Bamboo screen, A Native Garden, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

A Native’s Garden

BB Barns Garden Center is known for their ornamental gardening plants and products. The English Cottage appeal isn’t lost on customers who practically swoon when visiting the store, exclaiming how gorgeous it all is. But, BB Barns has their natives, too. Ellen Blair, who works as an Outside Sales Associate as part of the perennial team, is a native of Western North Carolina. Asheville is her home, and her career as a horticulturist has been spent in the region’s finest gardens.

BB Barns is now happy to have her on their team, and she was brave enough to go first on the virtual tour of BB Barns’ employee’s gardens. Thanks, Ellen!

As we at BB Barns already know, Ellen is particularly good at 2 things: using what’s handy in the garden and getting creative with it. What Ellen has at her house is a backyard full

The Potting Shed, Hilt Street Garden, Brevard, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

A Pinterest Worthy Garden

Let’s start with hiding the trashcans. I’m sorry this picture is so Pinterest worthy.

My neighbors, who live one block from me, and were kind enough to invite me to see their garden, chose to hide their trashcans in this clever way. It just makes you smile, doesn’t it?

I have a list of top 10 questions from garden clients. Ranking #2 on the list is how to hide anything from trash cans to HVAC units, and the solution, to my client’s way of thinking, is never cheap. Elaborate fences, major plantings, stone walls, you name it. So, this inexpensive (even the pots aren’t pricey), and completely charming idea, artfully done by my neighbors Pat and Joe Webb, impressed me enough to pull out the IPAD and show clients, it can be easy.

Turns out

Dancing through a Mid-Life Crisis, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milenr

Dancing Through a Mid-Life Crisis

No, I’m not taking a ballroom class. I plug my earphones into my IPhone and hit play. I hit play in the parking lot, before I even get to my car. All day long I help people solve plant problems. What to plant where, what plant best matches the porch cushions (really?), what works in shade, in sun, on an embankment, and so on. I answer questions politely and hopefully, informatively, but if you could read my thoughts, I’m looking forward to the music.

So why the music and the mid-life crisis?

Because life gets hard about this time in the journey. For some, it starts out pretty darn hard. For others, hard things happen along the way. But by mid-life, the ball really gets rolling. At least, that’s what I’m finding out. My mother died so unexpectedly and suddenly last July, that I am

Mulch on, Mullch off, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Millner

Mulch On, Mulch Off?

Oh for pete’s sake, mulch off.

Okay, so mulch is good for moisture retention and weed control, for sure. It is also bio-degrades, and as it degrades it helps improve soil content, which in turn helps with gas exchange, drainage, root growth and so forth. So yes, please mulch, compost, fertilize, pile your shredded (or not) leaves on in the fall, and generally improve your soil. That really is your purpose in the garden: Leave the soil in better condition than when you arrived. And, just FYI: Landscape fabric does not help that cause (improving the soil), so get rid of that stuff.

But, as always, too much of a good thing is too much. Case in point.

What’s with the candle in the cupcake look?

We’ve taken the concept of mulch and because it is a good thing, we do what we do best (or maybe

Working 9 to 5, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

Working 9 to 5

Let’s all start by saying we wish we worked 9-5. I’m more like 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. How about you? But hey, it pays the bills, and that does seem important. I make more money working more hours, not more money by the hour. Welcome to the blue collar world. Still, I love my job and am very passionate about what I do. So, I keep doing it.

But, this week was a bad week at work. It just was. Even a job you love and are passionate about can be a pretty crap job some weeks. It’s life. Work is a good thing that sometimes isn’t so good. Here’s how I handled that. I chose to be a little underhanded. Because someone picked on me, I picked on someone else. The pecking order and all that. How old am I?

Bottom line: I was

A.D.D., Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

ADD and What Needs My Attention Now?

My boss describes himself as A.D.D. (Attention Deficit Disorder).

We were talking about his neighbor who accidentally burned down his 5M house. My boss said (about his neighbor), “He’s ADD like me. ADD people burn down the house.”

I’m not ADD, at least I have no proper diagnosis of it, and, though sorely uneducated on the subject, if I had to guess, I’d say I’m the complete opposite of ADD. I have a laser-like focus that keeps me on task to the point where I am hard to interrupt. (There is a caveat to this: If I am bored, or uninterested, then I appear to be the ditz of the universe, who, like Dory, sees all sorts of shiny things.)

A recent example: The house behind me, 2 doors down, 2 weeks ago, caught on fire. In my small town that’s an evening of excitement,

Lord Send Help, The Boxwoods Still Need Trimming, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

Lord, Send Help. The Boxwoods Still Need Trimming.

Exhaustion: a weary body, a weary soul, a weary heart.

I just woke up from a nap. A much needed, exhaustion-curbing (almost) nap.

Exhaustion is the catch word these days. We’ve passed tired, gone beyond needing a day off, and landed in the middle of exhaustion.

When you reach exhaustion, you’re all out of resources. Unless you’re a Navy Seal, but really, even they seem a bit tired lately what with all the book writing.

Lord, send help.

After waking from my nap and devouring the only food in the house–chips and salsa–and finishing my Chick-fil-A tea. I put my head back and uttered, “Lord send help.”  Like you’d let out a big sigh when you finally sat down after a 16 hour day. Only this was surprisingly accurate words. Lord, send help indeed. When did I start thinking I could do it all? All by myself?

cinthia milner transplanted and still blooming lady gardener david austin rose

Growing David Austin English Roses

‘Constance Spry’ was my first David Austin English Rose. I ordered it from the Antique Rose Emporium and it came bare root. I remember thumbing through their catalog, and reading that it was an old fashioned, spring-blooming, either climber or shrub, fragrant rose with the cabbage head instead of tea-shape.

I’ll be honest. I had no idea what any of that meant, but the picture was so beautiful I couldn’t resist. This is ‘Constance Spry’ adorning a garden wall, and making that bench seem very inviting.

My ‘Constance Spry’ grew over the barbed wire fence of the vegetable garden. It was huge, very thorny, and divine. Easily 5 feet tall and 6 feet wide, soft pink, and fragrant. (Really, why grow a rose that is not?) I was never more proud of a rose, or myself. My first rose and it grew beautifully. That started my relationship with

Plants Gonna Die, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

Plants Gonna Die

On this morning of a frost-filled night, there is but one thing to say, “Plants gonna die.”

Most of my clients will credit themselves with killing half the plants in Western North Carolina. And, if you consider the number of plants they have purchased and planted, they may not be too far off in their accounting. But, there is this odd notion held by almost all garden center-goers: They do not think plants die (unless at their hands). They have this tricky thought that if not for them and their lack of ability in the garden, plants would live forever. They most especially believe this regarding trees. To most novices, trees just don’t die.

Case in point. My favorite, hand’s-down-question-so-far-this-year:

What can I do for my dead tree?

A very kind gentleman, about 40-ish with a small child, grabbed me in the parking lot, wondering if we had anything to

The Pocketbook, Transplanted and Still Blooming, Cinthia Milner

The Pocketbook

My mom, Frankie Ann, was the worst gift-giver.

I’d tell her exactly what to get–say a new book. I’d give her the title, the author, the date of publication, and I’d go by the store–the one that wasn’t “weird with no parking”–and tell the salesclerk to hold it for Mom. Her one task? To pick it up and pay for it.  Then gift day rolled around, and she’d proudly hand me some useless kitchen gadget. I don’t cook. And no, it wasn’t a hint to start cooking. She didn’t cook, either. She just tanked at giving gifts, and seriously there was no following her thinking on this, though she had a thought behind it. It was always a puzzlement to me. But, I did inherit this trait. My gifts are always last minute and so lackluster. (To all my dear friends, I apologize.)

But, Frankie Ann was stylish. One day