Gardening | WABE 90.1 FM


Horticulturist Geri Laufer
Kate Sweeney / WABE

What gardener isn’t interested in some free plants?

In this segment, we learn how to create new plants from existing ones--through the art and science of plant propagation.

Garden expert Geri Laufer invited us to her garden to show us how to make plant cuttings and keep them thriving--and in our web bonus, Geri explains how to propagate potato plants.

And in this web bonus, Geri lays out the basics for propagating potato plants:

Native Plants For Sale, Many Rescued In The Wild

Apr 12, 2014
Robert Aaron/WABE

Twice each year, the Georgia Native Plant Society (GNPS) holds one of the more unusual plant sales in the Atlanta area: they sell only plants that are native to the state of Georgia, many of which were rescued in the wild by GNPS members.

Tips for Thrifty Gardening

Apr 11, 2014
John Lemley / WABE

Spring is here, and as we see more green on the trees, horticulturist Geri Laufer gives us some tips for seeing more green in our pockets, too. Here are some tips from Geri on thrifty gardening.

In this web bonus, Geri gives us even more money-saving pointers.

Have some thrifty gardening tips of your own? Share them on our Facebook page!

Credit: Kate Sweeney

After a long winter, spring is finally here.  And so we’re returning to a visit we paid to horticulturist Geri Laufer to do some spring planting. In this visit, we really got our hands dirty, as she showed us the do’s and don’ts of planting flowering shrubs.

Flower Cutting and Arranging 101

Oct 1, 2013
Horticulturist Geri Laufer shows us how to create a flower arrangement like this one, fresh from her garden.
Kate Sweeney / WABE

  If you’ve spent the summer in the yard, it may be that you have a garden full of flowers, ready to be cut and arranged. But even for those of us who’ve never planted a single flower, horticulturist Geri Laufer is here to provide some tips on creating floral arrangements indoors. On one recent sunny morning, we paid a visit to Geri’s home garden, where she taught us flower arrangement—from garden to table.

More Flower Arranging Tips From Geri

Homemade Flower Preservative Solution

(courtesy of the Perdue Department of Horticulture)

Horticulturist Geri Laufer
Kate Sweeney / WABE

Usually, garden expert Geri Laufer shows us how to nurture plants. This time, we did something a little different.  

In our most recent visit, we focused on that mighty plague of propagation: weeds—and Geri shared several organic methods of killing them. 

She started our conversation by addressing this question: Why, in a world filled with chemical fixes, would you go organic in the first place?

Organic Weed-Control Methods Mentioned By Geri

Planting Mid-Summer Tomatoes

Jul 24, 2013
Too late to plant tomatoes? Not in Georgia's warm climate.
Kirsten Jennings /

  This time of year, many of us are harvesting from the plants we sowed back in April and May. It’s actually not too late, however, to do a little planting.

We return to a visit we paid last year, to the house of horticulturist Geri Laufer. Geri showed us her method for sowing a mid-season tomato plant that's already grown tall and leggy in its starter-pot.

With Atlanta’s lengthy growing season, she says there’s no reason we can’t enjoy our tomato sandwiches all the way through fall.

A Few Tomato Tips from Geri:

 Recent weeks have brought us plenty of rain in metro Atlanta, and in this warm-weather season, that means one sure thing for the great outdoors: mosquitoes.

Horticulturist Geri Laufer invited us to her thriving garden to talk about plants that actually deter this pest—making summertime cookouts and dinner parties a little more comfortable. 

Geri Laufer's Tips on Repelling Mosquitoes in Your Yard:

These plants. Plant them in pots or the ground, or cut them for vases or bouquets:


Jun 28, 2013

71 year old Rena Holt and her family have been growing sunflowers at her farm in Rutledge, Georgia for the past 50 years. Her father started growing them on a small plot of his cotton field, but today you'll find 13 acres of bright yellow sunflowers. This field of flowers is now so popular with local residents that each year they host a Sunflower Festival. To see some of her sunflowers, go here.

Mark Nelson is manager of Horticulture & Landscaping at Piedmont Park. The 181 acre park is sometimes referred to as the 'Central Park' of Atlanta. The land was originally owned by Benjamin Franklin Walker who, in 1887, sold it to the Gentlemen's Driving Club - which became the Piedmont Driving Club - and where the park got its name. 

A Tour of Gibbs Gardens' Japanese Garden

Jun 18, 2013

Jim Gibbs, a Georgia landscaper by trade, comes from a long line of gardeners.  In the 1970s and 80s, he traveled the world in search of what he calls “world class gardens.”  His travels inspired him to create Gibbs Gardens, a project that he spent the past 32 years working on before opening the gardens to the public last March.  Though this large garden complex in Ball Ground, Georgia  comprises 16 gardens in all, we focused our tour on their flagship Japanese garden, the largest in the natio

Kate Sweeney / WABE

 These days, when we think of garden herbs, we might consider rosemary for our chicken or a little basil for our pizza. But in William Shakespeare’s time, herbs were hardly limited to the kitchen.

Today, on Shakespeare’s birthday, horticulturist Geri Laufer takes us for a walk through the herb garden as the sixteenth-century playwright might have seen it.

Thanks to actor Veronika Duerr of the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, for providing dramatic readings.


Captain Planet's "Learning Gardens"

Mar 15, 2013

As we approach St. Patrick's Day and the 'wearing of the green', we'd like to take a look at an organizations that's 'growing green' in the form of gardens planted at elementary schools around the country and in metro Atlanta.  Leesa Carter is executive director of the Captain Planet Foundation, including its "Learning Gardens" program.  Here, she talks with WABE's Steve Goss...

With spring planting season fast approaching, we asked horticulturist Geri Laufer to narrow down her favorite gardening tools to an essential five. Frankly, we're pretty sure she snuck in a few more. Have a listen.

  Geri Laufer's Five Essential Gardening Tools

1. nursery trowel with a solid shank

2. round-pointed garden shovel

3. water breaker or soaker

4. bypass pruners

5. ratchet loppers

In this web bonus, Geri discusses two more gardening tools she swears by—that you won't find in a gardening center.

Kate Sweeney

  Host John Lemley pays a rainy-day visit to the backyard of horticulturist Geri Laufer, who gives some tips on creating a certified wildlife habitat at home. 

Some Berry Plants for Attracting Native Georgia Birds and Butterflies:

Berry bushes(blueberries, holly, beauty berries, nandina) for mockingbirds

Purple Coneflower and black-eyed Susans for Goldfinches

Milkweed for Monarch Butterflies

Kate Sweeney

Fall is the busy season for planting, and this month, we return to a visit we paid to the garden of horticulturist Geri Laufer, where she showed us the do’s and don’ts of sowing blueberry bushes. 

There are several methods of composting—that is, decomposing matter to use as fertilizer. We recently paid a visit to our gardening expert Geri Laufer to learn about one method which employs the help of our slimy friend, the worm…

In Jeff Deel's book, "The Garden and the Ghetto" (WestBow Press, 2012), the author shares stories and reflections from his experiences at the City of Refuge--a relief organization in the heart of one of Atlanta's worst neighborhoods.  The City of Refuge sits on more than eight acres of land in a community called "The Bluff"--in the English Avenue/Vine City area west of the Georgia Dome downtown.  Here, Jeff Deel talks with WABE's Steve Goss...


Who better than horticulturist Geri Laufer to discuss one of the best parts of summer planting: fresh herbs? This flavorful corner of the garden is Geri’s specialty; she is founding chair of the Atlanta chapter of the  Herb Society of America. 


Herb Butter Recipe

Fresh washed and minced thyme, marjoram, chives

Butter, room temperature

Stir minced herbs into butter and enjoy, spread over a baguette , crackers or toast.

A Garden for Mother's Day

May 11, 2012

It's been said that Ryan Gainey has done for gardening what Martha Stewart did for housekeeping. A lifetime spent cultivating plants and digging in the dirt brought him global recognition and celebrity acclaim. Audrey Hepburn featured Gainey in her series Gardens of the World. He hosted two garden parties for her when she was a UNICEF ambassador.

City Cafe Stops to Smell the Roses

May 3, 2012

This weekend here in Atlanta, some of the dedicated gardeners of the Greater Atlanta Rose Society will be hosting their annual Rose Show at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Two of their members were kind enough to show us around their garden and talk to us about the flower, the work that goes into planting them, and some of the rich history behind the iconic blossom.

In the Garden with Geri: Fall Tomatoes

Aug 16, 2011

Your guide to fall tomatoes--and more, as we talk with horticulturist and writer Geri Laufer.

It's the tail end of summer. In the garden world, that means it's time to pick those tomatoes?and decide what to do with them. For some tips, we went outdoors to talk and snack with writer and horticulturist Geri Laufer.

We began with the question: Just what makes a garden heirloom tomato so wildly colorful and delicious, while so many grocery store tomatoes are bland and tasteless?

Planting a container garden
Geri Laufer

  Spring is here, but you don't need a backyard to plant a garden. Host John Lemley visits with horticulturist Geri Laufer--to plant a garden delicious enough to eat, and small enough to keep on the porch.

How to Plant your Own Container Garden

You’ll need…

-One extra-large pot, tub or planter box with good drainage (hole or holes in the bottom).

Kate Sweeney / WABE

 Spring is very nearly here, and for those with an itchy green thumb, it’s not too early to sow some vegetables.

For those planting along at home, here are the tools and supplies Geri suggests for an early-spring garden:

From the warmth of the WABE studios, Geri Laufer talks spring planting with John Lemley.
Kate Sweeney / WABE

 Spring is almost here. To prove it, host John Lemley talked with horticulturist and self-described "plant geek," Geri Laufer, about getting your garden ready for flowers, veggies and sun.

Geri Laufer is a lifelong gardener, author, teacher, public speaker and gardening coach. She is the author of Tussie-Mussies: The Victorian Art of Expressing Yourself in the Language of Flowers.