Saving Garden Seeds

Sometimes when we’ve been too busy or we’ve forgotten to ‘deadhead’ flowers that have gone to seed in our garden, it can be a blessing! Why?

It’s an opportunity to collect seeds that can be re-planted next year.

Here is a planter containing snapdragons with flowers in different stages: ones that are budding, blooming and some that have gone to seed.

Snapdraongs gone to seed

Snapdragons gone to seed

If you shake out the ‘dried finished’ flowers, out come tiny little seeds that you can store in an envelope in a warm, dry space.

Sees of a Snapdragon

Seeds of a Snapdragon

So the next time you’re giving yourself a hard time for failing to keep on top of ‘deadheading’, stop and instead see if you can find an opportunity to learn about the beautiful seeds of the plants in your garden. Their message of forgiveness, gratitude, hope, growth and renewal will inspire your day.

Happy Seed Saving,

Lea ūüôā

Summer Time Container

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Egg trees

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Double geranium, egg tree, bacopa, and nasturtium

 

Nasturtium, bacopa, double geranium and egg tree makes an interesting mix of annuals. The variety of foliage makes a wonderful display and the nasturtium adds a traditional feel. Egg trees, which are actually ornamental egg plants, are becoming more available at garden centres.¬†I can’t wait for the “eggs” to develop.¬†Egg trees¬†can be¬†started indoors¬†from seed¬†late March – April.¬†The double geranium¬†has¬†unique and¬†long lasting flowers that resemble tiny clusters of roses.

Happy growing,

Trina

Spring Planting – A Dream Come True

gp8Cosmos, ageratum and marigolds have something in common in my (tiny) garden plot. All of them have shown up in my dreams on various occasions over the past few years. When flowers show up in dreams or in life, their symbolic meaning can provide insight and guidance about our current situation. Pay attention to the flowers that pop up in your life today and look up their symbolic meaning to figure out their message for you. Check out the book reference below for more information about flower symbolism and meaning.

 


Here are a couple of dreams I had of flowers as well as a brief¬†description of the flowers’¬†symbolic meaning:

“I had a dream that I was watching¬†ducklings cross¬†a road. The ducklings appeared excited and¬†happy. I noticed a group of joggers approaching the ducklings and they appeared unaware of the ducklings on the road. I yelled at the runners “slow down”, “watch out” and “ducklings crossing ahead”. The runners heard me, slowed down and avoided the ducklings. A tragedy was prevented. A little kid’s father gave me a single cosmos flower¬†to say¬†thanks.”

Cosmos Рbrings the mind and heart together and help us to be more present in the moment. Cosmos helps bring out the creative ability that we all have but sometimes forget or neglect to express. Cosmos will inspire us to find more time to exercise our imagination (Andrews 2004).

Perhaps one of¬†the messages from the cosmos flower is to “slow down” and be more present in the moment? Perhaps I need to¬†connect more with my heart so that I can really enjoy the goodness of life¬†that surrounds me?

“I had a dream that I grew marigolds that had¬†the ability to grow into each other creating a thick mat. The flower stems intertwined to create a pattern. I harvested the flowers and¬†wore them like¬†a shawl.¬†The shawl¬†was beautiful and I loved wearing it.”

Marigolds – These flowers remind us to trust our inner wisdom in regards to challenges we face every day. Marigolds help us to understand the power of our words and the ability of our words to harm and heal (Andrews 2004).

Perhaps the message from the marigold in my dream is to trust my inner wisdom and wear it proudly?


Visiting my (tiny) garden plot every day and tending to¬†my¬† “dream” flowers¬†reminds megp7 of the insight and guidance they gave me.

Flowers have a wonderful ability to stop us in our tracks and give us a sense of inspiration and awe. I hope this post encourages you¬†to “stop and smell the roses” today.

 

Happy Growing,

Trina Alix

 

Reference

Andrews, Ted. (2004) Nature-Speak: Signs, Omens and Messages in Nature. Jackson, Tennessee: Dragonhawk Publishing.

Spring Arugula Salad

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It’s so exciting to see the first green sprouts come out of the ground. Especially when you can enjoy eating them right away. Such is the case with the arugula and spinach that we planted not too long ago.

The arugula takes centre stage in our garden. Above is baby spinach and below, lettuce.

The arugula takes centre stage in this garden photo. Above is baby spinach and below, lettuce.

A yummy and simple salad starring arugula and spinach.

A yummy and simple salad starring arugula and spinach.

Arugula has a spicy flavour to it. It goes well with cucumber and tomato in a salad. The dressing we made turned out great too:

Lemon Tahini Dressing
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp tahini
1-2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1-2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp honey
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. This makes a pretty thick dressing. Experiment and adjust according to your taste.

When eating anything from your garden remember to take a few moments to thank the earth and the plants for nourishing your beautiful body ūüôā

-Lea ūüôā

 

Preparing Soil for Planting this Spring

I now have one more amazing reason to enjoy living downtown Guelph. I have been given my very own (tiny) piece of land for getting my hands in the soil and growing some beautiful flowers this summer.

My garden plot is in a community garden which is organized by Guelph Downtown Neighborhood. This will be a wonderful opportunity because I don’t have a balcony or yard space. The location of this community garden is just a “hop and a skip” away from my place; I couldn’t ask for anything better. It¬†will allow me to¬†make my dreams come true,¬†literally. I plan¬†to grow flowers that have shown up in my dreams and harvest them for flower arrangements and flower pressing. Have you ever dreamed of flowers?


 

How to prepare the garden soil before planting:

One and a half bags of sheep manure were provided to each plot.

community garden

I cultivated the soil using a shovel. Turning the soil will make it easy to incorporate the composted manure after spreading it.

Cultivate the soil

My favorite composted manure is sheep manure because it has very little weed seeds. As I dumped the composted manure out of the bag I noticed straw mixed in with it.  This manure must be will composted because it  was odorless.

comosted sheep manure spread on soil

I incorporated the composted manure into the soil using a shovel and then used a rake to level the surface.

garden plot manure mixed

It’s still too early to plant flowering annuals because of the potential for¬†frost at night. I’ll keep an eye on the weather network for frost and hopefully plant later this week.

Happy Growing,

Trina Alix

 

Spring ephemerals

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Ephemerals are plants whose flowers only last for a short while. I am always grateful at the opportunity to gaze upon their delicate flowers in the early spring. It’s a gift to be able to witness their beauty. Especially knowing that they will only be around for a few more days, and then it’s good-bye until next year.

As I enjoyed looking at the flowers, it reminded me of how I should really take the time to be present with my human friends. All so uniquely beautiful. Every moment and each friend should not be taken for granted.

Here is who I saw on my walk at Starkey Hill near Guelph, Ontario:

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The bright yellow flower of a troutlily (Erythronium) against a beautiful blue sky.

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The Carolina Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana) has delicate pink markings on its petals

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The unique leaf and flower of bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

The moisture loving Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

The moisture loving Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris)

Dicentra cucullaria

The delicate white flowers of Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria)

So let these beautiful teachers remind us to appreciate each beautiful moment and friend that we have the privilege of knowing. Our time with them won’t last forever but we can try to be as present as we can as we enjoy their unique beauty.

For more gardening and nature lessons visit www.gardentherapynotes.com

-Lea ūüôā

Seedy Saturdays

Seedy Saturdays are gatherings where people can trade garden seeds and meet others who are interested in conserving the biodiversity of heirloom, open-pollinated and non-genetically modified seeds. Those involved in Seedy Saturdays are passionate about sustainable food systems and gardening practices, so this is the place you want to be to learn and get inspired about environmentally responsible gardening.

We can all thank a Canadian volunteer organization called Seeds of Diversity for popularizing these events and providing resources for those who want to organize Seedy Saturdays in their own communities. Each event is as unique as the people who organize them. They are held in many different locations all over the country each year, usually in late winter. A list of Seedy Saturday events and resources can be found on the Seeds of Diversity website: www.seeds.ca

For further information about Seedy Saturdays visit http://www.gardentherapynotes.com/Organizing-Seedy-Saturdays.html

Written By: Lea Tran

A Welcoming Surprise – Encourage Volunteers In Your Garden

“That wasn’t put there on purpose” I thought. This surprise was discovered in the garden in amongst the perennials. Have you ever had the experience of finding a plant growing in your garden that you didn’t put there but it oddly seems like it belongs. In this situation you may have left it to see what it grows into. These plants are called volunteers. Sometimes they show up unexpectedly and without your knowledge. They can come in from the wind or the birds. Sometimes they come from plants you grew the previous year. These volunteers¬†can help reduce the cost of having to buy new plants at the garden centre in the spring. My Dad welcomes volunteers such as Alyssum, Balsam and Amaranthus. He keeps an eye out for them in the spring and once they are¬†1-2 inches big¬†he transplants them where he thinks they would do best in his garden.

If you find a volunteer in your garden and you’re not sure if you should pick it or not I recommend that you leave it.¬†You may¬†end up with beautiful flowers or in this case a pumpkin. Sometimes volunteers have a better chance of showing up and¬†settling in your garden if you procrastinate and not weed for a couple of weeks. Maybe this is a good reason not to aggressively weed?

Happy Growing,

Trina Alix

Geranium Seedlings Transplanted Into Hanging Baskets

geraniums in baskets

 

 

 

 

 

The geraniums we started from seed in January are now transplanted into hanging baskets. They will look beautiful on the A-frame outside

A-frame or raised planter box

Before we put the baskets on the A-frame, we need to harden off the tender seedlings. This will help them acclimate to the outdoor conditions; especially the sun. To do this, we will put the baskets outside in partial shade and close to the building. The baskets will be brought inside if the nighttime temperature drops close to zero degrees Celsius. They could also be covered with a cloth or plastic sheet to protect them from frost. It should be safe to remove the baskets from their sheltered location and put onto the A-frame in about one week; fingers crossed!

Happy Growing,
Trina Alix

An Eco-Friendly Way To Start Seeds Indoors Using Recycled Materials

seedlings in reused plastic bagsreused soy container for seedlingswatering seedlings in yogurt containers

Above are a few examples of materials that can be reused for starting seedlings indoors.

To learn more about these materials and how they can be reused for starting seedlings, visit http://www.gardentherapynotes.com/NEW-Eco-Friendly-Way-To-Start-Seeds-Indoors-Using-Recycled-Materials.html

Written By: Lea Tran