MUCH NEEDED RAIN

Beautiful rain yesterday and it continued during the night. I am getting ready for the ‘Open Days Conservancy Garden Tour. Signs, balloons and garden tasks done. Worked at twigging the flowers in the veggie garden. Cosmos, Marigolds and Verbena ‘Buenos Aries’ are beautiful. All attract the pollinators. The herbs, Anise Hyssop, Dill, Cilantro and Italian Flat Leaf Parsley are all flowering. I am leaving these go to seed for next year’s seed supply. The bees, butterflies and ME love herbs. The ‘Tulsi’ Holy Basil and Spearmint are just beginning to flower and the Comfrey is setting bud, to flower for the second time. This is the PERFECT time to pick them for drying and for oil infusions. Calendula and Chamomile are picked when the flowers are fully open. I use them for making oil infusions. I have already had a harvest and dried Greek Oregano, Peppermint and Sweet Marjaram. I usually get 2-3 large harvests of all these herbs. I do pick the herbs fresh at any time for teas and cooking. Lemon Verbena, Rosemary, Lemon Balm, Chamomile, Tulsi and Peppermint are used daily. I buy organic dried Dandelion Leaf and Stinging Nettle, using them for a daily cup of tea blends.

You are probably asking yourself what are the benefits of these herbs? Here is where the internet is handy. Search for yourself. Three of my favorite herb books are Rosemary Gladstar’s, MEDICINAL HERBS, a beginners guide and HERBAL RECIPES FOR VIBRANT HEALTH. Bridgitte Mar’s BEAUTY BY NATURE and THE DESKTOP GUIDE TO HERBAL MEDICINE.

Thank you for taking the time to visit my website. Take care my gardening friends. Be kind to Mother Earth.

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SUMMER DAYS

I had a wonderful day. Went for my massage. A present I give to myself often. Healing my mind body and Spirit. I have an EXCELLENT LMT. She is five minutes from my house, very convenient. When she goes on vacation she has another LMT take her place. So I don’t have to go without their healing hands. I am very blessed to have Mary come into my life. It is an example of the saying, “When one door closes, another door opens. Thank you, Mary.

VERY HOT outside. Low 90’s and VERY humid. Early evening we got storms and high winds. Then a continuous gentle rain which lasted through the night. BEAUTIFUL and very grateful for the much needed rain and lightning.

I DID NOT work in the gardens. Walked through them a couple of times. Picked lemon verbena to go along with my ginger, lemon peel and tumeric morning tea. Later in the morning I picked peppermint to go along with my dried dandelion & nettle morning tea. In the early afternoon I picked more lemon verbena and ‘Tulsi’ holy basil for my relaxing tea. Seven p.m. I picked chamomile, lemon verbena and lemon balm for my night time tea. Another tea blend I make is rosemary, sage & thyme. Anise hyssop, fennel and calendula are other favorite herbs I use for tea. Can you tell I am hooked on HERBS. I steep my teas for at least a 1/2 hr. I like a strong tea. After straining I will steep one more cup from the blend, which is weaker but still has many health benefits left after the first steeping. Then into the compost bucket the leaves go. Giving back to Mother Earth. Of course, I thank each herb for the wonderful benefits it gives my mind, body and Spirit.

Make your day the BEST you can.

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BOUNTIFUL BERRIES

The raspberries are producing nicely. I started picking them July 6, which is around 6 weeks earlier than last year. I am thankfu I learned how to prune ever bearing raspberries. Last Fall I pruned the ‘old’ woody canes down to the ground and left the one year old green canes & the new canes standing. The one year old canes are the ones which are producing berries now and the new canes will produce in late summer. Might sound confusing, but the important thing is to cut back all the old woody thick canes to the ground in Fall. My patch is mulched with bark. I have rope supports and bird netting over the top. This year I didn’t want to share with the birds. It is also fenced in with chicken wire. I fertilize with worm castings and comfrey tea monthly. Once the bark mulch starts breaking down, the soil will become more fertile. If it doesn’t rain in a 10 day stretch, I water the patch. It is a small patch, about 8’x8′. I have started another patch down in the bog area, 5’x8′. I didn’t have it fenced in so the bunnies ate every cane down to the ground last winter. I now have a chicken wire fence around it and netting over the top of arched conduit pipe. The plants have started to grow back. Next year should be better. Maybe I will have enough berries to freeze. Dave and I eat berries daily. I share the rest with my Mom and my Grandkids.

Happy gardening my friends.

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BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE GARDEN

Yesterday I made yogurt, today I strained it. Picked raspberries, so yummy. Fertilized the front sidewalk garden and the flagpole area. Pepper sprayed the front sidewalk flowers. I have a lot of bunnies around. Lucky I have extra marigolds around the yard. I had to replace three of the marigolds and I put a chicken wire cages around them so the bunnies don’t eat these young tender plants. Weeded the blue bottle path and straightened the blue bottles. I want them to look pretty for the garden tours. Weeded the front edge of the garden a little. It is like concrete. We need rain. In the morning the plants are lush and plump from the dew and low temps. BUT come afternoon they are dehydrated and limp from the hot sun. I think I might water the edges. They get the most abuse because Dave drives on the edge with his tractor tires, really compacting the soil. The weeds seem to survive those conditions. I have ground covers planted on the edges and they are also quite tuff. I have to water the bog veggie pots daily now that the plants and root systems are huge. They look great. On the other hand, the potato bed looks bad. I looked for some potatoes pulling away the straw. It is saturated with water. Couldn’t find any potatoes. I hope I am wrong and they are hiding. It is the lowest spot in that area. I thought the potatoes would be among the straw…not. I will take a fork to the soil and see if I find any potatoes that went deep. Mom came over for a couple of hours and ‘deadheaded’ the flowers and of course pulled some weeds. Thank you Mama. I love you. It was a beautiful day in the garden.

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GARDEN GROOMING

A must in my landscape is garden grooming. Today I tried something new. I used the string trimmer to ‘cut back’ my Snow in the Summer, ground cover sedums and Meadow Sage. All of these perennials are on the edges of my gardens. It worked really nice. Saved my hands from a lot of labor & pain. Of course by mistake, I cut a few other plants that were close. But ‘oh well’ they will grow back and bloom.

I cut back by hand my Spring Daisies before they ‘go crazy’ dropping their seeds all over the gardens. But I do take a couple of flower heads that have dried and spread the seed where needed. Fleabane is an herb that I let reseed in my gardens. It adds a TALL white in the border and blooms after the Daisies. Yes, Fleabane is one of those ‘go crazy’ herbs/flowers that I control before it goes to seed. http://www.ediblewildfood.com/daisy-fleabane.aspx I love the height and the ‘airy branching’ it has.

Deadheading is now in full swing. Rose Campion and Knautia are in full bloom. Deadheading is a must in my gardens to insure that the plant continues blooming throughout the Summer. http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1059/ and http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/80/ All of these plants are what I call COME AGAINS. Year after year they give me wonderful color.

BEFORE the 4th of July, I make sure I ‘cut back’ SOME of my Phlox, Great Blue Lobelia and Goldenrod by 1/3. I have large clumps of these perennials I only cut back part of the clump. This method will give me color over 2 months, maybe 3 months. The ‘cut back’ plants will bloom later and shorter. After the ‘uncut’ plant blooms, I will ‘deadhead’ the plant, which will bloom again later in the season.

A great book and the only garden book I have on gardening is The Well Tended Perennial Garden http://www.thriftbooks.com/w/the-well-tended-perennial-garden-planting-and-pruning-techniques_tracy-disabato-aust/263296/?gclid=CLe94aqczc0CFQ8vaQodhdQAtQ#isbn=0881924148&pcrid=70112893512&pkw=&pmt=&plc=

HAPPY GARDENING my friends. I hope you found this interesting and helpful.

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