Monday, May 21, 2012

Seed Harvesting and Pollinator Gardening

"I used to visit and revisit it a dozen times a day, and stand in deep contemplation over my vegetable progeny with a love that nobody could share or conceive of who had never taken part in the process of creation.  It was one of the most bewitching sights in the world to observe a hill of beans thrusting aside the soil, or a rose of early peas just peeping forth sufficiently to trace a line of delicate green."  ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mosses from and Old Manse 

Hello Gardening Friends,

I hope everything is going well with your gardens and that you all are enjoying their beauty and bounty.  We have finally got warm weather in or region and I am enjoying it immensely.

I had a chance to go through my garden journals for past seasons and reminisced about hand-pollinating squash blossoms one year because I didn’t plant enough flowers and herbs to entice pollinators to my garden. It was a very time consuming experience. I know, silly me.  So of course, the next year I planted flowers like cosmos, sunflowers, daisies, yarrow, asters, alyssum, lupine, phlox, zinnias, Sweet William and Black-eyed Susans to attract bees.  I also planted several types of milkweed, ironweed, dill, oregano, parsley, fennel and lemon mint to draw in butterflies and wasps.  I purchased all the seeds at end of season sales from two seed companies for only $8.60.  It was a great deal for me because I harvest the seeds from those plants every year and take advantage of the added benefit of having a beautiful, heavily-pollinated garden.

Well, I have to close for now.  Thanks for dropping by and happy gardening!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

A Mother's Day Tribute to My Two Favorite Gardeners

Greetings my fellow gardeners.  I typically don’t share much about my family but in honor of Mother’s Day I’d like to mention two extraordinary women: my grandmother Anna and mother Cynthia.

My grandmother Anna was a generous, thoughtful and caring woman.  She was also my greatest teacher about both life and nature.  She loved spending hours upon hours outdoors faithfully caring for her plants and teaching her grandchildren to respect and love all things.  I can still hear her talking and quietly humming to ailing plants under her care.  I would describe her as a plant healer.

My mother Cynthia is a vibrant, vivacious and big-hearted lady who enjoys life and loves her family fiercely.  She has sacrificed so much to keep her family happy and together.  She is also the best indoor gardener (houseplants)!  Her specialty is African violets but like my grandmother she is also excellent at plant propagation.  My mother is also a great poet and I have listed one of her poems below (dedicated to my grandmother), which was published in a book of poetry. I love you both!

Happy Mother's Day to you all out there in the blogsphere and enjoy your special day!


Mom's poem:


Another year is beginning
In my Grandmother's life for me to see
That God has given her more time on this Earth
To teach me to be:
The Giver of Love
The Passer of knowledge and wisdom
The Teacher of morals and values
The Believer of faith; and to have
The Strength of face my fears
The Ability to give and to show love
The Courage to fight my pain;
And to know that life does not
Go on forever
When I can put all these things
Into play
And know that when it comes time for my
Life to end
I will know that death will
Be nothing
But another adventure into Peace

Saturday, May 5, 2012

A Great Birthday Week and a Gardening Pest Tip

 "Science, or para-science, tells us that geraniums bloom better if they are spoken to.  But a kind word every now and then is really quite enough.  Too much attention, like too much feeding, and weeding and hoeing, inhibits and embarrasses them."  ~Victoria Glendinning

Greetings everyone,

I hope things are going well and you are enjoying the beautiful weather and your gardens.  I had an excellent week and wanted to share my activities.  My birthday was earlier this week and I received an arrangement from my mother/family and an azalea shrub from a co-worker (both pictured above).  They were a very pleasant surprise considering the first thing to greet me at my desk in the morning is typically a mound of paperwork and notes from my colleagues!  It was an amazing day.

I finally got a chance to go outside for a couple of hours today to observe things and so far, we do not have any dandelions growing in the lawn and no squirrel damage to my potted plants.  YES!!! I know, I will knock on wood for now.

I also observed the antics of a robin red breast and a cardinal sitting on the passenger side mirror of our car looking at their reflections and I realized I don’t have a special spot in my garden for birds.  So, I found a shady spot and I am working on hanging a small mirror with a wooden piece attached for perching.  This spot receives no sunlight, so I am not worried about harsh reflective light which may cause the birds to crash into the mirror and injure themselves.  Does anyone have any advice to share?

Just in case anyone is having problems with soft-bodied insects (like aphids) that are using your plants as a nursery, a great natural insecticidal soap can be made by adding a tablespoon of Murphy's Oil Soap to about a quart of water. Just pour into a spray bottle, shake well and spritz your plant's leaves, being sure to pay special attention to the underside, where the little crawlies tend to lay eggs.

Well, it’s time to return to the safe haven of my garden.  Thank you for stopping by, take care of yourselves and until next time…happy gardening!


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