"What am I planting?"

The question came from an office colleague who was given her last "Secret Santa" gift from me wrapped in one of my favorite finds this year, plantable wrapping paper.

Like me, she said she gets through January dreaming of her new flower garden. Rummaging through last year's leftover seed packets, pouring over new seed catalogs and cleaning pots are only a few January chores. The rest involves a lot of daydreaming, including what to plant where.

The plantable wrapping paper includes two sheets of tissue paper, one with a design, the other white, with flower seeds nestled in between. Can you see the seeds?

To plant, the instructions say to place the paper under soil; add water and allow seeds to sprout.

What kinds of seeds? It's an impressive butterfly mix:

Here's the same butterfly mix seed list from the plastic wrap around the plantable wrapping paper in the photo. One sheet 20 inches by 8 feet wraps 3 shirt boxes and contains 2,500 favorite butterfly seeds:

Zinnia elegens 30%

Love in Mist Nigegelie damascena 20%

African Marigold Targetes erecta 20%

Cornflower Centaures cyanus 10%

Gloriosa Daisy Rudbeckia hirta 10%

Cosmo bippinatus 8%

Plains Coreopsis tinctoria 4%

This looks like a nice mix of taller flowers best planted in a sunny flower bed. If butterflies don't mind, these would also make a great source for a few cut flowers!




Flying Through Chicago's O'Hare Airport

Turning a corner at Chicago's O'Hare airport January 2, 2015, these lovely birds in white lights appeared to be flying towards me amidst green garlands with huge red bows.

They reminded me of summer days in Missouri when humminbirds approach as I carry sugar water bird feeders out into my garden.

The birds are even more fun up close and gave the airport corridors a dramatic holiday theme as some of us flew to catch connecting flights.

There definitely was a lot of flying going on!



Homemade Vertical Herb Garden

Want to have herbs handy but no room to plant them, and get a little extra privacy at the same time?

Try what my sister-in-law in Minnesota set up on her deck. A vertical herb garden using standard wooden trellises and plastic pots. The wooden trellises give her a little privacy from looking down on her next door neighbor and provide a handy space to hang pots for favorite plants and herbs.

No herbs growing in the middle of winter in Minnesota but you can better see how the pots have been hung on the pre-assembled and painted wooden trellis.

The plastic pots were originally black. My sister-in-law ordered them online because these had the longer lips on the side to hook onto the "S" hooks. 

The pots are the same size and shape, spray painted different colors. To easily hang them, place two large "S" hooks about 2 inches apart.

Once in place, the "S" hooks securely hold the pots on the trellis next to the outdoors table for easy reach during meals.

I volunteered to come back next summer to thoroughly research how well this system works, especially when my brother is cooking. My sister-in-law said that was a wonderful idea!




Welcome New Year 2015

"The merry year is born
Like the bright berry from the naked thorn."

~Hartley Coleridge

So much about life we can learn in our gardens. From the joy of the different seasons to what challenges us, a garden teaches patience, perseverance, determination and compassion. We are rewarded for efforts but not always in the way we expect. Garden flowers add beauty, and sometimes sustenance, and having a helping hand from another gardener makes the journey more enjoyable.

Here's to a new year in your garden being interesting, productive and fruitful. Happy New Year!

What are you hoping to learn this year?



Christmas Memories

"Like snowflakes, my Christmas memories gather and dance - each beautiful, unique and too soon gone."  ~Deborah Whipp

What are your favorite memories of this holiday season?