Why do you garden?
Every day I have a new answer to this question. That's because every time I go out to look at, and work in the garden, I see something I haven't seen before. A new wildlife visitor (or pest), a budding bush, or a fully opened flower with a sweet fragrance that makes me linger.
I feel beauty, I feel peace, I feel connection.
What makes you linger?
I invite you to comment, participate and question Everything, so we can learn and grow together! I'd love to hear what you think!
Ideally, water that falls from the sky would go into the ground and nourish the plant life. The perfect balance. However, this is increasingly rare, especially in cities. As populations grow, construction methods are such that ground clearing removes the porous layers that would absorb surface water. Piping and ditch systems are created that “collect and send” water to another location. In storms, these systems become over-taxed and cannot handle the volume and flow of water. Flooding can, and frequently does, occur. Rural areas are better, but compact ground, hilly terrain, clay layers and subsurface hardpan keep water from infiltrating into that ground too, the result being mucky muck in the winter and hard-as-a-rock clay in the summer. Neither allow water to infiltrate. To get the water into the ground is to make the ground more absorbable. A very popular, inexpensive and relatively easy way to do this is with recycled cardboard. Cardboard works because it prevents photosynthesis so weeds don’t grow, it helps absorb & retain moisture, and the cardboard decomposes and adds ‘fluff’ to the hard ground, making space for water to ‘go in.’ I have used this method for more than a decade, in muck and clay, with great success. Here’s a really good example of how to do it.
This Sheet Mulching demo is courtesy of the Snohomish Conservation District snohomishcd.org/blog/2018/5/15/sheet-mulching-example-courtesy-of-our-vet-crew
A beautiful summer day in the Pacific Northwest!
But I was sick, and I had no idea it was dehydration, or what that even was.
I was 30 years old, and it was late July. I had been gardening and running around planning for a large family picnic. I had two very active little kids that liked to play outside in the dirt
(haha - go figure!!)
It was hot outside, and I had been feeling a little dizzy for the last few days. Whenever I ate I got diarrhea, and I had stomach cramps that wouldn't go away. I felt nauseous and hungry, but all I could do was lay around and try to sleep. My husband looked at me and said he was going to take me to the hospital. SHOCK! What? Why? I was just tired, overworked and stressed out, I thought.
As a last resort I grabbed a medical book and started looking up my symptoms. I found this formula and wanted to try it before going to the hospital. My husband said I had one hour.
I made this recipe and, since I was desperate, I drank 1/2 cup every half hour. I was in disbelief that after an hour I felt much better. In three hours I felt good, and after another recipe, I ended up eating later that evening and didn't have to go to the hospital. I though it was strange - but I found out it was dehydration. Don't let it get this far - it's dangerous. The stomach cramps was a clue for me every time. The drink doesn't taste very good, but if you drink it hot, it's better.
I have used this recipe for years and years because it works!! AND, it won't hurt you if you're not dehydrated!
Are you washing your food?
I used to eat leafy greens right out of the garden. Carrots too, after I washed them off with the hose. But in the last few years, since I have been working with, and in, a lot more gardens, I've started looking at the plants a lot more closely - as I teach others to do. After all, observation is the first thing to do when working with any landscape.
When labels say "Organic" I believe there is an assumption that the produce is clean because, after all, it's grown without chemicals, right? The arguments here can vary greatly, but the bottom line is that we all want the fruit and vegetables we eat to be free of bugs, dirt, chemicals and bacteria, period.
This Fruit & Vegetable Rinse, made from corn & coconut, is hands-down the best food cleaner I have ever used. It's edible, so you don't have to wash it off, and it's safe for kids & pets. It extends the shelf-life of your produce, and kills 'bugs' inside your body; I used it when I got food poisoning and was better in 15 minutes! It kills aphids on plants, and fleas on pets too. Read about it for yourself. Fruit & Vegetable Rinse
Whatever you do, DO SOMETHING to clean your food, counters, car and house.
Do it for Health, and for Peace of mind <3
Succulents are the easiest, most resilient, prolific and beautiful plants for Pacific Northwest Gardens. If you have them, you know this!! These low-lying plants grow wonderfully along garden pathways or rock walls, needing little attention. The intermittent summer rain squalls are enough for them! They present with bright flower spikes in early summer and can even change color with extreme drought later on. *Bonus*
I really love to use ferns in the landscape! They're versatile, abundant, inexpensive, and quite beautiful with their spikes of bright green, grayish-purple and orange. They can grow BIG or small, as with all plants, depending on how much they like their environment! These are a few of my favs! And here's a few pruning tips!
1. Healthy patch of our native Sword Fern. It's clearly 'picture perfect' and all the dead fronds have been clipped away.
2. Here's how mine look in the spring!
3. First, I look deep inside to the middle of the plant to see if the new fiddleheads are emerging, and I'm careful not to cut them off when I prune.
4. Then, I pull back all the OLD fronds even if they are still a little green AND I cut them off all the way to the center. Yes, all of them!
5. This allows light for all the emerging fiddleheads to unfurl!
6. It is such a lovely sight to see the tiny little pruned fern transform into a bright green lush plant in the early spring!
DO Experiment with different ferns in your landscape! Some are more sun-tolerant than others, but a good filler plant nonetheless!!
**As always, if you want guidance, Please contact me**
How do I know? The sound of frogs!
For several years I have worked with the Skagit Land Trust in Skagit County Washington, doing surveys for frog eggs in the early spring. We monitor the same wetlands every year to see the changes in the native and invasive species, both plant and animal. This has greatly increased my awareness of our Northwest environment, and has helped me in my work and passion of helping to create the places where we ALL love to live! If you want to be part of the solution, Contact Me to see how you can create your own beautiful habitat where you LOVE TO LIVE!
Frog eggs and how to ID them ~ quick overview
This post is all about Raspberries. So, if you got some from me, you want to grow them, or if you’re growing them and they seem unproductive or “out of hand,” this information could be for you. Otherwise, probably not.
These are Caroline Everbearing Red Raspberries. They produce in mid-summer, then again in the early fall and continue at least until it freezes, sometimes, as late as November. These plants produce berries that have a wildly robust and slightly tangy flavor. They adapt to varied soil conditions and are resistant to pests and rust.
The first year the canes are small, and may produce a few berries in the late part of the season. The 2nd year canes produce in mid-summer and then again abundantly in the fall. Do NOT prune the 1st year canes, or they will only produce once the following year. The 3rd year canes are dying or dead and will not usually produce. However, I never snip off the dead canes until the following spring when the plants start leafing out, just to be sure. I neither prune nor trellis, but these are options depending on how much time you have!
New shoots come up from the expansive roots of the original plant. This is where PLANNING IS NECESSARY. If you grow raspberries along a fence line, be prepared for them to creep into your neighbor’s yard, which they may not want. I plant mine along a garage or some other building, where they can get sun AND shade, as they will grow better with both. Water if the weather is dry, or if they are too sheltered from the rain. Thin every couple of years to keep the foliage low and the fruiting high!! I don’t use any kind of fertilizer, but a nice compost or mulch would be acceptable. Chemical fertilizer is not necessary or acceptable – in my opinion.
Locally we also grow yellow raspberries. The cane variety seems to grow much, much slower than the reds, but the fruit is divine! I will be selling these next year!! There is also an evergreen ground cover raspberry bramble that is wonderfully producing, but DO be careful where you plant it if you want to eat those berries!
Watch my planting process in this YouTube video:
As always, call or message me if you have questions, I’m happy to help!
Happy Spring & I’ll talk to you soon!!
I thought I'd let you in on this hidden space I found to grow a garden!! It's basically the required setback between two buildings in a commercial district. I spotted it one day while on my way to visit a friend at work, and thought it would be a great area to demonstrate a "microclimate." So, with permission, here's a picture-story of what we're doing.....
NEVER UNDER ESTIMATE THE POWER OF A VISION!
This microclimate works because the buildings are tall and create shelter from extreme heat, cold and wind. One of the buildings is metal, which is a heat-sink that radiates heat during the day and on into the night. An Eagle Scout project provided the raised beds and the installation, in perfect alignment with the aesthetic. We know we're on the right track here when even the smallest inhabitants are finding a cozy and inviting home!