(Algonquin Highlands, Ontario)
Organically Grown ~ From The Garden
[ Member listing ]
~ A GLOBAL BEE EMERGENCY ~ Happening NOW ~
Quietly, around the world,
Billions of Honey Bees and other pollinators are dying.
This is more than alarming.
This is a fact.
It threatens our crops and food supply on a global basis, and in my opinion is more of a threat to our livelihood than anything else.
A global ban of one group of pesticides could save bees from extinction.
Yes, that's right.
It can make all the difference.
Four European countries have begun banning these poisons, which are called:
There is evidence that due to the banning, some bee populations are recovering.
That's good news!
Here's the bad news...
Unfortunately, big chemical companies,
(the culprit for this one, and just as insidious a corporation as)
Monsanto & Dow AgroSciences,
all of whom LOBBY really hard to keep all their killer poison pesticides on the market.
A global outcry is now on for a ban in the U.S. the E.U. where debate is raging,
and hopefully here in Canada, too.
I'm hoping this will provoke an outcry from people like me, gardeners and people of all walks of life who want a total ban on these hazzardous poisons.
This could create a ripple effect around the world. : )
Let's build a giant global buzz calling for these dangerous chemicals to beoutlawed in the U.S., Canada, and EU until and unless they are proved to be safe, and I do not believe they are.
Please consider signing a petition to save bees and other pollinators, and our crops:
The Bees need us. And, we need them just as much, if not more.
So, you ask...
What can we do in our own little way, in our own back yard, to help the Bees?
Here are some great tips & links!
1) Plant a pollinator-friendly garden
2) Don't ever use pesticides or chemical fertilizers. They do more harm than good, and are not needed.
(Except to line the pockets of big Ag and Chem's greedy pockets.)
3) Naturalize the garden. Or a part of it.
Plant native flowers in your yard.
They are suited to your area and landscape.
Native plants are partners with pollinators.
4) Become a backyard beekeeper.
I'm going to!! : )
5) Support conservation, wetland conservation, and biodiversity.
Once it's gone, that's all folks.
6) Definitely avoid industrial food and GMOs at all cost.
Who need's Monsanto's poisons? Not me! Not you, either.
So, shop locally and organically whenever possible.
7) Be a pollinator observer. I am!! And, it's fun for kids, too!
It's like a science experiment in your own back yard!
8 ) Learn more about Bees & Pollinators and why everyone needs to get involved:
9) Live sustainably. It's all connected. We're all connected.
We can't just hop skip and jump to another planet if we destroy this one.
We have to take care of it now.
Even in small ways. It adds up.
An interesting fact from Pollination Canada
"Pollinating insects are "essential for over a billion dollars of apples, pears, cucumbers, melons, berries, and many other kinds of Canadian farm produce".
That's a lot to ask of these creatures.
The least we can do in return is to NOT poison them!
More links about how to help our pollinators:
North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
And Don't forget to post your bee-friendly jobs, internships and volunteeropportunities with GoodWork: http://GoodWorkCanada.ca/
Again, my thanks to People and Planet Canada
Gateway to Environment and Sustainability Since 1998
Thanks for visiting! Happy Organic Gardening!
Visit: Wall Flower Studio
Posted by Karen
@ 04:53 PM PDT
Call me crazy, but I like Dandelions.
That's right. And, I couldn't help but think of them lately. Here's why: .
As I watch the news pertaining to events surrounding the ongoing tragedy happening to our Japanese friends, like many, I watch in horror.
The newscasters keep offering horrible news. Radiation levels in some parts of Japan has affected their food and water supply, milk and vegetables, and it's now spiked to dangerous and deadly levels.
While watching the news on comes a commercial break... I was about to get up and make a coffee, however... one commercial came on that caught my attention.
It was a commercial for Roundup®. You know that stuff. It's a poisonous chemical herbicide, created by that giant chemical conglomerate, Monsanto. .
You've heard of Monsanto. They were the co-creators of Agent Orange.
Wasn't that nice of them? . A real tribute to mankind.
So, back to the Roundup. You know the stuff. It's the chemical you have to actually pay for, so that it can be sprayed in the garden, perhaps on food being grown, Food that you might feed to kids, friends and family members.
So, picture this... A cowering little Dandelion. A big bottle of Roundup®, aimed & ready to open fire on that Dandelion. . Talk about playing up to an old Wild West Mentality! I actually laughed at the absurdity of it all. Absurdity mixed with a heaping helping of disgust. .
This chemical company is telling me that a useful little yellow flower is my enemy!! .
What does Monsanto have against dandelions? What did a dandelion ever do to deserve such a powerful enemy? Why do they want to instil such hatred into my head for this little flower? . Dandelions have never done anything to me. Have they ever done anything to anyone? Not that I know of... .
So, I'll tell you why... It all comes down to corporate profit. . If Monsanto can't promote the dandelion as an enemy to you and me, no more profits for them or their shareholders.
. Well, I don't give a damn about Monsanto or their shareholders.
There is cause and affect for everything we do. Perhaps people don’t realize that the chemicals sprayed in the garden has to go somewhere. It doesn't just miraculously go away..
It leaches down into the soil. . The earth we live on. . Right into our water supply. .
Hmm, I have a well on my property. I don't want to drink this poison, or have my children drink it either. .
That, my friends, would be asinine. It makes no sense. . Who in their right minds would want to choose to poison their own water hole?
. A 2008 scientific study has shown that Roundup formulations and metabolic products cause the death of human embryonic, placental, and umbilical cells in vitro, even at low concentrations. .
So, my point is that there’s no need for Monsanto's poisons if Dandelions aren't really our enemy. Hmmm. That sounds pretty good!
I mean, come on.... Is one plant, growing between the cracks in our patio's so hideous, and such a blight to our sensibilities as human beings, that we're ready to spray deadly and harmful poisons on our own property that in the end will only poison us, and which may subject us and our children to ill effects down the road? It makes no sense...
. Consider this, a main active ingredient of Roundup is the surfactant POEA (polyethoxylated tallow amine), known for its toxicity in wildlife. It increases herbicide penetration in plant and animal cells.
. Consider also the fact that several weed species, known as superweeds, have developed resistance to Monsanto's herbicides, largely because of repeated exposure.
. Superweeds?? This sounds like sci-fi thriller. But it's actually happening now. And, it's part of the reason our food costs are higher. . Monsanto now has to create more powerful herbicide chemicals to combat those superweeds they've created.
. Sounds like the lady who swallowed the fly... More absurdity. . Is a dandelion really worth all of this?
. If a weed really bothers a person, I ask them to please consider boiling kettle full of water and pouring that boiling water on the crack that contains that little dandelion.
. That'll do the trick. Really. It's that simple.
. Consider our children, our future, our planet.
. Consider the fact that using chemicals to spray a few weeds is overkill on so many levels.
. Consider the fact that our Japanese friends now have poisons on their food supply, through no choice of their own, and it will likely be there for a hundred years. It will make them sick if they eat it.
Why would we, as intelligent as we think we are, fork out money and pay for a toxic product to willingly do this to ourselves??
Things to make with Dandelions:
Dandelion Jelly .
Dandelion chains ( Remember doing this as a child?)
Dandelion leaves in salad. They're tasty and nutritious, too!
Dandelion Tea .
Thanks for visiting! Happy Organic Gardening!
Join us at:
our Blog - Wall Flower Studio
Our Facebook Group - Wall Flower Studio
Our Twitter - Wall Flower Studio
Posted by Karen
@ 06:20 AM PDT
Well, I finally broke down and purchased a pot maker.
I'm really glad that I did!
It's "sow" easy to use, and, the pots are the perfect seed starting size every time!
The fact that I'm using recycling newspaper, which will quickly break down, and won't harm the environment played the biggest part in my decision to try this.
. Sure, peat pots are easy to use, but I'd found that peat seems to suck up moisture really quick, which means the soil they contain, and the seedlings in them, dry out much quicker than the newspaper cups do, which means more watering.
Not to mention the cost of them! I start hundreds of seed pots each year. This can really add up. . Plus, since I'm trying my best to be ecologically aware and I try to do what I can for the environment, I'd like to share some information about why using peat pots to start seeds isn't such a great idea. .
The effects on the dwindling wetlands and peat bogs has me concerned. I don't want to take from nature what is not renewable, if given the choice. .
After much reading, I've discovered that Peat bogs are actually a finite, non-renewable resource. Since the 1960's, there has been a threat to these valuable bogs.
The bogs that produce the peat suitable for horticulture used to be cut out slowly by hand, but now the horticultrual industry extracts it so efficiently & thoroughly with huge machines.
The process of extraction is sausage extrusion and surface milling..
Just knowing this has openend my eyes and now my choice clear.. Newspaper!
Posted by Karen
@ 01:47 PM PDT
The first time I ever heard of the concept of making and using "Seed balls"
, I was enamoured with the whole idea, and was determined to make some. It took me a while to get my act together, but finally, I've gotten around to it and thought I'd share my experience on my blog.
Above is the mix. 2 parts soil and 2 parts dry powdered clay, plus a whole lot of seeds. I threw in a good mix of drought tolerant native species for my first go round, but will be making them with herbs and other seed varieties as well.
Next, I've added water, and just enough to make it feel like I'm making meatballs! You don't want it to be too dry or too wet. As Goldilocks would say, "Just right'! And just a hint, make sure to take of your jewellry first ; )
Really, this is a ton of fun! I next took some in my hands, enough, like I said, to make meatball sized seed balls and rolled them into shape. Then they were placed on the trays, as you can see. Am fortunate enough to have a grow light stand, so I put them under there over night and they were almost completely dry the next day.
Now of course comes the packaging. Am not a big fan of overkill when it comes to packaging, especially due to my concerns for the environment and landfills,
so, trying to keep it simple, as you can tell!
So, why seedballs, you ask?? Where did it start, and what's the point?
It's more than just Guerrilla Gardening. It's all about sustainability, urban renewel, and a whole lot more...
Seed balls solve many of the problems that loose seeds face.
~wind blows them away
~ birds and rodents eat them
~the sun bakes their vitality out
~excessive rain carries them off
Seed balls protect them from all of that.
When the seed balls start to break down, the seeds emerge and are nurtured in that pile of clay and enriched with the nourishing soil.
In essence, the seed germination is very high!
I hope that if you like the concept of seed balls
, you'll try it too!
Great fun for kids!
Happy (Guerrilla) Gardening!
Posted by Karen
@ 07:09 AM PDT
Nothing beats the Morning Glory
for fast greenery and really pretty flowers throughout the growing season.
I'm growing my mixed Flower colour varieties of blue, purple, pink and white.
Sow Morning Glory seeds early in the season and cover lightly with 1/4" of soil. Water thoroughly.
Thin or space plants to a final distance of 6" apart. (As you can see, I'm ready to do that!)
They will tolerate a little crowding if there is ample supports for their vines to spread up and out.
Plant: Sow seeds in a sunny location 1-2 weeks before the last frost, or indoor 6-8 weeks earlier in peat pots.
Make sure you soak seeds
in water overnight, the cover with soil and moisten.
Care: Plants tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, and are drought-resistant, thank goodness for plants like that!!
*Avoid over watering.
Wall Flower Studio
Posted by Karen
@ 05:09 AM PDT
My uncle Allan grew Cutting Celery in his garden at his farm.
That's where I'd first learned of it's existance!
He was diabetic and used this particular celery to add flavour to his soups and sauces. I think it would be nice added to dips as well.
I find the taste to be a little on the pungent side, and more flavourful than the regular celery stalks one finds at the grocery store, but enjoy it nonetheless.
Thinking this (I'm going to call it an herb), kind of celery is really underrated here in North America, but have heard that it is highly valued and a mainstay in many dishes overseas.
is an actual celery, just without the enlarged stalk, and I've never grown the regular kind, but imagine this variety is easier to grow.
The attractive 18" tall plants produce an abundance of dark green foliage that does indeed resembles regular celery, but looks more like an herb to me and I treat it as such.
Harvest leaves often by cutting 3/4 way down the stems , so that new tender leaves can emerge.
I've used the leaves both fresh and dried, as they do retain their delicious flavor.
Soups, salads, sandwiches, stews, and more, can benefit from cutting celery.
Thanks for viewing and Happy Spring : )
Posted by Karen
@ 08:26 PM PDT
You can't beat Beets!
, also called the "Bulls Eye beet" for obvious reasons is an Italian heirloom dating back to the 1840's. The Chioggia Beet has a mild flavour and it's solid green tops have a smooth, delicious taste. This beet is particularly best harvested young and they may make a nice baby vegetable because the tops are also best young, especially when used in salad mixes. I like the fact that Chioggia matures early and requires less cooking time then most other beets. It's origins are from Chioggia, an Italian coastal town.
Days to Maturity: 55-65 days
Beet "Early Wonder
" - Also an heirloom that can be grown in containers. I really like that!
The greens are tasty and abundant, and every bit as good as chard or spinach, and of course, just as nutritious. These roots are flavourful and produce earlier which makes it a great choice for a small garden!
Days to Maturity: 48
Beets, (beta vulgaris)
, are a member of the chard family. Chard is really grown just for its leaves, and beets are more well known for their edible roots. Some people aren't aware that every bit of a beet plant is edible! These wonderful heirlooms are becoming very popular at market gardens, and are prized in salads and other dishes with many chefs!
Posted by Karen
@ 09:23 AM PDT
This gorgeous climber is well worth a spot in any garden.
The bloom size is the up to 6" across, so the flowers on a 'Nelly Moser' clematis are truly magnificent.
Each petal is a frosty-pink with a deeper pink bar down the centre, the anthers are a lovely shade of purple, and it's shimmery and seemingly silvery seeds are almost as attractive as the flowers.
It has vined to ten feet in my garden, and I've read that after many years may begin to send up vines to fifteen feet. Wow!
In more temperate climates, it flowers late April through June, with a re-blooming period in late August, though in less mild climates like mine this cold-hardy vine won't necessarily have the second bloom period. Too bad for me!
It doesn't demand much, if any pruning, and the spring flowering is on the previous year's vines. If pruning does seem necessary, as much as the top third can be shorn down after the spring flowers go to seed. This will induce fresh growth & enhance the late summer & early autumn re-bloom, again, if you're living in a milder climate than me!
It likes to have its leaves & flowers in full sun, like most fancy hybrids, but again, as mostly all clematis, it's roots should be shaded & cool, in moist, well draining soil. I plant ground covers and mulch well around any clematis for this purpose.
The huge flowers can be short-lived in too much hot sun, but I've found that they can last much longer in some dappled sunlight or with only morning sun.
'Nelly Moser' is an heirloom hybrid from the late 1800’s, and the breeder was Marcel Moser of Versailles, France. Such a lovely history!
Thanks and Happy Gardening!!
Posted by Karen
@ 11:30 AM PDT
This beautiful "Pink Turtlehead", (Chelone lyonii - Hot Lips) blooms from late July right through to October. It's a North American native perennial flower that hosts the Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly.
Chelone comes from the Greek word that means tortoise because each blossom resembles, (without too much imagination required), a turtle's head.
It's a good perennial for late summer colour. It doesn't like excessive heat, but will tolerate full Sun if it has it's requirement of moist soil. Actually, the soggier the soil, the better it will perform in your garden!
The flowers are cross-pollinated primarily by bumblebees, but I've seen the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird visiting my flowers for their nectar. But, here is the best part of all... The bitter foliage is usually avoided by Deer and other herbivores. Hooray!!
I've yet to see a white variety growing, but from what I've read, they too are happiest in damp locations such as ditches beside the road. This lovely pink/purple version grows in my shade garden and is considered a rare and possibly endangered species. I have collected a limited amount of seeds from them, so if you're intersted, email/query me here:
Foliage: Herbaceous smooth-textured.
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings.
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds.
Propagation Methods: By dividing the rootball or from seed; direct sow outdoors in fall or early spring.
Stratify seeds if sowing indoors.
Seed Collecting: Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds.
Non-patented native perennial
Height: 24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
Posted by Karen
@ 06:55 PM PDT
Admittedly, when I first learned of this variety of carrot, my first thoughts were that it was some nasty GMO creation
. Being the curious sort that I am, and after some digging, (pardon the pun), for further information, I was amazed to discover that it's an heirloom dating back to the 1800's!
A truly stunning heirloom carrot in fact. The Purple Dragon produces bright, dark-purple coloured carrots with an orange interior.
The beautiful deep reddish-purple exterior provides an amazing contrast with the yellowish-orange interior when peeled or sliced. Beautiful food!
Beautiful to look at, and even better to eat! It's been stated as one of the most refined carrot you can grow and a real specialty at Farmer's Markets!
The flavour, I can tell you, is slightly spicy, but also sweet!
A winning combination if ever there was.
80-90 days - Sow seeds thinly. 1" depth in trench. Cover half full with soil medium and keep watered. They should be planted outdoors before your last frost date. (Please see my links at the side. Scroll down to "USDA and Canada grow Zones/frost link" for more info).
To purchase these carrot seeds, and many other heirloom and open-pollinated varieties of garden seed, please visit my Local Harvest Store
(and/or) my Etsy Shop
. Thank you!
Happy Gardening : )
Posted by Karen
@ 08:11 AM PDT
Borage - Borago officinalis
I just love this picture. Those showy little blue star-shaped flowers attract bees, butterflies, and all kinds of good pollinators to my garden.
I use Borage for companion planting. It's well known that growing them near your tomato plants can not only to improve their growth, but also to make them taste better and to repel the tomato hornworm. Who can argue with such wisdom?! A wonderful addition to any kitchen or herb garden, and the edible flowers have a delicate cucumber flavour. Marvelous in salads, sandwiches or as a pretty garnish!
is an annual herb that prefers to be grown in full sun.
I especially admire them since they are an heirloom, and have been cultivated since at least the year 1440. Such a historic plant.
In folklore, this lovely herb was thought to bring courage to the heart. The ancient Celtic people believed borage helped bring courage to face enemies in battle.
When planting seeds in Spring, soak the seeds in wet paper towel for the twenty-four hours first, then sow directly into the garden. Borage will grow to a height of 3 feet.
Thanks for visiting, & as always, Happy Gardening!
Posted by Karen
@ 10:19 AM PDT
Well, this isn't the best photo I've ever taken! But there was a screen between myself and this lovely little jewel of a bird.
And, they are soooo fast that it's really difficult to take their picture!
I wanted to post about which flowers are in my garden that I've seen these little birds go ga-ga over, so here is a list that you can incorporate into your garden, if you like! I do of course have a feeder, too, and only use a sugar/water mix. (Never use food colouring. It's not required and could be harmful!)
- Bee Balm (Monarda)
- Morning Glory (Ipomoea)
- Butterfly Bush
- Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus)
- Lobelia (blue)
- pink Coral Bells (Heuchera)
- Scarlet runner beans
- Hosta (elegans, "Frances Williams"
- Crocosmia 'Lucifer'
- Red-hot poker (Tritoma)
- Linaria purpurea
- Hollyhock (Alcea rosea)
Many of these garden flower varieties, (and more!) are available in Wall Flower Studio's Local Harvest store! (click to visit).
Thanks for viewing, and, Happy Gardening!
Karen ~ Wall Flower Studio http://wallflowerstudioseeds.blogspot.com
Posted by Karen
@ 01:24 PM PST
This amaryllis was originally my great-grandmother's plant. It was passed down to my great Uncle Allan, (whom I miss dreadfully), and, now of course, to me.
It's well over 100 years old, and for the past few years I've been collecting and selling the seeds from it.
This wonderful plant, (among other treasured heirloom seeds varieties I've collected) is one of the reasons I decided to enter the seed business. I love the idea of ressurecting and promoting old varieties of heirloom seeds that have been long forgotten by the corporate growers/seed houses of today.
I have now grown many plants from the seeds, as they are extremely easy to propogate. This year, when people visit my studio/garden, I'll have some plants potted up and offered for sale. I think my Uncle Allan would be very happy to see this lovely species shared with others!
The "Mother Ship" !!!
If you're a collector, or just want to give this Amaryllis a try, email me for a catalogue, (which is free), or, visit my Local Harvest where I have them listed for sale. Hippeastrum 'vittatum' does best in full sun to partial shade with a rich moist soil mix.
They enjoy full sunlight during the growing season and I put them outside.
This will vary with your climate. I live in Zone 3 USDA, but this will be different for someone living in SoCal!
When coming into flower, partial shade helps to bring out their brilliant colour. After the amaryllis has flowered, it should be treated throughout the rest of the year like any other house plant. I never have had to put it in a dark place to rest in order to bring it into flower. It's internal clock seems to know best!
Full culture notes/growing instructions, along with a picture are provided with purchase. I am proud to offer these seeds!
Thanks for viewing, and Happy Gardening!
Posted by Karen
@ 05:42 AM PST
Basil - Ocimum basilicum (a.k.a. Sweet Basil, Common Basil, Italian Basil) Probably the most popular herb in North America today. It's GREAT FOR COOKING!
A bit about growing Basil:
Height in inches: 24" - Spread: 12-15"
Germination: 7-10 days - Sowing depth: 1/8"
Planting Season: Sow outside in Spring 1-2 weeks after the last frost
Requirements: Likes full sun for best success. Plant in well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter.
Out of the more than 150 varieties of Basil available, my personal favorites, Lemon Basil, Ocimum basilicum citrodorium, and the ever popular Italian Large Leaf Basil, aka: Genovese basil, are perfect for pesto and pasta sauces. I use it fresh and it tastes great with almost all dishes. The Italian Large Leaf Basil has large dark green, shiny leaves that grow up to 3 inches long on a tall, upright plant. Thankfully, Basil has very few pests, and you can also use Basil as a companion plant to repel mites, and tomato worms. Tomatoes loves Basil!
Basil loves to be pinched out the tips, which will encourage fuller plants, delaying flowers, and it going to seed. I suggest letting one plant go to seed so that you can grow them again in the garden next year, but of course Basil can be grown indoors on a sunny windowsill, so the seeds can be planted anytime!
Posted by Karen
@ 04:22 AM PST
Right-click, copy link and paste into your newsfeed reader
Hollyhock, (Alcea rosea), was once the most popular flower in gardens across North America, and is most certainly back in vogue today! It's stately beauty adds a real dimension of height at the back of a flower border. The hollyhock is well known in the English cottage garden, and reknown in any farm garden, standing above all else!
Many people don't realize just how easy this lovely and old fashioned flower is to grow from seed. I've actually had them grow between patio pavers, where there's relatively no soil, and seemingly no space! This speaks volumes of their drought tolerance and ability to grow in almost any type of medium.
The Hollyhock seeds I offer, (Click Here to view) are from ones originally grown at my family farm by my great-grandmother. One of my particular favorites due to the personal history and link to my past. They are a lovely pink heirloom variety, (and because a water bottling facility backed on to our family farm, there were never any chemicals, herbicides or pesticides used at all). Growing organically is a valued and continued tradition of my past, and it's what I believe in and practice in my own garden.
Hollyhock seeds can be directly sown into your flower garden. I recommend that you start them indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost, as they may bloom the first year if that is done. Once in the garden, they need plenty of room. Spacing should be 18-24". Give them plenty of room to allow air circulation and minimize rust and other disease.
Some people will tell gardeners to cut back the stalks after they've finished blooming, but I let them go to seed, and collect the seeds for next year! "Sow" easy to do. You'll only have to buy them once!
Enjoy, and as always, " Happy Gardening " !
Posted by Karen
@ 06:29 AM PST