From: LATimes (March 10, 2005.)
The dirt on alt gardening
by Alexandria Abramian-Mott
“Looking for an antidote to the gardening how-to book written by estate-owning bluebloods with eponymous tea roses? Gayla Trail, a bona fide alt chick with the cat glasses and obscure ’80s rock T-shirts to prove it, has the dirt. She has distilled the gardening process into a series of bite-sized, quirkily written sections for a new generation of land- and time-deprived DIY females (males, too, if you skip the parts about growing loofa sponges and making peppermint foot scrubs.) Don’t have a patch of dirt to call your own? A fire escape or a window sill will do, writes Trail, who devotes many pages to container gardening.
The book is high on practical advice and written for an instant-messaging generation looking for snapshots, not diatribes, of information. All you need to know about soil pH levels is distilled into one short paragraph while sewing a funky gardening apron is given two pages.
Blended in with the basics are Trail’s homegrown ideas, such as starting seeds in Jell-O, burying wine bottles upside down to border a path and planting a garden for pets (her cat is named Ã¢â‚¬â€ what else? Ã¢â‚¬â€ Volton). She even suggests scooping up droppings left from police horses for free manure and practicing guerrilla gardening Ã¢â‚¬â€ growing plants on public property Ã¢â‚¬â€ as a way of fostering a green thumb.
Bluebloods need not apply.”
Today’s view out on my deck.
Well gang, it’s March which means it’s time to get on the seed situation. I’ve gone as far as to move some plants around and hook up the *super fancy* electric warming mat. My lemongrass LOVES it, making me feel a little guilty about replacing it with a tray of seeds. I have to admit that I really haven’t spent much time looking through seed catalogues. I looked through the Richters catalogue but only got as far as deciding that this year I would suck up the $15 price tag and buy that wasabi plant I talked myself out last year.
The book is starting to make appearances in retail stores. I didn’t expect to see it so soon here in Canada but I was informed on Saturday night that some copies were spotted at Pages Books on Queen St. Of course I had to go see for myself! Check out the photos:
Come out and help me celebrate the launch of my book!
When: Wed. March 23 starts at 8:00pm
Where: The Gladstone Hotel (Ballroom)
1214 Queen Street West (Queen near Dufferin)
With a blend of soul, funk, Latin and jazz by DJ General Eclectic (Footprints, Turning Point). Come early for door prizes, CD giveaways and more!
PLUS: Bring a couple of seeds with you to the event and participate in a mystery seedling swap. [Thanks to Scott at EcoFlora for the great idea.]
Admission is FREE!
I hope to see you there.
There has been a lot of plant-related excitment brewing around here lately.
The first copies of my book arrived from the publisher last week!! A site for the book can be found over here, including a news page where I will update on events or goings on related to the book. The first entry includes some photos of the book’s arrival. If you’re in the Toronto area mark your calendar for the evening of March 23rd. I’ll be having a launch party at The Gladstone (Queen & Dufferin). Details will be posted on the book site soon.
I’ve started a “Grow-A-Long” section in the forums. It’s sort of like a support group for seed starting. Everyone starts their seeds at the same time and documents the process as well as learning from each other. I started soaking my banana seeds on Friday night for the banana tree grow-a-long. You can watch the progress here although I warn you it can take months for banana seeds to germinate. It could get a little boring.
I’ve been doing lots of general maintenance on my indoor plants over the last few weeks. I gave all the bromeliads and tropical plants a good shower a few weekends ago. We have a dechlorinating filter on our shower head which has proven to be both good for my skin and the health of my plants. After the shower I did a bit of plant shifting. I find that during the winter months I am constantly shifting plants from one spot to another based on the needs that must be met at any given time and the chainging nature of light, drafts etc throughout the season. I’ve got to do another big shift soon to make room for the seeds I’ll be growing this year. I honestly haven’t put much thought into it yet but I’ve got a pile of catalogues begging for my attention.
I’ve been fighting a stubborn case of scale insect that has infested my variegated agave since the late summer. I think I’ve finally got it beat! I check the plant every single day and haven’t found a single scale insect of any size in weeks. Fingers crossed. Thankfully it did not spread to any other plants. The agave is putting out new leaves and seems to really be bouncing back.
The African violets I started from leaf cuttings back in August have been slowly turning into miniature plants. Ness’ Orange Pekoe is the largest and happiest of the lot. I recently repotted Sonoma Imapink and it’s turning out to be a bit of a mistake. The little plant has taken a turn for the worse. My eagerness got the best of me as it sometimes does. Live and learn.