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What You Grow Matters

We Have Some New Faces

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Visitors to Himmel’s Landscape and Garden Center this spring will notice some fresh new faces in the lot and behind the register! Our Mission is ‘Helping our neighbors build a better, healthier and more beautiful world’. We believe that training young people in the field of horticulture is a great way to bring that mission to fruition, and so we have hired 5 high school students to help out.

These students will learn about composting, how to start vegetables and herbs from seed, and how to nurture vegetables and fruits to harvest in our demonstration raised bed gardens. They will learn which plants are best suited for sun to shade, the differences between evergreen and deciduous and annual and perennial, and other important tips for helping customers make the best selections for their yard. If interested and motivated, they will have the opportunity to help out on landscape and hardscape installations and participate in special trainings and seminars to build their knowledge and skill set.

Specific training on the importance of native plants and instruction on building pollinator-friendly and Bay-friendly gardens will help our new employees understand the positive impact that gardening can have on our environment. It will also help us achieve our vision which is ‘promoting the value of life by building a stronger sense of community, encouraging young people to connect with nature, educating our neighbors on the beauty and significance of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed, selling more native plants and trees, and demonstrating commitment to making the world a better, healthier and more beautiful place’.

Most importantly, they will learn the skills to be successful in the workplace and contribute to society in a meaningful way. During each interview I asked these students what they are looking for in a leader. They all responded in a similar way. They want managers / authority figures who will treat them with kindness and provide them with the guidance they need to be successful and do an excellent job. I am so excited that Himmel’s leadership has the opportunity to mentor young people in our community. I look forward to seeing you at the shop this season – and let me know what you think of our new team members!

What does spring look like to you?

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What does spring look like to you? Is it the sight of the first robin with its perky red breast and lively antics? The hint of warmth in the air and the sight of new buds on trees? Perhaps it’s the smell of the soil warming; a rich and earthy scent that delights the gardener in all of us. When I was a girl, there was a tiny patch of crocus near our driveway. When I saw those little purple and lemony-yellow gems peeking out to greet the sunshine, sometimes from a cover of snow, I knew that spring was approaching. I loved to observe them closely to see the rich pollen on their stamens and trace the delicate veins of color in their gossamer petals. Although the blooms were fleeting they awoke a sense of excitement in my heart.

Now – spring means truckloads of plants arriving daily, and the anticipation of new vegetable and herb varieties, unique new shrubs and trees, a mix of old-fashioned and exotic annuals and perennials, and beautiful statuary and pottery. It means greeting my neighbors who, like myself, have spring fever and are itching to get their hands dirty.

What projects do you have in mind for 2019? Are you a first-time gardener looking for advice? Perhaps you are thinking about starting vegetables from seed?  Do you have a plan to revise your landscape and maybe install a new patio? Whatever it is – Himmel’s has the cure for your spring fever, and the expertise to guide you.

We were busy over the winter making a few changes to the lot, learning new tips and tricks, and hiring new employees, all within the framework of our mission to help our neighbors build a better, healthier and more beautiful world. We welcome you to visit us this spring and find out more. See you soon!

What you Grow Matters #1: A Reflection

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Make New Friends but Keep the Old;
One is Silver and the Other Gold’

I learned those lyrics 30 years ago as a Brownie Girl Scout in Miss Lynn’s troop at Lake Shore. Miss Lynn put a lot of heart and hard work into troop leadership and made sure we pondered the words carefully as we learned the tune. Around the campfire at Camp Whippoorwill, my fellow Brownies and I would sing that song along with other traditional Girl Scout tunes. For some reason, those lyrics resonated in my young mind, and I pondered at length the concepts of friendship, loyalty and longevity. Years have passed but that tune always comes flooding back, bringing with it sweet memories of old friendships and the innocent lessons of childhood.

Those were the good old days!

Around the same age I began to pay attention to the vegetables Dad planted in our huge garden, and the beautiful shrubs and flowers Mom tended in our front beds. I remember perusing seed catalogs, in awe of the beautiful flowers and amazing vegetables the catalog promised, if only we purchased their seed. Giant Watermelon! The sweetest corn you ever tasted! Big, juicy tomatoes! Colorful zinnias and dazzling cosmos! I wanted to try them all and dog-eared most pages. And what a great source of education; I memorized the names of flowers and learned about planting zones, planting times and other important tidbits that have remained with me since.

I’m certain many of you can relate to the excitement that a simple seed catalog can generate!

As the new owner of Himmel’s Landscape and Garden Center, I hope that your next visit to the shop will elicit the same sense of wonder and excitement that the seed catalogs inspired in me when I was a child. You will still see your old, gold friends here at Himmel’s – Dotti, Brenda, Tait, and others. Their work and expertise are invaluable, and I’m thrilled they all made this transition with me!

We will continue to stock the highest quality plant material at a great value – favorites you have come to rely on like the annuals in Dotti’s annual greenhouse, gorgeous azaleas at a great price, beautiful crape myrtles for traditional summer color, a dazzling assortment of perennials, and more!

We will work hard to bring you the latest trends in garden décor, and the newest plants featuring bold color, texture, and hardiness so that your garden will showcase the best blooms with the longest growing season.

You can also be sure to expect some surprises – things that have never been offered before at Himmel’s!

Finally – we will uphold our mission – Helping our neighbors build a better, healthier and more beautiful world – by

  •  joining community efforts to improve the health of the Bay and the watershed;
  • demonstrating leadership in the movement to restore pollinators;
  • offering a wider variety of native plants, shrubs and trees, and – quite simply;
  • developing a better relationship with you to learn how we can best meet your landscape and gardening

We can’t wait to get started! So, come visit us at Himmel’s and make some new friends. And remember, whether you are planting a few seeds or growing a forest, what you grow matters.

Listen To This: Our Six Favorite Gardening Podcasts

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Do you ever feel like there is so much to learn, but so little time? I love learning as much as I can about my favorite topic – organic gardening – and all the related sub-topics, but you know as well as I do that sometimes it’s impossible to find the time to read a book much less a simple magazine article. And online research can be tricky. If you’re not careful you may research a topic and 4 hours later find yourself dazed and confused in the world of YouTube on another topic altogether!

That’s why I love Podcasts. Podcasts are audio shows based on specific topics that are formatted in episodes. (Check out this site for handy information on podcasts, if you want to learn more:

I can tune in to my favorite Podcasts while cooking, doing chores, running errands or while exercising, and learn interesting information in an entertaining format! There are several ways to access podcasts including directly online and on streaming sites. I use iTunes.

Check out a list of my favorite gardening podcasts below!

  • The joe gardener show:
    This is an entertaining and informative podcast featuring a wealth of information in a down-to-earth format. The focus of joe gardener is to ‘take the guesswork out of gardening’. Whether you’re a novice or expert, this podcast is sure to answer some of your burning questions and teach you a few new tricks!
  • Encyclopedia Botanica:
    This is a fantastic podcast by Seattle Urban Farm Company (SUFCo), whose philosophy is: ‘we thrive on pioneering new ideas and empowering city dwellers to reap the rewards of local food
    production. We believe that sustainable urban agriculture can promote healthy diets, environmental stewardship, stronger communities and improved quality of life…’ Their latest podcast is all about my favorite summer herb: Basil!
  • Triangle Gardener:
    Based in Raleigh, NC, Triangle Gardener is a fantastic magazine with an accompanying podcast that includes stories on plants, garden design, pests, garden books, garden travel, and much more.  Featuring a variety of topics and a great cast of characters, this podcast is sure to become a favorite of yours!
  • The Beginners Garden with Jill McSheehy:
    As her site notes – ‘this is the podcast with easy-to-understand resources, tips, and information to
    help beginning gardeners get the most out of their gardening adventure — big or small’. Jill shares
    wonderful tips for first time gardeners and her optimistic spirit is contagious!
  • On the Ledge:
    I couldn’t resist adding my favorite podcast about houseplants – soon to be featured on the shelves at Himmel’s! Check out ‘EPISODE 57: QUICK WINS FOR INDOOR GARDENERS’ for some fun indoor gardening projects!
  • Hothouse:
    This trendy new podcast is all about ‘design, ecology, and the way we garden now’. Hosted by Leah Churner, a landscape designer in Austin, Texas, Hothouse is ‘a meeting of the minds for plant people and the horticulture-curious’. I enjoyed the ‘Healing Spaces’ episode featuring Jenny Peterson discussing Garden Therapy and her new book – The Cancer Survivor’s Garden Companion.