Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lifestyle. Show all posts

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Christmas In April

I have to share with you this photo of my gorgeous Christmas cactus. Yes, it's April and the plant decided to bloom. Not that I mind...I always enjoy having flowers in my home!

Why it's blooming now, I can't say. Something in its chemistry, in its environment, makes it happy right now.

I was never interested in gardening growing up. In fact, it would be more accurate to say I had a true disdain for the activity and wanted nothing to do with it. So imagine everyone's surprise when I developed the proverbial green thumb.

I don't know how I developed a skill.  I do read some, and I've always learned by the trial and error method. Along the way I've picked up two tonics (and one variation) that I use when watering my plants:

  1. Coffee water. Yep. Mother introduced me to this one. I add the leftover morning coffee to my watering pot then top it off with tap water. I highly recommend diluting the coffee and not pouring it straight onto your plants. Otherwise your plants will smell (If you like a coffee fragrance in your home, I can introduce you to a lovely Hazelnut Latte candle!)
  2. Tea water. This is a variation of coffee water. If you're a tea, not a coffee drinker, start with tea as your base then top off your pot with tap water. I've found tea water best to use when the tea is too old to drink.
  3. My secret tonic water. Actually, I was introduced to this "recipe" many years ago when I used to watch the Lynette Jennings show on the Discovery Channel. Take a used steel wool pad and drop it in tap water. I use an old plastic coffee can and used SOS pads. Let the water cure for at least a week before use. Add one cup of the tonic to your watering pot before topping with tap water.
All three tonics will be brown, and you'll wonder why in the world to use such a yucky combination on your plants. Trust me, they work!

What are you favorite tricks for your garden or your houseplants? 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Surprise, surprise!

This past weekend was the first I made it outdoors to work on my gardens. I'll give you a moment to be awestruck by use of the plurality of the word, but you should know, I have a postage-stamp sized yard, and "gardens" means the front bed, the side bed, the back rose garden, and a few other spaces. We're not talking Central Park here.

Anyway. I've lived in this house for fifteen years. My gardens, such as they are, are known to me by square inch and the weeds they attract. I'm seldom surprised at what my yard can produce at this point.

Until this past weekend.

I was walking between the back and the "really" back yard on my way to the compost pile. (I love my compost pile, but am saving that introduction for a later date.) When, what to my wandering eyes should appear,, it's not the season for a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer....a little furry bud.
I looked. I stared in disbelief.  Then I started jumping.

Jumping not for joy. Jumping not to catch a squirrel, as my neighbor thought (embarrassment!). But jumping to catch a branch just a bit higher to see if my hypothesis was true.

It was. The tree I had known to love (not) and to appreciate (not) as part of a "border" was a pussy willow! A thirty plus foot pussy willow! In fifteen years, I've not seen this tree produce anything similar to a bud, let alone the architectural branches we proudly display in our homes. Looking up over the top of my garage, I saw a fuzzy treeline of what must be the buds of these pretty spring displays!

So I brought out my clippers and snipped what I could. Then I brought out my ladder and cut as many branches as I could reach. Of course, the good stuff was only attainable by climbing on top of my garage (not!), and my boys weren't with me, but I was able to gather enough branches to make a modest display for my foyer.

About a month ago, I had a conversation with my father about our yards. The pussy willow he had given up on last fall and had been felled to the ground had suddenly begun producing flowers not seen in years. Maybe the shrub I inherited so many years ago was just severely neglected, yet somehow in the right place to produce this year. I think the lesson here is that nature is a unpredictable. I'm not trying to analyze the jet steam, greenhouse gasses, or even compost pile versus Miracle Grow, but there is still a lot in our own hands, in or on our own footprint, that we have yet to learn from.

Go get your hands dirty!

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