Free seed catalogs? Oh yes! It’s the time of year when the ground is frozen and we wonder if anything will grow again. This is a perfect time for me to share with you my list of FREE (and great) seed catalogs — ones that are in print form…ones you can write in, mark up, dream over. There is nothing like holding a seed catalog in your hand in the dead of winter. Even if you can only order one or two packs, there is something just wonderful about learning more about seeds. Go to each of these links and you will find on each page where to sign up to receive your very own free printed seed catalog.
Seeds = Hope
This quote makes me laugh. And it is so true for me and for many gardeners I know. In fact, for most people who have something they do with their hands (woodworking, cooking, knitting, building an engine) they are happier. And happy is NOT bad. If we do something in the pursuit of happiness as an end in itself, we may end up disappointed. But to do something so that we do it well and so that others are served, then happiness happens! So does joy.
Yes, this quote rings true for me. Gardening has helped me find joy (an attitude) and happiness (a state of being) in the midst of tough times. Thanks be to God. What is one thing you can take up doing — something that requires the use of your hands? Do it. Take it up. It will bless others. THAT brings joy. And your spirit will be lifted.
It is mid September here in Colorado. We had some really cold weather last week, so cold I had to cover up my garden goodies two nights in a row. But this week it has been in the low 80’s and I am finding a few gems out in my backyard garden.
Late summer is a time for that. I may think my pole beans are done, but I find a few more on the vine. And then I peek close to the ground and see a few last cucumbers. That one more ripe tomato makes me scream with delight. Am I being melodramatic? Yes, I am and I don’t care. A garden is worthy of drama.
If you are a gardener,
Healing in the garden. In the last 11 years, I have navigated at least 11 hardships (some I would call tragedies). Each time I have gone to my backyard garden and put my hands in the soil. I have been made better there. Thanks be to God this is true. And, I think the hard clay soil is different as well. Thanks be to God this is true.
This is a picture of my Rose of Sharon bush. It blooms in August. I love things that bloom in August, don’t you?
If you are gardening with kids, I can’t begin to tell you about the perfection of Scarlet Runner Beans. And if you are not gardening with kids, I can’t begin to tell you about the perfection of Scarlet Runner Beans!!! Seriously they just are THAT great because they help cultivate HOPE. Take a look at the pictures below. Just look at the seeds. That’s enough beauty to keep me going for days. Stick these seeds in a big pot of dirt, and place it in the sun, full sun (6 hours). Once they start growing and are about 2 inches tall, thin them to be 6 inches apart. Provide some support for them to climb on (I often use a combo of twine and poles).
It won’t be long before you have beautiful red flowers than will eventually turn into HUGE beans. You can eat these, but I don’t. I let them sit on the vine throughout the fall and let them dry out, saving the pods in an envelope so I might use the seeds for next year. Kids love the saving part. They get to watch the pods dry out (and show them what the beans look like inside BEFORE they have dried out). Then once they are dried out, the beans have changed. How cool is THAT?!? And then, you get to plant them again next year. This teaches the kids so much about the cycle of new life, life, kinda dead, dead — but life still lurks there! If that doesn’t teach your kids hope, I don’t know what does. And if that doesn’t teach you about hope then gosh….I don’t know what else to tell you!
(Hint: In the beginning phases of growth, you may need to use an insecticidal soap to keep the bugs from eating the baby plants. But after a while, the bugs will leave this plant alone. At least here in Colorado anyway.)
This picture shows the green pods, some pods that have dried and the beans taken from the dried pods. Let the pods dry before removing the bean seeds.
Look how gorgeous these bean seeds are!
A mentor and colleague of mine was oft heard quoted, “Change is inevitable, growth is optional.”
As I think about my life and the mentoring of others, I think he is right. Change happens all the time. But if we want to grow in the midst of change? That’s a decision we have to make for ourselves.
I think this is the same in gardening. My plants are going to change. But I, as the gardener, do play a part in helping them grow, in helping them flourish. It’s a decision I make each day in the backyard.
(Side note: I’m not much of a garden decor person, but I love this one given to me by my friend Kathi. I always hang it near my Scarlet Runner Beans.)
Nasturtiums are a gardener’s dream. They are virtually carefree once established. I was introduced to this beauty by my friend Nancy. The summer of 2007, while a summer of grief over the loss of my sister Leslie to suicide, was also a summer of discovery love of this cheerful plant. If you are in grief, there will be new joys that come along. The garden reminds me of this truth and gives me hope.
The funniest thing about the nasturtium is that it likes old soil. It doesn’t do well in soil that has been amended with lots of nutrients and fertilizers. Best thing to do is to use soil that you’ve had in another pot for years and stick some seeds in that. Yes, seeds. I wouldn’t recommend transplanting nasturtiums. Instead I recommend getting your pots filled with other annuals flowers and your beds all planted and then go around and stick nasturtium seeds in empty spots.
I like to
Need a low maintenance flower? Then check out the many different cultivars (varieties) of the Sedum spectabile. My post here shows pictures of the ‘Neon’ cultivar. Plants have popular names and this one is called Stonecrop. What I adore about this plant is that it is both low maintenance and gorgeous. AND [cue the drum roll] it looks GREAT from spring (when it’s green leaves are shiny and new), through the summer (when the flower starts to bloom) and all the way through late fall (when the flower stays and stays).
Now, if you want EASY PEASY….pay attention here! Read on and let me repeat: