It might be a time to plant that vegetable garden in Georgia, but on Wednesday the garden and design book author, James Farmer, told the Atlanta Top News Examiner that it is soon going to be a time to cook, too. And his scheduled appearance at the 2013 Southeastern Flower Show this weekend is as good a time as any to start finding out why.
In Wednesday's interview, Farmer said that his newest book, "A Time to Cook: Dishes from My Southern Sideboard," would be popping up all over book stores soon like flowers in the garden. (My words, not his).
He's very excited about its second creative book effort, and hopefully will have some on hand this weekend for his eager fans, since it is supposed to hit books stores in March thanks to his Gibbs-Smith Publishers.
It is also that season right now in which gardeners around the country--especially the South, like Georgia, where Farmer hails from--start playing with the dirt and getting their seeds ready to put in the soil. And that's where James Farmer's "A Time to Plant," book comes into the picture.
"Time to Plant: Southern-Style Garden Living," is his earlier book, the one that will be the focus of his guest lecture on Sunday, March 17 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta. And Farmer shared how he came up with the title.
It was ecclesiastical. That was the first inspiration," he said, referring to Ecclesiastes 3:2 in the Bible, which refers to the fact that there is a time for every season.
"The verses there [in that book] point to the fact that timing is everything, including in the garden," he said.
In light of his answer, we asked if the landscape design and gardening expert had a spiritual side, and he acknowledged that he most certainly did.
He also admitted he has a soft spot in his heart for the Georgia Rural Medical Scholarship Program (GRMSP), which was the benefactor of the proceeds raised by the Lock, Stock and Barrel fundraiser held at the Shepherd Farm in early March of this year. He was in attendance, of course.
Farmer, along with Gena Knox, a landscape architect and author, provided participants of the event with beautiful tablescapes and prepared the food served, using their creative skills to help raise funds that will be used to house and assist medical college student scholars.
It is an organization that I really enjoy, and really respect," he said, sharing that his father had been one of the scholars at one time.
The Georgia native also respects and enjoys being a part of the American Camellia Society, where he currently serves as the groups national spokesperson. His participation with this floral-loving group serves to remind him of a tie he has with his great grandmother, due to her love of the Camellia flower, which he adopted, it appears.
With the headquarters being close to home, when I think of Camellia's I think of places like my great grandmother's garden and the beautiful Camellia's there. There just a part of, not only my home's legacy in Middle Georgia, but my legacy as well. I think of how they bloom, and how my grandmother decorated with them. They're just very sentimental," he said.
The sentimental cooking and garden design enthusiast not only revealed his spiritual, romantic and compassionate sides during the course of the interview on Wednesday; he also revealed something else about himself: How he wishes for his friends and acquaintances to think about him.
James Farmer III wants everyone to realize what an "authentic" man he is, and that authenticity is "who I am, to the core." He also wants people to realize that he "truly lives and works and relishes the southern lifestyle." And it is likely few with disagree with that self appraisal given his success in the southern garden and design field, just watch this Today Show clip if you have any doubts.
When asked to reveal any future dreams he might have which has not been realized yet, the landscaping expert emphasized a desire to influence his generation to garden and then to use the harvest as food and for home decor purposes.
Talk turned back to the Southeastern Flower Show coming up this weekend and he offered up these planting tips for Georgians right now:
Late spring and early summer crops such as greens, like salad greens, as well as early spring herbs, like parsley and chervil and mint could be planted now. And then I'd wait to Easter to plant thinks like basil and tomatoes," he said. (Chervil is an herb often used in French cuisine. It has a mild flavor with a hint of liquorice).
A treat for those who attend the Southeastern Horticultural Society lecture by Farmer on Sunday will be the opportunity to see a slideshow presentation of some gardens he has designed in the state.
He plans to talk to lecture guests about how understanding the time to plant your crops can help take the quandary out of the equation when it comes to determining the right time to prune and harvest their gardens to.
And he admitted that he can remember attending the flower show when he was younger (he's only 30 now), and thinking that "one day maybe I'll be here. And, now, guess what, I get to."
Tickets will be available for purchase at the flower show event for Farmer's lecture at noon on Sunday, but it is on a first-come, first-served basis, with limited seating. So be sure to purchase it when you pay for admission. Tickets are $28 for one-day flower show admittance, with the cost of attending Farmer's lecture included.