Garden Chick - Notes from the Garden

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Earth Day:Get Outside and Enjoy!

Beautiful weather is expected today in North Georgia. It is already sunny, and 52 degrees with an expected high 0f 72. I can't wait to get outside. My perennial bed is covered with weeds as well as my herb bed. I plan on weeding, mulching, and planting several herbs that were left over from my garden show a couple of weeks ago. Garlic chives will go in the garden, but I plan on potting pineapple sage (which I have been unable to overwinter here), and orange mint. The leaves of both of these plants (pineapple sage and orange mint) are wonderful to flavor tea. You know how we southerners love our sweet tea, and a great tea can be made by making your tea as usual, then pouring over a pitcher packed with the leaves. The pineapple sage leaves give it a light pineapple taste. You can float the red flowers in it as a garnish. I hope mine will be large enough to get leaves for tea at my open house. I want to have refreshments using the herbs, and sell the herbs along side it. The freeze did not kill my strawberries like they did in most gardens here, but my blueberries are lost for the season. I am also going to pot a number of scented geraniums (chocolate mint and rose) to put down at the shop to liven it up.

Yesterday was a long day. I attended my first meeting of Ladies Who Launch, in Atlanta. (2 hour drive). This is a business incubator for women who want to start a business or grow their business. The group of six women will meet for 4 Fridays, to present, discuss, and get ideas from their group. We left with homework to bring back to the group. Stating your ideas for your business to a group of people somehow makes you accountable to make it happen. This was a very varied group of women, all with great ideas. We all presented a project for our business, some were looking for manufacturing of their product, some need outside help to take their business to the next level, and one with finding the materials for her idea and taking it to market. My project is to market my garden shop which is located in a small town. Each person brings back ideas for the others in the group, and they all bring back ideas for you. It was a great experience being in the room with such talented women. The idea for the Ladies Who Launch Incubators was that women do not traditionally start and run a business like men and have unique needs. The incubators are in 35 cities in the US and have been developed in 3 additional countries. You can find out more about it at
I left Atlanta and drove an additional 100 miles to Gracie's in Blairsville Georgia, part of the Blue Ridge Mountains. You can buy wholesale iron garden decor there. Packed to the brim, my Mitsubishi Montero, started the 2 1/2 hour drive back to Chickamauga to deposit my purchases at the store.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Garden Shop Countdown

Opening day for the shop is May 5th and there is lots of work to do. Shopping bags, and inventory, paint two walls, a door, and plan for our open house. Tomorrow I am off from my "real job" as a nurse, and already my to do list is growing ever longer.

Here's a picture of our shop logo.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Garden Show Woes/Jasmine Moon Garden Shop

I returned last night around 10 p.m. from a garden show near Nashville, Tennessee. My husband and I drove up Thursday (2 and 1/2 hours), rental truck and the back of my SUV, loaded down. My booth was located on the ground level of the agricultural center on packed dirt. Three days later, everything covered in brown soot, we loaded back up for the travel back home. A cold snap resulted in snow (remember I am in the south) as I topped Monteagle Mountain. For anyone who owns a business, you can't always count success in money. (And believe me, I don't think I would consider this show a big success). However, a number of contacts were made for wholesale plants, and I was able to buy wholesale products on the last day from a number of vendors. (to put in my new shop when it opens). Too many plants from my home garden were purchased, but I was able to barter for a few of them.

Also, while there, I received a phone call offering me a portion of a building to open my garden shop. I had planned on waiting until Spring 2008, but I believe in fate, karma, luck, answered prayers, (whatever you want to call it) , and I decided to take a leap of faith and accept the offer. Anyone wanting to start a business should work with their local small business association. I have been doing so, and one of the first things my sponsor said was not to start out too big but to test the water. ( I don't have a lot of start up cash and the biggest reason businesses fail is that they don't have enough cash). This offer allows me to do that. It lets me start off with cheap rent, and minimal investment. It has a lot of what I was looking for: traffic, a building with a yard to put my flowers for sale in, and I am opening on the day Chickamauga has "Down Home Days" which draws big crowds. Open house will be two weeks later to allow me to restock.

The name of the shop will be "The Jasmine Moon Gardening Shop". I enjoy reading mysteries, especially the Susan Wittig Albert, China Bayles Series. China owns an herb shop in Texas, and the mysteries are entwined with herbal lore. Laura Child's Tea Shop Mysteries, involve the amateur sleuth, Theodosia Browning, who owns a tea shop in Charleston, South Carolina. It was in her book, The English Breakfast Murder, that I saw the term "jasmine moon". It was referring to a cemetary, but when I researched it a little more, I found that it is called the jasmine moon because jasmine only blooms on a full moon. I had tossed around a couple of names for the shop but when I heard the name, it felt right. Jasmine is one of my favorite flower vines, and a popular southern plant.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

GardenChick Ramblings

Well, I can cross this blog creation off of my New Year's "To do" list. The original date was January, but considering the procrastinator that I am, April's not too bad. Now, if I can just get those taxes done on time!.
I wanted to start the blog as an extension of my business "Gardenchick",, but realized I have so many things I enjoy doing, and maybe I could offer a wide range of info here, that couldn't be covered in my newsletter. Gardening, starting and running a small business will be the main focus, but ramblings on turning 50, enjoying my friends, family and granddaughters will certainly creep in.

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