Get ready, Knoxvillians! It's Festival time

It's great to be a Knoxvillian, especially at this time of year.  It's Festival time, and there are plenty!

It is also important to note that many of our favorite series start up this time of year. The Market Square Farmers’ Market begins the first week of May (2nd and 6th) as does Jazz Tuesdays on Market Square (May 5) and the Thursday Night Market Square Concert Series (May 7). Don't forget the annual Biscuit Fest, It is also important to note that many of our favorite series start up this time of year. The Market Square Farmers’ Market begins the first week of May (2nd and 6th) as does Jazz Tuesdays on Market Square (May 5) and the Thursday Night Market Square Concert Series (May 7). And then we have the Biscuit Festival http://biscuitfest.com/schedule/The annual Bob Dylan Birthday Bash is slated for First Friday in June (June 5) on Market Square. Festivals outside of festival season and coming toward the end  of summer include the East Tennessee History Fair, Blank Fest, Brewer’s Jam, and the Hola Festival, so watch for those.The annual Bob Dylan Birthday Bash is slated for First Friday in June (June 5) on Market Square..
Have we missed any?  Absolutely!  This list will continue... stand by

High Country Gardens wins 2015 green thumb award



Dog Tuff™ African Dogtooth Grass named one of the best new plants for 2015
 
Dog Tuff™ African Dogtooth Grass (Cynodon hybrida Dog Tuff™) from High Country Gardens has been honored as a 2015 Green Thumb Award winner as one of the top new plants of the year.
 
Cynodon hybrida ‘Dog Tuff™ (‘Dog Tuff™ African Dogtooth Grass) is a xeric turf grass that is perfect for high traffic and play areas, with excellent durability in yards with dogs. A sterile hybrid, this South African native grass was discovered growing as a dense, bright-green area of grass on an isolated ranch in South Africa. It was brought to the USA over 30 years ago, but it has never been available to the public until it was introduced by High Country Gardens. (The grass was developed by horticulturist Kelly Grummons.)
 
This low and dense-growing turf grass is a water-wise variety that provides a tough, wear-resistant lawn. It is ideal for kids’ play and stands up to dog traffic and dog urine with little or no damage. Once established, this grass is highly weed resistant, deep rooted and provides a soft, cushioned feel for bare feet. Dog Tuff™ African Dogtooth Grass is considered sterile, so it doesn’t spread by seed. Rather it spreads by stolons that root into the ground whenever they can take hold, filling in to form a thick, luxurious lawn. Well suited for USDA zones 5-9, the grass grows between 2.5 and 4” tall, so mowing is optional depending on the desired look. Cynodon hybrida ‘Dog Tuff™’ (‘Dog Tuff™’ African Dogtooth Grass) sells for $59.95 for a tray of 70 plants from High Country Gardens, (800) 925-9387 or www.highcountrygardens.com.
 
About the Green Thumb Awards
Winners of the 2015 Green Thumb Awards were chosen by an independent panel of garden writers and editors. The winning products were selected based on their uniqueness, technological innovation, ability to solve a gardening problem or provide a gardening opportunity, and potential appeal to gardeners.
 
The Green Thumb Awards recognize outstanding new garden products available by mail or online. The awards are sponsored by the Direct Gardening Association (DGA), the world’s largest nonprofit association of companies that sell garden products directly to consumers via catalogs and websites.

Man Cave gifts for the beer lover


Man Cave: Sapporo Japanese beer is a perfect candidate for any man cave as it is the #1 selling Asian beer in the US market and it's crisp, refreshing taste allows for it to pair well with any of the boys favorite snacks. Not to mention, the Premium and Reserve are available in 22oz cans for extended enjoyment. As the craft beer movement continues to take the world by storm, Sapporo has deeply rooted history in brewing beer and is an exceptional selection for your man cave beer collection.
Attending a holiday party or have a Tequila lover in the family? Give the gift of Partida. This super-premium Tequila makes for a unique host gift and is sure to please the Tequila aficionado in your clan. 

Bonus: pick up a bottle of Partida Anejo along with a decadent box of dark chocolates and pair the two together for a unique gifting experience way beyond an expected wine and chocolate pairing.

Soap and Paper Factor teams up with Tammy Fender

We all know that Green Tea is a great detoxification drink, but it also has great benefits for our skin.  Green Tea stimulates and protects skin from free-radical damage. Soap & Paper Factory and Tammy Fender Holistic Skincare invite you to enrich your skin with this refreshing anti-oxidant.
 
Soap & Paper Factory Green Tea Shea Butter Hand Cream: Sooth and protect your hands with this pure, velvety hand cream. Leave your hands silk smooth with the pure, crisp detoxifying aroma of Green Tea that is sure to awaken your senses. ($18, SoapAndPaperFactory.com)


Tammy Fender Essential C Tonic: Steeped with antioxidant-rich Green Tea, this formula purifies and invigorates the complexion, while acting as a natural toner to restore the pH balance of the skin. ($55, TammyFender.com)
Tammy Fender Essential C Tonic: Steeped with antioxidant-rich Green Tea, this formula purifies and invigorates the complexion, while acting as a natural toner to restore the pH balance of the skin. ($55, TammyFender.com)

It's time to start dreaming of spring gardening


 Is your mailbox filling up with mail order garden catalogs? Then it must be time to start dreaming of spring gardening.
 
The beginning of the year is typically when companies that sell garden seeds and plants start mailing their new catalogs. This tradition is so well entrenched that, back in the 1990s, the trade association that represents mail order garden catalogs had January officially declared National Mailorder Gardening Month. (February also brings its share of new catalogs, too!)
 
In the past 15 years, the internet has changed the way many of us buy seeds, plants and tools for our gardens. For most “mail order” companies, the majority of orders are now placed online on their websites. Very few people actually order through the mail, but all of the products are still mailed (or sent via UPS and FedEx) to the customers.
 
Even in the 21st century, the most effective way to get shoppers to visit gardening websites to place orders is to send them a catalog filled with colorful photos of luscious vegetables and enticing flowers. That’s why millions upon millions of garden catalogs arrive in mailboxes this time of year.
 
“Clearly, the first part of the year is not the gardening season in most of the USA, but it is when people start wishing they could spend more time outside in their yards,” said Randy Schultz, a Master Gardener and president of Schultz Communications, a Santa Fe-based marketing company. “Garden catalogs are ‘wish books’ and planning tools, and they give gardeners a sneak peek at what their spring gardens can look like. The start of a new calendar year is when garden lust begins.”
 
Orders for new varieties of seeds and plants begin flooding into “mail order” gardening companies in January, even though most orders won’t ship for many weeks. “Sometimes the newest varieties of seeds and plants sell out right away, so you need to place your orders now to avoid missing out on the new plants,” said Schultz.
 
Here’s a quick look at some of the best mail order garden catalogs this spring.
 
Logee’s—Perhaps the best source for tropical plants. Logee’s is based in Connecticut (not exactly tropical!), but they’ve been selling tropical and fruiting plants via mail order for more than 100 years. Check out their selection of citrus plants that can grow indoors in containers. www.logees.com
 
Park Seed—This catalog might be best known for vegetable seeds, but it also includes flower seeds, berry plants, fruit trees and more. New for 2015 are the multicolor Parks Beauty Blend Radish seeds, several new varieties of hybrid tomatoes and dozens of more cool new varieties. www.parkseed.com
 
Wayside Gardens—Since 1920, this catalog has offered unusual, high-quality plants and accessories for the avid gardener. New plants for 2015 include the stunning tri-color Mariandl Primrose, an elegant white version of bleeding hearts called Love Hearts Dicentra, and Climbing Carolina Aster. www.waysidegardens.com 
 
Harris Seeds—You can find everything from seeds for sprouts to seeds to plant in your vegetable and flower beds from Harris Seeds. Also check out their organic seeds and organic growing supplies. www.harriseeds.com
 
High Country Gardens—Known for introducing new perennials that thrive in a wide variety of growing conditions including drought, heat and infertile soils. Its 2015 Plant of the Year is Salvia ‘Little Night,’ a tiny version of one of the world’s most popular perennials, Salvia ‘May Night.’ www.highcountrygardens.com
 
Burpee—This grand American catalog has been around since 1876, and it still delivers great new vegetable and flower varieties every year. This year’s new crop includes Cupcake Hybrid Summer Squash and a new tomato called Jersey Boy that’s a hybrid of a Brandywine and a Rutgers.  www.burpee.com
 
Jackson & Perkins—Known primarily for roses, J&P also sells flowering perennials, garden planters and containers, outdoor furniture, bird houses and flowering gifts. Check out the new multicolor Daring Spirit™ Hybrid Tree Rose that’s cool enough to make anyone a rose lover. www.jacksonandperkins.com
 
So, ladies and gentlemen, what are you waiting for? Start your catalogs!

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