yellow broom-like witch hazel blossoms
Pruned Bio

Nice to Meet You

Did you ever google “beginning gardening” and find a tip sheet with “only” 26 things you need to get going?…I saw that one, too…yeah…

Closed it? Me, too.

Are You a Beginner?

Wanna plant something in your yard, but don’t know what…or where to begin? Afraid of how much time it will take?

Have you stopped looking out your kitchen window…cuz’ it’s just too embarrassing? Panicking because it’s been years and you haven’t even accidentally dropped a seed into the ground? Might like to go into a garden center…but have no idea where to start?

I’m Your Mentor

Well, there’s a lot you can teach yourself about gardening. But it always helps to have an experienced friend.

I’m Mary Carol—a self-taught gardener…seasoned from plenty of mistakes—and years of successes. I work with reluctant gardeners—like you—who are ready to be cured of the gardening phobia.

Let’s Talk Manageable Tasks

Wanna have a few flowers to put on your table in the summer? Let’s talk about super-easy, 1-hour solutions.

man with glasses and beard holding protest sign

Guilt-ridden every time you see climate change protesters and wonder what you might be able to do? It really does matter what you do in your own backyard —and you can do it in 1-hour time slots.

Angry that you feel guilty? Because—hey—you work, and your kids are still little.

Frustrated about not having enough time with them? Like to teach your kids where their food comes from? Let’s talk about 1-hour kid-friendly gardening tasks. Kids love digging in the dirt!

The instructions I give are organized in super-simple steps and are designed to take 1 hour. You don’t have to be a botanist to follow them! Hey, I’m not!

The Perfect Mix: 90% Organic, 10% Synthetic

I’m your neighborhood garden consultant. I’ve tried most organic solutions that I read about and have used some chemicals here and there through the years. Did you know that’s the definition of “organic”? Maintain a healthy environment for plants to grow in: healthy soil, clean water, and clean air—and use chemicals sparingly, when all else fails.

That’s my philosophy…and that’s the style of advice I give. My garden has never won an award…I grow for my pleasure only…and that’s just the way I like it.

My garden chemicals—I have 3—are stored on the top shelf in my garden shed. I have more than triple that number of organic fertilizers and weed killers.

I keep trying many of the organic products as they come out and will let you know how well they work.

This past season, I had to buy my first-ever fungicide. We had so much rain that I was afraid of losing my azaleas. They didn’t bloom in spring. Then they caught a nasty fungus by mid-summer.

We sprayed carefully, to make sure the spray didn’t drift (used it on a non-windy day, and targeted only the azaleas, washed up as directed, and stored the container up high). And the fungicide seemed to work…

Nurturing Your Dreams

As Fall came on, they looked healthy and were growing. I hope they bloom next Spring. I spread a nice thick layer of home-made compost over them and topped it off with another layer of store-bought mulch.

three shiny, unused watering cans hanging on a wire in a shed

Fingers-crossed! You can do this too, and I can show you how. Let’s get those tools dirty!

After decades of working my garden on the weekends, I’m finally bringing it to the foreground of my life. Up front—warts and all!

I have 2 grandkids who love digging in the dirt. I’m working on converting my kids. We live in a midwestern, suburban neighborhood, and I fight weeds every day! Just like you.

Follow me to get super simple instructions for garden tasks—Cure the Gardening Phobia

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You can also follow me to get the latest news on the environmental front—What’s the Buzz?

Follow The 1-Hour Gardener ™ on

And please use this site to ask questions and talk about your struggles and plans.

So nice to meet you! Mary Carol Ghislin

bleeding heard with early pink blooms
Curing the Gardening Phobia

Turn Tasks into Quality Family Time

Do you have bulbs pushing up in your yard? It’s a great sign of hope, isn’t it?…peonies and bleeding heart are also making their comeback. Yet, are they crowded by leaves and debris blown in by winter storms or other unseasonable weather?

Many of us here in North America are just now digging out of a late April snow. The Southeast has been hunkering down under thunderstorms. Californians are moving slowly as they recover from nature’s trials. Even Arizona has had some surprising rainstorms this past year, blowing in from the Pacific.

Continue reading “Turn Tasks into Quality Family Time”
snow on juniper
Curing the Gardening Phobia

1 New Habit for 2019

So, here we are falling back into our winter work routines after some holiday time. Deep winter is on its way, and you are schlepping every day to work in your puffy coat. Even the South has had some unpleasant, unseasonal winter weather surprises.  Florida has faced an ugly red tide on the Atlantic side, with another one coming on the Gulf side. California dreamin’ has turned into wildfire and mudslide nightmares.

All your gardening plans that didn’t quite get fulfilled are now behind you. You might be even a little relieved that winter is here, and you’re off the hook. 

Latest Climate Change Report

But did you squirm just a little when the latest scientific report on climate change came out? Feeling a little guilty at your gardening relief? 

Continue reading “1 New Habit for 2019”