Saturday, April 28, 2012

Winter Weather in the Spring and Flea Market Garden Finds

"The kiss of the sun for pardon, The song of the birds for mirth, One is nearer God's heart in a garden, Than anywhere else on earth".   ~Dorothy Frances Gurney, "Garden Thoughts"

Greeting Fellow Gardening Friends,

I hope your gardening endeavors are going well for you.  As you probably know, the Northeast saw a late season Nor-Easter, and for the past week our area has experienced freezing temperatures, snow, rain and high winds.  Definitely not the norm but not unexpected either for this area.  I have received calls from several acquaintances asking for advice on how to save plants from the ravages ofthe storm and how to heal damaged plants.  It has been a strange week.

To brighten up things a bit, I decided to share a favorite recipe that I found a while back (it is really good and simple) and to show you pictures of a few finds from our treasure hunting excursions for the garden.  The recipe is at the end of this post.

This large, beautiful glass vase (18" high x 14" wide) was found in a thrift store and I only paid $5.99 for it. I plan to put sunflowers or gladiolus in it later in the season.

My husband found this terra cotta Saint Francis (the Catholic patron saint of nature) statue at a resale shop.  It is almost 3-feet tall (35”) and we paid $40 for it.

We also got a 150-foot long roll of weed barrier at a thrift store for only $3.00.

Anyway...that's all for now. Happy gardening!


P.S. Farfalle with Spinach and Peas (by Kay Chun, Real Simple, MAY 2003)


•    12 ounces (4 cups) farfalle
•    1 tablespoon olive oil
•    2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into 1-inch pieces
•    1 shallot, thinly sliced
•    2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
•    1/3 cup frozen peas
•    1 5-ounce package fresh baby spinach
•    Black pepper
•    4 ounces Feta, crumbled
•    1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn

Cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat while the pasta cooks. Add the prosciutto and cook until crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate.

Return the skillet to medium heat. Add the shallot and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in the peas, spinach, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the cooked pasta, Feta, and reserved pasta water. Cook, stirring, until the spinach wilts. Remove from heat and fold in the cooked prosciutto.

Divide among individual bowls and top with the basil.

Amount per serving
•    Calories: 455      Calories from fat: 22%    Fat: 11g   Saturated fat: 5g    Cholesterol: 33mg
•    Sodium: 755mg    Carbohydrate: 68g  Fiber: 4g   Sugars: 3g   Protein: 19g


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Squirrels in the Garden and Ways to Deter Them

There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling.  ~Mirabel Osler

Greetings Everyone,

I trust your weekend went well. I placed more of my transplants outside yesterday because the conditions were quite lovely (68 degrees and partly sunny).  They are happily adjusting to their new surroundings but I was reminded about a major problem I experienced last year (grey squirrels) and pondered about humane measures I should take this year to deter them.

Like most gardeners, I have to deal with a major problem in my garden (stray cats, moths and squirrels are the leading three for me).  This is the year of the squirrel…again.  They are nesting in nearby trees have numerous food sources (an abundance of walnut trees) and are getting a little too comfortable.  The problem: hoarding nuts in my potted plants by digging up my babies.

Watching one squirrel try to shove a huge nut underneath our back storm door for safe storage was funny and my husband finding another nut tucked behind the bend in a gutter downspout left us both scratching our heads and laughing about the things these little guys will do to hide their stash.

Yes, they are cute and their antics can be entertaining, but they can also be destructive. And although I love wildlife and will occasionally sacrifice plants to help supplement any animal’s diets or self preservation, NOT THIS YEAR.  There is so much space in the back of our property not being utilized because of the squirrels and I think it is high time to call in some reinforcements, including:

-  Heavily mulching the pots with screened straw

-  Planting natural deterrents such as nasturtiums, marigold and alliums as borders

-  Placing pieces of wire mesh or window screening around the base of the plants

-  Using some type of thorny plant material around the base of the plants

-  Creating small cages out of recycled wood and chicken wire fencing we have on hand

I think I may have some success with these methods, but only time will tell.  Until next time, happy gardening!


P.S.  The corn gluten meal is really working so far.  The grass is healthy and we only had three dandelions pop up.

Monday, April 9, 2012

An Enjoyable Weekend in the Garden

Half the interest of a garden is the constant exercise of the imagination.  ~Mrs. C.W. Earle, Pot-Pourri from a Surrey Garden, 1897

I am so content right now because of the beautiful weather and positive experiences I had this past weekend.  After searching for an active community garden for years, I found one a block away from my home.  It is relatively small and is tended by a lovely couple who have generously donated a small plot of their yard for the garden.  Naturally, I offered to donate a few hours a week, some supplies and of course seeds for their garden.

I had a chance to work in the garden today with my husband (a miracle, I know).  We sawed up the tree I mentioned in a previous post and cut back our invasive 8-feet-tall Japanese knotweed (often mistaken for bamboo) that the previous owner of our house generously introduced to the backyard.

We also noticed several of our neighbors yards have dandelions showing up.  Not good. We applied corn gluten meal to our lawn a few weeks ago and hopefully our grass will be healthy enough to deter them.  We divided Shasta daisy plants and day lilies to give to my BFF Randy for his family’s new garden.  Busy day, but it was wonderful!

The hubby and I found some great items in a newly opened thrift store yesterday for our garden and he suggested I start including pictures and ideas in my future posts. As you know, I love a bargain and like introducing new ornaments to my garden. A great idea I think and because I have the hankering to cook lately (hubby is the active cook in our home), I am going to include pictures of my experiments and recipes. But please don't be too criticalgo easy on me, since I'm not much of a cook (remember, I was outside playing in the dirt and climbing trees while my mom and grandmother were in the kitchen). LOL. :-)

Well, I hope you have a great week and thank you for reading.


P.S. I have included a link for more information about knotweed here:
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...