I was introduced to starting seeds many winters ago by both my maternal grandfather and my mother. Several decades later, I can only remember one season that I did not start seeds, but the magic of the season still came upon me.
Starting seeds never grows old for me. Every time a seedling emerges above the soil surface I am filled with joy. I introduced the seed starting practice to my children which was met with not as much joy and sometimes frustration as the household was taken over by all the seedlings until it was safe to bring them outside. Frequently the baby plants had grown to young adulthood before they could be moved out – much to their chagrin. Now, to my surprise, all my adult children engage in plant propagation in some manner. I am looking forward with great anticipation to introduce my first granddaughter to this annual endeavor as soon as we can play in the dirt together.
I want to share a helpful book that a friend recently shared with me.
Raising Butterflies in the Garden ~ author Brenda Dziedzic
A little about Brenda Dziedzic. She is an award winning Master Gardener and an expert on the subject of raising butterfly and moth species. Her memberships include the Southeast Michigan Butterfly Association, Monarch Watch and the North American Butterfly Association.
I appreciated all the tips she shares on how to attract butterflies to your backyard. And why it is important to plant both nectar and host plants.
She also shares how to create your own butterfly nursery.
Black Swallowtail have been visiting and living in our garden for the past two seasons.
I was so happy to learn from Brenda, how to help our Black Swallowtail survive and flourish during the seasons by planting host plants and nectar plants.
Brenda goes into detail with the following butterfly and moth families..
Whites and Sulphurs
As the winter months are fast approaching and we soon will be looking at seed catalogs. We can start to plan our gardens around attracting our favorite butterflies.
Some people may feel they need to have a large garden to attract butterfly. Hey, no worries, butterfly enjoy small gardens and container gardeners too.
If you are a container gardener, Brenda gives tips for the container gardener on attracting butterfly.
If you like butterflies, you will enjoy this book.
Carla TePaske ~ NCMGV
Down to Earth with Helen Dillion
Advice and inspiration from one of the worlds great gardeners.
I enjoyed the chapter Potting Shed. I think we all can relate.
"Tranquillity. Even saying the word has a calming effect. To me, the key to serenity is my shed. It has a lovely feeling of peace, and the good thing is that nobody knows exactly what I'm doing there. In reality I am probably just standing still, gazing out of the window. But if footsteps approach I start banging pots about, hoping that whoever's coming along will think I'm too busy to be disturbed."
"Since the last time the shed was tidied, things have built up. The problem is all the bits of wire, boxes, trays, screws, string, plant ties, blunt pencils, drying seedheads, nails rusty and shiny, bags paper and polythene, stakes with one end snapped off, paintbrushes solid with drying paint, bags of this and bottles of that - not enough to use but too good to throw away."
I enjoyed Helen's wit and no-nonsense gardening advice.
Here's our next installment of Kids in the Garden! Did you know that you can compost with worms? It's called Vermicomposting and Master Gardener Volunteer Cheryl is here to teach you how she cares for her super composting worms. Her worms take food waste and newspaper and turn it into a super nutritious amendment for her garden soil.
I recently read On Flowers by Amy Merrick.
Amy Merrick is a rare and special kind of artist who uses flowers to help us see the familiar in a completely new way. Her gift is to revel in the unexpected—like a sunny spring arrangement housed in a paper coffee cup—and to overturn preconceptions, whether she’s transforming a bouquet of supermarket carnations into a breathtaking centerpiece or elevating wild and weedy blooms foraged from city sidewalks. She uses the beauty that is waiting to be discovered all around us—in leaves, branches, seedpods, a fallen blossom—to tell a story of time and place.
Merrick begins On Flowers with a primer containing all her hard-won secrets on the art of flower arranging, from selecting materials to mastering pleasing proportions. Then she brings readers along on her journey, with observations on flowers in New York City and at her family’s summer home in rural New Hampshire, working on a flower farm off the coast of Washington State, and studying ikebana in a jewel-box flower shop in Kyoto. We learn how to send flowers like a florist, and how to arrange them like a farm girl. We discover the poignancy in humble wildflowers, and also celebrate the luxury of fragrant blousy blooms. Collected here is an anthology of floral inspiration, a love letter to nature by an exceptional, accidental florist.
Amy shares bouquet ideas. She helps you pick out the perfect vessel to display your bouquet. She encourages you to get creative with what kind of plants and flowers to add to your bouquet.
Amy is full of positive energy and this read will have you smiling.
Take a break, sit in the garden, pour some ice tea and enjoy paging this delightful book.
UW-Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Roseann Meixelsperger provides information on Hummingbirds.
Have you ever wondered the meaning of a flower?
The History of Flower Meanings
The symbolic language of flowers has been recognized for centuries in many countries throughout Europe and Asia. They even play a large role in William Shakespeare’s works. Mythologies, folklore, sonnets, and plays of the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Chinese are peppered with flower and plant symbolism—and for good reason. Nearly every sentiment imaginable can be expressed with flowers. The orange blossom, for instance, means chastity, purity, and loveliness, while the red chrysanthemum means “I love you.”
The Posy Book, authored by Teresa H. Sabankaya, is a modern book sharing the language of flowers.
When you are out in your garden creating a bouquet for your loved one, send a special message by adding what your flowers mean in the bouquet you created.
Inspired by the Victorian-era language of flowers, this new language of flowers dictionary is a compilation of many historical references on the language of flowers, with additional modern meanings for newly hybridized flowers.
Inspired by the Victorian-era language of flowers, a posy is a small, round bouquet of flowers, herbs, and plants meant to convey a message, such as dahlias for gratitude, sunflowers for adoration, or thyme for bravery. These floral poems have become Teresa Sabankaya's signature. Brides want them for their weddings, but a posy is a lovely gift any time of year, and one that readers can easily put together from their garden or with blooms from their local florist. In The Posy Book, Sabankaya shares step-by-step instructions, floral recipes for more than 20 posies, and ideas for seasonal variations. A modern floral dictionary, with 12 original paintings by celebrated illustrator Maryjo Koch, will help readers craft their own posies filled with personal meaning.
NCMGV ~ Carla TePaske
Vegetables Love Flowers
Author: Lisa Mason Ziegler
Fight garden pests and increase your yields the natural way with this tried and true technique!
Planting vegetables and flowers together is one of the oldest ways to create a healthy, bountiful garden, but there's more to the method than you might think. Vegetables Love Flowers will walk you through the ins and outs of companion planting, from how it works to which plants go together and how to grow the best garden for your climate.
With the right information and some careful planning, you can help your plants thrive--and beautify your garden in the process.
I recently won Vegetables Love Flowers. It is full of basic gardening tips and fantastic photography.
NCMGV ~ Carla TePaske
Late February 2020 saw the United States Postal Service release new stamps celebrating the gorgeous flowers of 9 different orchids. The Wild Orchids stamps, which are the “Forever” type (always equal to the price of one-ounce First Class Mail), join a long list of USPS stamps that share the beauty of flowers, plants and gardening.
Orchids are beloved by plant experts and casual flower lovers alike for their gorgeous colors, unusual look and delicate features.
Part of the largest family of plants on Earth, orchids grow in many climates and thrive under a variety of conditions. There are more than 30,000 species of wild orchids in the world, with more than 100 species native to North America.
Many orchids native to North America are endangered or threatened, making sightings in their natural environment increasingly rare. These striking flowers are native to damp woodlands and numerous organizations across the country are working to preserve their habitats. Orchids also thrive in cultivated gardens or as houseplants.
Resource: United States Post Office
NCMGV ~ Carla TePaske
Want to get a little fancier with your raised bed? We are sharing the design for the tiered planter originally built for the Teaching and Display Garden at the Spooner Ag Research Station. The tier planter box is constructed using 2' x 6' cedar and assembled with deck screws.
Click here for complete plans.
Contributed by: Russ Parker, UW Extension Master Gardener Volunteer
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Diversity in the garden