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Burpee Seeds At Walmart, Kmart And Lowe's Garden Centers

I noticed today that for the past three years Burpee seeds I find at garden centers and nurseries end up being blogged about. So, I guess this is the 4th Annual Burpee Seeds post, which probably makes this more of a Burpee Seed Watch by now. In last year’s Burpee Seeds at Home Depot post I pointed out how the Cypress Vine labeled Burpee seeds were what most people call Cardinal Climber. I’ve never grown Cardinal Climber, but I have grown Cypress Vine and it is my absolute favorite climbing vine to grow in the garden. The first time I saw what I know to be Cypress Vine labeled as Cardinal Climber by Burpee I thought it had to be an error, then I thought; “Who am I to question a seed giant like Burpee?” But then I came across these two seed packets at Menards and I was again left scratching my head.
Cypress Vine, Cardinal Climber Burpee seed packs


Grow Your Own Drugs And Great Grub

Grow Your Own Drugs and Grow Great Grub: Good garden books for beginner gardeners.
Ever since I first visited the medicinal plant garden in Chicago I've wanted to create a garden where I could grow many herbs, annuals and perennials that are used in alternative medicines. The idea of being able to create all-natural remedies from ingredients I'd grow and harvest right in my own garden really appeals to the urban homesteader inside me. It is a shame that with every successive generation we move further and further away from growing pharmacies in our gardens like our ancestors did, heck our grandparents did.


The King of Horticulture and Social Media in Chicago

Earlier this week I was invited by Mike Nowak to be a guest on his Chicago gardening radio show. Being a regular listener of the show I was excited about the opportunity, but really scared. It is a weird feeling to be asked to come around from behind the computer and be "MrBrownThumb" in person. The first time that happened I had the benefit of going in with other garden bloggers and it feeling like someone had my back. Part of the reason I don't like to do it, besides people not asking regularly, is that I'm not sure the "MrBrownThumb" shtick translates outside of blogs and 140 character tweets. So, after being invited to be on the radio show I quickly had to improvise another security blanket to help me cope with the stress.

I asked Mike if I could bring my laptop in and perhaps incorporate Twitter into the segment. He agreed and this morning I headed down to the radio station extra early. I got there so early for my segment that I  had time sit down to read Waking Up in Eden and was a couple of chapters in when Mike's producer came running into the room I was waiting in and said I was up.

The next thing I remember I'm sitting in a studio with a microphone in my face and my fingers tapping at the keys of my laptop posting something on Twitter. Mike introduced me as something to the effect of the King of Twitter (honestly, I can't remember exactly what he said) to which I replied that I was the Court Jester and that Ron Wolford, having way more followers, deserved the title.

The rest of the half-hour segment is as much of a blur as how I got into the studio and into the seat but I was fortunate to once again have gardeners who had my back. Several garden bloggers and gardeners on Twitter were listening to the show and they became part of the live radio show. Here is a list of those that tweeted at me during the segment:

The Yarden 
UrbanGarden (The King of Horticulture and Social Media)
Kiss My Aster

Even some gardeners outside of Chicago were listening.

BG_Garden (Ohio)
SJones71 (Connecticut)
IndoorGarden-er (Washington DC)
Get In The Garden (Western NY State)

If you're looking for a fun bunch of people to follow on Twitter give these tweeple a follow. If you don't do Twitter visit their Twitter account any way and check out the profile links because many of them are gardeners and bloggers too. My favorite part of the segment was seeing some of them get a kick out of hearing their names said on the radio.

Garden Corporate Shill

The one part of the show that wasn't a blur was talking about how I like to blog about seed saving and seed starting. Right after that Mike asked me if I had started my seeds yet. I answered that I hadn't because I had yet to check out what the "big box" stores were carrying. I said this right as he was segueing into a commercial for a local garden center that, get this, had their seed supplies ready for customers.

Did I really go on "Chicago's Progressive Talk" on a gardening radio show with lots of local gardening sponsors and mention that I shop at "big box" stores? Yes, yes I did. After the show I had almost convinced myself that I hadn't committed such a fabulously idiotic faux pas. I had almost talked myself into believing it hadn't happened but then I checked my phone and saw a message from a gardener who noticed that I gave an unintended shout-out to the "big box" garden centers. At least @TheYarden benefited from hearing about Sid's Greenhouse and said she was going there to shop. Maybe that will balance out my karma.

Why I like Twitter 

I know Twitter isn't for everyone and not everyone will "get it" but I really like it, for now. Besides it being a place where I can get the validation my parents never gave me as a child, I think it is as great place to meet fellow gardeners. As I mentioned on the show; I like how I was able to connect the Cook County Master Gardeners with Renee's Garden and seeing the donation of 500 seed packets she made to them. Twitter made that possible.

I hope the interactions that Mike had during his radio show with gardeners on Twitter propel him to add social media into the programing. I know sometimes when I'm listening to him & Beth Botts I feel the urge to chime in but don't feel like picking up the phone. Being able to send a quick question or comment to the show would be great. Plus, there's the ability to tap into a national audience that could be listening online like those gardeners from outside Chicago were doing today. We may not all live in the same gardening Zone but we all speak plants.

I'm grateful to Mike and his crew for being so nice and for the opportunity to be on the show. It was scary but it was a lot of fun and now I wish I had a radio show all of my own. :0) You can listen to The Mike Nowak Show on WCPT 820 AM in Chicago on Sunday's from 8-10AM. It is always informative for gardeners and really funny. He has a regular column that runs in Chicagoland Gardening magazine that you should check out. Visit MikeNowak.Net and poke around his website to learn about his articles, lectures and performances. Podcasts of his show can be found here (the February 7th show is the one I'm in). Oh yeah, and support those local advertisers too.

Thanks for going on The Mike Nowak Show with me.