Does anything smell better than a summer stroll through lavender? It’s taken a learning curve for me to grow it—bright sunlight and the right kind of soil. It likes its own space, doesn’t like to be crowded into a pot or a flower bed. I guess you could say it doesn’t like to share. But what I’ve discovered is to prune, prune, prune. Deadhead all the brown stuff and do it quickly, otherwise the part that’s just bloomed and wilted will take over your entire plant(s). As for the soil, I was told to add in limestone or sand to let it drain, drain, drain. So don’t spend years making the same mistakes I made. With a little research you can come up with the right mix to grow lavender. Just remember it doesn’t like to be neglected. But when it blooms, the fragrance is well worth the fuss. And you can’t beat the purple color that invariably brightens up a spot where white daisies and hydrangeas thrive. If you’re hesitant to grow lavender, take the plunge. What used to be a failure in the garden, is now a summer staple for me. I love the aroma. For that alone, I make the extra effort.
Category Archives: Nature
No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe.
~ John Steinbeck
Summer along the California coast is inspirational, nothing more so than the Redwood National Forest, enjoying it so much I’m making it a feature in the next series.
“The Arboretum now nurtures people in the same way it once nurtured trees. It feeds their spirits and souls, their minds and bodies. It provides somewhere to put down roots, to be part of and give strength one to another through its collective efforts, its coming together whether to fight that which threatens it or to nurture its young and old, each “tree” supporting and being supported by its neighbours.”
~ The Arboretum Story, 1991
prairies, woodlands, wetlands, and gardens–find it all at the arboretum.
do you know the land where the lemon trees blossom; where the golden oranges glow in the dark foliage.
~ Maeve Binchy
I use lemons so often in cooking that I’ve decided to try my hand at growing my own lemon tree. Will my venture be successful? We’ll see. I may have to wait two years for it to fruit. Ugh! But I’m willing to give it a shot.
The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature. To nurture a garden is to feed not just on the body, but the soul.
~ Alfred Austin
It was not until we saw the picture of the earth, from the moon, that we realized how small and how helpless this planet is – something that we must hold in our arms and care for. ~ Margaret Mead
So many PSAs out there suggesting we make going green and cutting back during the drought a part of our daily lives. But could you really take the necessary steps to make an impact to save the planet and go green even if the drought wasn’t an issue? Could you make significant changes in the way you do things to make enough of a difference to cut down on greenhouse gases, sending waste to landfills, and cutback on the energy you use to do all those things you still love doing?
Here in Southern California we’ve had to rethink the way we do everything. That’s why a year ago we took a few first steps to do our part to go a little greener. It might not be much but every little bit helps, right? Here are four simple things we do now that have become habit.
1. Cut back on water. Our household has learned to use much less water, both outside and inside. Yes, my plants have suffered. But keep in mind I’m not the world’s best gardener anyway. Inside the house, I don’t start the dishwasher unless it’s completely full. I don’t let the water run while washing dishes. We take fewer showers, choosing to shower every other day instead of daily. We’ve shut off the faucet while brushing our teeth instead of letting the water run like we used to do. Score!
2. Recycle. We recycle everything. Glass, aluminum, plastic, paper, cardboard. Leftovers. When you consider that there’s 60 million plastic bottles in use in the US every day and only 23% of those are recycled, that leaves an astonishing amount out there that ends up in the trash heap and ultimately in landfills. To cut back on plastic, we invested in BPA-free reusable water bottles. We take them with us everywhere we go. Filling them up cuts down on the cost of buying the individual plastic bottles. We also recycle furniture by finding new homes for things, like a couch we had for years that went to a single mom to furnish her new place to live. Score!
3. Cut back on electricity usage. We follow all the energy alerts or what is called Save Power Days. Save Power Days is where you sign up voluntarily to reduce your electricity usage on certain days between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. During these days we delay running the dryer or any other large appliance. We set the thermostat to 78 degrees and open the windows and doors (which lately in the heat of summer has sometimes made for a sweltering sauna.) We also power down our electrical devices for two hours. The more electricity you save during these energy alerts the more bill credits you can rack up. Score!
4. We shop locally. Shopping locally means supporting businesses in our neighborhood which translates to saving on shipping. We buy as much as we can that’s grown or made locally. I live near a lot of fields where produce is grown that ends up at the local farmer’s market. And there are fruit stands open here year-round. We shop at thrift stores whenever possible. That means taking gently used items and giving them a new home and saving cash! Score!
So far, so good, right?
Now comes the problematic area. To save on fuel it’s recommended we take public transit more often, at the minimum, once a week. To be honest, we drive most everywhere we go. If the trips are fairly short it seems less of a hassle to just jump in the car and get it done. We do take the train on longer trips, but other than that, it’s the car for most everywhere else. Let’s face it, it’s hard to break that reliance and convenience of having your own wheels, able to come and go as you please, whenever you please, without waiting on a bus timetable.
But we do manage to conserve fuel in other ways, like combining our errands into one major shopping trip. Although public transportation here is first rate and will get you to local shopping malls and back without too much waiting time between buses, as cooler weather gets here, we do plan on expanding our foray into taking the bus. I’ll let you know in future posts how it goes.
The changes we’ve made may seem small now. But it wasn’t always that way. All in all, I think our greening effort is a good first start. As with any change, the more routine things become, the easier it gets. Hopefully, over time, we’ll be able to incorporate even more ways to go green.
All over the state of California the drought is taking its toll on the flora, leaving trees and shrubberies, flowers and plants, dying alongside roadways and hillsides.. The lack of water is stressing them out causing their thirsty condition to become vulnerable to attack by all kinds of insects, particularly beetles. The dried up remains causes fire dangers in areas that used to be known for their greenbelt, garden-like settings, their picturesque mountaintops, and now it pretty much looks like scorched earth. Forests are browning, fruit orchards are yielding less fruit, which will eventually have an impact on what we pay at the supermarket for our produce.
According to the U.S. Forest Service 12 million trees have died during the last year. I look around my neighborhood and there are dead and dying trees everywhere. The drought is a sad reality. Pray for rain. As for me, I’m thinking of holding a rain dance ceremony pretty soon.