Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Invite the Natives to Return to Your Garden

Posted in gardening, sustainability, useful information tagged , , , , , , at 7:58 pm by Elaine Petrowski

The hummingbirds, and I, love cardinal flowers (lobelia cardinalis) .

The hummingbirds, and I, love cardinal flowers (lobelia cardinalis) .

The native plants, that is.

” Invite nature and beauty into your landscape with native plants. Bowman’s Hill Wildflower Preserve Fall Native Plant Sale is filled with a premier selection of over 200 species of nursery-propagated native trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials, vines and ferns native to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and the Delaware Valley Region. The Fall Native Plant Sale will be held at the Visitor Center area of the Preserve on Saturdays and Sundays, September 12 and 13, and September 19 and 20 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.”

Natives, which here in the Northeast include azalea, viburnum, redbud, holly, river birch, dogwood, clethera, bearberry, pasture roses, honeysuckle, clematis, iris, bee balm, cardinal flower, black-eyed Susans and many, many more:

  1. are beautiful.
  2. survive on available water, once they are established.
  3. don’t usually run rampant.
  4. invite indigenous wildlife to your yard.
  5. nurture  the native birds, butterflies, moths and bees.

Talk about sustainability.

FYI: Bowman’s Hill runs this fundraiser twice a year, to support their efforts at education and propagation.  So if you live in the area, plan a trip for this weekend or next.

Black-eyes Susans are native to much of the United States.

Sunny and indomitable, Black-eyes Susans are native to much of the United States.

If you don’t live nearby, why not look up native plant sources for your area?  Here are a few I found:

Agrecol in the Midwest, sells $2 packets of native flowers and grasses.

There’s a big list of suppliers for a big state like Texas native plants.

Michigan natives abound.

Don’t be shy. Leave a note (see “comments”) or email a photo to write4@att.net  about a favorite native that grows in your garden. If you don’t have a garden, just tell us about a favorite native from your home state or country.

Advertisements

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Recycle Your Old Shoes-Unless They Add Chocolate, This Can’t Get Any Better

Posted in Liberty, Life, Pursuit of Happiness, sustainability, useful information tagged , , , , , , , , at 11:30 am by Elaine Petrowski

Here’s a great way to clear out some closet space with a clear conscience, do a good deed and get a receipt for your income taxes in the process.

You all have them. Those several pairs of  shoes you never wear… but can’t bring yourself to throw out?

The fashion faux pas shoes. The  gee-when-did-my-feet-grow shoes? And those cool cross-trainers that gave you dime-sized blisters both times you wore them.

New shoes. (Courtesy of soles4souls.org)

New shoes. (Courtesy of soles4souls.org)

Some of the shoes Soles4Souls.org has collected went to tsunami survivors and to those who lost everything to Hurricane Katrina. Others go to the homeless, or to shelters for battered women, or to hospitals. Way better then going to waste in the landfill.

And Soles4Souls will happily accept not just your shoes, but the gently-used shoes and boots your toddlers have outgrown, your teenager will no longer leave the house in, or that just plain hurt your  husband’s feet.

Click here for your closest Soles4Souls drop-box location.

Quick, easy, painless sustainability and recycling. By my reckoning, unless you add chocolate to this deal, it just doesn’t get any better.

See an earlier, related post on sustainability.

And then do a good deed for your shoe-aholic friends by passing this post onto them.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Four Great Reasons to Garden

Posted in gardening, Life, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , , , , at 12:39 pm by Elaine Petrowski

While we were gone.

While we were gone.

” A garden is a thing of beauty… and a job forever. ” So proclaims  the pretty little needlepoint pillow one of my dearest friends crafted as a gift for me.

Sometimes … like after the pounding rains that washed my lettuce seeds far out into the Jersey Meadowlands somewhere; that insatiable  ground hog, who stretched to enormous heights to eat every last one of the moonflower buds; the endless mosquito bites and poison ivy; a tomato blight that splotched, and ultimately ruined,  all of the lovely green orbs… I wonder… why am I doing this?

But then comes a morning, like one just passed, when everywhere I look presents a natural wonder, a trick of light, some small delight.

Sometimes, especially in a garden, one picture is worth a thousand words.

And so I share with you four great reasons to keep at it.

Enjoy.

Please leave a note about your garden/gardening. Or send a picture of some garden delight to share here… write4@att.net.

Early morning visitor

Early morning visitor

I "heart" gardening.

I "heart" gardening.

All the zinnias are pink this year!

All the zinnias are pink this year!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Redefining “Community Gardening”, the New Jersey way

Posted in Funny, gardening, Humor, Laughs, Life, Pursuit of Happiness, sustainability tagged , , , , , at 8:43 pm by Elaine Petrowski

We started planting our first-ever plot in our town’s community garden today.

What could be better? The community gardening season begins. www.freedigitalphoto.netGreat exercise, fresh air and fun visiting with all the other eager, new gardeners on this, the first day planting was “permitted.”

Much to my surprise, it turned out that of the six other gardeners we encountered, four were  also newbies.

As I “played in the mud” and mentally planned how to fit in all the sun-loving herbs, tomatoes, tomatillos and sunflowers  we can’t grow in our shady yard, I couldn’t help but wonder just why so many of these much-coveted, 10′ x 12′, already roto-tilled, mini-farms were suddenly  available this year.

As we finished our third hour of working  (3 x 2=6 hours*),  one of the more experienced gardeners showed up and regaled the newbies with this story:  Late last growing season a woman who was NOT a  participant, arrived at the garden with a basket on her arm and began happily picking tomatoes. “My son told me it was OK because this is a community garden, ” she said.

And so, the adventure begins.

As the old Irish saying goes , “May the rain fall softly on your fields and the wind be always at your back”…

*Just for the fun of it, I’m counting the person-hours we invest. (I’m afraid to add up the cost!) We’re now at 10,  including the garden committee meeting, shopping for plants, seed, fertilizer and the chicken wire to keep the rabbits out, setting up the fence (an engineering feat for two non-engineers) and then finally, actually planting some seedlings.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

No Trip to Italy in The Budget This Year?

Posted in Life, Pursuit of Happiness tagged , , , , , , at 1:12 am by Elaine Petrowski

Arugula

Arugula

If you can’t scrape up the discretionary funds to travel to Italy this summer, don’t despair. You can use that garden we discussed in the last post to plant Italian vegetable seeds instead.

Grow Italian, an online seed catalog,  features seeds for dozens of Italian vegetable varieties, including cultivated dandelion, arugula, basil, garlic, endive, chicory and tomatoes. ( They’re offering a special too – order 11 packs and the 12th is free!)

If Japan is more your dream destination –but you won’t be going there either– try the Asian veggie seeds at  Kitazawa Seed company. (Though they claim arugula as a native too!)

None of the greens or herbs require much room. And according to the sustainable gardeners at retrovore you can grow many of these veggies in small spaces like a sunny terrace or windowsill.

Just a row or two?

What are your thoughts? Participate in my poll, below.