What happened!?

The last thing you saw was snow piled up against the house. My apologies. I was trapped indoors all year. Not really. I couldn’t even tell you exactly what I’ve been doing. I remember bravely stepping outside as the snow melted to snirt and then smuck.. I remember planting things. Things dying. Building things, changing things. I remember wearing silly things to brave the savage bugs. I remember a persistent nod to the goutweed patch and a promise, “I’ll visit you soon.” And then I stopped, and looked up and felt the winds change and suddenly it’s November. Is it? I’m not sure, it’s been frosty on some mornings, while other times we face humidexes of 25. AT THE END OF OCTOBER. I’m so confused. Did summer pass us by quickly…or is it persisting beyond belief? HAVE I DONE NOTHING ALL YEAR!?

So what DID I do? What DID happen?

Well, having glanced back through my old posts and photos, I decided I would highlight the most notable summer gardening memories. I apologize, as there are not many photos to show for the year, I assure you, I did the things!

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Be still my heart! Daylilies stole the show. You can find and make place for daylilies in your garden. Not sure it’ll match? Find one that does. There’s more than you know. Find a daylily steward. A collector. A fanatic. A bulb catalogue. Someone will have the color you want, and will likely gladly share or sell an offshoot to you! Look at these!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I collected way too many plants. I planted some of them, but wound up packing up no less than I did last year.  I started a shrub garden where the small greenhouse lives. We were planning on dismantling this greenhouse to move it to the apex of the driveway, but the year snuck up. Though with the way the weather has been, there might be time all winter for this!

buddha.jpgBuddha’s little garden changed! I can only liken the removal of the forsythia behind the bench as the battle against the toughest boss at the end of a video game. We hacked, dug, clawed, snipped. That bastard took a long time. But what a victory we celebrated! I promptly filled the void with a nice large grass division I got from a friend! In front of Buddha, I pulled out the sad old dandelions and planted a smaller grass and a couple of succulents, including an opuntia. We will see.

There was some development in the turning circle. Two trees got cut down. They were Manitoba maples that were just taking too much light and nutrients. It was part of the plan to begin with. We also pulled out a gigantic ninebark to become the feature piece of the shrub garden. In the empty space of the turning circle, I planted an Acer griseum (paperbark maple) in my dad’s memory.

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Disregard the structure in the background.. we have yet to dismantle this. a 2018 project!

The veggie garden has changed! – Remember that mess? How embarrassing! Since that year, we built 6 nice tall raised beds. Filled em with soil! Planted a ton of things!! Harvested such an amazing crop of carrots!

The goutweed garden is an ugly stain in the yard – Uhh I’m embarrassed by this one. Let’s just pretend it ceased to exist in this plane of existence. It’s going to get yanked out next year. It may be my garden focus of 2018.

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The Rhodo forest had a lovely light up. We wrapped the trees with lights. I fell in love with it.. I don’t use it for anything other than the photo op we had this August but I can’t bring myself to tear it down. I planted about 3 new rhododendrons (Blue Peter, Busuki, and one from my mom’s garden), a couple of Azaleas, and I planted hostas, ferns, and other perennials that tolerate the shade. It hasn’t changed enough to to feel accomplished but it will be a slow garden to fill due to its size and wildness.

I tested a bug net shirt. Ok, I meant to feature this as a more in depth review about bugs and how to overcome them. I got the shirt to test its effectiveness in the advent of deerflies. But the deerflies WOULD NOT come to me this year. It was a fantastic year for bugs… I was only faced with mosquitoes most of the season. Deerflies came, but would not bother me for me to test my shirt.

deck.jpgA new deck was built. Manimal built a beautiful deck in the back of the house. The old deck was rotting terribly. This deck was a fabulous improvement, with a new expanded section and a pergola. This inspired me to change my gardens surrounding it. All of the plantings are young, but I will hopefully see some filling out next year.

I did a tropical feature on the front of my house. I dug some holes to drop potted tropicals into. I picked up a stunning hibiscus this year, and dropped my bird of paradise in the other hole. I replaced a boring Yucca with a variegated one that resembles an agave. I hung an orchid outside my door along with my staghorn fern (and surprise! The orchid had enough sunshine all summer that it’s setting up a bloom spike!)

I conquered the hops vine. That thing was a monster. We beat it down 3 times. This time it’s for good. A clematis has taken its place against the ladder. Phew!

Okay. This helped me feel a lot better about my “lost summer”. I didn’t, in fact, waste it. Time goes faster, the older we get. I failed to stop and admire my progress. But here I am now. I stopped. I’m admiring. Damn, we’re just a couple of busy badgers. Have I done nothing all year?  You know what I didn’t do? I didn’t stop…. I feel pretty good right now.

I’ll see about posting something again soon, and hopefully get into more frequent updates in the new year (or at least during the gardening season).  For now, I enjoy the beginning of the dark, restful season.

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I’ve been reflecting on a winter garden, and Aerogarden review

 

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There is a door to the shop here. You can see the archway, still wrapped in lights, to the right. That was fun to clean. Photo was taken Feb 14th.

It’s been a really long break from updates, and without any warning. I will apologize for that now. There’s been a multitude of things going on in the background that have been preventing me from finding time to post. By bedtime Sunday night, I realize “Oh my god, I forgot to get a post lined up for tomorrow!”

I was supposed to do a post every two weeks and I’ve been inundated with numerous headaches I like to call bad weather and SNOW.

I’ve also been working like a madwoman on my business, so after spending an hour or two looking at excel worksheets and word documents, I kind of have googley eyes and don’t want to talk about gardening, because I feel flooded with the promise of new business possibilities that I need to focus on right now. But now, all the seeding plans and agendas are drawn up and now, in the mean time, I can wait a bit, and think about what I’ve got planned for the garden. After all, all I’ve got to do right now is wait for the garden to reveal itself again, and wait for seeds to show up in the mailbox.

I had been mooning longingly at that turning circle drawing all summer, all fall, and at least a bit of early winter. But the heartbreak set in this past week when I saw the possibility of snow damage present itself following the little triplet storm we had in the last week and a half. Somehow, magically, unexpectedly, and apparently randomly, a rogue backhoe came along, cleaning my neighbor’s driveway and dumped their snow harvest right on top of mine, which then proceeded to spill over into my turning circle. Let’s think about the casualties at risk here (and the ones that occurred). That hedge I imaginarily planted? It’s been crushed. I have three beautiful sumac trees in this circle too. They are a pain when they sucker, yes, but they gave it a very tropical feel. They look beautiful when their fruit clusters hold snow. But they are weak, and this giant snow pile has broken one of the trees right down to the trunk.

Moving along to the front side of the garden, I did account for about 6 feet of space to allow for snow dumpage. I think I now should consider the possibility of 10 feet.

And furthermore, our turning circle will hold a LOT of snow, and it doubles when we have snow drifts. Most of that snow is blown either into bird city or the turning circle. More burial.

See where I’m going with this? This turning circle, aside from the tall trees, has absolutely no winter interest whatsoever, amid a very snowy winter. So now I have to make adjustments to my design to contain more perennials that die back to the crown every year. Unfortunately, perennials require more work, division, etc.

So It’s something else for me to think about while sitting here waiting for the gardens to thaw.

 

 

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That was a pretty delicious pesto. Since I’ve cut the basil back, I’ve got almost enough to make a second batch. Carefully harvesting your basil not only provides a second crop, but it also encourages them to bush out!

I thought I would also share a review of Aerogarden, since I mentioned previously that I had started mine up again.

It’s an awesome thing to be able to grow enough basil to make a batch of pesto in the middle of winter. I think that day at lunch time, every person in the room noted that it smelled so good!

So does it work, can you get a good yield of something from it? Yes you can! The cilantro is the next thing I’ll be harvesting, possibly for some pad thai garnishing. And if you cut your herbs back carefully, you can probably get a few more yields from them.  My parsley is a bit of a slowpoke, but it will also be big enough to harvest as needed for numerous recipes.

I didn’t plant any veggies in it, because like I said before, it’s tough to keep them growing healthy in a small rig like this. My tomato plants kept falling down the side of the garden, breaking, and sending up a side shoot. I wasn’t able to get any yield from them.

 

The light will “last” for about a year according to the unit, which has been flashing to change the light bulb for the last 2 years. It doesn’t seem to have any diminished effect. So I say, keep it going for a while, even if your Aerogarden begs to differ.

You can get replenishment of the lightbulbs, fertilizer, filters, and medium easily!

So what do you think? It’s a very cool thing to have in the winter, especially if you like a fresh harvest of herbs.

I’ll try to pull my socks up and blog more frequently again.

I want to really purchase and review something new. Something I’ve never used before. A WORM BIN! I’ve got this one in mind. Worm castings make beautiful top dressing for houseplants. It’s the real black gold.

Till next week! (Hopefully!)

Seeds Seeds Seeds! Check out these guys!

 

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Grow my pretties…. and become pesto!

 

So it’s a weird, yoyo winter. Some days are filled with a foot of snow. Blink, and it’s all melted away. Rinse and repeat. My least favorite time of year, and I don’t even care that my birthday is in a few weeks. (and besides, I probably won’t be here to celebrate it with a cake till after I return from my tropical escape). But that doesn’t mean I can’t do some fun things around the house and dreaming. The thing about winter is it seems like time slows right down. Which is good, I think. I can take the time to read my winter reading queue, play some video games, and gaze longingly through my seed catalogs. But I have seeds now. And I hate that I don’t have any herbs right now. Just some limp things hanging out in the fridge. So I dragged out ye olde Aerogarden. I started my seeds in this little guy back in early January, so today is a bit of a progress of what’s come up so far. I love fresh basil, so it’s basically my tender herb garden.

I’m fascinated with the idea of “space food” (or what I believe to be space food, things grown hydropnically, like this really cool plant tower of hydroponically grown food). But I cautiously don’t believe it works for an Aerogarden, as my tomatoes kept tumbling down and breaking due to lack of space. Every year I try a new type of seed to see how it does in an Aerogarden, and I always come back to “just herbs is ideal.” However, I’d love to try a larger model later down the road, or even a hydroponic grow tower, like this awesome Nutritower! This time around, I’m growing mostly basil (because supermarket stuff is either limp in a package or very unhappy in a pot), Cilantro and Parsley. Gotta have my mains! And I hate buying things that just go icky in the fridge after using once.

The other thing I’m looking for is SEEDS! After not having them for a few years, there is a cry for Carbon Tomatoes, which inspired the seed hunt. So after having found a supplier for these, now I go for the hunt for oddball and tropical seeds, since my business’ backbone is based on unusual tropical acquisitions. I know there are some who play it safe and just stick to the seed racks that they know in grocery or garden shops, but if you venture out to the catalog or website world of seeds, you can find yourself completely dazzled by options in terms of color and variety that you would otherwise never have thought of.

I’ve done a lot of online shopping in my early and current horticultural career, so I’ll recommend a few good places where you can get reliable seeds that will ship.

http://seedrack.com/ – I always have special feelings for this site, as it was my first seed shopping online experience. Lots of really neat tree seeds! I’ve gotten ginkgo seeds as well as other tropical seeds. Some of these seeds you should ensure that you have ideal conditions for germination. This year I will be ordering some carnivorous and cacti/succulent seeds.

Veseys – Oh, what a bounty of beautiful seeds and plants! The majority of my seed selection last year came from Veseys. There is nothing better to do on a winter day than sit by the window with a tea and circle your choices from the catalog. They offer good rates on shipping if you order larger quantities too. I often buddy up my orders with friends so we can get better deals.

Tradewinds – Another really fun website to browse. Though if you see something you want, get it immediately, because they sell out of their neat stuff really quickly. I had an overwhelming success with my Jacaranda seeds that I purchased here as well as my Adeniums. This year I grabbed some Brunfelsia and Hylocereus seeds.

I can’t forget to mention Annapolis Seeds. What an exceptional local seed seller! I’ve bought so many tomato seeds from these people as well as had a tour of their farm. A huge selection of tomato, veggie and grain seeds, and they have also signed the Safe Seed Pledge! Check ’em out, either online or in Nova Scotia garden centers.

Halifax Seed is another really good selection of seeds. Honestly, I just wait till I get to Halifax and just browse their shop. I could spend a good afternoon in there.

These are my go-to favorites for seed sellers. Check them out, I’ve always had a pleasant experience with all of these companies.  I do browse racks in department stores too, but I always crave the oddballs you can’t get easily in the big name racks in these stores. The scour has begun, and the orders go in when I get back home. And then it’s straight to tool maintenance and shop preparation. I’m making steady progress to hopefully sell more in 2017.

My Big & Small Focuses for the year, and how to maintain focus on a big scale

Another year has passed. I apologize but I must say it. Although the garden was a better show this year than the last, my personal year sucked. I lost someone special to me, I succumbed to major bouts of depression and anxiety at Christmas time. But those feelings are beginning to slip away a little, and I feel that is due to the days becoming longer again. Every fall, as I see my daylight being robbed of me, I feel as though there is not enough to get accomplished. I need to figure out how to hone that and embrace the darkness as my time to retreat inward and plan. I know every summer, while sweating my butt off, I vow to NEVER be sad that I can’t be outside.. because I could finally come in and plan my upcoming moves.

I also took up running back in November. I took home my dad’s treadmill over the fall, and it helped me immensely with my stress. There is something about a run that burns through all the stress. I also lost a bit of fat, gained a bit more energy to get more done, and I don’t want to strangle people as much *smug grin*

But then Christmas comes. And then that gets put on the back burner again.

But now? Now is the time. I drink lots of tea. I think about what I want to do this year. And once I’m done that, we decide what we want to grow and eat.

It may be downsized next year, but this year I decided to focus a little harder on my property via Projects. I will have 3 large focuses, and 5 smaller projects.  This way I won’t flit mindlessly from one place to another without finishing something, however, the large focuses may not become complete this year, especially the circle. This is where I test if my husband is reading. I need your help, manimal! Everyone, ask Manimal how he’s doing as he helps me with my projects! 😉

MY BIG 3 Focuses:
1. Finish the Path to my shop – So that entails sowing seeds and planting the lavender for my lavender hedge on one side, and weeding, mulching and filling in (if needed) my rock garden/daylily bed. We also need to get a path laid over the sunbelt that has sat there for so long. This is a half finished area..but still possibly achievable. The good news is I found a somewhat affordable, easy to maintain option that we’ll be working on this summer, using concrete molds. The affordability of Geek/wish is a wonderful thing!

2. Begin cutting into the turning circle – This is probably going to be 2018’s big project to finish. But I have some shrubs to remove, small trees to fell, and plant a few things that I want to get a head start for next year (like my Pagoda dogwood). 2017 is the official year to begin that. I might even look into powering the area so I can get some nice lighting.

3. Have 2 raised beds built in the veggie garden – Raised beds are soooo much easier to tend. So I’ll be doing that. Hopefully a fresh start will get me ahead of the weeds too. They’re some nasty here. I say two, but I am very receptive to all of them being built. But we all know that money for soil doesn’t grow on trees. So I’ll only build what we can fill, and finish the others in 2018.

 

My 5 Smaller or ongoing minor Projects:

  1. Finish the garden around the deck. This one is almost done too actually. I just need to ensure everything planted will get along fine where it is, and if not, move them, or shuffle them over.
  2. Continue to collect rhododendrons for the forest and plant.
  3. Healing Deck garden (this will be something we will discuss as summer goes on. An Idea I had while spending some time in a hospital garden last fall. We also may be fixing up some of our decks this year. This is mostly going to be a research effort for now, but I think this is the right year to do this.
  4. Continue to poke around and attack the goutweed. Winning the war would be ideal but I’m only a cautious optimist.
  5. I want a path looping through the perimeter of the whole property to create a definite flow. I might explore my options and start a few paths this year. Maybe. Maybe not.

That’s what I’m hoping to get done this year…

The other thing I ask myself is “how can I maintain enough focus to try and give each garden area the attention it requires? How does one budget time in a large property full of gardens? It’s not bomb proof but I do it by breaking it into zones and devoting a week to each zone, but walk every zone every day. Don’t like it? Get rid of it. Run out of things to do in your zone that week? Find new things to change. Stare at it. Make plans. Divisions? Etc. That’s how I do it.  I also walk around either while taking notes in a notebook or jotting them down on my phone’s memo app. It requires a lot of discipline, but if you note all the things you want to do, or thoughts and feelings, it helps you to re-center your focus.

Next week is a break, I’ve got to do some work on the shop. When I’m back I will do a post about my winter tasks, seeds etc. And since it’s been a little mild the last few days, maybe I’ll see if I can cut away some grass in the turning circle. Hope you all had a happy new year, and I hope to have some photos to share next week.

Gift A Gardener, Part 3: Beautiful Things

 

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Penny (left) the Original Gardener’s Companion, and Chinook (right), Gardener’s Companion in training. 

This has been quite a whirlwind of a week! I have done very little in the way of gardening besides poop scooping (and now there will be twice as much as we adopted a rescue and now have two dogs). But as I sit indoors, I think about the things that you can enjoy from indoors, if you wish.

Well, Christmas is coming faster now. You might be panicking, because you got them a nice tool, a nice stocking stuffer, but you feel like they didn’t really fill their heart with joy. So this final installment will hopefully give you some ideas for things that will bring beauty to their home or garden while reminding them of you.

Fern Leaf Prints – I spotted these somewhere, likely from social media, and fell in love with them immediately. I had wanted one but waited too long for the one I wanted. There are dozens of beautiful pictures in this shop and they are all made using ferns!

Gazing Ball – No, I don’t have one. But they make a beautiful statement in the middle of a garden. Put it somewhere that you will appreciate looking at it. They come in so many shapes and forms, and some people even try to make them themselves. Choose what you think will go with their garden. If you appreciate it too, choose something that corresponds well with their design.

Hammock Chair – I’ve got one. I don’t always have time to sit in it, but when I do, it’s pure relaxation and joy. These ones are really deep and comfy, and you can pretty much recline in them and get lost in your thoughts (or fall asleep). I like this kind because not only is it comfy, but it’s pretty too!

Tillandsia in a glass ball terrarium – You’ll probably find these in various gift/garden shops for sale. Tillandsias don’t really need a lot of care, they just hang out. I mist mine daily. It’s a nice thing to hang up like “that’s right, I’m a minimalist and it looks chic!”

Well, that concludes my “gift a gardener” series for 2016. If I can think of enough things in the new year, I will create a post next year as well. I wanted to add more things, but discovered they are no longer available.

It’s the dark season now. I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark. There isn’t much time to do anything or report on my discoveries outside. I’m going to take a break for the rest of the month to enjoy the holidays with my dawgs and cat, finish my frantic shopping, wrap gifts, drink holiday nogs, eat party nibblies, and try to establish a little winter peace.

When I return in January I will limit my posts to once every 2 weeks for the next couple of months. I will kick off with my focus aims for the garden in the new year and how I establish some order in both my methods and my mind when I have so many things I need to do here.

Merry Christmas everyone!

Greenhouse Updates, Gift a Gardener Vol. 2: Tools!

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Suddenly is it florida? Lemons and Flamingos! The citrus looks far happier in here than it did indoors with reduced light.

So remember my previous greenhouse post of the uncertainty of my greenhouse heating methods? Well, I can say so far, the overall lows have maintained about 5 degrees, and highs are still registering about 10-15 degrees on a sunny day. So having this knowledge, and seeing that my citrus and passion flower are doing fine (as well as all those jacarandas who somehow successfully germinated). So an idea struck me to go ahead and try a few more planters of cool crops in here and hope to harvest things through the dead of winter. I cleaned out my two long planters and planted lettuce (red salad bowl), kale (winterbor and red Russian), some peas, both for the shoots and for the actual peas. In my herb planter pouch I trimmed back the parsley and added some chive seeds as well as arugula seeds.

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In person, it looks much nicer. There are several tasty looking rows of green!

I had a peek through my raised beds and everything I planted a few weeks ago is coming up. Once I harvest the tall black knight kale I’ll be sealing up the cold frame and only open to water or harvest(or, if it gets too hot, allow some venting).

It’s still a nice thing to just come out here on a cool afternoon and sit at the table, feel the warm sunshine. I think my tasks out here are pretty much finished, so from here on out it’s just for the escape.

But you can’t escape Christmas. So I’m going to provide some suggestions of great tools for the gardener in your family.

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Felco Pruners. This is THE be all, end all pair of pruners.  My pair is called a #2. There are dozens available by this brand. If you go to a garden shop who sells these, there is usually a wall of these so you can determine which pair is right for you. This particular pair that I own is supposed to be simple and universal. It can be disassembled for cleaning, oiling and sharpening, and comes with a tool to loosen the screw. The handles have a pretty tough grip material on them. Mine have begun to wear out a little but because they are solid, you could always re-dip them after a few years if this bothers you. They are pricey, but for something that feels like it will last you a lifetime, it’s worth it.

Rain Gauges – Find something really special or unique if you can, in garden boutiques. If they prefer something more precise, choose one that has large numbers and clear lines.  This year I became quite obsessed with mine, of course, mostly it was an angry obsession as it spent most of the summer empty.

Dehydrator – There are tons of models on the market. Choose something that you think will suit them the best. If they are a cook, this is a pretty fun choice, and they can experiment with it over the winter by drying fruit. Do they like to preserve and prep? Get a high end one. If it’s an occasional usage, like mine, more economical ones are available as well. I use mine for herb drying, but it can also be used for drying tomatoes, fruit, veggies, meat (for jerky!) and I suppose other things too. Pair it up with a good recipe book for drying foods, and you’ve got a pretty great gift.

Label Maker – This seems like a hokey idea, but if they collect things like I do with numerous daylilies and other perennials, this will make a lot of sense. All their labels will be clean, legible and consistent. Some people hate writing tiny on a label, and with a pen it can look gloppy and pen ink will fade over time in the sun. If you choose labels that are plastic and weather resistant, you will get a few years out of each one and prevent the risk of forgetting what the heck this geranium is.

Rain wand – You will probably need to talk to a waterer to get the lowdown on your options when it comes to watering wands. Novices will use hand nozzles with multiple settings, which is fine when you use it in multiple situations, but there is something joyous about using a rain water wand that waters your garden evenly and quickly.

Rubber Hose – On the point of watering, you should consider a good hose. I’ve had a lot, and those green ones piss me off Once you kink them, they’re pretty much destined to kink there over and over again. Most people don’t want to spring for something expensive like a garden hose, but a rubber one like this black rubber garden hose would be a good one. They still kink, but they don’t seem to have the same sort of memory as the plastic green hoses, and tug straight again.

That’s all for this round. Next week share my final Gift-a-Gardener post. Stay cozy.

November is for orchids.. and christmas shopping. Need ideas?

In November, things begin to happen. The days get really short (I’ve been catching myself feeling ornery because daylight is wasted) and temperatures get lower. But have a really good look at your plants. These two factors often affect things loitering in your window. Your Thanksgiving cactus in bloom right now is one sign of fall. But this is another magical time – For orchids!

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Crystal (yes I name my orchids) has been my longest resident, being a hand me down from mom. She is a very ambitious one, sending out two stalks at once.
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Beau has mittens!

If you have a look at those bizarre, alienlike protrusions jutting out of the pot, some of them have a whitish coating called velamen (this is the root) but you may also notice others that are glossier, and greener. They kind of look like a mitten.Those aren’t roots! If you see those, you will be soon rewarded with another flush of blooms. Take care to avoid damaging or bumping it. And just as an indication of how fast it happens, I water these orchids very deeply every week (in the sink where they drain freely) and 2 weeks ago, there was less flowering action back then, and even some didn’t have any! So don’t give up. Orchids will rebloom. They can rebloom at any time, but I see it happen the most for Phalaenopsis orchids in the fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If you look closely at your new growth you’ll be able to see the difference. I have two new growths here, a root (red) and a flower stalk. Once you figure it out, you’ll recognize it really quickly.

 

 

Moving right along… we can’t ignore the elephant in the room any longer.

 

Christmas is around the corner.

 

 

So… you have a gardener on your shopping list. You need to get them a few small gifts.. maybe a stocking stuffer or two.. maybe a small gift to top off the pile.

I’ve got suggestions for your gardener stocking stuffers.

Jane’s Gloves – You can never go wrong with a pair of gloves, and especially if it’s a really nice pair. Gloves are often considered a consumable. Never buy a pair of gloves under the expectation they’ll last forever, cause they won’t, especially for someone who uses them all the time. Having acknowledged this, I’ve found the best gloves that work for me, and I’ll tell you why. These gloves are super thin, so if you enjoy being intimate with the sensations of the soil, plants and precise work of weeding small things, but don’t want to actually touch them (or get earwigs crawling on your hands), these are the gloves. They also have a coating on the palm that gives you great grip. Some grippy coating on some gloves lose their grippiness (almost getting a little slick). These ones will stay sticky till they break down. They also fit very well for ladies who wear a smaller sized glove. When I put these on, there is no clown hand phenomenon, and there is no air gap between my finger tip and the glove tip. I can’t find a link right now, but the gloves have been spotted fairly reliably at Halifax Seed and Blomidon Nurseries.

Mini Fiskars Snips – Stop. You think you’ve found the best deadheading scissors, pruners, nippers… if you came to this point, you’ve got ‘em. These are a great pair of snips. I’ve got at least 2 pairs rattling around any given garden tote. I use them at work and at home. The tips are small and very narrow, ideal for tight space trimming. Legal marijuana growers come in to Dayjob asking for these by name. As a gardener though, these are just in the middle for snip strength. They will deadhead roses, annuals, they’ll cut just about anything that isn’t woody (thinner than a pencil though, they’d probably cut it). The handle has a nice non-slip grip. The snips have a spring so they work just like a pair of pruners, and have a little lock to hold them closed, as well as a cap to protect the tips, because they are sharp! They seem to have a good life span and I haven’t needed to sharpen mine. However, they don’t disassemble to sharpen, which could be a con for some. I am a felco owner, so I enjoy taking my pruners apart to clean and sharpen the blade. With that being my only real drawback, I always recommend you put this in their stocking. They will use them!

Bottle cap waterers – I picked up a set of these from Lee Valley many years ago. It’s an inexpensive thing to throw at the top of the stocking. They’re really useful if you tend to have a million plants on a million different floors of the house, but don’t want a million watering cans everywhere. There are 4 different tips, and I’ve used them all for various purposes. I keep a 2L pop bottle of water with the finest rose with my seedlings. It’s gentle, as long as you don’t squeeze with a Yeti grip.

Battery Operated Mini Lights – Just a fun gift idea for those who have small to medium robust plants like fig trees, oversized jade plants, or cram a set into a wine bottle. They’re light enough to not weigh down a plant, and bright enough to give a little festive (or pretentious) touch to your living decor. Every year my fig gets subjected to the light up costume, and doesn’t put up too much fuss, as he gets to go out every summer. Don’t forget the batteries! You can find these at just about any christmas decoration department, you can get them onine as well.

Seeds! If you can find seeds right now, you can always pick up a few packages to put in the stocking. I would recommend any packets of herb and annual seeds, scarlet runner beans, microgreens etc. I would discourage the purchase of anything that could be labeled as “spreading” like forget me nots or snow in summer, and never buy orchid seeds from an untrustworthy seller, because chances are they are not, and seed propagation is impossible for most unless you are prepared to start up a laboratory.

Gift cards to their favorite local garden center – It doesn’t really excite people immediately, but don’t worry, gardeners are obviously not a stranger to waiting. If you are able to get your hands on a catalog for that garden center (if they have one) that’s an additional thing they can cherish and read with their gift in mind while waiting for spring.

Working Hands – This is a good gift for anyone actually. It’s a heavy duty hand cream that keeps your skin soft and protected. If you wash your hands a lot, or work outside in wet/dry/cold environments, your fingers are gonna split. It’s a less painful alternative to liquid bandage (and works a lot better!)

Rite in the Rain tactical Notebook – Some people like to take notes. Some people are forgetful. Sometimes, they leave their notebook outside for weeks, forgetting, only to discover it is a paper pulp mess, having lost their wayward thoughts while gardening. This is a nice thing they can keep in their pocket in case they need to jot an idea while out in the field. Or you know, leave it on a stump somewhere.

Other garden sundries – Blank plant tags, sharpie pens, colored pencils if they like to draw garden plans, sticky note page markers for when your gardener finds an inspiring page in a book.

And if someone in my family is reading this, I already have the above items listed (which is why I recommended them) but I am always looking for more Jane’s Gloves or seeds.

 

So that summarizes the ideas I’ve got for now for gardener stocking stuffers.