projects we could begin indoors to create a children's garden for the kiddos.  My daughter, age 5, and son, age 2, love to play in the dirt and help me garden.  They also love art, but what kids dont!?!  This garden would be designed with fun, interaction and creativity in mind just for them. 

Painting and building frogs from rocks was our first inspired indoor project...we had a fabulous time!  They turned out to be silly creations, each one unique.  Next, we decided they needed a log, so we found a couple of logs to perch them on in our yard.  The logs with frogs led to the idea of the kids bed we built.  Grandma donated some gourd seeds to the project and the fun, and science education (shhhhh!) has begun! 


Once we began, ideas flowed...a teepee built from branches, rope and a few screws would be covered in bean and sugar snap pea vines by midsummer!  Make sure it is big enough for them to be inside.  Some pavers that had been scattered around the yard were gathered and would make a fine "hopscotch path" to the tee pee.  We dug down and set those.  Numbers are still needing to be painted once the rain slows down.  And, of course, my little guy insisted on a construction site nearby with lots of dirt, mud and diggers!  They love the Children's Garden now and use it even more than the playset!


So...what are you doing to get yourself and your family outdoors?  Share your ideas with us and don't be afraid to be creative...if it doesn't turn out how you were hoping this year, we'll try something different next year.  If it does turn out, you've created something new and special!  If you need ideas, just ask!

Thank you for reading my first post!  There will be more to come on a wide variety of outdoor topics ranging from lawn tips to sprinkler technology to creative landscaping ideas!