Tag Archives: Denver Post

Indoor composting: easier (and less messy) than you think

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Photo: RJ Sangosti of The Denver Post

If Jack Frost and Old Man Winter interfere with your composting, considering indoor composting with the same red wiggler worms that do the dirty work outdoors. Known as vermicomposting, this method isn’t as messy as you think. And, no, the worms don’t escape. They want to stay because they’re warm and well fed. And they’re creating worm castings–some of the richest growing material on the planet.
I reported on vermicomposting for The Denver Post, and my article includes everything you need to know about indoor composting: step-by-step instructions and even a helpful video.
When winter turns your compost pile into a Popsicle, vermicomposting allows you to continue using kitchen scraps and other compostable materials rather than trashing them in the landfill. Price worm castings, and you’ll quickly see the value of vermicomposting. The end result makes your efforts worthwhile not only for the planet, but for your own garden or houseplants.
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Inviting outdoor plants to overwinter indoors yields benefits

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Zonal geraniums, one of many outdoor plants that overwinter well indoors.

Yes, cleaning up, cutting back, washing up and hauling in outdoor plants to overwinter indoors requires work. But the benefits of an indoor garden during winter months outweigh the hassles.
Overwintering plants not only grows your plant collection, the plants also improve the air in your home. When shut up during winter months, off-gasses accumulate, but since plants breathe carbon monoxide and exhale fresh oxygen, plants and people make perfect roommates.
Many scientific studies now demonstrate the healing properties plants bestow upon people. There’s a reason why we bring fresh flowers and green plants to people in the hospital!
Now’s the time to invite those favorite plants indoors to overwinter by a sunny window. Zonal geraniums, some begonias, succulents and cacti, tropical plants and herbs all will enjoy the winter months indoors. You’ll satisfy your garden jones by caring for living plants during the dead of winter. Some will provide you flowers and culinary herbs. And when spring rolls around again, you just reintroduce the plants gradually outdoors again. Voila!
My article published in The Denver Post includes lots of how-to tips from professional landscape designers. Learn more about overwintering plants at this link.

 

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Pansies and violas perfect for spring or fall

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Photo from Joe Amon of The Denver Post

The wonderful thing about pansies and violas is that they’re perfect plants either for early spring or for autumn. Pansies–many of which are appreciated for their little flower faces–can even weather a winter storm and come out smiling, so they’re ideal plants to perk up autumn containers, borders or beds.
And remember, pansies are edible, too. As long as you’re growing organically, you may add blossoms to salads, deserts or as a garnish.
My article published in The Denver Post has plenty of pansy tips from professional growers.

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Herbs: Super plants with superpowers

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Wise gardeners grow sage: it’s easy and can be put to many uses | Photo by: Colleen Smith

As a seasoned garden writer, people with self-proclaimed black-thumbs often ask me which plants are easiest to grow. I always answer, “Herbs!” Most herbs grow easy without mollycoddling. What’s more, you can harvest herbs and put them to use in your kitchen–and even your bathroom. Culinary herbs add flavor to food and can cut down on salt intake. Many herbs stand in as medicine or can be made into personal care products such as bath scrubs or balms.

You can grow herbs even if you don’t have a large garden. Many herbs fare well in containers on a patio or lanai.

My article published in The Denver Post features tips from the longtime tender of the herb garden at Denver Botanic Gardens. You may read the article here.

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Keyhole gardens: why and how to build a hybrid raised bed with compost

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Keyhole gardens originated in Africa, but work well anywhere.
Photo courtesy of Send A Cow. 

Keyhole gardens are the best idea I’ve unearthed in more than two decades of garden writing. The gardens originated more than 20 years ago in Africa, where AIDS and drought took a toll on people and gardens. Keyhole gardens combine the best of raised beds and composting, can be irrigated with gray water, and make the most of garden space.

I first learned of the gardens during a drought in Denver, and gathered materials to build one, but never got around to it because I feared the garden might appear junky in my small back yard. However, landscape architects embracing the keyhole garden concept are building these raised, typically round gardens from handsome stone that makes them an attractive highlight in any garden.

My article published by The Denver Post includes step-by-step tips for building a keyhole garden, properly siting the keyhole, and what to plant in these ingenious gardens. You may read my article at this link.

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Pergolas add form and function

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Photo from Denver Post: Pergola with fireplace and seating area designed by Wendy Booth of Ivy Street Design Landscape Architecture.

Pergolas date to ancient times as some of the first structures in gardens. Pergolas add both form and function. A pergola defines an outdoor space, provides a support for vines and decorative lights, and with modification can provide shade and shelter.

My article in The Denver Post provides plenty of professional landscape designer tips for pergolas. Read the article here.

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Grammy Museum is a High Note in LA

Grammy_ColorSketchI can’t read music, but I do write about it. Professionally.

Which is why the Grammy Awards send me spinning. As the rock blogger for The DenveR Post and a longtime regular contributor of concert reviews to heyreverb.com the newspaper’s groovy and award-winning online music blog, I attend lots of concerts and tune in to music on a more than casual level.

This Sunday, January 26, the 56th Annual Grammy Awards will be staged in Los Angeles, one of the world’s musical centers.

But did you know there’s a Grammy Museum in Los Angeles? And that at the Grammy Museum, you can get a drum lesson from Ringo Starr?

Last October, while on assignment in Los Angeles, I had a free afternoon before jumping into a ten day multi-media project for a client based in the City of Angels. My client graciously put me up in The Hilton Checkers located in an elegant 1920s building in the Arts District, right next to the Los Angeles Central Public Library. Heavenly!

At the top of my list of cultural wishes was a visit to the Grammy Museum, so I headed directly to L.A. Live, the complex housing the museum. An enterprise of AEG Live, the media empire owned by Denver titan Phil Anschutz, the Grammy Museum entertained me for an entire afternoon.

As if establishing right away that the music world turns things upside down, the 30,000 square foot Grammy Museum begins on the fourth floor and winds downward toward the ground floor.

The Grammy Museum is not exclusively about the Grammys, but about music, in general.

Interactive music exhibits make the Grammy Museum educational and also irresistible for any music-lover. Knowing nobody knew me at the museum, I felt free to try my amateur hand at banging away at the trap set. In a recording booth, I laid down two wobbly vocal tracks to “Yellow Submarine.” I got down on guitars and tickled ivories of keyboards and took a taped drum lesson from Ringo Starr.

Exhibits also include musical timelines, genre descriptions and examples, bits of paper with lyrics scrawled, and other ephemera tracing the creative process of songwriting. When I visited, a collection of Michael Jackson’s glittery costumes were on display.

The Grammy Museum offers a peek into the technology of music-making, too. Exhibits track music-making machinery from the earliest days to the most current science of recording songs. I learned a lot experimenting with the mixing board, where visitors can play around and listen to various sounds.

A beautiful theatre hosts lectures. The day I visited, the Grammy Museum was preparing for a talk by opera star Placido Domingo.

The Grammy Museum celebrates all sorts of music and educates fans such as myself. I can’t help but believe the museum must serve as a source of inspiration for musicians.

In Los Angeles and in the world of music, the Grammy Museum is a high note. And the Grammy Museum’s gift shop rocks, too.

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