“Nature is it’s own healer.” ~ Timothy Travis Post
HAPPY NEW YEAR DRAGONFLY FRIENDS!
I am so excited to air the first episode of my NEW Podcast with you!! I’ll be chatting it up with Tim Travis, owner of Goldner Walsh Garden & Home located in the Historic District of Pontiac, Michigan.
In my PREMIERE podcast, Tim discusses entrepreneurship, business building, products & services GW offers, along with how gardening can have a positive impact on ones wellbeing.
In this episode we’ll talk about how Tim started out selling tomatoes to a local banks tellers, the influence his grandmothers Rose & Lilly had on his budding interest in horticulture to his education at MSU leading up to first his employment at GW, and his eventual ownership.
Check out GW’s Instagram page & Facebook for daily inspirations and info on upcoming events!
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“Love is like a beautiful flower which I may not touch, but whose fragrance makes the garden a place of delight just the same.” –Helen Keller
My favorite style of gardening is by far the beautiful and free flowing cottage type! Although I do prefer some semblance of organization, I embrace the free flow of the cottage garden… as long as she stays in the lines LOL!
Cottage gardens are calm, relaxing, and functional for any gardener… in my opinion!
Be sure to keep posted for next weeks garden how-to: Shakespeare Garden Design!
“The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim. The critic is he who can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of beautiful things.”
Certain flowers provide balance & fit the scheme of things best. I love cottage garden flowers with their happy, free spirit. It’s as if they call out to their garden mother or father and lavish love to them through their beautiful blossoms.
Pro Tip: Some cottage type flowers include: Hollyhocks, Delphiniums, Foxglove, Bleeding Heart, Climbing Roses, Peony, Phlox, Lavender, Bee’s Balm, Zinnias, Lilacs, and of course one of my personal favorite, Lupines.
I used to have a children’s story book called, The Lupine Lady by Barbara Cooney I used to love to read it to my children. It was just a happy book that I would recommend to anyone!
Just like specific flowers fit best in a cottage garden, so do certain garden elements. For instance a white picket fence is a must have!
Here are few other unique garden junque items I love to use!
Stepping stones or slate slabs make a beautiful meandering path in any garden.
Old wooden posts.
Arbors and pergolas.
Cool old mailboxes placed in a flower bed are absolutely adorable.
Old galvanized buckets, wash tubs, and watering cans also make great art pieces in a bed.
Use an old step ladder to be home to cute little terra cotta pots filled with beautiful posies!
I have an antique lightning rod in one of my raised beds that always strikes up a conversation with guests!
Stone creatures, word signs, or other garden plaques.
Glass gazing balls.
The list could go on and on… let me know what you like to include in your gardens in the comments below!
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Added bonus tip: To find recipes like the ones you’ll find in my posts, you can go to my blog at www.fordragonfliesandme.com to purchase my original cookbook, Lovingly Seasoned Eats and Treats. The cookbook has almost 1000 recipes on almost 500 pages! Check out the Cookbook Testimonials while you’re there!
“Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead.” –Oscar Wilde
Friendship Gardens are designed with the intent to create memories of those who have shared some of their beloved plants with you over the years. This generally happens as we thin out our own, and then obviously want to share those. This is one of my favorite garden plots, and it is so easy to get started!
First, create a list of a few of your gardening friends. Consider their garden’s and what plants they have to offer in the line of perennials.
Pro Tip: If this is a new garden, when deciding where to install it, be sure to consider how much or little sun you will get there. Also consider water source.
Next, once you’ve decided on your garden location, size and have it prepared for planting, you can begin asking your friends for seedlings you’d like to remember them by. They will be so touched they mean that much to you, they will gladly give you a ‘baby’. But be careful, you may get a whole group ready to start ‘Plant Swapping’ and garden making~ now wouldn’t that be terrible 😉 !
Within your friendship garden, you can easily create a Sitting Area. This garden is for quiet times. I’ve always made sure I have a special spot where I can look over the garden & watch the birds, bee’s and just relax.
Pro Tip: Be sure to incorporate bird baths & houses in your garden. It adds interest & helps our feathered friends.
Creating your sitting area, you will need to determine a few things:
First you will want to decide what type of seating you’d like, and what is most fitting for your style of garden.
Pro Tip: Take two tree stumps and a wood slab. Next, lay the board across the two stumps for a very rustic bench.
You can use whatever suits your fancy & taste for your quiet spot. Take a cup of tea, coffee or cocoa and just enjoy the moment.
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Happy Day, Jean
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“Kiss of the sun for pardon. Song of the birds for mirth. You’re closer to God’s heart in a garden than any place else on earth. –~Dorothy Frances Gurney.”
Gardening is often a refuge for me & I am sure for others. It is a quiet place away from all demands of family and work. My goal is to help others fall in love with gardening, even if not as deeply as I love it.
In that attempt, my task is to teach all of YOU how to create your own refuge and secret space. I want to instill this passion in every person dreaming of having a little spot of their own to grow in. I want to inspire the avid gardener to create something new and different, and the experienced gardener a new design technique! Despite the size, style or location of your garden, it should be an extension of your heart and soul.
I hope today I’ll stir that up in you…
The Potager… AKA The Kitchen Garden
Historically the potager was most similar to the traditional English cottage garden. It was based mainly on vegetables and other edible plants and herbs, often incorporating some cut flower plants for the household.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing with you how to create several styles of gardens. Basic how-to with tips & tricks on the style & elements that go with each! Next up will be my personal favorite, The Cottage Garden!
Here are a few tips and ideas on how to create your own Kitchen Garden!
Pro Tip: Did you know another name for a Kitchen Garden is a Potager? “The traditional kitchen garden, vegetable garden, also known as a potager or in Scotland a kailyaird, is a space separate from the rest of the residential garden – the ornamental plants and lawn areas. It is used for growing edible plants and often some medicinal plants, especially historically.” Source, Wikipedia
*If at all possible, put your kitchen garden as close to the house near an entry door for the simple ease of gathering the bounty for your meals.
*There should be an accessible water source so a sprinkler can be used.
*Take before and after photos to monitor the progress and growth through the years.
*Sketch your garden plan layout and what you’d like to incorporate before you start. Get the proper info on each plant and know how much space you’ll need for growth habits. I’ve too often crammed things into thinking, “It’ll be fine…” not giving ample room. The end result is me climbing over and through a mass of plants.
*Use containers in your garden to help keep more aggressive and heavy re-seeders where you want them.
*Adding both non-edible and edible flowers will add practical functionality, beauty and charm!
Now that you’ve got the how-to on creating a kitchen garden, I hope you’ll start dreaming of your own refuge… your own secret place… your own garden.
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“A person who is growing a garden, if he is growing it organically, is improving a piece of the world. He is producing something to eat, which makes him somewhat independent of the grocery business, but he is also enlarging, for himself, the meaning of food and the pleasure of eating.” ― Wendell Berry
As I mentioned in the previous post, I’m going to share several types of garden design & themes during the cold days of December! Be sure to keep posted for next week’s garden how-to: Friendship Garden Design!
Gardens are such a joy and can be an inspiration to others. When one walks through a garden they should be welcomed by a warm, fuzzy feeling that grabs hold of them to the point of not wanting to leave. Quiet, rest and peacefulness ought to be the theme of every garden, and it can be accomplished simply by making it a small reflection of who you are.
When your friends are there it should be a time of not just visiting, but sharing secrets of both joy and sadness; a place where memories are in the making. A garden says so much about its creator~ favorite plants, colors, garden style~ mine is all cottage! My hope is that these writings will stimulate that new, hopeful gardener to dive into a new project, or inspire the one that has it ‘all’ to do something new. Gardening is meant to be a joy, so be joyful & garden!
Many people are moved by Shakespeare’s writings and find his work quite fascinating. Some may have even heard of a Shakespeare Garden Theme. This garden represents plants that have been mentioned in many of his writings.
As you will notice, many of the plants listed are herbs, and therefore an Herb Garden would be a great way to incorporate this into your yard!
Remember, as with all gardens, consider your area, drainage, available sunlight or lack of, and the plants growing habits.
As always, I suggest drawing it out and planning before you start~ this always saves a lot of disappointment.
Here are some specific plants mentioned in Shakespeare’s writings. Would you consider creating this garden theme? What garden themes do you currently have?
*Johnny Jump Ups
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“Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul.” Luther Burbank
I recently posted on how-to save your canna’s & I thought now is the perfect time to talk about overwintering your geraniums. As the nights grow colder and frosts are right around the corner, it’s time to bring in your geraniums if you plan to overwinter them. In my post about canna’s I mentioned how much my grandmother loved them, well she was equally as passionate about her red geraniums!
I know so many of my readers are gardeners, so I thought this would be the perfect time to share this great bit of information! I use all of these methods myself and have had great success with them. Let’s get ready for old man winter and keep as many of our beautiful blossoms as possible!
1. Bring your potted geraniums inside to enjoy all winter long! This is by far the easiest way, however depending on how many you have and how large the containers are you may need to utilize a few other methods for some. Care for your plants as you would outside with respect to sunshine & watering.
Hard pruning your plants will give them an upper hand from the stress of coming indoors. Cut back at least one third of the plant, however you can try to keep any stems with buds. When cutting them back, be sure to cut at the swollen part of the stem, called the ‘node’. This will stimulate growth on your plant!
Pro Tip: Before you bring in your potted geraniums, be sure to carefully snip off any dead or decaying blossom heads & leaves. Also be sure to check for any hiding insects on the bottom of the leaves, in the blossom heads, and around the dirt. I recommend cutting the plant back & then using an insecticidal soap spray a few days prior to bringing them in. I use Garden Safe Insecticidal Soap.
2. Store your geraniums using the Bare Root method! This method is also super easy. Here’s the skinny on how-to:
The first step is to cut back your geranium. You will want to use sharp garden shears and cut the plant 6” above the soil line. DON’T throw the plant away, you can use it for stem cuttings! Hold on for that info coming.
Once your plant is cut back, remove any excess leaves carefully plucking off from the stem as closely as possible. Next, take a hand trowel and carefully dig straight down around the base of the stem, about 5” away, sliding down on each side- think North, South, East & West; gently lift the plant out of the pot or ground.
3. Once you’ve carefully dug up the plant, gently shake off any dirt clumps clinging to the roots.
4. The final step is to store the bare roots in either a thick paper bag or cardboard box. Keep them in a dark, cool, dry space that stays between 50 to 60 degrees. Check them once a month for any mold. If mold is found, carefully cut off the area and place in a clean bag or box.
Pro Tip: Be sure to tag your bare root stems by color. You can simply write the color & variety on the outside of the paper bag or box. Store the same colors together unless you only have one.
Pro Tip: Removing any excess leaves will help prevent mold from growing on your roots.
3. Take cuttings from your plants & rooting them in water! Taking cuttings & rooting is very easy and can be done right in your kitchen! This is a great solution for small spaces, or if you just want more plants! Here’s how!
Be sure to take green stems that are not woody or old, and at least 4 to 6 inches in length.
Be sure to remove any flower stems & buds.
Leave 2 to 3 leaves at the top of the stem.
4. Take a sharp pair of kitchen shears or a scalpel and carefully cut just below the swollen part of the stem called the ‘node’ on an angle. Cutting at this part of the stem will stimulate root growth. This is the opposite of what you want to do to encourage new stem growth on the plant.
Place cut side down in fresh water covering about 2 to 3 inches of the stem. I recommend giving the stems fresh water every 1 to 2 days.
Pro Tip: If you want to use rooting hormone you certainly can, but I don’t feel it is necessary. I’ve used this method for years with great success!
Generally it takes about 3 to 6 weeks for a cutting to root in water. Keep the cuttings in a sunny window with an average temperature of 65 to 75 degrees. Once you see roots sprouting, you can plant your new geranium. Place them in fresh potting soil in any container you may have. Just be sure they have proper drainage & don’t overwater!
Pro Tip: If you are using the bare root method, you can use the tops of the plants you cut back. If you intend to do this, be sure you have some totes of weather to place the cut tops stems in while you are working. Keep them in water until you are ready to start this method.
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“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” – Harriet Van Horne
Dave said, “Lets make some black bean & corn salsa!” Of course it was game on… & of course I said, “Let’s give it a twist!” You can make this recipe as is served with chips, or you can add the Queso & chorizo to give it that special Jean twist! Let me know how you like it in the comments below!
Our Favorite Recipes
Ingredients for the Salsa:
1-15.25 ounce can black beans, drained & rinsed
1-15.25 ounce can whole kernel corn, drained & rinsed
1 cup diced Roma tomato- about 2 large
1/2 cup diced red shallot- about 1 medium to large
1/4 cup diced jalapeno pepper, ribbed & seeded- about 1 large or 2 medium
1 glove fresh garlic OR 1 tsp jarred
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
2 TBSP Lemon juice
1 TBSP Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp pink Himalayan salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
Bag of your favorite tortilla chips!
Ingredients for Nacho Skillet:
1 pound chorizo pork sausage fried & drained
1 TBSP Extra virgin olive oil to fry sausage in
1 cup taco blend shredded cheese
1 cup your favorite Queso- I like On The Border with Monterey Jack
We have been feasting from our garden daily. Using fresh ingredients gives this recipe such wonderful flavor.
Pro tip: If you would like to use fresh sweet corn, simply purchase 2 ears, steam until cooked, and then cut the kernels off. Super easy, & super yum!
1. Drain & wash both the black beans and corn in a colander until the water runs clear.
2. Combine the remaining ingredients into a large bowl; mix well, cover and refrigerate for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.
3. While the salsa is chilling fry chorizo sausage in olive oil until cooked thoroughly; once cooked drain in a colander.
4. Place fried sausage in a 6×9 baking dish.
5. Spread 2 cups of the salsa over the sausage evenly.
6. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded cheese over salsa. Then pour 1 cup of Queso over cheese.
7. Cover baking dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.
You can also warm this in the microwave on high for 10 to 12 minutes if you prefer.
Serve with your favorite tortilla chips!
Pro tip: I purchase all my pork & beef from local farmers. The taste is genuinely so much more flavorful!
If you enjoyed this post & thought this was a super yummy recipe leave me a comment. …. and of course please LIKE, Follow & Share.