My garden handbook is published!

I have been working on a gardening eBook with an avid gardener and fellow Raleigh resident for some time now. We first hatched the idea almost a year ago—back in May of 2013. And, today it’s ready for all of you.

A Community Garden Handbook was grown from our passion for sharing knowledge and giving back.

We priced it at only .99 cents so that it’s super accessible.

If you’re curious about what it takes to start and grow a community garden, or if you’ve thought about joining one, or if you just want some great tips on gardening at home, check out Shamsa Visone’s best advice on:

  • how to choose a garden location
  • how to organize a community garden
  • garden layout and design
  • 6 keys to community garden success
  • how to compost
  • how to make worm tea for your plants

This eBook has pictures and quotes sprinkled in!

Print it out and take it to the garden with you. Make notes on the pages! Or, take it to planning sessions with your neighbors. We need more community gardens in Raleigh neighborhoods. This eBook is also great for general gardening knowledge too. There are some great, simple steps to composting and organizing a garden of any size. Plus, worm tea! What’s worm tea? Find out.

Get your super cheap awesome garden eBook. Then grab a sunny spot and sit down for a smart and fun 30 page read.

Yoga outside and downtown

YogaFest NC are the folks who bring us yoga outside at City Plaza every summer. And, oh yeah, it’s glorious to be out there getting your stretch on while the sun sets. Check out this awesome photo.


Howie Shareff tells me they anticipate the return of weekly, outdoor yoga in downtown Raleigh on Wednesdays at 6pm, starting May 7. It’s free, y’all. To get more info on yoga for you, guys, sore muscles, injuries, and more—read my interview with Howie.

Plus: Every year they put on YogaFest NC, a day-long yoga event with sessions from 9am to 4pm. Their big shindig is this weekend—Saturday March 22 at the McKimmon Center—and it’s sold out! If you missed signing up this year, mark about two weeks ago on your calendar for next year to get tickets in time.

Read more about yoga in Raleigh.

The evolution of a city, a neighborhood

There are two notable news articles that came out this week that I want to share with you.

The first is from a writer for the New York Times. Ingrid K. Williams took a trip down to Raleigh, ate some great food, listened to some rock’n music, and overall got a pretty good feel for what life in Raleigh is like. My favorite part is how she starts the article off with the fantastic insight that Raleigh is it’s own city. Its merits do not rely on the collective coolness of “the Triangle” or “Research Triangle Park” or “Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.”

I thought she should have mentioned some of Raleigh’s greatest blogs and other NC bloggers, but that’s OK. I made a list of them for you: Best of Raleigh blogs.

Read 36 Hours in Raleigh, N.C.

The second article is from our own gem of a publication, The Raleigh Public Record. Ariella Monti shares the story of the construction of a modernist house in the Historic Oakwood neighborhood that could be shut down. Without even knowing the full story, it’s hard to say it wouldn’t be a shame when you see how much construction has already been done. But basically, a notice (complaint) has been filed that the house doesn’t fit in with the style of the other homes in Historic Oakwood.

Photo by James Willamor. Shared under CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo by James Willamor. Shared under CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo by James Willamor. Shared under CC BY-SA 2.0
Photo by James Willamor. Shared under CC BY-SA 2.0

As I biked around my neighborhood in Five Points today, I noticed the diversity in house designs and styles. Some are large, some are small. Some are in between. Some are apartments, duplexes, and rentals. Some are owned. Some have white picket fences. There are even two Spanish-influenced styled homes with tiled roofs and brightly colored trim against white stucco that clearly stand apart from their neighbors. But, it’s that kind of diversity that draws me to this neighborhood, and that I cherish Raleigh for.

There are also many of the traditional southern-style homes here too, that I love. And so, I too appreciate the wonder of the homes in Historic Oakwood and how they all seem banded together with their long, sprawling porches and multiple stories of trim and lace.

So, I wondered where I stood on this issue, and my argument is around length of time. If the City issued a “Certificate of Appropriateness” which, for all intents and purposes, was a proverbial “yes” to this citizen, that he and she could in fact build on that plot of land, you just can’t retract it some months later after construction has begun. After someone’s money, time, and effort has been poured into a project of this magnitude. We’re not talking about a garden in the front yard or a playhouse in the City park. Look at this thing. There has to be a time limit on something like this.

Photo by Jen Wike. CC BY-SA 4.0
Photo by Jen Wike. CC BY-SA 4.0
Photo by Jen Wike. CC BY-SA 4.0
Photo by Jen Wike. CC BY-SA 4.0

It seems fairly obvious a mistake has been made in the process, and we need to mend that process. But, unless an oversight has been made that hurts someone, we need to move on. Perhaps you could claim the harm would be that more modernists homes would go in, but there is no harm in one modernist house in Historic Oakwood. And, if the process is mended and a resolution is made for there to be no more, then so be it.

But, I also wonder about the evolution of a neighborhood. I wonder how Oakwood started out. What it looked like then and how it has changed over time…

Where does evolution start and preservation end? And, must they be in conflict?

If houses of different styles were allowed to enter the neighborhood, would we one day look back and say, “Joe, don’t you remember when this neighborhood was full of only those grand, southern-style homes? It’s a shame there are a few grand, modernist-style homes as well now, isn’t it?”

Maybe. Maybe not.

Oh well… As my friend Sarabeth used to say, “Take a picture. It lasts longer.”

Read City Decision Stops Work at Modernist House in Oakwood