Fresh flowers and a full battery? Sign me up. It’s pretty standard practice to charge your phone on your nightstand while you sleep, emphasis not necessarily on pretty. What I mean is, if you’ve always wished for a way to disguise your phone charger so as to not have a random cord resting on your…
“Among all the fried food at the State Fair of Texas you’ll find a greenhouse working to feed North Texas.
The Big Tex Urban Farms grows fruits and vegetables year round on the fair grounds. The project started in 2016 as a mission to help food-insecure communities in southern Dallas.
Farm manager Drew Demler said all the produce grown goes to charities working to fight hunger. The farm uses raised boxes and hydroponic systems to grow green beans, black eyes peas, cucumbers, onions, potatoes, herbs and more.
During the fair they invite people to step inside the greenhouse to see what they’re doing and ask questions.”
Read the FULL STORY: “NBCDFW.com“
Witches get a bad rap. Most are just nature worshipping individuals who have a close relationship with plants and animals. Witches in the Wiccan religion revere wild things and use plants and minerals that are provided by the earth in their rituals. In so doing, witches are paying honor to the Spirit of the One. Plants play an extremely important role both in observance of the religion but also in healing and teaching practices. Some of the most frequently used plants for witches are:
1. Rosemary – This common herb has both culinary and magical uses. The plant can also be used to repel bugs, as a dye, in cosmetics and medicinally. The fresh scent has aromatherapy properties and can be used as a sachet or in incense. Rosemary is easy to grow, producing evergreen small shrubs that develop beautiful purple flowers that attract pollinators. The plant’s magical attributes are said to be useful as a love spell, protection, and as an aphrodisiac.
2. Mugwort – Also known as Artemisia or wormwood, the plant has a history of use regulating menstruation, as an antiseptic and to calm the digestive system. Young shoots and leaves can be used in recipes and dried leaves and flowers make an interesting tea that may help in the digestion of fatty foods. In magic, mugwort enhances divination and psychic dreaming. If leaves are placed in shoes, they supposedly ward off fatigue on long journeys. The plant is bushy and has grayish green, feathery leaves and panicles of tiny daisy-like yellow flowers.
3. Sage – Not only would Thanksgiving taste different without sage, but the herb has been used for medicinal uses before medieval times. The bright flowers are gorgeous and the shrubby plant has softly gray-green leaves with a downy feel. When dried and “smudged,” it can ward off evil and is part of traditional cleansing ceremonies. The plant has anti-inflammatory properties and may help fever and as a diuretic. It was once used to cure snakebite and palsy and also enhances memory and cognition.
4. Mint – Mints, especially peppermint, feature prominently in magical rites and spells. The plant is very easy to grow and will take over the garden plot if not controlled. In cuisine, it adds aroma and flavor to beverages, desserts, baking, and is a common ingredient in East Indian, Asian and Mediterranean foods. Mint aids in digestion and calming the stomach, and is used in aromatherapy for a host of healing purposes. The scented oils in the leaves and stems repel some insects, but their essence is a pleasure in the home, both as an air freshener and in some cosmetics. The pungent oils can relieve fatigue in muscles and joints when used topically. It is used in magic to draw money, ward off evil, lure love and enhance wellness.
5. Lavender – The scent of lavender is unmistakable and is widely used in cosmetics, cleaning products and other household items. It is also an astoundingly lovely landscape plant, with spikes of vibrant purple flowers and green to bluish-gray leaves. Like many herbs, the natural oils are said to repel some insect pests. Both the oils and dried flowers have soothing properties and are commonly used in aromatherapy. Medicinally, the plant reputedly aids digestion and has antiseptic properties. In the witch’s garden, it may be part of protection rituals, used to enhance clarity, encourage fertility and bring love.
“Turned Earth (Jack Broccoli Book 1) cracked me up! I’m sure that I inadvertently learned a bit about gardening, while being entertained with a fresh, imaginative, mystery story. The lighthearted humor reminds me a bit of the ‘Lone Gunmen’ and ‘Psych’ tv shows. Looking forward to the next one in the series, hoping to learn more about Jack’s VOICE and crazy superpower.”
I really enjoyed writing the World’s First Gardening Thriller. Book two will be delayed until next year, but it’s part way written and is going to be great.
If you don’t have Turned Earth yet, you can get it in hardcover here.
I’ve also contracted with a very good narrator to read the book, so the audiobook version will be coming soon.
Original source: http://www.thesurvivalgardener.com/turned-earth-cracked/
Weeds and walls. That’s how Phoenix landscape architect and native son Steve Martino describes his life’s work of designing gardens in the Arizona desert. Steve has a knack for simplifying the language of design and explaining how his own designs work. “Weeds” is his shorthand for native plants of the Sonoran Desert, plants that few believed to be garden-worthy until he started making gardens in the 1970s. “Walls” is self-explanatory once you’ve seen a couple of Steve’s designs. His signature move is to build color-saturated stucco walls that define outdoor space, provide privacy, lead the eye to borrowed landscape features like distant mountains, frame views through window cutouts, make a colorful backdrop for architectural plants like cacti and agaves, and provide a canvas for the play of shadows cast by the intense desert sun.
Courtesy of The Monacelli Press
Rejecting both the pseudo-Mediterranean landscaping that was popular at the time (palms and lawn) and “gardens of despair” gravel-scapes, Steve pioneered a new style that celebrated the beauty of the desert. For 40 years he’s been transforming the way Arizonans relate to the desert, and showing, one garden at a time, how to live in harmony with its fragile beauty. This year a monograph of his work was published by The Monacelli Press, Desert Gardens of Steve Martino, and it’s a beautifully photographed collection of 21 private gardens in and around Phoenix, plus two in Palm Springs, California.
Courtesy of The Monacelli Press
Authored by Caren Yglesias and photographed by Steve Gunther, the book is lushly illustrated, with up to 12 pages of photos covering each garden. Bird’s-eye drawings of each house and garden let you see the overall site plan, and occasional sketches of architectural details give a sense of the design process. A page of text about each garden provides an overview as well as detailed design problems and Steve’s solutions. Wherever you garden, you can learn a lot about design by reading this book. Steve is a master of creative and elegant design solutions regarding privacy (he cleverly circumvents city rules on fence/wall heights by building tall masonry sheds, which aren’t subject to fence-height regulations), capturing views, and making comfortable spaces that bridge the gap between home and the wild landscape.
Courtesy of The Monacelli Press
Steve’s love for the desert shines through each of his designs. He amplifies its unique features: sunlight (capturing shadows and using saturated color that shows beautifully in intense sunlight), space (defining space with walls and connecting gardens to the natural landscape), and architecture (showcasing the strong, quirky shapes of native plants and creating his own architecture with space-defining walls). Native plants thrive without need for what Steve calls the life support of endless watering.
Courtesy of The Monacelli Press
I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves design, landscape architecture, or the desert, although you do not have to be a desert dweller to appreciate Steve’s work. (I’m not, despite the popular misconception that Austin belongs to the Southwestern desert.) And if you aren’t already in love with a colored wall and a bristly-headed yucca, you will be.
If you’d like to know more about Steve’s work, check out two blog posts I’ve written about his gardens:
Color-drenched walls and desert beauty in Steve Martino-designed Palo Christi Garden
Desert retreat in Steve Martino-designed Quartz Mountain Garden
Disclosure: The Monacelli Press sent me a copy of Desert Gardens of Steve Martino for review. I reviewed it at my own discretion and without any compensation. This post, as with everything at Digging, is my own personal opinion.
I welcome your comments; please scroll to the end of this post to leave one. If you’re reading this in a subscription email, click here to visit Digging and find the comment box at the end of each post.
Digging Deeper: News and Upcoming Events
Join the mailing list for Garden Spark Talks! Inspired by the idea of house concerts, I’m hosting a series of garden talks by inspiring designers and authors out of my home. Talks are limited-attendance events and generally sell out within just a few days, so join the Garden Spark email list for early notifications. Simply click this link and ask to be added.
All material © 2006-2018 by Pam Penick for Digging. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.
Original source: http://www.penick.net/digging/?p=48214
FOR A LOT OF US GARDENERS, our connection to birds perhaps started with, or maybe even still centers on, putting [read more…]
The post better birding and fascinating sparrows, with kathryn schneider appeared first on A Way To Garden.
Original source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AWayToGarden/~3/cl3Z327Zoao/
WIN A BIOBAG® SAMPLE KIT!
This weekend (Friday 10/12 – Sunday 10/14), you have the opportunity to win one of three sample kits from BioBag®! BioBag® is a world leader in providing bags and films for the collection of organic waste for the purpose of composting. Their mission is to keep organic waste from ever entering a landfill. Unlike regular plastic bags, BioBags are made from a resin derived from plants, vegetable oils and compostable polymers and can be consumed by micro-organisms that live in our soils. Because of this, their BioBags can be readily composted along with organic waste at municipal composting facilities.
Each sample kit includes the following:
- Umimax Food Scrap Bucket
- one box of tall 13 gallon food scrap bags
- one 25 ct box of small 3 gal food scrap bags
- one box of resealable sandwich bags
- one box of resealable food storage bags
- one 10 ct box of 33 Gallon Lawn & Leaf Bags
- one box of standard size pet waste bags
- one box of pet waste bags on a roll
- one box of resealable snack bags
- one box of resealable gallon bags
To enter, please do the following anytime from Friday, 10/12 through midnight Sunday, 10/14:
- Go to the Gardening Know How Facebook page. Find the BioBag giveaway post pinned at the top of the page. Make a comment underneath this post with your answer to the following question: “Which of the BioBag® products featured in this giveaway are you most excited about using?”
- Share the BioBag giveaway Facebook post on your timeline.
- The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified through Facebook. (See rules for more information.)
Connect with BioBag: http://biobagusa.com.
If you are a frugal individual, like me, you appreciate free things. Anything that beneficially multiplies itself is a good thing too. Take daffodils, for example. These cheery yellow flowers, some even with a lovely scent, are spring standouts and expand their presence by doubling (even tripling) in just a few years by naturalizing. If you aren’t familiar with naturalization, it is the process by which bulb plants grow and reproduce. Narcissus, or daffodils, propagate either from seed or bulbs. Learn more about the process at Bulb.com.
When planting, you can encourage the effect by planting the daffodil bulbs in a naturalized way. Forget planting in an organized manner but, instead, dig trenches where you carelessly place bulbs in a random pattern. Some people gently toss the bulbs and dig where they land. Just remember to plant them pointy side up. This mimics how the plants would appear in the wild if left to their own devices and life cycle.
As the colony of bulbs ages and produces smaller bulbs, the flowers grow in a loose manner, producing thicker crops of plants and a broader scope of golden flowers. The effect is unarranged and without artifice. Just sweet, organically placed blooms in a cheerful tumble about the landscape. Some of the places that look the most uncontrived are around trees, dotted in lawns, sweeping across hillsides and any space in the garden that will lay fallow during bloom. It is important to provide a site with good drainage and rich soil for daffodil bulbs. They naturalize best in organic soil and actually thrive in the woodsy soils under and around the edges of tree lines.
If you want to start another daffodil site from the offsets the parent bulbs produce, wait until the foliage has died back to yellow. Then cut the foliage off and carefully lift the bulb. The little bulblets around the parent bulb should come off easily. These can be planted in fall in a prepared bed. Protect them from squirrels and other digging animals. Bulblets may produce flowers in a couple of years. If you are removing the bulbils on the stem for planting, expect a couple more years before they bloom. In spite of the extra time these types of Narcissus offsets will need to bloom, it is still less time than by seed.
When planting daffodils like Mother Nature, just remember to throw your sense of tidiness and order out the window and plant them in a spontaneous, whimsical manner for a beautiful, naturalized spring display.
The post Naturalizing Bulbs – Planting Daffodils Like Mother Nature appeared first on Gardening Know How's Blog.
Hummingbirds are enchanting visitors to any garden. Small, fast, and as aerially sophisticated as helicopters, they zip around, feeding at nectar-rich blossoms. By planting the natural food sources they prefer, you’re sure to welcome these delightful little birds to your garden. Hummingbird feeders are another great way to entice them to your yard, and they’ll begin to investigate these as a possible new food source. Below are some of our favorite perennial plants and products, all of which will entice these remarkable flyers.
Hummingbirds are drawn to the brilliantly colored, bright magenta-red blossoms of Monarda ‘Raspberry Wine.’ These plants bloom long and hard and show excellent resistance to powdery mildew. A member of the Mint family, this vigorous Bee Balm will spread. Divide plants in spring and share with friends. A White Flower Farm introduction in 1992.
Of the 200 species in the genus Asclepias, the best known are North American wildflowers. They have small, curiously shaped blooms that appear in dense clusters. Asclepias ‘Cinderella’ is a genuine star with unusually dense clusters of pale pink flowers that open from dark pink buds. The vanilla-scented flowers last well in winter and attract butterflies and hummingbirds.
Agastache is a genus of about 30 aromatic species native to central and eastern Asia, Mexico, and the United States. Careful breeding and selection have given us newcomers that offer exceptional garden performance and a long season of bloom. Robust Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’ produces a mass of soft powder-blue flower spikes from July onwards, making it a magnet for butterflies and admiring visitors alike.
Bring on the hummingbirds! Lonicera ‘Major Wheeler’ produces a blanket of tubular, reddish orange flowers (coral shades on the West Coast) from late spring through summer. Later, the red berries attract goldfinches and robins. It’s a selection of our native species, Lonicera sempervirens, and plants are both carefree and noninvasive.
In addition to enchanting us with their aerial acrobatics, hummingbirds can be a beneficial presence in the garden. A great way to encourage them to take up residence or visit often is to utilize hummingbird feeders. Our Hand-Painted Hummingbird Feeder is made in Mexico from recycled green glass that’s hand-blown in the shape of a blossom then painted by artists. Each brightly colored, beautifully constructed nectar feeder is secured by a metal stand that pushes easily into the ground.
It’s easy to gush about Hydrangeas. Grown for their large and spectacular flower heads, these classic shrubs are vigorous, of easy care, and attractive at virtually every stage of growth. Best of all, they dazzle in summer and fall, a time when many woody plants are resting. Whether you are a novice with growing Hydrangeas or an expert, our video series mentioned below can help you learn more about these beautiful shrubs.
Most Hydrangeas are not fussy as long as they receive their preferred amount of sunlight (generally full sun to part shade) and are planted in moist, well-drained soil. They will even thrive in coastal areas, since they tolerated high winds and salt. Most Hydrangeas do need water if it doesn’t rain, but are otherwise undemanding. Mulching Hydrangeas will conserve moisture and buffer soil temperatures.
There are many different types of Hydrangeas, from mophead (macrophylla) varieties, vining Hydrangeas (anomala petiolaris), native Oakleaf Hydrangeas and many more. Some are shade-loving types such as Hydrangea serrata ‘Blue Billow’, which also offers a sensational display of colorful fall foliage. To learn more about the different offerings of Hydrangea, watch our video “What are the Various Types of Hydrangeas” below.
Flowers come in shades of white, cream, chartreuse, pink, blue, and red. Blooms of many hydrangea Varieties change color over time, so they show is continually intriguing. Some varieties of Hydrangea change flower color depending on the pH of the soil, generally blue on acid soils and pink on alkaline. For help on getting your hydrangeas to bloom, watch our video, “Why Didn’t My Hydrangea Bloom?” below.
The biggest breakthrough in Hydrangea breeding has been the introduction of varieties that bloom on both old and new wood. Endless Summer®, Blushing Bride®, Let’s Dance® Moonlight, and Twist-N-Shout are among these exceptional long bloomers. They flower on old wood starting in late spring and then on new wood in midsummer. In warm climates, the bloom period can last up to six months. These newcomers also make good choices for colder climates, since bloom on new wood is reliable ensured, even after a severe winter. Regular deadheading of these varieties helps to encourage rebloom. For tips on pruning all varieties of Hydrangea, watch our video, “Pruning Hydrangeas” below.
Since Hydrangea varieties range from compact to sprawling, check your plant’s size at maturity and give it room to grow. Many Hydrangea varieties look superb when grown as a hedge. When Selecting companion plants, be sure that their light requirements match those of your Hydrangea and the planting site.