Saturday, January 20, 2007

Next Big Idea For Gardening?

CowPots. Yup, plant pots made from cow...uhh...leftovers.
Now, that's ingenious!
Heard about it, thought I'd watch it...and yes - vewwy, vewwy interesting.

Carol, you plan on closing that can of worms soon?

Trudi & Winter Sowing on TV!

Go Trudi, go Trudi!

Here's Trudi Davidoff on KWQC this morning, demonstrating winter sowing.

She starts at about 6 minutes in if you want to fast forward.

You go girl!

I'm So......Untrendy

Carol asked about the next big idea, so I blame her for getting me thinking.

According to Gardening Media Group:

Garden Trends For 2007

1. Outdoor Living is In ------ Indoor Living is Out

2. Escape Gardens Are In -------- Everyday Gardens Are Out

3.Streamlined Gardens Are In ------- Shabby Chic Gardens Are Out

4. Eco-Chic Gardens Are In ------- Chemical Needy Gardens Are Out

5. Small Space Gardens Are In ------- Colossal Gardens Are Out

6. Larger than Life Accents Are In --- Peak-a-Boo Accessories Are Out

7. Foliage in Focus Is In ------- Flowers Only Are Out

8. Multi-tasking Gardens Are In --- Time Consuming Gardens Are Out

9. Fancy Plants Are In ----------- Basic Plants Are Out

10. Designer Veggies Are In ---------- Store Bought Veggies Are Out

11. Masses of Any Color Are In -------- Colorless Masses Are Out

12. 24-Hour Gardens Are In ---------- Daytime Only Gardens Are Out

1. This one strikes me as a bit ridiculous. As a gardener, I've been living outdoors all my life, starting with a few lounge chairs, a small table and a picnic table in the middle of my grandmothers garden. I always considered it 'the other room'. And she had this flowering bush (Of course, now I have no idea what it was) that you could tunnel under and became my 'playhouse' every summer - tea sets and all. Unless you're somewhere where the weather is nice all year, a silk chaise lounge and tv just aren't practical. (Ever get the impression these trends are always geared towards California livin'?)

2. Uh, every garden should be considered an 'escape'. I think we all de-stress working with plants, even if they're the basics or in containers.

3. Shabby Chic is out? Bummer, because that's what my style will always be! Streamlined is, well, usually boring. Tidy I like, but streamlined, not so much.

4. Ok, this is something I've always practiced, so one point for me.

5. And where, oh where would I put all those winter sown plants in a tiny space? No way. Small space gardening is just gardeners under duress - not enough space to garden, so they improvise, not downsize. If they have any space, by golly, they'll fill it!

6. "designers are creating the same amount of impact with larger plants and garden accessories". Funny, I thought you just told me they were using "dwarf-sized annuals, perennials and shrubs are now specifically bred for small spaces"? I thought fairy gardens were the new thing? Those fairies are gonna look pretty silly staring up at some monster plant!

7. Guys, catch up - gardeners have grown and admired plants for 'foliage only' for years!

8. Umm, Ornamental Kale or Rhubarb Chard ring any bells? Also been done for years. Anyway, most gardeners don't consider their gardens as 'time consuming' as much as they enjoy the time they spend gardening. If they considered it nothing more than a time consuming chore, they wouldn't do it year after year. Wow, how many of these 'trend-setting designers' are actual gardeners?

9. Well, that why all those catalog descriptions always add "Amaze you're gardening friends with this unusual plant?" And, hate to burst your bubble, but I'll bet many more gardeners are returning to the heirloom varieties or native plants than you might think! We all like to experiment with something new and exotic, but the basics ain't goin' anywhere.

10. Hmmm, I get to give the same answer to this one as I did to 8 and 9.

11. Huh? Isn't this what every flower gardener strives for? Gardeners have loved 'drifts' of color for ever. Most are beautiful enough to take your breath away. Wow, kinda like mother nature does things, eh? So not a new trend.

12. ~sigh~ So not new.

Wow, 1 for me, 11 for the trend-setters. I'm so happy to have lost this one!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Hedging Edging

Noncommittal. That perfectly describes me when it comes to edging.

The last time I scoured the internet and B&M stores (who doesn't love Lowe's?) for ideas for edging my flowerbeds, by brain went numb. I don't think I said a word all the way home. Well, it's kind of hard to talk around burned-in visions of brick on your eyeball.

It must have been an interesting thing watching me feel row after row of fencing, brick and paver as my brain function slowly shut down while foamy drool accumulated on my chin. Did you know that if you stare at something long enough it will change color or disappear? I swear, it does!

OMG, soooo many choices! There has got to be some dude sitting in a little dark cubby somewhere, hunched over a blank sheet of paper with only a lead pencil for a friend, and hand shaking as he tries to give his boss the next 'big' thing to edge your flowerbed with. Poor guy, I hope they give hime some crayons this year, cause I am sick to death of white, various shades of gray and brick.

I am so over it! I concede, you win!
Actually, for one bed, I win. I used field stone. Yup, the kind right out of the local farmer's field. Take that, cubby dude!

I like it. It's natural, looks fabuluous, and didn't cost me a dime.

Now, about the other ones...


So, whatcha got in yours? Yeah, maybe I want to steal your idea! Ok, ok, I'll settle for copying it. What's your absolute favorite?


With temps yesterday at 14 degrees below zero, it's definitely time to take another mini-vacation.
So, off to Japan!

Why do I want to visit there? Well, who wouldn't? But I want to go for one thing: the nishikigoi!

I was shocked to find out they have 175 airports. Where do they put 'em?

Of course, as everyone probably already knows, the national flower of Japan is the Cherry Blossom or Sakura. But did you know it's also the Chrysanthemum?

Cherry Blossoms, in Japan, are an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life. Interestingly enough, in China it is a symbol of feminine dominance, female beauty and sexuality.
I think I like China's symbolism better :)

The favorite of the Japanese is the almost pure white Somei Yoshino (a purely ornamental variety). Sakuranbo (cherry fruit) comes from a completely different species.

The Japanese hold 'flower viewing parties' with friends and family as the blossoms open from January in the south, through late March in the north. You have to admire the fact they take time out of their busy lives just to enjoy the beauty.

Chrysanthemums are native to Europe and Asia, and were cultivated in China as far back as the 1400's. There are around 30 known species.

In Japan they are the symbol of death and are only used on graves or at funerals. (Not a happy thought!) And yet, it is the crest of the Imperial House and Emperor! The Imperial Throne is known as Chrysanthemum Throne or kikukamonshō.

Well, that's a tad confusing!

In 1966 the Chrysanthemum was adopted as the city of Chicago's official flower.

Pyrethrin, a natural insecticide, is derived from the pulverized flower, inhibits the female mosquito from biting and is used as an insect repellent. My kinda flower!

There's way too much more interesting stuff to say about the chrysanthemum, but I'll quit before I get something wrong.

Now, off to the next destination...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I Have Questions

When it comes to seed, I think all gardeners harbor some hoarder gene. "My preciousssss!" lol. Ok, maybe some to a much greater extent than others. Ahem!

My questions are based on an assumption of a global catastrophe (well, that's what it was basically built for):

Svalbard International Seed Vault-

"The vault's purpose is to ensure survival of crop diversity in the event of plant epidemics, nuclear war, natural disasters or climate change; and to offer the world a chance to restart growth of food crops that may have been wiped out. Dug into a frozen mountainside on the island of Svalbard, it is hoped the project will safeguard crop diversity in the event of a global catastrophe. "

Yup, that's a good thing. But who's idea was it to put in on an island? And how many of us would know how to get there? many people even know it exists?

"More than 100 countries have backed the vault, which will store seeds, packaged in foil, at sub-zero temperatures. At temperatures of minus 18C (minus 0.4F), the seeds could last hundreds, even thousands, of years. Even if all cooling systems failed, the temperature in the frozen mountain would never rise above freezing due to the permafrost on the mountainside."

All right, I get that, but I have always been under the impression that enduring temperatures at such a low level would destroy the viability of some seed?

"The bank is eventually expected to house some three million seeds."

That's all? And who exactly decides which seeds are worth saving?

"Fenced in and guarded, with steel airlock doors, motion detectors and polar bears roaming outside - the concrete facility will, its backers say, be the most secure building of its type in the world."

Fabulous, can I stash my pennies there? But, who and how many have the key? And what happens if the people that have one aren't around after such a disaster? And who would decide when it would be safe to plant these seeds again...and where?

"While Norway will own the vault itself, countries sending seeds will own the material they deposit - much as with a bank safe-deposit box."

Who's going to decide which counrty gets what if the counrty that stored them there won't be able to grow them, but they'd suit another counrty's growing criteria fine? If there are only a few civilizations left here and there, how are they suppose to know about this place, and if they manage to find it, how are they suppose to get in?

The Global Crop Diversity Trust will help developing countries pay the cost of preparing and sending seeds.

Aww, how nice, but how about free? They honestly expect 'developing' countries to afford that? 'We'd be happy to save your seed, right after you fork over some bucks you don't have. Otherwise pfftt! You lose?'

Keep saving those seeds. They may, one day again, be our currency. Whoever gets in that vault will be king! lol. Wow, I need to go back to bed.

What got me thinking about all this is that the Doomsday Clock has been moved forward another 2 minutes. It is now 5 minutes to midnight.

Seed Surprise

I received a suprise package from Sissy! Thank you, thank you so much!

It has all kinds of different seeds in it that I was happy dancing over.
Yes, literally doing a jig - which didn't really faze the fam since, well, when it comes to seeds, they already think I'm a few fries short of a happy meal anyway.

I had to look up info for quite a few of them, and my daughter actually seemed interested in some, so maybe this will give her that push I was hoping for.

Now I'm going to have to really start scouring garage sales for a cam because, between Kim and Sissy, I am going to have the most beautiful lawn ever! Or maybe I'll be able to get my nephew up here to take some.

Which reminds me: please don't forget to take those before and after pics of your beds. Everyone remembers to take pics when things look beautiful, but they always forget the 'before' and then they say, "I wish I had taken pics of what it used to look like!" So there's your reminder.

Again, thank you, ever so much, Sissy! I can't wait to get started.

Hurry up spring - hurry up.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Coffee Grounds For My B-day!

Now who - who I ask - would be happy to get coffee grounds for a gift but a gardener?

I'd happened to mention to DH that I wished we had a Starbucks around so I could have the grounds for the garden.

He actually listened to the words that came out of my mouth? Since when?

I've got a bag of coffee grounds, (though not from Starbucks) and I'm a happy camper! :) Such ingenuity outta my hubby.

Sissy has gotten to wondering what we all look like, (all I have is an older pic, best I can do for now) so here ya go!

As I'm into the adding pics mood, here are some of a few quilts. I've made hundreds, but I think these are the only ones still in my house. The pics aren't all that great because I was grabbing anyone I knew that had a cam to take the pics, so they aren't in their best light.
This one won a ribbon at the state fair, I can't remember what. 2nd place maybe?

My son Steven's wedding quilt.

It's the Royal Star Of NY State.

My son Bob's wedding quilt.

Fussy cut Dresden Plate. Won a ribbon.

My daughter Tara's wedding quilt.

Cathedral Window. Won a ribbon. (Isn't it awful I don't remember what?)

Uh, notice the flower theme I've got going? Sheesh, even when I'm quilting I'm gardening!

Poor Desiree, I haven't finished her's yet, (hey, it's at the quilting stage!) but she's 15, so I think I have time. lol.

These are all hand quilted (and queen size?). I have this 'thing' about quilts - they must be hand quilted. I don't know what it is about this particular obsession, but if it's done by a machine, it just doesn't seem like a quilt to me, like a cheat or something. That's the one thing that bugs me about people being ripped of by thinking they're buying a true Amish quilt. These women don't do 3 things:

1. Use bright colors. (They use grays, browns, blacks etc. for their own quilts)

2. Machine quilt.

3. And never, ever make a perfect quilt. (A true Amish quilt will always have an intended defect, such as a block turned upside down, because they believe only God makes anything perfect, and to try and make something perfect would amount to trying to be like God)

I'm slowly working on another Cathedral Window like Tara's for me. It's really slow going. I hate ironing! And these suckers are the true meaning of all hand made - every stitch. There's no batting. The fabric is folded so each square is thick, and let me tell ya - these babies are heavy when they're done.

As for being a seamstress, why do people think the definition of the word is 'miracle worker'? lol. I swear, people think you can just flick a wrist and pull matching fabric and zippers right out of thin air! And NO, big holes in nylon can not just be magically mended, so stop bringing me your cigarette melted snow suits. :)

Anyway, Sissy, more than you wanted to know. And probably anyone else, too! :)

Monday, January 15, 2007

What A Month!

January is my 'slam' month.

2nd - Uncle's bday
8th - friend's bday (yeah, she's special - she shares with Elvis. lol)
10th - hubby's bday
11th - best friend's bday
16th - nephew's bday
16th - my bday
28th - our anniversary (23 years and I love him more now than the day I said "I will")

So many January babies!

Hubby and I don't really celebrate our birthdays or anniversary, but I made him a cake anyway, and baked a glazed ham dinner for the both of us. Was nice, but I wish someone else would cook!

I get to go to bingo twice this month. Woohoo! I love freebies! I'm not counting on winning anything, but it'll be nice to get out of the house with the intent of doing something besides buying groceries. Well, if I can manage to handle the crowd and not have an anxiety attack. But, I'm really looking forward to having some fun.

The freezing rain is making the landscape look lovely, but I still wish it would go away. The netting over the ponds looks like a huge icy spiderweb. Simply beautiful, wish I could take a pic. I'm worried about D driving in it, but he must have gotten to work ok. I hope we don't lose power! They're already reporting outages and a 30 car pileup on RT 81. Ugh! I bet the trees have a good 1/2 inch coating already.

I found this nifty weather site for the local area this morning: CNY Weather , so now I can watch live (and local) and worry about all those people that don't have a choice about driving on this mess. I usually pull up the local news site, but this one has so much more info.

And I got 10 more containers out for winter sowing, so all is well.

OMG! I just noticed my buddleia...they're completely covered with ice and bent right to the ground. Ut-oh...