Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Monday, 22 March 2010
Here are some tips I've learned along the way. And even if you're into saving some of your flowers and drying them to make wreaths, pot pourri, and especially making fresh arrangements, then I hope these tidbits and advice are of some help!
Don't cut the flowers from your garden during the hottest part of the day. It's best to do this in the morning, after the dew has evaporated. This is especially important if you’re cutting herbs to hang and dry. The heat of the day can wilt the flowers, and sometimes, depending on what variety you choose, they may not be easily revived.
I know, I know... Some people like to use scissors to cut the stems, but think of what that does. It pinches and squishes the sides of the stem together. The flower then cannot take up the water that it requires, which means they won't last as long as they might have otherwise. Cutting on an angle with a good sharp knife is always best. I honestly cringe when I see someone demonstrating this on a TV show, and they’re using scissors!
Have a pail of tepid water right there as you are cutting the stems. This way, especially if you’re outside, the flowers can be placed directly in the water. The reasoning behind this is because air pockets can form in the stem if they’re out of water for too long. Air pockets will block that all important water from rising up the stem and reaching up the flower, which means yet again, that they won’t last as long as they should.
You'll hear all kinds of ways to keep the water clean, (adding saltpetre is my favourite! I've also heard aspirin, a rusty nail, copper penny, well, you name it...!) But in reality, the only true thing that's going to help is by changing the water daily, and of course, re cutting the stems. All this folklore is nothing more than a placebo, really! Amusing as well, but not really beneficial or even practical.
Don't forget about those greens! They always compliment your flowers. It’s like a grand painting without a frame if they aren’t added. If you have some ferns growing nearby, they’re always a nice addition, and Hosta leaves look amazing too, if they aren’t too huge and overwhelm the flowers! They also last very well in water.
As for your container, I always use thin transparent tape, placed in grid fashion on the top, which is an easy way to prop up the flowers in what looks like a professional job! This is called the "mechanics" behind your floral design, and the clear tape can be easily disguised with greens, and even by tucking some moss around the edges which provides a very natural look! I like to tuck in some branches last as they are nice for adding height to any arrangement, even if there’s only a few added. Curly willow, dogwood, forsythia, and others, are always perfect for just that.
Think of creating your own arrangement for that next dinner party! A little floral treasure as a hostess gift for dinners with friends is always a nice touch and certainly appreciated alongside that bottle of wine!
Sunday, 21 March 2010
It's such an easily grown specimen. I enjoy it because of the blooms that look like dainty miniature snapdragons, the wispy-ness of the structure, and the foliage that makes it appear much more delicate than it actually is, especially while it's swaying in a warm summer breeze!
It's an upright perennial that self-seeds. Last year I was able to collect literally hundreds and hundreds of seeds from this plant. It doesn't self-seed in a nasty way like some other plants do, Phytostegia comes to mind, and it's easy to remove if they start to grow where they're not wanted.
The bees and butterflies were all over them. I don't think I ever looked at the plant during its growing phase without there being some type of pollinator on it! And what else made me really happy was the Deer did not graze upon them, even though there are other flowers right beside them that were chomped upon, my giant blue Lobelia for one.
The classic pink/mauve little blooms show for months, from July, right through until frost.
Linaria grows to 36" and the clumps are about 24" wide. It is drought tolerant, too!
Methinks it's an underrated plant, maybe due to it's affinity to its relative, butter and eggs, which grows anywhere, but this lovely native is well deserving of a spot in the garden!
Thursday, 18 March 2010
Each petal is a frosty-pink with a deeper pink bar down the centre, the anthers are a lovely shade of purple, and it's shimmery and seemingly silvery seeds are almost as attractive as the flowers.
Happy Gardening !!!
Wednesday, 17 March 2010
Tuesday, 16 March 2010
- Foliage: Herbaceous smooth-textured.
- Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings.
- This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds.
- Propagation Methods: By dividing the rootball or from seed; direct sow outdoors in fall or early spring.
- Stratify seeds if sowing indoors.
- Seed Collecting: Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds.
- Non-patented native perennial
- Height: 24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
Monday, 15 March 2010
I just love this picture. Those showy little blue star-shaped flowers attract bees, butterflies, and all kinds of good pollinators to my garden.
I especially admire them since they are an heirloom, and have been cultivated since at least the year 1440. Such a historic plant.
Sunday, 14 March 2010
As mentioned, the French have been so successful with this type of garden method since medieval times. It was usually always grown near the kitchen, (mostly for convenience sake), where food and fresh ingredients could be picked and used fresh.
Being more than just a typical veggie garden, flowers, herbs and of course vegetables were grown together in a very charming manner. Architectural elements added such as a bench or an arbour added a touch of whimsy, but usually were there for practical, useful and obvious reasons as well. In essence, potager gardens were not only useful, but also pleasing to the eye. No small task for any gardener, really, but it can be done! I've decided to tackle one this year, well, at least expand and reorganize the one I have, and here are some thoughts and ideas I'll use that may be helpful to anyone else thinking of planning for this type of garden as well!
Firstly, I'll be incorporating many more herbs, especially useful ones that I can use fresh, and some to dry for use later on in the season. I'll be adding some structural features such as arbours and a new pathway, as well as some trellises that will have edible food growing on them, like heirloom beans, peas and many other varieties. Perhaps even a water feature will appear!
Although I'm fortunate to have enough property to incorporate a garden of this nature, I can't actually grow my kitchen garden too close to my kitchen! It's located upstairs for one, and also, the closest spot I could grow it is in a very shady area of my property, so this actually can't always be accomplished, but don't let that stop you! And in actual fact, just to add, some shading is actually a good thing, especially during the hottest part of the day for certain herbs like dill and basil.
Just a note about space... If you don't have the property but might have a balcony or a small town yard, remember there is always an alternative, so I suggest learning more about container gardening, (please view an older post I've written regarding that).
Unasked for advice with respect towards design....
The kitchen garden should be considered a working garden and it should be convenient for the gardener.
A gardener should try to develop aesthetic elements that will be both pleasing to the eye, and be functional as well.
Locating a proper site is first and formost. Most herbs, vegetables, and flowers need at least six hours a day of direct sunlight, so paying attention and charting that will be optimum in finding where the best plot can be located.
A spot that has some shade during the afternoon for those aforementioned annual herbs, and of course lettuces too will certainly be appreciated by them! They just don't like that mid-day heat.
Good drainage is appreciated by moste plants, so keeping this in mind, I've already built a couple of raised beds where I'm quite sure my herbs will thrive!
I've already decided on a focal point and lay out for my kitchen garden and this was done using graph paper at the kitchen table. But I also went one step further and took photographs of the site I'm adding the garden to, and have drawn right on my photo's. It's a great way to visualize what one cannot visualize on graph paper.
I've decide to group some plants in irregularly shaped, curved beds around a central point instead of just plain rows. I have a nice birdbath that never has seem to have found the proper home in my garden, so that's likely going to be the focal point.
Since my raised beds are already lined up, so I feel they will compliment each other in their differing design placement.
This is where the paths will come in. My planting beds will be narrow enough for easily reaching without breaking my back, and of course for weeding, and to pick the produce I intend to grow. But I do want to make sure that I can fit my small wheelbarrow down this path and be able to turn it around without having to trample anything, even accidentally!
I've already checked that my garden hose will reach, and am looking into a submerged soaker hose with is actually better for the plants and the environment too. Less water is lost during those hot summer days, so more of it actually gets to the plants roots!
I'm not sure what to do with defining the space and the edge of the gardens as of yet. There's a few things I'm thinking of doing.. One is a border, like boxwood, but I'm not really a formal kind of gardener, and that's a lot of maintenance clipping them, but they do look good in other peoples gardens! I'll likely go with a stone border or another type of organic mulch, which of course keeps moisture in the soil and helps to keep the weeds away.
What to plant?
I'm really into heirloom and native plants, but must consider space. I likely won't be planting watermelons, but will be trying some new (to me) old varieties of tomatoes, peppers, corn, and other varieties. The herbs are really going to be fun, and I can't wait to use many in new recipes that call for fresh herbs.
The other consideration I'm giving what I plant will be where things I plant are placed. Corn and sunflowers will be at the back, as well as any trellis with beans, peas, or any other tall plants that will block the sun from the shorter plants. It's amazing, but many people don't give that any consideration, but it's a big one!
Since I have many seeds, and much to divide this spring and summer, I'll save some money by planting them. Incorporating a lot of flowers amongst the varieties that are edible is very important to me, and the whole reason for a garden like this. Besides, that will not only bring in the pollinators, but will offer a softness and that eye pleasing quality that I'm after with myPotager/Kitchen garden! Hoping to do justice to it all! To be continued.. With photo's too!
Would love to hear any comments about your kitchen garden, and any tips you find helpful.
Thanks for visiting!
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
Wednesday, 3 March 2010
- Seedy Saturday - Peterborough, ON - Saturday, March 13th, 2010 from 1 pm 'til 4 pm at the St. James United Church, located on 221 Romaine St., Peterborough.
- Seedy Saturday - Lindsay, ON - Saturday, March 20th from 9 am 'til 1 pm at the Queen St. United Church 35 Lindsay Street North, Lindsay, ON
- A Seedy Sale @ Wall Flower Studio - Saturday March 27 th & Sunday March 28 th from 10am - 4 pm. Location: Wall Flower Studio, 1061 Big Hawk Lake Rd., Minden, ON
Lastly, Wall Flower Studio's (Free, no strings attached!) garden & seed catalogue is available. If you'd like one, simply drop me a line, via email: sloanartgallery[at]gmail[dot]com
Monday, 1 March 2010
The "Mother Ship" !!!
Full culture notes/growing instructions, along with a picture are provided with purchase. I am proud to offer these seeds!
Thanks for viewing, and Happy Gardening!