Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Dance

The Dance 
Jeanne Gripp

In the early morning twilight, the dancers frolicked upon the water.
The twisting and twirling soon gave way to sensuous intertwining.

Each passing moment caused more of the Dancers to arise. Never one alone but many together. Each with its own unique way of rising to greet the dawn. Their fingers stretching to touch the treetops. Every move a fluid motion of both love and death.

As the morning light crept upwards, the dance became almost frantic, the dancers trying ever so hard to make the magick last.
And as the sun breached the tree line, the morning mist was burned away from the pond. The Dancers disappeared and Day had begun.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

EEK! and some WIPS

One of my latest creations is EEK! 

This little JOL is quite surprised to see the spider hanging off of his stem. Poor guy! 

He is currently available in my Etsy Shoppe.

And here are some WIPs - these little gals aren't very bashful - standing in front of the window bare naked & all!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Tree House

Who said Tree Houses were just for kids??

Thursday, April 22, 2010

I Meant To Do My Work.....

I Meant To Do My Work Today
by Richard LeGallienne

I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.
And the wind went sighing over the land,
Tossing the grasses to and fro,
And a rainbow held out its shining hand,
So what could I do but laugh and go?


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gardening 101

There is no real mystery to Gardening. Everyone has a Green Thumb. Some people may just have to 'Dig a Little Deeper' to find theirs!

A lot of a Garden's success is due in part to selecting the correct plant for your zone and the area where it will be planted. But water, soil & pest control also can be figured into the equation.

Over-watering is something most Gardeners are guilty of at one point in time or another. If in doubt about how much water a plant needs, err on the side of dry. A few good deep waterings are better than a lot of shallow waterings. If the water stands around on the ground for any length of time after you have ran the sprinkler, then you are over-watering!

Amending the soil with compost before starting a garden or flower bed is the best. But if you already have an established bed, then add a layer of leaf mulch every winter. The leaves will composted down over the winter and improve the soil. Then add another layer of mulch come Spring to help prevent the soil from drying out over the long, dry spells during the Summer.

Pests can be a major or minor problem depending on where you live. If you have planted a lot of Native plants, then your pest problems will be kept to a minimum. Should you notice an infestation of aphids or some other leaf-nibbling, sap-sucking insect wreaking havoc, try a blast of water to get the culprits off the plant. Or pick off the insects by hand. Use chemicals only as a last resort because those chemicals can kill the good insects along with the bad ones!

And lastly, enjoy your Garden! After all, that is why you went to all that work! 
Gardening is not only good for the Body. But it is good for the Soul as well!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

An Everflowing Stream...

Who wouldn't love to have a stream in their garden???
But don't want the work of installing one, plus the upkeep???
Don't have a water source nearby??

Then the stream to the left is the one for you!! It comes from the creative mind of Landscape Architect, Jack Chandler. He carries re-purposing to a whole new level!! To see more of his work, click on his name or click here.

(Click on picture to enlarge - you really need to see the larger version!)

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Wood Ashes from a fireplace help raise the pH level and neutralize acid soils. Many plants, like lilacs and peonies, can benefit from ashes being added to the ground around them.

Shredded paper can be used as mulch or added to a compost pile.

Use old bottles (wine or beer work best) as edging for garden beds.

Water your garden in the morning, allowing the plants themselves all day to dry. This will help prevent diseases from taking hold.

Many plants, like beans or wood sorrel, need 8 hrs. of sleep to thrive.

Use heavy plastic bottles or jugs to create garden labels. Rinse well & cut into desired size strips. Use a permanent marker to write plant names on labels.

Store seeds in paper envelopes. The seeds need to 'breathe' to remain viable. Keep them in a cool, dark place away from moisture.

Cut the bottom out of a plastic gallon milk jug or two-liter bottle to make a cloche to protect those tender seedlings.

To create a flower or vegetable bed the lazy way, place cardboard (open & flatten a cardboard box) or a thick layer of newspaper on ground where desired and cover with heavy layer of mulch. Openings may be cut into cardboard for plants to grow. The cardboard & mulch blocks the sunlight and everything underneath it will die & compost into the soil.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Bottle Tree

I had never heard of a Bottle Tree until I moved to the South, where they are a common sight. I will have one at my next house! They are gorgeous!

The Bottle Tree's origins can be traced back to Africa. It was believed that evil spirits would be attracted to the bottles when the sunlight shown through them and the evil spirits would consequently become trapped in the bottles. The tradition came to the Americas with the slave trade and has evolved into a modern day form of art.

Originally the bottle would be placed on the ends of limbs of dead trees, which then led to posts being erected with stakes stuck on the sides to hold the bottles. Now the trees are generally made from metal.

But whatever form they take, they can be quite mesmerizing.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Going Native ~ part 2

There are distinct advantages to Going Native. (Again, What ARE you thinking???)

Native plants are more disease resistant, take less water, and are generally hardier. When choosing the Native Plants for your yard, take in to consideration not only what species is NATIVE to your area but also the MACRO and MICRO climatic zones in your yard.

  • Does your planting area face North? Or South? 
  • How much sun does it receive? And during what time of day does the sun shine there? Early morning sunshine has a different effect on a flower bed than sunshine at midday or evening.
  • Does the area receive a lot of wind? 
  • Does water stand there after a rain? 
  • Or is the bed located under a tree?

Once you have these zones identified, try to place plants needing similar conditions in these locations. Not only will your planting "look right" but the work involved in maintaining the flowerbed will be minimal.
So many things to take into consideration but, once again, the time you put into identifying these climatic zones will pay off in the end!  

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Let's Go Native!!

Native Plants that is! (Now what were you thinking???)

I'm sure you have read and heard that planting 'Native' plants in your garden or yard is more water-wise and earth-friendly. But are those plants really NATIVE to your area? Or someone else's??

All plants are native to someplace on Earth. What we as Gardeners need to find out is whether or not the plants that we put into our soil are native to our specific area. Or our climatic zone. Living here in the hot, humid South, I wouldn't want to plant something that is Native to New Mexico. It just wouldn't thrive - could possibly be invasive - and there's no telling what pests or diseases may afflict it.

Do your research before buying! The effort you spend getting to know your possible new plant neighbors is well worth it!

I'll have more on "Going Native" on Saturday. Stay Tuned..... 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Invasive Seed Alert

Most Gardeners feed their avian friends. If you choose to supplement their diet with bird seed, do you really know what you are feeding them??   (And don't just feed them in the winter! Birds can become dependent on the food you provide for them. Especially as their natural habitat dwindles. So it's a good idea to keep the feeders filled year round.) 

The seeds of more than 50 weed species have been identified in several brands of wild bird feed. The seedlings which come up underneath the feeder are easy to control but what about the ones that are spread by the birds through their droppings? Oregon has taken legislative action against the sale of bird food containing viable weed seeds. And many other states are attempting to apply animal feed regulations.
But we the consumer (so to speak) need to become pro-active! Choose feed that won't sprout - peanuts, berries, sunflower hearts. Or incorporate more native plant species into your landscape to provide food for our little feathered friends!

Sunday, April 4, 2010



Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Violet

O wind, where have you been,
That you blow so sweet?
Among the violets
Which blossom at your feet. 
The honeysuckle waits
For Summer and for heat
But violets in the chilly Spring
Make the turf so sweet.
An Old Nursery Rhyme

The Violet. The Great Authors and Poets would write of it, the myths and legends of Ancient Civilizations make mention of it, and many a work of Art has been created in its image. Few flowers have been so symbolic of the awakening year, earth's renewal, hope and the simple joys and sorrows of love, as the Violet.

February's birth flower, the Violet can be eaten either raw or cooked. It's flavor can be found in many desserts. The flowers are often candied and used as decorations on cakes, cookies or pastries.

Most people think that the Violet has no fragrance. In actuality a major part of its scent is ketone, a chemical that desensitizes the nasal receptors and making it temporarily impossible to smell anything at all.

Violets are often used in Love Spells and Philters and it restores health after a long illness. A garland of violets around the neck protects from deception and inebriation. And receiving Violets as a gift is very auspicious, especially if they come from your Lover! When Violets appear in your dreams, fortune is not too far away. Violets, normally a Spring blooming flower, will bloom in the Autumn to warn us of impending danger.

Violet Jelly

2 heaping cups of fresh violet petals (see note below)
2 C boiling water
1/4 C well-strained, clear lemon juice
4 C sugar
3 oz liquid pectin (Certo)

NOTE: Look for fully opened flowers, not partially opened buds, for better color and more intense flavor. 
Wash petals well, drain and place in heat-proof glass or nonreactive bowl. Pour boiling water over petals and let steep from 30 minutes to 24 hours. It usually takes about two hours for violets. Strain through a fine sieve, reserving the clear, purplish liquid or infusion. If not using immediately, refrigerate up to 24 hours.
Place jars and lids on rack in pan or stockpot deep enough to cover them with about two inches of water, bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, keeping the jars hot until ready to fill.
To make the jelly, stir lemon juice and sugar into reserved infusion in a two-quart nonreactive or stainless steel pan. Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add the liquid pectin and continue to boil two minutes, skimming any foam that may rise to the surface.
Ladle quickly into jars to within about 1/8 inch from the top; clean each rim and threads of the jar as it's filled, and place flat lid and ring on each before filling the next. Screw band on tightly and invert jar on tea towel for about five to 10 minutes. Jars should seal and lids should pop shut within 10 minutes as they cool. If they do not seal, you can place them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes or place in the refrigerator.
Sealed jars will last up to one year in a cool, dark place. Put any unsealed jelly in the refrigerator. it should keep about three weeks. Makes four or five half-pint jars.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April's Showers.....

Bring May Flowers. (as the old saying goes...) 

But it takes more than showers to bring flowers to a garden. Good Soil, Proper Plant Placement, & Disease and Pest Control are equally important. And all this month I will be posting about Gardening and Plants. With a little Art thrown in for good measure.

And to kick things off, I want to give you a little known fact about bees. They serve two purposes in the Garden - Pollinators & Watchdogs! 
Researchers in Germany have discovered that many caterpillars detect air vibrations with the fine sensory hair on their bodies. But these caterpillars cannot distinguish between hunting wasps and bees. (many wasp species lay eggs on caterpillars & these caterpillars become the food source for the larva when they hatch) When these types of caterpillars feel the vibration, they will stop munching and sometimes even drop to the ground.
So you might think about planting some bee friendly flowers - cosmos, zinnias, cilantro, borage - amongst your Veggies this year!