Workhorse Leaves

Posted on February 28, 2017. Filed under: Photography, Plants, Poetry | Tags: , , , , |


Burst forth
Collect, collect
Feed us, feed us, feed us
Dance prettily, if you must
Before you are tossed away
To feed the earth, your grave

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Herb Garden Walk

Posted on July 13, 2014. Filed under: Health, Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

Herb Walk 1


I pulled my tail out of bed at 5 a.m. this morning to drive an hour and a half to Madison, Wisconsin to attend the Wildwood Institute’s Herb Garden Walk.  The tour was given by Kathleen Wildwood, owner of the Institute and her students.  They introduced the medicinal uses of about 7 plants she is growing in the herb garden of her house.  Across the street is a house she rents for classes.

I was surprised how much I already knew and also how much there is to learn.  I am bowled over by the many plants we can grow right here that have powerful medicine in them if you know how to use them.

Kathleen, like a lot of herbalists, asked us to, “Ask permission of the plant to pick a leaf.”  And she thanked the wind and the plants at the end of her talk.  As a person of Christian faith I am sad when the creation is honored and worshipped rather than the Creator, so I just substituted my thanks To God for His many gifts in nature to us.  I don’t think Kathleen would mind.

All in all I was very glad I went and I am energized to grow calendula!  More on that later I have lemon balm to harvest.

MeadowsweetMeadowsweet – a plant to try next

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Winter is Over!

Posted on May 28, 2014. Filed under: Just Fun, Plants | Tags: , , , |


Winter is over in Wisconsin.  What a wonderful truth!  It was a long and tough winter.  It has worn us out and battered us.  I wondered if any plants would actually survive.  The ground had to have frozen further down this year.  But, alas, the world has turned from brown and white to green and colorful!  My new peonies are promising to bloom soon and these crocuses popped up awhile ago.  Hope springs new!

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Baby Kale Harvest

Posted on April 1, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Plants |

Baby Kale HarvestOne of the benefits to starting a whole bunch of baby kale plants early is that you can actually start to enjoy eating them!  Here is my big bowl of baby kale leaves ready to add to my salad.  They are so tender and delicious!

I do think I missed my calling.  I could be very happy as a farmer.

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Replanting the Kale Babies

Posted on March 3, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Plants, Soup Made Simple | Tags: , , , |

Kale Babies 1I promised to explain what to do with the kale seedlings after they started to grow their second set of leaves (true leaves).  This takes a few weeks to get to after they come up initially.

You need a knife, some individual pots with soil in them, and water.  I also like to have everything on trays that are easy to clean the soil from, but some people use newspaper and then put it all in the compost afterward.

Kale Babies 2Gently use the knife to go under and around the plants and lift them out.  Then you might have to disentangle them a bit to get individuals.  You must not break the main stem.  If you do, discard that one and get a different one to plant in the individual pots.  Stick your finger or a dowel in to the soil to make a spot for the little plant.

Kale Babies 3Then drop the roots in deeply and gently firm up the soil around the plant with your fingers.  Water.  If after watering the soil has settled too much or has left holes, add some more loose soil on top.

Make a whole tray of them and put the tray in a bright window.  Once they get their own pots they really start to take off.  It’s fun to watch them strengthen and grow.  They will be tender little guys from growing so safely indoors, so you cannot put them directly outside.  The process of hardening off must happen first.  For at least a week before you plant them outdoors you will keep them in their pots in a shady spot outside during the day and then protected at night like in the garage or on the porch.  After a week or so they are ready for real outside conditions.  By May 31st, Wisconsin’s safe to plant outside date, you’ll have strong plants with a pot full of roots ready to go into the ground and start making you food!

Favorite things to do with kale?  1.  Wash, dry, slice super thin all the way through the tough center rib.  Slice super thin the other way to make tiny pieces.  Drizzle olive oil and seasoned rice vinegar and toss/press down into bowl.  Let marinate for 20 minutes minimum, then add other salad veggies and enjoy!

2.  Wash, chop coarsely and throw into whatever soup you are making.

3.  Wash and throw into blender with fruit smoothie ingredients – you won’t even know it’s in there!

4.  Enjoy the freedom from cancer, heart disease, and diabetes!  Truly!

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Flowers Will Bloom Again

Posted on February 26, 2014. Filed under: Photography, Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , |


Daylilies will flash their bright smiles bringing joy to the spirit.






Chamomile will calm the nerves for sweet sleep.

Bee Balm




Bee balm will sooth the pollinators and humans alike.

Winter will end indeed.

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Plant Something to Get Through the Winter

Posted on February 19, 2014. Filed under: Health, Plants | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Baby KaleWant to get over your low mood?  Stop somewhere today and pick up Kale seeds and a little dirt.  Dig some old food trays out of your recycling, poke holes in the bottom, fill with soil, put the seeds in and water.  Put it all on an old tray on a window sill.

For 4 days I watched in anticipation and now on day 6 I have sturdy little baby Kale plants!  All they need is a little water until the 2nd leaves come in which will take a few weeks.  I’ll show you then what to do with them.  For right now I’m just enjoying the happiness in green!

I also planted basil but it takes forever to come up.  It’s great when it does, but I wouldn’t recommend only planting basil right now because it gets discouraging waiting for it.

Ginger MintAnother happy happy is my pot of ginger mint from last year’s garden.  I never got it planted so it languished in its container from the garden center all summer.  I brought it in and watched it die off, hoping it was just going dormant for a few months.  I was right!  Here they are sprouting anew!

The sleeping gardener in me is waking up.  I might make it through this winter after all!

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Time Lapse – Wallow or Anticipate?

Posted on February 10, 2014. Filed under: Photography, Plants | Tags: , , , , , |

Time Lapse Aug          Time Lapse Jan

I started a time lapse project a year ago in which I took a photo of this flower bed each day and I really didn’t miss many days except for travel or a rare memory lapse.  It was a lot of fun to see the slow change of this patch of land outside my front door.  But I must admit, my enthusiasm has fizzled and I won’t quite make a year.  This is why:  not much changes anymore except that the snow has now covered all the landmarks you see above.  It can be quite depressing.  This has been one of the most brutal winters I can remember.  It has not just been all the snow, but the cold has been exceptionally bad too – very cold temperatures that last for weeks!

So, it is February and there are glimmers of hope like a bit more light, birds singing in the mornings that aren’t below zero (there are a few), and 30s predicted for the end of the week.  I’ve decided to anticipate.  I will plant seeds!  Basil and kale can definitely be started now.  It will be a breath of fresh air.

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A Cork Tree?

Posted on November 23, 2013. Filed under: Plants, Switzerland, Travel | Tags: , , , , |

Travel - Cork Tree 1 Travel - Cork Tree 2

One of the surprising and fabulous plantings of the Promenade Fleuri in Montreux, Switzerland along Lake Geneva.  I have never seen a cork tree before!  I was amazed by all the tropical plants growing here.  Maybe there is a micro-climate around the lake?

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Winterizing a Potted Japanese Maple

Posted on November 7, 2013. Filed under: Plants | Tags: , , , , , |

Plants - Japanese Red Maple 2I have grown a Japanese maple in a pot for 2 years now.  If you live in the hardiness zone 5 like I do you cannot leave a potted plant out in winter if you want the plant to survive (and usually the pot too!)  It will freeze solid, killing the plant and busting out the pot.  You also cannot bring a plant inside like this maple because it needs a cold period.  It’s possible to over-winter it in the garage.  The other possibility is to sink the whole pot into the ground.  Here is my maple sunk into the ground between 2 of my compost bins.  I saved the hole from last year and the cover I used is right there adding additional support to the tree and also serving as a reminder not to step on the tree after it loses its leaves (which I did several times last year!)

I bought 2 of these little guys last year because they were so cheap ($2.49 at Aldi.)  I had gotten burned with a larger, more expensive Japanese maple a few years ago.  I lovingly planted it behind the house and then – wham- one day it was eaten to the ground.  Living in a woods has its animal challenges!  So I thought I would keep these two in pots close to the house.  It has worked for animal damage.  But I was curious if the hole-in-the-ground method was better or worse than the garage method.  Last winter one pot went in each place.  Well, this one that was out in the ground did about 4x better than the other one.  I have now planted the other one right in the ground near the front door.  We’ll see if it catches up this next year.

Plants - Japanese Red Maple 1The vibrant red of these delicate leaves is well worth all this effort!  I came out the other morning and they were all on the ground.  So this little guy is ready for the winter now.

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