Saturday, March 27, 2010

Love For Planet Earth Is…

A couple of weeks ago I made a trip up to my parents’ house for a short visit. While I was there I spent a while checking out some of the flowers in my mom’s gardens. Soon, I found myself with a shovel in hand carefully stealing a few of them!!!

I arrived home just after 5pm, said, “Hello!” to Joanne and then immediately went out to work in my garden. I had stolen some tulip bulbs and they needed to find a home in my garden before the end of the day.

Last November, I began the process of creating brand new flowerbeds around our house and this was as far as I got, as the winter season was settling in. I wasn’t yet ready to plan and plant my gardens but now I had to think of some kind of arrangements, right away.

I began by turning the soil and getting it ready. While I was shoveling my mind was scheming away trying to plan a simple layout.

This is a small mass of Iris and you can see that this years flower sprouts are already beginning to ‘green’ their way through the ‘dead’ of last year’s growth. Iris is very similar to Hostas in how the root mass grows. These root masses are very easy to cut into smaller quarters and within two years each quarter of root mass grows to the size of the mass that it originally came from.

As an artist, I’m always searching for interesting textures. I’ll gaze into the sky to witness the textures of clouds. I’ll view a large area of weathered tall grasses, flattened by the winter snow and marvel at the textures of the golds and browns interlaced with shadows from the sun. I’ll split apart a mass of Iris roots and delight in all the contours of the sectioned tubers as my mind envisions the multiplied lives of colour that this action will be bringing to the Earth.

Gardening is a very empowering exercise that is full of euphoric energy transformations as life is nurtured through the actions of your hands.

This is a photo of what my Irises will look like in just a few months.

Close by, I’ve also planted a few Cardinal flowers. Now, don’t be silly… the plant is named Cardinal – I’m not planting birds!!!! My parents told me that these flowers attract Hummingbirds – one of my favourite flying creatures… cuz they are so mysteriously full of flight and so sensually decorated in colour.

A little while later, my first planting of the season was done. One thing that I’ve learned over the last few years is how to intermingle Spring flowers with Summer flowers. The Cardinals and Irises are planted about 18” away from each other. This space will soon fill as both of these flowers mature this summer. In between, I’ve filled the area with Tulips that will bloom this Spring. The Tulips will grow, bloom and then die before the Cardinals and Irises mature.

The advantage of intermingling these flowers is simple – no weeds!!!! The Tulips will grow and cover the soil with their leaves, allowing no light to penetrate underneath where weeds would grow. When the Tulips die, they still cover the soil until the Summer flowers are mature enough to prevent the growth of weeds. I hate weeding!!!!

You can see that I’ve also planted a small Red Currant berry bush in this garden. One thing that I’m trying to learn is how to intermingle berry bushes, flowers and vegetables together. Most gardens separate these three kinds of gardens, but I figure that by mixing them together I will attract a greater number and variety of bugs and bees and other insects that will help in the pollination of my fruits and veggies. I’m excited to see what will happen!!!!

I was able to steal four nice baby Currant bushes from my parents’ garden, but unable to find any small Gooseberry bushes… so I took a few branch cuttings. I had read in a gardening book how to use cuttings to begin new bushes. The book said to bend a berry bush branch down to the ground and bury parts of the branch. Once under the soil the branch would begin to sprout new root systems that would create new berry bushes.

So… I dug a small trough in another part of my garden, dropped the Gooseberry branch in and covered it with soil. Ideally, the branch that I buried should have been apart of an actually berry bush (still attached), but my branch was a clipping. I’m hoping to have the same results. Berry bushes are very hearty in these climates so I’m hoping my experiment will be fruitful! Ha! Berry bad joke!!!!

The reason why I think that this experiment will work is because the gardening book also told how to start berry bushes using just small clippings, only a few inches long. Basically the idea is to clip the end few inches of a branch, and stick it in the ground!

The tall plant – in the middle – actually has a bit of root mass, already, and I know that this will grow into a berry bush. Surrounding this is a few berry bush sticks. It will be interesting to see what happens. If this works, each stick will grow into a nice size bush, over the next five years, and from my own experience I know that these bushes will produce enough berries to supply several families with fresh berries to eat, for pies (with rhubarb or strawberries) and many jars of jams.

It’s so important for people to realize how necessary it is for families to be able to provide food for themselves. We need to become more and more self-sufficient and this is such an easy way to get started. We don’t need to work harder at our office jobs to make more money to pay for the ever-inflating cost for imported fruits and vegetables. We need to become more reliant on our own abilities to provide for our families some of the basic necessities of life.

As you can see from this photo, the sun had almost finished setting, by the time I finished my work. I love this!!!! My heart fills with so much joy after having lived through such a fulfilling day. This is a feeling I wish everyone could experience… digging, planting, dreaming of our future until it’s too dark to do anything more for that day, knowing that a new adventure awaits us in the morning!!!!

Happy Earth Hour Day! Let’s turn off our TV and computers and get outside to plant something… anything!!!!


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