|The Happy Gardener
Local source for garden organics is a home-based business spreading the word through its products and philosophy
Writer: Leslie Roma-Williams
Photographer: Lisa Billings
If three words describe the passion for her profession felt by Annette Pelliccio, The Happy Gardener's founder and owner, they would be organic, awareness, and.composting.
|Annette Pelliccio shows off her home composter, which contains table scraps and brown matter. Decomposition of these materials produces nutritious, organic, earth-friendly soil.
Her vision for her company has been "to educate people about organic alternatives; what we can be doing to our own lawns and gardens that will benefit our waterways and improve our communities."
Organic gardening, says Pelliccio, is a concept about which "people don't know where to look. That seems to be one of our biggest issues." She adds that some people initially contact The Happy Gardener when they have concerns about possible carcinogen exposure.
"There is the idea that organic is more expensive, but it actually isn't. There is an alternative organic, pre-eminent weed control available," especially for crab grass, which Pelliccio notes, is a huge issue.
Dealing with Japanese beetles is another local gardening challenge. Pelliccio says roses are one of her passions and, by serendipity, discovered that one of her product tests had the bonus of eliminating the beetles. "I used a foliar-feed spray that I was developing for photosynthesis. My house is lined with white floribundas, and I when I did a discolor check; I noticed that the Japanese beetles had just dropped off. It's vegetable-based and safe for kids, pets, wildlife, and water systems."
Pelliccio feels deeply about composting. "I am such an advocate," she emphasizes. "It is so easy and inexpensive, and it teaches your family about renewable resources.
|Under-cabinet compost bin, on the left, is a convenient way to store your table scraps. These mums were fed a micronutrient root fertilizer made from sea vegetables. The Happy Gardener manufactures this product under the name SeaResults.
"Composting is one of the easiest and best things to do. It is so easy to make. Just have a bin. You can put in your plant debris. With fall cleanup, when you're raking up leaves, it's a great way to get started with brown matter. It is a very easy way to make nutrient-rich soil. We have an indoor composter under our sink, and even my kids are involved. After they eat an apple, they know where to put the core, and they watch how it turns into soil. If you teach your children early on, it becomes a way of life for the next generation."
Pelliccio is relaxed in her outlook about fall garden cleanups. "It's easy to do a little bit at a time, maybe 15 minutes each day. You can go out to look to see what's dead, what's brown. If time becomes an issue, you can wait to do it closer to winter."
The Happy Gardener is committed to improving community resources and is a sponsor of the Plant a Row for the Hungry campaign. Pelliccio is proud of all gardeners' efforts in this important partnership. "We work right alongside with the Central Virginia Food Bank. A lot of times people are not aware that agencies like the CVFB needs fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs, along with their canned food products."
|Annette Pelliccio identifies three of her must have gardening products. She believes tools should have multiple purposes.
Made in Italy exclusively for The Happy Gardener is an all-in-one knife. Its serrated edge will cut through tangled roots and is versatile enough to be used in either a vegetable or flower garden. "It's our top-selling tool and has a lifetime warranty," notes Pelliccio.
A perennial divider is excellent. Pelliccio says, "It looks like a heart-shaped blade, about two feet long. You can use it like a corkscrew to plant bulbs, as a weeder, to dig out old annuals, as a divider for your daisies and hostas while they are still above ground, and as a shovel or edger. It's sharp and high quality."
|Another can't-do-without is a barrier lotion that Pelliccio calls her yard glove. "I don't garden without it. You don't have to wear gardening gloves. Put it on your hands and under your fingernails and the dirt just falls off in the shower. I bought the entire quantity from the man who developed it. A little goes a long way." She says that although she is extremely allergic, the barrier lotion has helped alleviate the painful, itchy rash associated with poison ivy contact.
To order products from The Happy Gardener call 798-9280 or (877) 798-9280 toll-free. Visit thehappygardener.info for more information.