Sunday, August 2, 2009

Do you want to know a secret?

I am learning just along the way like the rest of you. I saunter through gardening books like a new cook devours a recipe book for the first time. My hair on the back of my neck tickles when someone asks me the name of a plant I don't know. Oh, don't get me wrong I know a lot of stuff but compared to some I am an elementary student. One can spend their entire life primping and prodding rose bushes to achieve that perfect bloom. Another can spend years on trying to perfect their hosta collection. I have a friend that is a hosta expert. She actually had to stop telling people her whereabouts out of fear that her prized possessions (this being hosta mind you) might be carried away by some trowel armed lunatic. So when you get frustrated because of the mucky weather we are having or because your neighbor knows the name of the plants that you don't forget about it. Gardening is supposed to be a hobby; not a stress inducer. Unless you want to join a Fancy shamcy gardening club where everyone is competing to know more than the next just chill out and enjoy being outside.
Advise of the day:
Plants are borrowed. A plant is not a candy dish given to you by your mother; a plant is a living organism. Like humans plants have a shelf life. So in every aspect treat them as such. If your plant expires it isn't like you smashed it into smithenes. It was it's time. Sure you might have helped it along but lest not forget you were only borrowing it for a period of time.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Containers, Containers, Containers

I love containers gardens. I don't think I have ever seen a container planted that I didn't like. I like to think of containers as little yards that are self contained. As long as you follow a few simple rules you can have beautiful, successful containers year after year!

1 Make sure you pick plants that need the same amount of water. An example is that you wouldn't want to put a new Guinea impatience with a portulaca. Portulaca's love to be dry and New Guinea have been affectionately called "little drunkards". I think you get the picture.

2. Make sure that your plants have the same sun requirements. If you are planting a sun container don't add in an impatience plant.

3. VERY IMPORTANT is that there is a drainage hole and that there is stone on the bottom. Good potting soil is key to healthy plants. If you want to save money fill part of the bottom of a pot with stone, a pot or packing peanuts.

4. Try to put the tallest plants in the center of the pots. Different heights are fine, just don't choke out another plant. Different colors and textures make the pot more interesting.

5. You don't have to having hanging ivy or flowers in every pot. You can make some plants hang a little more by planting them on a slant so they already are spilling out a bit.

6. Herbs are great for planters, just don't over crowd. Remember read the tags.

7. Keep your pots well watered and they do need more fertilizer than plants that are in the ground.

8. Last but not least purchase quality plants so you have a good head start.

A suggestion about planters. Don't put a lot of different flowers in a busy pattern planter. If you have a Mosaic planter don't put a lot of different color flowers. Let the planter be the focal point with the flowers as an accent.

Do not clump together a lot of different planters. Clumping planters looks great but it looks too busy when you have a lot of different flowers together. Consider just doing one or two types in different pots.

Have fun!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Window boxes are gardening at it's finest!

This second story window box has Tapien verbena which
are very drought tolerant to handle those days you
forget to hang out the window and water!

Notice how the french blue adds so much interest
to this window box palate.

Sweet potato vine adds great interest to this
cottage window box.

Below is a shade window box with lots of hybrid begonias.

Blue lobilia and sweet potato vine make up thisterrific window box. Don't forget that the lobilia can't take the heat the summer so either plant in quite a bit of shade or don't plant unless you live in cooler climates. Don't ever let lobilia dry out.

Nothing says window box more than geraniums. These are typical Zonial geraniums
that are not a hanging annual. Notice how well they work in this application. The reason they work so well is because the window's are very low. The red is great against the buttery yellow home.

King Kong coleus, french blue petunias and double impatience make this planter just pop. These petunias are not "vegitative" such as Wave petunias so they will require alot of dead heading. The great color is worth the sacrifice.

Million bells and white lobilia are a great combination in this window box. This box would do great in part-sun. I like the way they kept the color only in the center. It give the illusion that the pink flowers just jumped as an after thought.

Window boxes

are an easy way to add alot of color with a small investment!

Monday, April 7, 2008

History of Goffle Brook Farm

On Goffle Road the locals know spring has sprung when the pansies start to appear at Goffle Brook Farm. Many people drive by the desolate store looking for some sign of life. Knowing that soon the lights will be on the “closed for the winter sign” gone and the store bursting with flowers. This is the beginning of life at “the farm”.
Goffle Brook Farm was opened on May 1st, 1968. Although Richard and Dancy Osborne were new in business farming was nothing new to the couple. Dancy’s father, Clinton Carlough, had been the largest apple grower in the state of New Jersey. When the young couple married Richard came to work for at the family farm. Richard loved the farming lifestyle from the first day. He liked working outside; he enjoyed selling at the farmers market and most of all he liked the changes that the seasons brought to his job duties. Richard tried to convince his father-in-law to open a farm stand much like the Tice and Van Riper’s had done many years before. Dancy’s father had bigger and better plans. Mr. Carlough was purchasing more property and adding to his own farm to build a golf course in Mahwah. With the family working together he did build what is now Apple Ridge Country Club.
Richard was taken off the farm to work in a managerial position at the golf course. His natural aptitude for selling and managing the farm worked just as well with the county club atmosphere. Dancy missing her husband with his new evening hours decided to join the family’s new business. So again both of them were working side by side. Unfortunately it didn’t take long for Richard to realize he missed the farm life. . As the saying goes, “you can take the boy out of the farm but you can’t take the farm out of the boy”. Richard hated working inside and being a suit and tie guy. He and Dancy then started looking to follow their own dream which was opening Goffle Brook Farm.
They opened Goffle Brook Farm with a working capital of 8,000. They took some of the old apple boxes and turned them into their display shelves. They would buy Peter’s 20-20-20 (the miracle grow of their day) and package it into zip lock bags so they could offer this great product to the public. Sand and stone were brought in by the truck load and bagged for retail sales. Their children, two daughters, Donna and Wendy were constant fixtures in the store. But, as hard as the work was they loved it and this was their dream coming true. With their farming back round and the knowledge of turf they received building the golf course they became the place to purchase quality grass seed. In the summer they were known for their great local produce. In the fall they were one of the only garden centers that followed Tice and Van Ripers lead and did up a big Halloween business. Dancy was invited to come and watch Van Riper’s painter at the time. Although he painted with an air brush she learned enough to start painting her own version of painted pumpkin. They are now famous for their hand painted pumpkins. December Goffle Brook was and is still known for their spectacular wreaths. In the old days they would get the brush from the golf course when they pruned the spruce trees. Now they have to do it the old fashioned way and purchase the spruce like everyone else.
One of the things the Osborne’s are best remembered for was what they did when they weren’t open. All the customers knew that the day after Christmas Richard and Dancy left for The Florida Keys. Richard and Dancy would close the store from Christmas Eve until March 15th. The customers enjoyed coming in at Christmas and hearing Jimmy Buffet playing in preparation to the Key West trip. To this day at least once a week customers ask if they still go to the Keys. That just shows you how long some of their customers have been coming to Goffle Brook Farm.
Many of the customers today are still the customers they had from the beginning.
Today Goffle Brook Farm is run by Richard and Dancy’s daughters, Donna Dorsey and Wendi Stankewicz and their son-in-law Kurt. Both Richard and Dancy Osborne are descest but the family traditions are alive and well. Kurt and Donna have two boys, Clinton and Kyle and who knows there might be a third generation running Goffle Brook Farm. The Dorsey’s say then it will be their turn to go to Key West for the winter!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Some things never change...

Okay so we have been open for a week. In the forty years we have been in business one thing never changes, the men. We have two types of male customer, the one's who love to work in their yard and the ones that don't. I hate to generalize but in the early spring it is still mostly men that do the yard work and purchase the fertilizer. You have the "go getter's" that come before we are even open and wonder if they might be too late to put down the crabgrass killer. It is so cold not even a bear has considered venturing out of hibernation but this human is wanting to put down weed killer. He is the customer that comes in on a beautiful May day ready to obliterate the first dandelion that had the nerve to sprout in his yard.

The "other" male loves when the weather stays cold right up until late April. His wife is hounding him to get out and do yard work but he assures her that the "weed killer" can't be applied unless the bag says so. He never reads directions except when it works in his favor. So when it says, "this product can be applied between March and May" he favors May. He hates gardening so much that he would rather go to a dentist appointment than have quality time with his lawn.

The problem is you don't know who you are dealing with when they walk in. My first inclination when someone asks what should they be doing with their lawn is to tell them the best bet would be to purchase the Scott's Four Step program. That is when you find out who you are dealing with. The "garden lover" thinks that having all four steps together is great but the guy that hates gardening thinks I am insane recommending four steps when he thinks one is too many. So when I have a garden hater I just tell him to try the one step and see how he makes out with that. Undoubtedly when the first dandelion pops up his wife makes him fetch the next step. Better her than me!

Until next time...


Thursday, March 6, 2008

More of the Philidelphia Flower Show...

Fountains, Lots of water and lots of lighting. That is one of the main themes of the year. This was the most theatrical display of different greens with pink water and a touch of white and pink blossoms. It was so perfect in the pink and greens it felt like you were in a postcard.

You have to love this fresh flower garden guitar. Who says flowers have to be growing in the ground to be part of the garden?

Oh, my favorite planter of the show. All the different vines with just a splash of flowers. Notice the three pieces to the artful planter. Of course the window box is black the color of the season for planters.