Monthly Archives: April 2015

Caution: deep-digging wife in flip-flops ahead

Southern Hospitality

Ever since I was a young adult, I’ve planted flowerbeds for beauty and cutting. I have always wanted a cutting garden next to my front door, filled with purple, red, yellow and magenta flowers and at least one fresh herb for fragrance. This would be a special area to enjoy at the end of the day. Finally, I got around to designing my dream garden. The first step was going shopping for some flowers. The next would be digging a bed.

I came home loaded down with a dozen perennials and proceeded to get the shovel out of the garage. Russell watched me with anxiety. I was able to get him out there in the first place because I told him I wanted an opinion. This was true — I wanted an opinion of how much he was willing to help me with this major gardening maneuver, but hey, I’m a little more subtle than that.

No wife in her right mind ever just blurts out, “Hey, honey, can you help me?” because that’s a sure ticket to watch your man run the other way, making up some silly excuse, like: “Oops, I just remembered I got a phone call from the repair shop saying the ball bearings I ordered for my lawn mower have come in. In fact, they arrived on an overnight flight from Yugoslavia, and another customer wanted them, and not only that, they are no longer being made, so I better get on down there before they close in five minutes. Bye!”

My dear husband did eventually agree to give me his opinion on where to plant this and that, did the colors complement each other, and did he think it was a sunny enough spot? (As if he would know any of that.) Then I began explaining the real reason I had drug him outside and away from the Golf Channel. Russell folded his arms across his chest. He knew what was coming. When I hinted that I’d like some help digging up the centipede grass, he immediately set the record straight (with an evil crooked smile), saying that he wasn’t lifting a finger. “Fine,” I said with my jaw set. Who was asking him to?

Anyway, I changed into flip-flops and proceeded to tackle the job on my own. You know what? It was impossible for me to remove that tangled patch of thick, green, healthy centipede with roots as strong as fishing line. For some reason, I could only get a real handle on the job when I dug at a 90-degree angle, making holes that were about 18 inches deep. The funny thing was, the deeper I dug, the more powerful I felt. Sure, it left a small gully in my yard, but no problem: I planned to go out the next day and buy around $275 worth of potting soil to fill in the holes.
Russell cringed when he saw I meant business. “Do you have to dig that far down?” he whined. He can’t stand it when I dig up good centipede. It’s right up there with my selling his golf clubs at a garage sale when he isn’t watching.

Finally he succumbed. “Here, let me help you.” “Oh no, you’re not lifting a finger, remember?” I snapped. Still he stood there, “guarding” the spread of greenery that he was losing mound by mound. Well. After a solid hour of digging up only five square feet by myself, I couldn’t stand it any longer. I also couldn’t stand up, my back hurt so much.

Out of pity (dare I think love?) Russell accepted the shovel and the job was finished in no time flat. As he drove off to get his ball bearings, I hollered, “Look at it this way. One positive thing came out of this, honey. Now you’ll have less grass to mow!”

- Ann Ipock
Author of Life is Short, But It’s Wide; Life is Short, So Read This Fast; and Life is Short, I wish I Was Taller

’Round the Bend

A & E

Benderdinker 2015 Augusta GeorgiaPull out your kayak, canoe or paddleboard for the fourth annual Benderdinker at Betty’s Branch in Evans. This year the popular noncompetitive paddle event, scheduled for 10 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 25, will be accompanied by River-Fest, an afternoon of fun and games on land, as well.

The event is designed to make noise about silent sports, human-powered activities that typically do not disrupt the natural environment, and slow foods – locally sourced, sustainably raised, wild and foraged foods.

The paddle, which takes about two-and-a-half hours to complete, will feature nine food and live music stops along the six-mile route. Musicians on the water will include Donna Jo, Nick Brown, Clyde’s on Fire and Delta Cane.

The landlubbing musical lineup at River-Fest will consist of Savannah River Stringband, Ariana Williams, Donna Jo, The Ramblin’ Fevers, Clyde’s on Fire, The Mason Jars and Delta Cane. Food, beverages, beer and vendor merchandise will be available for purchase on land after the paddle. Festivalgoers also can participate in lawn games such as corn hole, giant tic-tac-toe, ladder ball, mini disc golf and bocce ball. Sand volleyball pickup games will run from noon until 5:30 p.m. Standup paddleboard, paddleboard yoga and kayak fishing demos will be available as well.

Paddlers can register for the event online. Check-in will run from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. Friday, April 24 when participants can bring their vessels to the site and select their launch times. Overnight security will be provided.

Proceeds from the event will benefit Augusta Locally Grown and the Benderdigger, which educates children ages 6 – 15 about eating healthy self-produced and wild foods.

If You Go:

What: Benderdinker and River-Fest
When: Saturday, April 25; paddle 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.; River-Fest noon – 6 p.m. 
Where: Betty’s Branch, 4431 Hardy McManus Road, Evans
How Much: $35 per vessel (kayak, canoe or SUP); registration includes one T-shirt, one goody bag and one admission to River-Fest; $3 admission per person to River-Fest with registration of vessel or $5 admission per person to River-Fest at the gate; additional cost to rent vessel
More Info:

Green Thumbs Up

A & E

Green Thumbs UpIt wouldn’t be spring without the annual Sacred Heart Garden Festival, and the annual event once again will feature growing tips and tricks for novice gardeners and serious horticulturists alike.
Talented local professionals will display their landscaping and floral creations in and around Sacred Heart Cultural Center, while vendors from across the Southeast will sell plants, home accessories and garden accents at the Garden Market. As part of the Speaker Series, gardening gurus will share their expertise through lectures and how-to demonstrations.
Tours of private gardens in Augusta, including historic Summerville, will be offered from noon until 5 p.m. each day of the event. Proceeds will benefit Sacred Heart Cultural Center.

 If You Go:

What: Sacred Heart Garden Festival

When: 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. Friday, April 24; 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, April 25; noon – 5 p.m. Sunday, April 26

Where: Sacred Heart Cultural Center and various local gardens

How Much: $25 for three-day ticket that includes Sacred Heart exhibits, garden market, lectures and garden tours; $10 for one-day pass for Sacred Heart events (garden tours excluded)

More Info: (706) 826-4700 or

Homemade Potato Wedges

Side Dishes
  • Homemade Potato Wedges2 large potatoes
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Olive oil for drizzling
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • Fresh herbs for garnish 

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Scrub potatoes and leave the skin on; cut into wedges. Place wedges in a large microwave-safe bowl and cook about 8 minutes. Take a fork and pierce the wedges — the fork should go in without resistance. Remove bowl from microwave. Add a tablespoon of butter to the potatoes and lightly drizzle with olive oil. Add garlic powder, Italian herbs, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Toss well. Line a baking tray with foil or parchment paper. Place wedges on tray in a single layer and bake about 7 minutes or until one side turns golden. Turn over and bake another 7-8 minutes. Garnish with fresh herbs and serve with ranch dressing or your favorite dipping sauce. Serves 2-4.

Spectacular for Spring

Garden Scene
Salvia Summer Jewel

Salvia Summer Jewel

Add wow factor to your garden, landscaping and patio with five of our favorite new flowers for spring. 

When it comes to gardening, there are no magic fairies or garden gnomes that can help you find success 100 percent of the time. But the judges from All-America Selections — garden experts from across North America — come pretty close.

Each year the judges test new varieties of flowers, vegetables and bedding plants, helping to take the guesswork out of finding the best new plants for your own garden or yard. Here are a few of our favorite flowers for a colorful 2015:

Dianthus, Interspecific Jolt Pink

Dianthus, Interspecific Jolt Pink

Dianthus, Interspecific Jolt Pink

This brightly colored dianthus has large, showy flower heads on strong stems that perform extremely well all summer long. Jolt is the most heat tolerant dianthus on the market, sporting very showy, bright pink-fringed flowers. Easy to grow, it’s a trouble-free annual for gardeners looking for neat and tidy low-maintenance flower varieties. The blooms last up to four weeks longer than comparison varieties, making it an excellent choice for landscaping. Full sun.

Impatiens Bounce Pink Flame PPAF ‘Balboufink’

Impatiens Bounce Pink Flame PPAF 'Balboufink'

Impatiens Bounce Pink Flame PPAF ‘Balboufink’

Bounce Pink Flame impatiens, with massive amounts of stunning, bright pink bicolor blooms, provides gardeners with shade garden confidence. These plants are completely downy mildew resistant, which means they will last from spring all the way through fall. And caring for impatiens has never been easier — just add water and these plants will “bounce” right back. Sun or shade.

Salvia Summer Jewel White

A third color in the popular Summer Jewel series, white brings a much-needed color to compact salvias. This dwarf-sized, compact plant has a prolific bloom count throughout the summer. As a bonus, the blooms appear almost two weeks earlier than other white salvias. Bees, butterflies and hummingbirds love the larger flowers, making this a perfect plant for a pollinator garden. Because of the compactness and number of flowers, it is great for large landscaped areas, as well as containers and small beds. Full sun.

Impatiens Sunpatiens Spreading Shell Pink

Impatiens Sunpatiens Spreading Shell Pink

Impatiens SunPatiens Spreading Shell Pink

SunPatiens Spreading Shell Pink is a vigorous, spreading plant that keeps its shape all summer and delivers soft pink flowers that never slow down. Strong roots take hold quickly after transplanting, and these low-maintenance impatiens thrive under high heat, rain and humidity. Grows equally well in sun or shade.

Petunia Tidal Wave Red Velour

Petunia Tidal Wave Red Velour

Petunia Tidal Wave Red Velour

Tidal Wave Red Velour is a perfect solution for time-crunched gardeners or those looking for care-free petunias. Large flowers cover the vigorously spreading plants and rarely need deadheading because new blooms continuously pop up and cover the old, spent blooms. The deep red, velvety blooms don’t fade, even in the heat of summer. This is an excellent landscape plant that covers a large area quickly and beautifully. Full sun to partial sun.

By Morgan Davis
Photos courtesy of All-America Selections