Lovely Fragrance Of Lavender

If you’ve never experienced the lovely fragrance of lavender blooming in your yard, you have really missed out on a treat.  You may be familiar with the scent of lavender, since it is a popular scent infused in many different products, including soaps and bath oils.  Melodie Metie has written an article in which she gives some general information about lavender and also about a few things that you can do with lavender, so that you can appreciate the lovely fragrance of lavender in unique ways.

Enjoy the lovely fragrance of lavender.

Enjoy the lovely fragrance of lavender.

Lavender is in the mint family, originated from the Old World, and has been cultivated since Biblical times. It is typically a short lived perennial. There are several different types of lavender available by seed. The most common that you find in stores is English lavender (lavandula angustifolia formally lavandula officinalis).

You will want to pay attention to what Melodie tells you in her article about planting lavender.  I had someone design my landscaping several years ago, and the person liked lavender.  I, too, liked lavender, so it would be one of the plants that would find its way into my landscaping.  The lavender was planted, the lavender did grow, but unfortunately it was not planted in a spot that was ideal for it.  The lavender, which was used as a border plant, did not survive.  Read what Melodie says about planting lavender to avoid what happened to my lavender plants.

Lavender has become a weed in Australia as they have the perfect conditions for growing lavender, dry, well drained soil in full sun with good air circulation. Lavender is susceptible to root rot so keep mulch away from the crown of the plant and make sure they get good drainage. All lavenders need little to no fertilizer and prefer alkaline soil. They are carefree plants if planted in the right place in your garden.

Be sure to reread that last sentence.  In her article, which you can read by clicking here or on the link below, Melodie gives the reader some great ideas on how to use lavender in ways other than just as decorative plants.  How about lavender sugar or lavender syrup?  There are many ways of enjoying the lovely fragrance of lavender.  Don’t miss Melodie’s article if you are thinking of planting lavender.

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Divide And Prosper Your Plants

It’s that time of year to divide and prosper your plants.  Sorry about the play on “divide and conquer,” but when we’re talking plants, it’s about the same thing.  You can make your garden prosper, conquering it in a way, by dividing your plants.  Lindsey Chester has written a very good article about dividing your some of your perennials that have grown larger than you want them to be.  Lindsey gives the reader some basic information about perennials, which you may already know, but the information is useful for novice gardeners.  In order to divide and prosper your plants, you’ll need to know some basic information.

You can divide and prosper your plants.

You can divide and prosper your plants.

. . . my garden beds are bursting with plants that are getting quite large. That’s a good thing because, in the coming months, I can take this bounty and divide it to spread the plants around to new places–and maybe even share them with some gardening friends. A perennial is a plant that comes back every year (you know, perennially), as opposed to an annual that blooms all summer but then dies a good death and must be replaced the following year with a new plant (as opposed to when you kill a plant that must then be replaced). That said, I have beds full of Liriope, Pony Tail grass, Day Lilies, Candy Tuft, Veronica, Cone Flowers, and Canna Lilies that could use a little cutting back before they take over my yard. Rather than just cut them back or yank them out, I will dig them up, divide them, and replant in new areas.

There are several great things about being able to divide up your perennial plants.  You will have new plants to put in your gardens, and if you don’t want to do that, you can share then with neighbors or other gardening friends.  Ideally, you could share different types of plants with each other, thereby adding different kinds of plants to each of your yards.  Several years ago I dug up some hosta plants and replanted them around my yard.  They’re doing very well, and, in fact, probably need to be divided again.  The problem now starts to become one of having too many of the same kind of plant in my gardens.  I need to find someone who has different plants to share than the ones I already have.  There is a lot of information Lindsay shares in her article, and here is just a little about how to divide those plants.

Once you find the plant you want to work on (something firmly established in its location), make sure it has finished its flower producing season. It will probably have dead flowers and dying leaves on it, as the plant is preparing to go dormant for the winter. Make sure your shovel and tools are clean. Why? So that any fungus or disease from one plant does not spread to the new ones you are creating. Water the area if the soil is dry. This will make digging up the plant much easier. With your shovel, dig a nice healthy hole around the plant at its drip line. Dig around until you can safely lever the plant out of the hole without disturbing its root system. Pull it completely out of the ground. Shake off any loose soil so that you have a good look at the root ball.

As I said, there is a good information in Lindsey’s article.  And so far, you’ve only got the plant out of the ground.  You can read the rest of the article on how to divide and prosper your plants by clicking here or on the link below.  The process is really quite easy, and you’ll be pleased with the results.  You’ll probably triple the number of plants you have by dividing them.  Think of the money you’ll save by not having to purchase those perennials again!  Go ahead, divide and conquer, uh, prosper.

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Photo by Kerndav

Green Roof Is Not A Novel Idea

For all the hype you may have heard recently about green roofs, the green roof is not a novel idea.  Green roofs may not have been used as a medium for growing things in Europe, but the concept of green roofs goes back for several centuries there.  David Hanson and Edwin Marty  have written an excellent article on how to create a green roof.  In their article they suggest three reasons why roofs should go green, and they give the reader the main steps to creating a green roof.  Though the green roof is not a novel idea, it has long gone unrecognized and unused in a world that now needs to look at its potential benefits.  Here is one of the reasons why David and Edwin say that roofs should go green.

A green roof is not a novel idea.

A green roof is not a novel idea.

LONG-TERM SAVINGS. An average roof’s waterproofing membrane must be replaced every fifteen to twenty years because of exposure to ultraviolet rays and the thermal expansion and contraction that result from constant heating and cooling. Green roofs have proven to extend the life of the waterproof membrane by a multiple of four. A well-insulated home or building can save 30 percent on heating and cooling bills by reducing heat loss in winter and heat absorption in summer.

David and Edwin note in their article that there are several urban buildings in the Unites States that are putting gardens on their rooftops.  Some restaurants are using these gardens to provide the vegetables served in their restaurants in the building below.  There are multiple benefits in that the green roof is more ecologically friendly that traditional non-green roofs, and the roof offers to provide building inhabitants with food to supplement their grocery needs.  There are layers of geotextile membranes required in the constructing of a green room, but an even more important consideration comes first.

Constructing a green roof is simply a matter of adding the right layers, in the correct order. The first step, of course, is to have an engineer evaluate your building to ensure the structure can support the added weight of soil. Once you get the go-ahead, there are six simple steps, in layers, to a green roof.

You may not own an urban property with a rooftop on which you can create a green roof.  However, you might be able to do something on a smaller scale.  The green roof is not a novel idea, but constructing one on your doghouse’s roof may be a novel idea.  Read David and Edwin’s article by clicking here or on the link below.  You may never construct a green roof of your own, but I think you will enjoy the reading of the article because of the interesting things the authors have to say.

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Photo by pnwra

School Hoop House Benefits The Community

This is an inspiring article about how a school hoop house benefits the community.  Taken up as a project after having used a community garden plot last year, the Seeds of Service club at Magnificat High School has a hoop house of its own.  Barb Galbincea has written an article in which she tells the story of the hoop house, and she writes additionally about how Magnificat High School‘s hoop house benefits the community.

Inside the school hoop house that benefits the community.

Inside the school hoop house
that benefits the community.

Last year, the club at the girls Catholic high school tended a plot at the Rocky River Community Garden. But grants from the Rotary Club of Lakewood/Rocky River and the Sisters of the Humility of Mary allowed Magnificat to move the gardening effort onto school grounds this year, said club adviser Mary Jo Rawlins. . .Fourteen Magnificat students volunteered nearly 100 hours of their summer vacation to get the Hoop House project up and running.

Barb writes that the hoop house that was finished last month has already yielded a harvest that has gifted the Meals on Wheels program with tomatoes and peppers.  There are many good things coming from the construction of the hoop garden, not only the ability of the Seeds of Service club to grow vegetables far into and possibly through the winter months in northeast Ohio.  There are collateral benefits to the school that Barb writes about in her article.

Besides growing food to donate, the Hoop House is meant to be used by the high school’s  faculty as a teaching tool and as a place where students can grow plants to beautify the campus. Seeds of Service also wants to nurture collaborations with other campus organizations. For instance, Rawlins said, the business club will be asked to help develop fundraising opportunities to support the food donation program.

There are some other interesting gardening projects that are in the works for Magnificat High School which you can read about in Barb’s article by clicking here or on the link below.  I’m pleased to curate Barb’s article about how the school hoop house benefits the community.  Hailing from the northeast Ohio area myself, it makes me feel proud to know about the goodness of young people in my local geographic area, as well as the goodness of the adults who are teaching important values which we hear too little of in today’s materialistic society.  Thanks, Magnificat High School!

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Vegetables Are On Their Way Out

Vegetables are on their way out, and we don’t mean because we’re coming to the end of the growing season.  I ran across an interesting study about the eating habits of Australian children.  I suspect that if a similar study were conducted in the US, the results may not be much different.  Ashley Walmsley writes about that study that essentially found that vegetables are on their way out of children’s diets in Australia.

Vegetables are on their way out.

Vegetables are on their way out.

Where grandma planned a week ahead, families are now planning their meals on a day-to-day basis. This was one of the research observations delivered to International Horticultural Congress delegates from Professor of Behavioural Science Tony Worsley, Deakin University, Victoria. . .While his data showed that all Aussies could do with more vegetables and fruit in their diets, there was a distinctly worrying trend of children not consuming vital amounts. “I have heard of instances of some children having never tasted a vegetable,” Mr Worsley said.

Though I know the benefits of eating my fruits and vegetables, there are times when I just don’t care to eat them.  It’s part of growing up in a definitely non-vegan family.  The meat and potatoes diet was a staple when I was growing up.  But fruits and vegetables are part of my diet, and they are planned foods in my diet.  It’s not a matter of “Do I want a vegetable with supper tonight?”  Supper without a vegetable would be like a bat without a ball.   His research brought about three suggestions for improving the situation, the first of which is the following:

The first was to engage with consumers more, appeal to their emotions and also provide education on proper meal preparation. His research showed most people can only cook four or five different meals, done cyclically, interspersed with dining out or ‘takeaway’ meals.

I would be willing to bet given today’s fast-paced lifestyle with activities scheduled morning to night that the supper meal is becoming the exception rather than the rule in most families.  If not much cooking is done in the household, not much learning to cook is done in the household.  It makes sense that people may need to learn how to cook more than a few meals.  You can read the rest of the recommendations in the article by clicking here or on the link below.  It would be truly unfortunate if vegetables are on the way out, since we would be deprived of a source of vitamins and nourishment that our bodies need.  Maybe we need to hold the supper hour (or half-hour) sacred. scheduling it daily and not letting the other busyness of the world intrude.  At least mothers are not having to say, “Eat your vegetables” as much as they had in the past.

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Photo by Masahiro Ihara


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