Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Gifts from Mother - Nature that is...

It seems that as the weather has cooled somewhat, I am once again out in my garden as much as I can be. The recent rains have softened the earth up to a point where weeding once again is not as much of a chore as it is when the ground is parched and thirsty. This morning as I was weeding one of my many beds, I noticed large bulges underneath the cover that I had used earlier in the spring when I first started the garden. I thought that such a covering would be great as it would help tremendously with extra weeding. As I trimmed back the fabric I was amazed to find many of my cannas with shoots that had grown length ways as they were unable to pierce their way through my anti weed material. I guess it works…. Yet I am not sure if I will use it in the future. I could have far more glorious cannas to enjoy had I not been so afraid of the weeds that might sneak their way into my garden. Unfortunately I doubt that I will be able to enjoy any of the deformed tentacles that had grown in the dark; hopefully next season.

With Hurricane Hermine headed our way in the next couple days and promising to bring some much needed rainfall with her, I am eager to toss out some of my harvested seeds after her departure. The ground will be soft enough that I should only have to toss and gently walk over them. I do not do all of my planting in the fall yet last year I did some and was quite pleased with the turn out. Of course there will be my annual bulb planting which will occur later in October and November but for now I think I will toss a few seeds out this week and see what happens. I have plenty to spare that is for sure.

In the last couple years I have loved the multitude of flowers and herbs I have been able to grow simply because I have started to harvest my own seeds. They have also produced in abundance to the point that I have also been able to share my garden with others. At times it has been a bit of a hit and miss procedure. I liken it to the blind leading the blind but I have slowly learned a few tricks of the trade. The few wise gardening women I have been blessed with meeting along the way have helped lending me a few secrets and tricks of the trade. I have grown a few of my own little secrets also.

I have learned that some seeds are so small that if one does not put the flowers into a paper bag or other container as they dry that many of the seeds will be lost. After a couple days in a warm dry place the flower can be lightly shaken and most if not all of the seeds will fall into the container you have offered.

Seeds are often in plain sight. Take my sunflowers for instance. They are simply obtained by allowing the flower head to dry and then removing the seed. I usually cut and hang them upside down in a warm dry place. In fact this is the procedure I use with most of my plants. I have learned that if they are allowed to dry too long that removing them can be quite difficult and painful if gloves are not worn. I have also arranged the dried heads to hang from trees and use them as a source of bird food when I have had more than enough seeds to last me for the next season.

I have found the best method to store your little treasures is in a paper envelope. This is due mainly because they must be kept dry until they are planted. If the seeds are dried completely they can be kept in a glass jar, yet be sure that they are dry as any moisture will allow mold to start and thus the seeds will be ruined. Plastic bags or containers are also not a good idea as they also tend to trap moisture. The paper envelope helps to wick any moisture that may attempt to make its way in.

Lastly, some put their seeds into the refrigerator. This is not necessarily if you keep them in a cool dark place yet it will not hurt them either as long as you do not freeze them. It is thought that keeping the seeds in a refrigerator can up to double the life of one’s seeds. I do not worry about this much as I plant mine the next year anyway. Cultivating ones seeds from ones garden is not only economical it is also a way to perpetually expand ones garden; each year making it that much more beautiful and enjoyable. It is also a wonderful way to commune with nature and in some form give back to Mother Nature. I have found that working with the earth in such a way brings blessings of all forms.

Over the last few years I have always bought the beautiful mums in the fall and since I hate to waste anything each fall I plant any mums I have hoping that they will return to me the next year so that I can enjoy them again. I have never been able to get one to survive let alone bloom a second time. This year will be different. I bought a meager little purple mum last year towards the end of season and kept it in the house until finally after Samhain, I decided to once again attempt to replant it. This time I put it under my elm tree. This is the tree where we built the tree house for the grandkids as well as I have worked on clearing it out and working on a rock garden.

As spring came this year the sweet William were in abundance and in summer the Echinacea or coneflower was beautiful. As fall is setting to be upon us, I have noticed that the mum I planted last year is making its presence known. I had noticed that it did not wither and die and then small buds appeared all over it and the other day I realized that one of those buds had bloomed. I was ecstatic with joy. Most definitely the fae are helping me to tend these flowers and have blessed them greatly.


Teresa said...

I think it's great that you do so much with your own seeds. I really love those perennials and self-seeding annuals.

Linda in New Mexico said...

soft and gentle, you have such a lovely approach to everything you do. The Olde Bagg

Faerie Moon Creations said...

Beautiful photos. Mums are one of my favorites, as well. We've been fortunate to have several of them return each. Both of them were in mild winters - that seems to be the key. My hubby, who has an amazing green thumb, has discovered this by trial and error. We get them, anyhow, for their amazing beauty. This year we scattered some wild Stoke's Aster seeds throughout the yard - we are hopeful they will grow. Theresa

Anonymous said...

You have such a beautiful blog. The pictures of the flowers are fantastic. :)

Scented Leaf said...

For some plants, like Juniper and Apple, is a must to be stratified in the refrigerator for 2 or 3 months over the winter and sown in the spring.

AkasaWolfSong said...

I love reading glimpses of your world Janie...you are so inspiring to us! :)

I have some Daffodil bulbs that need to be planted later on and I picked up some Queen Anne's Lace to dry for the seed as well as wild Black Eyed Susans...now I just need to get out and shake them around as I'v dried them already...some would think they are weeds but I just adore them. My son even made a comment to me about losing my marbles for having gathered them to plant in my yard, lol. Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder eh?

Lovely pictures you've shared with us today and Yay! to the Mum revival...I never have any luck with them either.

Many Blessings and Gentle Peace!