blueberries growing on a bush
PhreddieH3, [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Silly gardeners. While we've been sweating and struggling in the summer heat, the smart folks at the NC Cooperative Extension Service have been coolly building a giant online resource for us. Sponsored by N.C. State University, the Extension Gardener Handbook can solve just about any problem -- and enhance the experience of gardening for everyone. So pour yourself a cold beverage, find a shady spot, and check it out. 

World renowned landscape architect W. Gary Smith designs gardens and landscapes that celebrate the relationship between people and plants. He’s designed and implemented major botanical gardens and outdoor centers all over North America, and his latest project brings him to the Charlotte region. He’s designing a major children’s garden at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden called 'The Lost Hollow' in a medieval theme. W. Gary Smith joins us to talk about landscape architecture and gardening on a large scale and we’ll find out how you can bring some of the principles he applies to his work to your garden.

One evening recently, I wasn't feeling well and wanted to get home from my job at Southminster. I knew a hard freeze was coming, and I needed to get the rest of the sweet potatoes out of the ground at the garden on the property, right away. So I gathered some containers and gloves and headed to work, because the garden was calling.

bengarland / Flickr

If you have friends who garden or have access to too much produce, you may be the recipient of their gleanings. Co-workers, acquaintances, neighbors come bearing bags from their bounty.

Thanks to so much rain the bounty is higher than average. The current “drop” involves summer squash. This game works something like tag. The dropper tags you with veggies and you, the dropee, are “it.”

Sometimes the veggies turn up unannounced on your door step. Sometimes they come with a warning on the phone: I’m bringing some squash by.

Robert Llewellyn, courtesy of Thomas Jefferson Foundation

When you think of historic restoration, most times you think of those TV shows where they fix up old homes to look how they did in their heyday. But Peter Hatch has taken historic restoration to a whole new level - horticultural historic restoration. He was the director of Gardens at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home, for 35 years, and while there, fully restored Thomas Jefferson's beloved gardens. He'll be in town this week for North Carolina's Master Gardener Conference, and in advance of that, he and another master gardener join us to talk about Jefferson's Monticello gardens and how it was restored, and about what gardeners today - here and around the world can learn from Jefferson's work centuries ago, when Charlotte Talks.

We've all heard about the benefits of "eating local." Well, you can't get more local than your own backyard! If you haven’t planted yet, or even if you have, we'll explore the best practices for planting and maintaining your beds for the most delicious and nutritious vegetables, even with little yard space to work with. Before you know it, you'll have more tomatoes, zucchini and cucumbers than you know what to do with! So we'll fill you in on creative ways to cook them to get the most out of your summer harvest - from salads, soups and salsas to grilling and more. Join us for summer gardening advice from the experts, tips for preparing and enjoying your summer bounty, plus a look at the health benefits of eating from your own garden. Gardening meets cooking, when Charlotte Talks.

Rebecca D'Angelo

I bumped in to Nan Chase at the Blue Ridge Book Festival last May. The Asheville author was discussing her book, Eat Your Yard.

Riding the crest of the Eat Local movement, she has produced an attractive, helpful book to help backyard farmers. But instead of ripping out the sod to grow squash and beans, Nan takes an aesthetic approach—mix food-producing plants into the landscape.

Part One: Southern Spring Home And Garden Show. Earlier this month, the groundhog told us that spring is on its way, but if there were any question about that, the approach of the annual Southern Spring Home and Garden Show in Charlotte would have confirm that spring is almost here. We'll be joined by Joan Zimmerman, co-founder of Southern Shows, the company that puts on the Southern Spring Home and Garden Show, along with son David who is the president of that company to talk about why consumer shows are still so popular with attendees, and about the difference between consumer shows and retail stores, not only for the consumer but for the vendors. And we'll also be joined by one of the headlining garden expert who will give us some tidbits to get us ready for spring planting.