Here are five things that caught my attention lately:
because I’ve been to the garden where they grew.
finding beauty in the everyday
Loneliness does not come from being alone, but from being unable to communicate the things that seem important. – Carl Jung
Discovering a concept that describes an emotion your culture has no word for can help you make better sense of yourself and more able to cope with life’s stresses.
This happened to me several years ago when I learned about wabi-sabi. Wabi-sabi (wobby-sobby) expresses things I’ve long felt but had no words for.
With very little coaxing paperwhite bulbs will reward you with clusters of fragrant blooms in as little as four weeks. All you need is a container, a holding medium and water.
Soil is not necessary; paperwhites will happily grow anchored in either decorative stone, glass, pebbles or gravel.
I received much-needed emotional support this past week from photographing a bunch of grocery store carnations.
Displaying them about the house helped ensure my whole family reaped their mood-elevating benefits, too.
Handling each flower, cutting the stems and immersing them in water, and arranging them to be photographed draws my attention to colour, texture and pattern, to the softness of the petals and the particular green of the leaves and stems. It helps me recognize the beauty of flowers, which opens my heart to feelings of joy and love.
I bought three bunches of orange and pink carnations for $20.00. A bit of baby’s breath was mixed in each bunch.
I like to break up the flowers and arrange them in separate vessels of varying sizes.
Place your bouquets in rooms where you spend the most time, and in areas where everyone can see them and benefit from their beauty.
Seeing them first thing in the morning is important since they help set your mood.
The kitchen is an excellent spot since it’s where we tend to gather before we start our day. Plus it’s most convenient room to change the water!
See that character selling violets? That’s me.
I’m not so naive to think looking at photos of flowers can repair the blow to the spirit you might be experiencing today, as the results of the US election sink in. Still, I offer you these pink and orange carnations, styled specifically with you in my mind.
Flowers to comfort the bereaved.
November arrived and I’m giving myself a pat on the back for getting the garden to bed before things freeze up.
Potted hostas are in the garage covered with a blanket. Pots of mint and catnip are safe in the ground until I retrieve them in the spring.
I hate to waste so I gathered the last of the chamomile, mint and sage, and I’m air drying them.
Air drying takes longer than using an oven or dehydrator, but it’s an easier method for preserving fresh herbs. Plus air drying means the oils in the leaves (wherein the flavour lies) aren’t depleted and you get more pungent herbs.
Any herbs still growing in your garden? Harvest them now and air dry them before it’s too late.
Here are some guidelines:
I think I felt my psychological reaction to winter shift from acceptance to slight dread.
In preparation for the inevitable, I’m reviewing my list of ways to stay cozy and beat the winter blues.
A greenhouse, I recently experienced, is both a physical and psychological oasis in the dead of winter.
For starters, it provides you with a potent plant fix. Plants are proven mood enhancers and this heritage greenhouse houses more than 500 lush tropical varieties.
The building itself is a sight to behold. It’s a soaring web-like structure made almost entirely of glass and metal, a seemingly too thin separation from the realities of a harsh winter day. Yet inside you’re guaranteed the air is warm and humid. You can ditch your winter duds, close your eyes and be momentarily transported to somewhere tropical.
Here’s hoping there’s a greenhouse somewhere near you.
P.S. Planning your garden for next summer is another good way to get a psychological lift during the doldrum days of winter. Would you like some of my marigold seeds?
It’s October and, while most of the garden is shades of solid greens, the marigolds are multi-shades of vibrant yellows, reds and oranges in stunning single and bi-colour patterns. In this growing zone marigolds start blooming in late June or early July and by the fall are really (as Beyonce might say) feeling themselves.
Marigolds are the perfect fall flower for colour palette alone but also because they thrive in spite of chilly temperatures and shorter daylight hours.
Before the first hard frost hits I’m cutting marigolds for vases and bringing inside potted marigolds so I can enjoy them for longer.
My very first plantings of marigolds were store bought but now I only plant from harvested seeds.
It was never my intention to harvest marigold seeds. It’s the blooms, at the height of their beauty, I can’t resist and I collect them by the basket full. I discovered the more I pluck, the more and more marigold blossoms produced. Magic!
Inside the house I watch them dry and change colours – to mustard yellows, burnt oranges and burgundies. Then I discover seeds inside the pod, at the base of the blossom.
Now I always save the seeds. Saving seeds for planting draws my attention to how great nature is. It’s a comforting micro ritual – harvesting, sowing, planting, and enjoying marigold blooms.
It’s trial, error and learning as I go. I read you only get viable seeds if you let them ripen on the plant before you harvest. Ooops! I didn’t know and I was plucking blooms long before they died on the plant.
However, experience tells me you can harvest early as long as you allow the plucked flowers to dry and you leave the seeds undisturbed to ripen in the pod. I’ve had very good luck growing seeds harvested this way. Still, I always assume not every seed will grow and I plant them extra thick. Lord knows I have plenty!
Would you like some marigold seeds?
Type your name in the comment section and I will randomly draw five names and send you each a packet of seeds. Open to readers everywhere!
I hope you grow some marigolds and enjoy them as much as I do.
One final note: marigolds are not only the perfect fall flower but wonderful companion plants for your garden. They balance the garden’s ecosystem by repelling harmful insect pests like aphids and white flies. Even their roots are at work underground releasing into the soil thiopene, a chemical that repels harmful nematodes.