Sunday, August 31, 2008

My Garden

Yesterday, while I was in my backyard, I took a good look around at my garden. I was so disappointed. My grass is all but dead…a casualty of trying to conserve water. My potted plants were just a tad droopy and some had weeds in them. My tree, normally full of beautiful purple blooms, was also droopy and had few blooms on it. My poor garden. It makes me sad.

This has been a tough year for me and my garden has suffered for it. During the first part of the year when my mom was sick, I spent most weekends either with her, or on the phone with her, or worrying about her. This was during a time when I would have normally been cutting my roses back, getting rid of (more) weeds, and getting my garden prepped for spring. My dirt never saw a trowel, my plants had no trims, my dirt remained only partially covered with mulch. As spring came on and mom became more ill, it was all I could do to water my potted plants. When she died, I withdrew and spent no time in my garden. I spent most of my time thinking over the last year; losing dad; the “dark summer”; my brother’s injury; my mom. Especially my mom. Depression got the best of me and my garden suffered for it. Then came my husband’s cancer, one month after mom passed. I went back to barely wanting to water my container plants again, but I did the best I could. Occasionally, I would ask my husband to water them only because it was hot, and they just really couldn’t go without water so he helped out while I was working.

I was worried that the neglect my garden went thru during the first half of the year, would show itself as poorly grown plants, smaller plants, less healthy stems and just blah in general. But I should have known better. Even in neglect, my garden has continued to delight me in beautiful canna blooms, daisies, roses and a myriad of other flowers. My hibiscus did well, my hotbiscus not so well. As we all know, my Bird of Paradise did very well, getting its first flower. My garden held itself together while I fell apart and I think it was so I could find some comfort in my pretty little blossoms as I gazed out my windows or took a quick stroll around the yard.

My garden came through for me. And now that summer is wrapping up and the temperatures are going to go up even further for a bit, I will come through for it. I still have my bad days, but even in the worst times my garden never let me down. I didn’t lose a single plant despite little water sometimes and little food most of the time. I know now that my garden is where I should be when things are not going well and I should take solace in the knowledge that even as things die, there is always life.

I think next year I will have a gorgeous, well fed, well watered garden. That’s the least I can do for it.

Happy Gardening!

Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Lawn Care from The Happy Gardener

Did you know that fall is the most important time of the year to feed your lawn in preparation of the upcoming winter season? The Happy Gardener offers an exclusive line of eco-friendly Lawn Feed n' Weed that is made from 100% certified organic ingredients. Our non-toxic and natural products are safe to use around children and pets and won't harm the environment.

Our Labor Day Lawn Care Special (available August 26- September 8th ) allows you to stock up on your fall lawn care and receive FREE organic, Top-Selling plant foods Drop n' Feed Packets and SeaResults Micronutrient Solution.

What sets our Lawn Care apart from what you can find currently on the market?

  • Conventional and manure-based products contain higher percentages of nitrogen which result in water contamination and marine/plant life oxygen deprivation.

  • THG's lawn care includes beneficial micronutrients for strong root growth establishment. This is essential for a healthy lawn with resistance to pest, disease and drought.

Visit us at to learn more about Organic Lawn Care and our Labor Day Lawn Care Special. If you're interested in ordering, email me and I'll be happy to help you!

Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Monday, August 25, 2008

O Christmas Tree

A couple of years ago I bought one of those potted pine trees that get all dressed up for Christmas. It was, after all, “the holidays” and I wanted to deck the outside with lots of things to help it look more Christmasy. This little tree was one of those things.

As most of us know, once Christmas is done, we tend to forget about our holiday plants. I am certainly one of those people. I put this little guy out front in front of the brick where my fireplace was. Every once in a while I gave it a drink, but it was awful thirsty most of the time.

This past weekend I was doing a little yard work in the front and this little guy was calling my name once again “Lauri…..I’m thirsty…..please give me water!” But instead of giving him water, I decided it was time to call it quits! I was pretty certain the tree was dead from neglect, and I tried to pick it up to throw it away. But when I lifted it, it was attached to something. A root! Yes, there was a long root growing into the ground and it certainly was not dead! So I took it into the backyard and lovingly replanted it. Any tree that can grow a root in those conditions deserves a second chance. Once I replanted it, I watered it well and sprayed the needles and trunk with “Foliar Feed” from The Happy Gardener ( I took a picture and have posted it here for you to see just how pathetic this poor little tree was. In a week or two, I will take another picture and if this little guy isn't too far gone, what you will see will amaze you. If the tree is still alive, you will see a much healthier version of what this picture shows.

Yes, I am an Independent Garden Consultant for The Happy Gardener, but what better way to advertise our product than to post a test here for all the world to see? I have used Foliar Feed on a few of my other plants and have gotten truly amazing results. I have seen plants grow and look healthy literally overnight! So if this tree has any life left in it and I can keep it properly watered, we should see some green in a week or so.

Happy Gardening!

Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Saturday, August 23, 2008

My Bird of Paradise

I bought this Bird of Paradise plant at Costco about 3 years ago. Every summer I’d wait and wait for it to flower and it never did….until now! Isn’t it beautiful? I fed it with "Happy Naturals Foliar Feed" and within 1 week I got my first bud. I wish I had a better camera so you could all appreciate the beauty of this lovely flower. When I was younger, I never cared for the plant itself and every time I saw the flowers, they were old and wilted (kinda like me!). But now that I have learned to appreciate the beauty of plants, I can say that this Bird of Paradise plant is a beauty and I’m so happy to finally have a bloom!

A few facts on the Bird of Paradise:

  • The plant was named Bird of Paradise because of the resemblance of the flower to the head of a beautiful bird in flight.

  • The foliage resembles small banana leaves, a favorite in San Diego among landscapers and gardeners alike.

  • Pollination occurs when a bird lands on the flower, looking for a little nectar. The pollen from the “anther” comes off on the breast of the bird as it brushes up against it. The bird will eventually fly away and land on another Bird of Paradise and the pollen will fall off or get rubbed onto the new plant and pollinate the plant. Weird, huh?

  • The plant is a sun lover, but deep watering is in order when grown in a landscape.

  • The Bird of Paradise flower is also known as the Crane Flower (due to it’s resemblance to the head of a crane).

  • The plant is a native of South Africa and is closely related to the banana plant.

  • It could take up to 7 years for the first flower to appear on a Bird of Paradise (which is why I waited 3 years to get my first one!)

Anyway, I wanted to share my first flower with all of you so you could enjoy its beauty too! If you'd like to try Happy Naturals Foliar Feed from The Happy Gardener, send me an email and I can help you out!

Happy Gardening!

Independent Garden Consultant

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Torrey Pines Finale

This was pretty interesting. Do you see those black things hanging down from the dead tree? Those are beetle traps for the pine beetle. Those nasty creatures have been decimating pine trees in forests all throughout California, including our precious California Redwoods. They've even gone outside California to chew their way through other parts of the Pacific Northwest. These traps have some type of nectar in them that attracts the beetles to them. The beetles crawl inside the traps and they can't get out. These traps were put up because the beetles were destroying many of these rare Torrey Pine trees and the traps seem to be effective. You can see them in a few places throughout the park.

This tree could very well have been the victim of the pine beetle at some point. I thought it looked like a "halloween tree". You know; spooky and scarey.

California buckwheat.
Look closely and you will see a vine going across the picture with dried leaves on it running from the plant on the right to the cactus on the left. This vine is from a wild cucumber plant (aka the "manroot"). The wild cucumber plant has an enormous tuber root (a root that is tube shaped). From what I understand, the root is why it is called a "manroot"; simply because it is so large such as the size of a small person. I saw a couple of the roots (wish I'd taken pictures!) and they were huge and weighed more than I could move!

The beginnings of a Torrey Pine cone.

This grove of Torrey Pines stand on a bluff above the ocean. They get constant breezes and wind blowing in off the water which makes the tree grow towards the east, the way the wind is blowing.

This band of pines is barren on the west facing side where the wind is constantly hitting them. The east facing side is usually green and looks no worse for wear.

Our guide called this pretty little flower "three spots" because it has 3 purple spots on it's white leaves, one on each of 3 petals.

Sand Verbena

Wild aster. My favorite on this trip.

No, this isn't a felled tree. This is what the power of the wind over the years does to a healthy Torrey Pine. The wind has pushed it so that it now grows horizontally.

And finally, the view from Torrey Pines going past La Jolla.

Thank you for spending some time with me and sharing my trip to Torrey Pines State Reserve in Torrey Pines, CA.

Happy Gardening!

Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

More from Torrey Pines Reserve

As we continued on down the trail, we passed the bluff shown in this picture. The top, and darker, layer that you see is “Linda Vista” stone. This is the more “recent” dust and stone that has developed over the last million years. The layers below (lighter colored) are made of Torrey Pine Sandstone. Well over a million years old (and perhaps billions of years old), this sandstone is similar to the sandstone you find today in drink coasters, etc. It’s quite beautiful in person. I hope I was able to capture some of it’s beauty in this picture.

I love the plant in these next two pictures. First, the plant is quite pretty with it’s reddish/pink berries on it. These berries actually become little white flowers in the spring. Notice how the leaves are somewhat folded? This is why they call this a “Taco Plant”. That’s right…the leaves look like taco shells so it’s called the Taco Plant. Seriously! The “taco” leaves actually have a purpose; when it rains, the leaves guide rainwater down to the ground close to the base of the plant. It helps to keep it nice and watered even in drought conditions. Moisture from the fog in San Diego helps to keep this one watered as well, all by dripping down from the “taco” leaves. And the leaves are quite pretty as well!

This next picture is just a pretty view of the Pacific Ocean from the coast at Torrey Pines. Notice the dead tree in the middle of the picture? All the branches are gone and it’s just the dead trunk rising up from the ground. Pretty in it’s own way.

The following two pictures are of the oldest Torrey Pine in the Reserve. It is thought to be well over one hundred years old.

This is a picture of the sandstone that a lot of the bluffs along the San Diego coastline are made up of. Very fragile, the indents you see are the result of hundreds, perhaps thousands of years of rain and wind, especially wind, blowing up against the sandstone. At some point, the stone becomes so fragile it can withstand no more, and crumbles to the ground. In San Diego it’s not rare to hear of a bluff collapse since the bluffs are made of this fragile sandstone. You dare not sand too close to the edge of a cliff made up of this for fear it will crumble unexpectedly under your feet!

This is a lovely picture of our guide, Peggy. She was very nice and quite knowledgeable. We really enjoyed listening to her talk of the park.

Need I say anything besides “beautiful”?

Check back again for more beautiful pictures from Torrey Pines State Reserve in San Diego, CA.
Happy Gardening!
Independent Garden Consultant

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Torrey Pines State Reserve

Yesterday my husband and I spent the morning at Torrey Pines State Reserve in San Diego, CA. What a wonderful place to be, even in the dead heat of summer! (of course, in San Diego, the “dead heat of summer” is 85 degrees!) The Reserve is one of only two places in the world that grow the Torrey Pines Tree. The other, Santa Rosa Island, is also located in California. It is believed at one time these trees were part of a large forest of Torrey Pines that grew along the southern California coast. Over time, for unknown reasons, the pines diminished in range and now only grow in these two places.

This grove of trees at one time served as a landmark for sailors navigating off the California coast. The were identified by Charles Parry in 1850 as a “unique species” and named after John Torrey, a leading botanist of the time. Parry returned to the grove in 1883 and was upset over the lack of protection of this grove and by 1885, a $100 bounty had been placed on the head of anyone caught vandalizing one of these majestic trees. In 1899 the San Diego City Council passed an ordinance that set aside 369 acres to be used as a public park.

Today, this wonderful Reserve contains approximately 300 endangered and protected species of native plants.

We took a nice long mile walk with a Docent who explained to us about the plants and trees along the path. While she had only been doing this 2 years, she was quite knowledgeable. Below is some of the information she gave us along with pictures.

This first picture is the view from atop the Reserve looking north towards Del Mar, CA. The marshy area you see is a Preserve for migratory birds. This area is along the pacific migration route and many birds stop here to rest along their migration path.
What a view, isn't it? This is one of the many places in San Diego the surfers love to come early each and every morning and catch the waves. Bicyclists are always riding along the street parallel to the waves. You can't see it in this picture, but there is a road down there running parallel to the waves, and quite a few parking spaces off the road. These parking spaces are never empty. Often times people pull over and wait for someone to leave just so they can have the pleasure of parking along the ocean.
This next picture with the brown at the top of the stems is California Buckwheat. My apologies for the picture camera is pretty old compared to today's newer 10 megapixel versions.
California Buckwheet has narrow leaves that grow in bundles along the stems. In spring, they have small, white-pink flowers that grow in dense clusters at the end of the stems. They bloom from May to October, but we have had such strange weather this year, they are dying off a little earlier than normal. There are a few that still have blooms, but not many. The seed heads (which is what you see here) are dark brown.

This plant is native to California. It is a great plant to bring the "good bugs" around so the "bad bugs" don't take over and eat everything in sight.
Speaking of bugs, look closely at the picture below. Closer....closer even still......Do you see it?
Yes, there is a big fat spider in the middle of the picture! I'm not sure what kind it is (nor do I much care because it gave me the creeps!) but it was big and bad looking! It's web was quite large and while no dew was clinging to it, it was quite easy to see.

This picture shows what the tour guide thought was an egg sac. The green thing that appears to be floating in the air. It actually was attached by web to the cactus.

As we took off down the path, we stopped at this beautiful but shallow crevasse. Yes ladies and gentlemen, this is a genuine California faultline! Well...they THINK it's a fault line. The tour guide explained that geologists believe a faultline is what created the cliff and ensuing crevasse down below.

At last we come to the Torrey Pine.
This is the end of a branch of the pine tree. The needles are so soft you want to keep them in your hand and stroke them. And yes, they smell like a pine tree, although the fragrance is not as strong as most pine.

They do have cones, as you'll see in a bit. Cones can hold onto the tree for up to 5 years. They get pretty big on that time and I wouldn't want to stand under one when it falls!

Now this was quite interesting. Look closely in the middle of this Torrey Pine, and you will see a dark green cluster of pine needles. This is known as a "witches broom". Although it is a living part of the tree, it will never grow cones, never have sap flowing through it's veins, never have living things within it's branches. It's almost like it's dead , but in truth is living. Strange. It is believed that a witches broom is caused by disease or some type of parasite. The tour guide said no one knew for sure, but they were working on an answer.

Close up of the "witches broom".

More to come as I continue to share with you my trip to Torrey Pines State Reserve.

Happy Gardening!
Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Get your Crocus On!

Time to Get Your Crocus On!

If you haven’t already, you will soon see bulbs appearing in your favorite nurseries and home centers. One of my favorites (of course, they are all my favorites!) is the crocus, especially the purple crocus. This bulb is so easy to grow and growers will start shipping to Southern California in quantity around September 1. Get them in the garden soon after receiving them and you will have gorgeous blooms by March! One year I planted a little early and had blooms in February, after an unseasonably warm winter. Strange.

I’ve only had success with Tulips once and boy were they beautiful. They were orange with yellow stripes and stood tall and proud. I loved looking out my patio door and seeing the tulips beckoning me to my garden. I was told once that the reason tulips never did well for me was that our winters in Southern California were too warm and tulips needed cold in the winter in order to bloom in the spring. This is one of the reasons it’s recommended you put tulips in the refrigerator for 6 weeks before planting them….they actually WANT to be cold!

My all time favorite however are lilies. And Stargazers top my list. Spring is the time to plant those, and I just love the time when they finally bloom….the fragrance is out of this world! They smell like candy and look like a dream. They are super easy to grow as well.

To grow bulbs you don’t need fancy tools to dig a certain depth. Get out your trowel, a ruler and dig away. Pay attention to the instructions for the bulbs as to depth to plant them, or you may have trouble with them over time. Depth for bulbs is important.

Check out your local garden shops for fall bulbs and get to planting beginning in September. Your efforts will be well worth the rewards!

Happy Gardening!

Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Fundraising with The Happy Gardener

Do you have a favorite organization that needs some extra money? Would you like to do a fundraiser for them to help them out? The Happy Gardener offers a couple of great fundraiser programs.

The first is our annual bulb fundraiser. The Happy Gardener offers a large variety of bulbs shipped directly from growers in The Netherlands. An example of the bulb variety includes Crocus, Iris, Hyacinth, tulips and daffodils. Bulbs are sold in sets of 10 and your organization receives 40% of the retail price! Not bad! This fundraiser has two deadlines; All orders are due in by September 8 and/or October 15 in order to get the bulbs in time for planting. Orders can be submitted by either deadline.

Our 2nd fundraiser encompasses several different Happy Gardener products. Again, your organization will earn 40% of the retail price of all orders collected! This fundraiser has no deadline.

If you or your organization is interested in either fundraiser, please email me and I'll be happy to get you all set up and ready to go!

Happy Gardening!

Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Monday, August 11, 2008

Gardening in the Weeds

I had a particular area in my garden where I wanted to put a couple of Azaleas and a Star Jasmine. The only problem was this area was overgrown with weeds. I had pulled them time and time again to no avail…the little buggers kept coming back! So when I decided to plant in this area, I took a tip that I had read somewhere (I don’t remember where…it was a while ago) and put it to great use.

I weeded the entire area once again. I planted my two Azaleas and my Star Jasmine. Then I took newspaper…actually I think it was the Sunday paper…and spread it out on the ground. I misted the paper with the hose and took the damp paper and put it over the dirt around the area where I was going to plant and mulch, then misted it one more time. I then put some soil over it, leaving a circle around my plants where I put just a small amount of soil. That made a bit of a “cup” so to speak where the water would sit and soak into when I watered. Last, but certainly not least, I put mulch over everything and watered the plants.

That was about 3 years ago. I have had no weeds until about 3 months ago. Absolutely none. It’s been wonderful! Gardening and not having to pull weeds…who woulda thought?? Now however, it’s time to week again. But aha! It’s also time to put new mulch down so…..I am going to take up all the soil and mulch and do the same thing all over again. And I'll probably used the Sunday paper again. But this time I will mix the old soil and old mulch together before I put it back, and then cover it with new mulch. The old mulch will help to enrich the old soil a bit. I hope to get another few weed free years before I have to do this again. Weeding everything 2 or 3 years is ok by me since I don’t have to spend every weekend out there pulling them!

Of course, The Happy Gardener offers some great weed control products as well as food for the Azaleas that won’t grow (yes, I lost my Azaleas. Wish I’d had The Happy Gardener around then!). Take a look at and if you’d like to order something or have any questions, drop me an email!

Happy Gardening!

Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

This post is all about my mom. I lost her to lung cancer on April 4, 2008. My life hasn’t been the same since. Her birthday is Monday, August 11 and I so want her to be here to celebrate her life with her.

My mom was my best friend. I called her every day to see how she was doing. Somehow, every day, we’d find something to talk about. We never ran out of things to say.

She’d come to our house often for Christmas, something I always looked forward to despite just a hint of dread of having someone to entertain for two weeks. She was, after all, my mom and she owned a little piece of me. She even taught me how to make Christmas cookies when I was very young.

We lived together for about 10 years before she moved to Sacramento. It was a great time, and it was a rough time. By the time she was ready to move to Sacramento, we were both ready to be apart from each other. It makes sense that at some point, mother and daughter are not meant to live together. It also makes sense that at some point, it is time for them to be together again. This I learned from Mom.

Mom was an integral part of my daughter’s upbringing. It was like my daughter had two moms; the “cool” mom (which was me of course!) and the “grandma” mom. My mom helped raise my daughter for those 10 years we lived together and a fine job she did. My daughter is a wonderful person now that she’s grown and definitely the product of her mom (me) and grandmother. I know that my daughter has a little piece of herself missing now that “gammy” is gone.

When I told Mom I was going to marry my husband, she was so happy. I could hear it in her voice when she asked incredulously, “you are?”. She liked my husband…he made her laugh just like he does me.

Mom, I want to tell you that you were an incredible woman and mother. You did a great job with your kids and we hope that you had a happy and fulfilling life. Yes, sometimes it was hard, but that’s just life. We all know that, don’t we? I learned that from you too.

I miss you incredibly. I cry for you often despite being 50 years old. Hardly a day goes by when I don’t think “I need to call mom” before I realize I can’t. So I talk to you for just a minute my head. But I can’t hear you talking back and that’s hard.

So mom, now that I’ve brought myself to tears once again, I want to wish you a Happy Birthday. My birthday wish for you is that you are happy where you are and that all of your questions have been answered and it is all good. Maybe once in a while you could come chat for a bit. I would really like that.

Happy Birthday Mom! I love you.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Hot August Gardens

Here in Southern California, gardening is good most months of the year, especially in San Diego. But August is a hot month and most gardens really don’t enjoy the heat much unless you have a native plant, drought-tolerant garden. Our plants and flowers are just beginning to slow down and creep into their hibernation mode, slowly getting ready for fall, then winter. But not all is lost! Here are some tips for you Southern Californians of things you can do in your garden in August, so you can continue to enjoy your garden in fall and winter.

1. Seeds
Believe it or not, August is a good time to start seeds in pots. Hot weather germinates seeds quickly, so if you keep the seedlings nice and moist until they sprout, you should have success in cultivating some nice plants from seed regardless of the heat. Pay attention to the water and sun requirements on the seed packet and never let your seedlings dry out!

2. Sweet Peas
Those beautiful, aromatic, sweet smelling flowers that we all love so much! Sow seeds by Labor Day, and have deliciously fragrant flowers by Christmas!

3. Container Gardening
It is SO easy to do container gardening and keep your blooms blooming until their time is spent for the season. Pick your favorite flowers or plants, find the right spot outside according to their sunshine needs, keep watered and enjoy! I love container gardening and most of my “garden” is in containers. One of these days I'm going to do a post about container gardening.

What is especially important in August, because it is so hot in Southern California during this time, is to keep your plants watered and protected from the harsh heat unless they are heat lovers. Always follow nursery directions for your plants to ensure you get “the most bang for your buck” when buying plants.

The Happy Gardener has everything you’ll need in August to help keep your plants healthy and happy and keep you, your family and your pets from getting sick from the chemicals of other garden products. Our completely organic products will not harm you, the environment or your pets. And we have some great life-time guarantee gardening tools you should check out as well!

Happy Gardening!
Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ladybugs - Queen of Organic Pest Control

Ok, maybe not the QUEEN of organic pest control, but she sure helps!

When it comes to controlling aphids in the spring, nothing can beat the ladybug. Those little tiny black things that cover your new flowers are ferocious eaters of those tender, delicious flower buds. They will chomp away at anything that tastes good and before you know it, your flowers have been eaten away. Yikes!

Ladybugs to the rescue!! In the spring, when the weather has warmed a bit, the ladybug can be your best friend. Keep in mind though, that they do not like temperatues below 55F and won't fly in anything colder. They won't live too long either. That's why spring weather is perfect to release them in your garden. The weather is warming up (usually above 55F, at least in Southern California) and the ladybugs love the sun. The aphids on the other hand love anything.

I get my ladybugs at Home Depot believe it or not. They come in a little pack that probably has close to 100 ladybugs in it. I get a couple of packs; one for the front and one for the back. When I get them home, I cut the bag open and shake them up just a bit, then put them in a sunny warm place amongst my garden. That usually wakes them up because they have been sleeping inside that pack. You might think they are dead, but a little sunshine will wake them right up!

I put them among my rose bushes and on my hibiscus, the two places the aphids are the worst. They do a great job in getting rid of the heaviest infestations.

If you decide to do this at home next spring, keep in mind that the ladybug won't eat ALL the aphids, just a good portion of them. To get them all, use The Happy Gardeners Outdoor Foliar Feed Plus. It will help rid your garden of the rest of the aphids, along with Japanese Beetles, weevils, spider mites and masked chafers. Made with 100% organic ingredients, Folier Feed is sprayed right on the leaves of the plants to feed and help control pests. You only need use it once a month instead of daily or weekly like most plant foods and pest controls.

Check our website,, for Foliar Feed Plus along with a few other varieties of Foliar Feed. Your plants with love you for it!

If you would like to order, send me an email and I'll be happy to help!

Happy Gardening!

Independent Garden Consultant
The Happy Gardener

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

What Does "Organic" Mean?

Ok, so all this “blog talk” about “organic” gardening and I’ve never explained what it really is. So, from

Or-gan-ic (adjective)
Pertaining to, involving, or grown with fertilizers or pesticides of animal or vegetable origin, as distinguished from manufactured chemicals: organic farming; organic fruits.
a substance, as a fertilizer or pesticide, of animal or vegetable origin.

So basically, organic gardening is like regular gardening, but instead of using chemicals to help grow your garden, you use animal or vegetable based products (such as sea vegetables, which are used in many of our Happy Gardener products).

When you buy “organic” fruits and vegetables in the store, they must be certified organic by the USDA. Getting organic certification is a pain staking process and one that is not taken lightly by farmers. When your produce says it is “certified organic”, it really is chemical-free when it is harvested.

Unfortunately organic farmers don’t receive all of the federal subsidies “regular” farmers do. There is a lot more labor involved in organic farming and typically organic farms are smaller than standard “non-organic” farms, so the organic farmer does not have the benefit of volume. All of these reasons are why sometimes organic food costs more than regular non-organic produce by the time it gets to the grocery store.

With economic times the way they are today, it is at times cost-prohibitive to buy organic products in the store. And this, in a nutshell, is why more and more families are starting their own “organic” food gardens. When working an organic garden, there is no worry about chemicals getting into your system when you spray them; no worries about the kids picking the tomatoes because there are no pesticides on them; no worries about the pets eating the grass because the fertilizer is strictly animal or vegetable based and won’t harm them. This is why “The Happy Gardener” is so successful.

We offer a complete line of “Happy Naturals” organic products. Made from sea vegetables, these products will not harm you, your family, pets or the environment. What are sea vegetables you ask? Sea vegetables are wild ocean plants, or marine algae, that receive nourishment from the water. They are non-toxic, non-polluting, products of nature rich in minerals and trace elements, including copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and at levels much higher than those found in land vegetables. These are all healthy minerals that your body needs and can be found in any daily vitamin. And, most foods such as our Happy Naturals Foliar Feed only need be applied once a month rather than weekly like most plant foods. This food is applied directly to the leaves, making it super easy to feed your plants once a month!

Check out The Happy Gardener today at If you have questions on any of the available products, please email me. If you’d like to order, send me an email as well with your contact information. I’ll be happy to help you!

Happy Gardening!


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What Got You Interested in Gardening?

I saw this question asked in a gardening forum and thought it was a great question. I thought I'd share my thoughts on that here.

My grandfather was a wonderful gardener. He had at least 1/2 acre to garden on. He had the most beautiful green, lush lawn I'd ever seen or ever have seen. I remember as a child rolling down a small hill in the backyard, loving the way the soft grass felt against my skin. Grandpa planted many different types of flowers in his yard. He did vegetables in another section of the yard including artichokes. I remember the first time I saw those...I thought they were the ugliest plants possible. Imagine my surprise when I was told they had one of my favorite vegetables growing in it! He even had a Virgin Mary statue under a little wooden roof protecting his garden (yes, we were all Catholics!). But his pride and joy was in his greenhouse. Orchids. Hundreds of orchids of every type. He spent hours in the greenhouse, tending to them, caring and nurturing them simply so he could enjoy their beauty. He didn't sell them or give them to friends or neighbors. He kept most of them strictly to himself and my grandmother. Occasionally a family member would receive a beautiful orchid to put in a vase, but that was only once in a while. He loved his orchids so much, he simply could not part with them.

He toiled in his wonderful garden and greenhouse for as long as I can remember. Finally, when he got much older, the orchids proved to be too much for him after he had been hospitalized. He turned the greenhouse into an aviary, enjoying many various different types of birds. He hired a gardener to care for his yard and gardens, but it was never the same. Somehow, the gardens had lost their lustre. I think it was because his love of gardening and creating something of such beauty was just not there anymore. It was someone else's garden now, simply because he could not care for it any longer. It remained very pretty over the years as he aged, but it never regained it's true beauty.

These memories are what started me in gardening several years ago. I remember his love of plants and planting; something which spread to my own father in his later years. My father moved to Idaho and created a gorgeous garden, relying on everything his father had taught him all those years. I loved talking gardening with my dad. It seemed like one of the few things we had in common and made both of us feel good.

So I guess I came by my interest naturally or I inherited it. I figure it's one of those two things :) But when I go out to my garden to "play", I always remember my dad and grandpa and the beauty that came from their hands in their own gardens. And I try my best to be just like them.

What got YOU interested in gardening?

Happy Gardening!


Monday, August 4, 2008

Paul James - Master Gardener

Most "TV" gardeners will know who Paul James is. I love this guy! He is funny, I have learned so much from him, and he is a "master gardener" so he knows his stuff. He's been on HGTV for some time, but unfortunately they've moved his show around so much I can only catch it once in a while now and usually in the early early morning. Most of what I learned about gardening I learned from him, along with a few other of the tv gardeners.

These days it's hard to find any real gardening shows on TV so we are left on our own to figure things out. But AHA! There is always the internet! A plethora of information! And my 2nd resource when I can't find Paul! But there is nothing like Paul James and his "Gardening by the Yard" to keep me totally interested in tv for 30 minutes. I wish they'd bring him back during the waking hours!

One of the most interesting things I learned from him a few years ago was making and using "compost tea". This is a water based mix made from compost that is SO nutritious for your garden! I've included a link to compost tea for you to look at and see how to make it.

If you're not into making compost tea (it is a little messy), The Happy Gardener has some wonderful products that are great for your plants. One of our best sellers is "Foliar Feed" for both indoors and outdoors. It's an excellent plant food that, rather than having to apply weekly like most plant foods, you only apply monthly. Some of the benefits of Foliar Feed include:
  • micronutrient foliar spray
  • increases photosynthesis
  • enhances plant color & vigor
  • for use with glossy leaves
  • available in 32 oz ready to use bottle

Spray directly on leaf. Apply monthly

This is what makes "Happy Naturals" products from The Happy Gardener an economical choice. You could spend a fortune buying products at your local nursery that require feeding daily or weekly. With Foliar Feed, since feeding is only once a month (even in the growing season), the food goes alot further than a weekly product.

So check it out when you have time. Go to and see what I'm talking about. If you'd like to place an order, just email me and I will be happy to help!

Happy Gardening!


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Growing Your Own

There was a great article today in the Homescape section of the San Diego Union Tribune about growing your own food. It talked about two organizations that would be worth looking into if you're interested in growing your own; the first is local, Food Not Lawns ( This is a grass-roots organization dedicated to helping others learn how to grow their own food. The second is Kitchen Gardeners International ( This one has a large website full of valuable information about growing your own food. If you are looking into growing your own , whether you are starting small with one tomato plant, or going whole hog, give these sites a look see. You'll be glad you did.

And on that note, I must say that The Happy Gardener ( has many wonderful organic products to help you grow your own food. The beauty of organic products is that you can use them directly on the plant and they will not harm you should you decide to pick a tomato off the vine and eat it right then and there. Now I certainly wouldn't recommend that because food should always be washed before being eaten, but there are no chemicals to ingest and nothing that will harm you should you wish to do so! So visit The Happy Gardener website today (, take a look and email me if you would like to place an order or host a garden party.

Happy Gardening!


Saturday, August 2, 2008

Drunken Snails


That's right, those nasty, slimey creatures will one day rule your garden! They will slime their way onto your most prized plant, gnawing and gnashing it's teeth, eating every leaf and flower in it's path! Run away! Run away!

Ok, don't run away, but definately do something about them. And of course, there are plenty of organic and natural ways to rid your garden of these nasty pests.

Most folks know this one; to get rid of your garden snails, put a shallow pan on the ground by the plants the snails are eating. Fill the inside with beer. That's Now I don't think the snails have a preference to which type of beer, but if you have picky snails, stick with domestic. It's cheaper. Snails love the hops that is in beer. They will flock to that pan like New Year's revelers to the local bar. They will snail on up into the pan and will drown there. Yes, you'll have to collect them and get rid of their sad little carcasses, but you will be happy doing it! Be sure to change the beer every few days or the snails will start to avoid it.

Another, quite effective way to rid your garden of the common garden snail is to get a few "decollate snails". (see below) These little guys will feast on your garden snails.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The decollate snail (Rumina decollata) is a medium-sized predatory land snail, a species of terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk which is native to the Mediterranean region. It has been introduced into North America and other areas as biological control agent against the brown garden snail.
The decollate snail is a voracious predator, and feeds readily upon common garden snails and slugs and their eggs. The snail eats plant matter as well, but the damage it causes to plants is considered minor when compared with the benefit of its predation on garden snails and other pest species of snails. Unfortunately it will also consume harmless local species of land gastropods and beneficial
The shell of the decollate snail is long and roughly cone-shaped. It grows to approximately 40 mm in length, and upon reaching mature size, grinds or chips off the end of its own shell by moving its body roughly against hard surfaces, so that the shell takes on a decollate shape, tapering to a blunt end.
Decollate snails are tolerant of dry and cold conditions, during which they burrow deep into the soil. They are most active during the night and during rainfall.

Cool, huh? Now if you don't want to kill the little buggers, follow a few of these tips:

Egg Shells - put crushed up egg shells around your plants. Snails hate the rough surface and will likely avoid the plant. Don't leave the shells too big though, or the snails will use them like stepping stones straight to your beloved plant! Sand or diatomaceous earth will do the same thing.

Curved Barriers - place a metal strip either around your plant, or around your entire garden. Make sure the top of the strip curves towards you so the snails can't climb over. They won't like the sharp edge of the metal.

Ducks - That's right...ducks! Ducks love snails and snails HATE ducks! Put a duck in your backyard and watch the snails disappear!

Well, that's all for today. It's early morning, the dew is out....and so are the snails. Time to go hunting!
Happy Gardening!

Friday, August 1, 2008


Hello and welcome to my garden! My name is Lauri (aka Lore) and gardening is my hobby. For a long time I wanted to learn how to garden more organically, without having to use those harsh and harmful chemicals on my beautiful flowers. I also have a cute little silky terrier dog that doesn't need the harsh chemicals either. This year, I decided to grow my own tomatoes. I've done it once previously and had good success with it. I didn't want to use chemicals on the tomatoes because I knew I would be eating them so I've just kind of left them to their own defenses. I'm not having as much luck as last time.

After researching organic gardening, I ran across a website for "The Happy Gardener" ( This company sells organic products for your garden along with various garden tools and decor. I loved the organic products and was excited that I may have found someplace that I could get some good bug repellent and/or plant food that wouldn't have poison in them. Then I saw they had a business opportunity to become a "Garden Consultant". After much research on the company and it's products, I decided this is right for me and I am now a Happy Gardener Garden Consultant.

I'm so excited that I decided to start this blog and give some gardening pointers. Not just organically, but in general. Now I am no professional and definitely an amateur when it comes to gardening, but maybe I can give some good information to those of you just like me; you love your garden, do what you can with it and realize that you shouldn't take it too seriously but have fun with it. That's what it's about! Have fun with it! So I will be adding gardening info and tips over time and perhaps share some of my own gardening experiences with you all. I would love to hear of your gardening experiences!

Welcome to my garden!