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AVANT-GARDENING: CREATIVE ORGANIC GARDENING

Welcome !  " You Can Grow "


ABOUT AVANT-GARDENING: CREATIVE ORGANIC GARDENING


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one of the reflection ponds in our NM garden
We started creating sustainable organic gardens on   San Juan Island, WA.   in 1986. In 1994 we moved to  Sedona, AZ  for three years and created sustainable gardens near Cathedral Rock. From 1998 - May 2010 we lived near  El Morro National Monument in Northwestern New Mexico where we created sustainable gardens at 7300' in a high desert environment. In each area we helped establish and participated in a local farmer's market, and gave workshops on sustainable organic gardening. In May 2010 we returned to San Juan Island, WA, and begin yet another exciting chapter in our gardening adventures!


NORTHWEST BEGINNINGS

Our first gardens were created on San Juan Island, Washington - an island off the coast of Washington State, 10 miles from the bottom of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. We started with a small vegetable garden plot in our back yard, which was nestled within a 2 acre cleared area surrounded by old growth Western Red cedar, Hemlock, Alder, and Douglas fir. Next we built a 60 x 80 concentric circular herb garden with interlocking paths, trellises, and a central focal point with a birdbath surrounded by creeping phlox, lilies, and different varieties and colors of creeping thyme.

The beds in between the interlocking circular pathways were filled with many varieties of each herb - sage, thyme, mint, rosemary, oregano, lavender, catnip and catmints, and others - including anise hyssop, hyssop, comfrey, horehound, ornamentals, French sorrel, and a Bay tree. All these herbs were set against a backdrop of bamboo planted behind an old cedar stump.

Local interest prompted building another garden area with fruit trees surrounded by more paths, beds, and trellises. The beds defined by these paths were filled with many varieties of annual and perennial flowers. Assorted berries were espaliered to 8 short trellises, which radiated out from an old red cedar stump. The third area was a terraced hillside and with beds made of red cedar rails. Here we grew raspberries, 34 varieties of garlic, saffron, artichokes, and strawberries, as well as annual vegetables.

All the garden areas were fenced to keep out the deer, which made themselves at home on the grass beside the three ponds below the gardens. Paths leading to the entrances of these gardens were lined with beds made in formal patterns. Soon, it became a business. We started making herbed vinegars, potpourri, dried flower arrangements, and culinary herbs and we sold them out of our converted front porch enclosed "store".

We serviced restaurants and resorts on the island, participated in the farmer's market on Saturdays. We were open to the public every day from 11-5 throughout the year and we sold fresh organic herbs, flowers, and vegetables right out of the gardens.

After expanding as
much as we could handle without hiring anyone, we sold our business in 1993 and moved to Arizona, where we spent three years creating and coordinating the building of a large formal herb and vegetable garden for a private community.


SOUTHWEST ADVENTURES

We moved to northwestern New Mexico from 1996 - 2010 to an area presenting many challenges, altitude, erratic spring weather, a short growing season, and a 7,300 ft. harsh high desert environment, which allowed us to use our experience and creativity to establish new gardens, teach others how to garden, start a new farmers market, and a "Ramah Area Annual Garden Tour".

We gave Rockwork, Labyrinth, Strawbale Wall, Permaculture, and Sustainable Organic Gardening Workshops during the year.

An online newsletter, "Avant-Gardening Tid-Bytes" was published monthly from 2000 until 2008. We also wrote a book called "Growing with the Seasons", which is available at Amazon.com or your local bookstore.



the
Sunstone Press in Santa Fe, New Mexico recently published a book by Frank and Vicky Giannangelo - photographs and essays about their New Mexico adventures in sustainable organic gardening, personal growth, community, and sustainability - titled  "GROWING WITH THE SEASONS". It is available from the publisher Sunstone Press in Santa Fe, NM (505) 988-4418, or from  Amazon Books, or it can be ordered from a bookstore near you!




BACK TO SAN JUAN ISLAND, WA

In May 2010 we moved back to San Juan Island and have created a new business called "MOSSY KNOLL GARDEN" on Bailer Hill Road on the southwest side of San Juan Island, WA.

We have a circular herb garden, a vegetable labrinth garden with cement wall raised beds, and a Zen Garden which includes a pond with a waterfalls. We have a small greenhouse, and a composting area.

We want the gardens to be an example of what an individual or family could create in a small growing area to provide themselves and others with culinary herbs, vegetables, flowers, fruit and nut trees, and assorted berries.

Mossy Knoll Circle Garden on San Juan Island, WA
The gardens are organic and sustainable, and we are here to offer fresh picked seasonal produce, gardening advice, encouragement, and inspiration to all who may come by.

There are culinary herbs, seasonal produce, berries, and cut flowers for sale. We are open to the public for viewing by appointment year around, or when the sign at the head of the driveway indicates we are open.

To make an appointment to visit our gardens please contact us  for time/information/directions






Website designed and maintained by Vicky Giannangelo
Feedback? Comments, questions, suggestions?
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Created by Frank and Vicky Giannangelo, copyright (c) 2001-2013


Home Page    About Us    Mossy Knoll Garden/San Juan Island    Botany Basics    "You Can Grow!" Workshops    Composting    Soil Building
Hardiness Zone Map   WebRings    "You Can Grow" CD's   "Tid-Bytes" Insights   Garden Pests & Organic Controls
Biodiversity and Genetic Engineering    New Mexico    Companion & Intensive Planting     Permaculture    Labyrinths
Seed Starting Guide    Creative Garden Design    The Greenzbox    Culinary Herb Gardens    Xeriscape
"Growing with the Seasons"    Photo Tour I    Photo Tour II    Photo Tour III    Photo Tour IV    Photo Tour V
Organic Products    Gardening Books   Gardening Supplies     Recommend This Site    Resources




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