Posts Tagged 'flowers'

Let’s Pretend This Was A Learning Experience

Today I took my first good look at my former garden in months.  I covered it with some leaves last summer, to keep the soil um…clean?  warm?  I don’t know, I have no idea what I’m doing.

A bunch of my pots exploded after water caught inside them iced, there are leaves everywhere, and everything’s dead but the rosemary.

broken swan pot

Sigh, so sad.

I suspect also the hydrangeas are just hibernating, because I will miss them if I don’t think so.  I have a lot of cleaning up and gluing together and planning to do to try this gardening thing again.  I better start with some introspection, though, since I don’t think I was very successful at continuity last year.  By that, I mean I got distracted a lot and my food died.  But, let’s pretend I drew a few useful lessons beyond “pay attention”.

1) Pay attention.  Gardens are everyday things, both to keep track of what’s growing, what needs to be planted, what’s ready to be harvested, and who needs water or more sun or whatever.  As a corollary, 1A) Plants mature at their own pace, not yours.  Especially if you have no idea what you’re doing, and haven’t tracked the growing season and conditions and such- your salad greens could be ready ANY DAY and if you forget about them, or don’t want a salad that day, too bad.  In conclusion, I should probably ask someone who knows better what things look like when they’re ready to eat.  I guess I expect my tomatoes and spinach to keep growing bigger until they send me an email or something.  (“Re: Harvest me!”)

2) Make sure the pots drain.  Otherwise rain will drown your food and/or flowers.

3) I would like more flowers.  I very much enjoy flowers.  I should grow more of them.

4) Protect your plants from animals, because opossums are horrible garden thieves, and they are all over the suburbs here.  Netting is a good start?  I don’t know.  Opossums are crafty, they could probably get through nets.

5) If you have compost, use it.

Pretty sure that’s it from last year.  After I clean up, and it’s reliably above 40 degrees at night, I look forward to a successful and salad-green filled spring.

Photo Albums: Garden, Growing

I thought I had plans last night, but I’d gotten the date wrong. Magically, then, a free evening appeared, which I spent playing with my plants on the deck. I put in Spearmint and Romaine Lettuce, and I’m soaking Sweet Pea seeds. So, to date, I have grown from seed:

Edibles: Shelling Peas, Chives, Basil (purple kind), and Lavender

Flowers: Morning Glories, Cardinal Climber, Kalanchoe (by accident)

I also bought a hydrangea bush (which is unhappy, see– the leaves are getting brown and curling up at the edges, and the flowers are drooping- am I over-watering? Or under-watering? Or does it want sun?), and a Rosemary tree.

Oh, and I finally hooked up my composter the night before last. The excellent Biking person gave me a couple jars of good dirt from his yard, so my starting cultures would be good, and so far nothing smells funny. The housemates have all been instructed in the proper use. I still need to weather- proof it better, but it’s happily reducing food scraps as we speak.

Pea PlantAnd now the albums: first, of my garden from the night of it’s inception, so you can trace the sprout progress. Also, my peas are growing in fantastic folds, like the one to the left, and these others. And it is really amazing how tiny mint seeds are– compare that to the others I’ve planted.

So far, I’m getting seeds from the grocery store. It’s Whole Foods, and they have a little gardening section, but any ideas on where else I could look for stuff? Their selection is rather limited, and the only other place nearby that carries seeds is Target. The hardware store is pretty far away. Also, I’d like to branch out into the mysteries of plant cuttings (har!). Advice, and bits of your plants, would be greatly appreciated.

Progress: By Hand

I started March’s goal with three listed projects. I only finished two things, and I started a bunch more.

Original:knitting

1) Scarf, knit. Progressed ~6 inches, but have succeeded in carrying it around with me, so I’m getting more done these days.

2) Quilt, sewn. No real progress, though I looked up quilt making, and found a new stack of squares.

3) Weighted Companion Cube, wood and fabric. Bought all the fabric, which is now buried under other items in the Gentleman Friend’s apartment.

Added:

4) Flower, sewn. Finished!

5) Nuno-zoris, woven. I’ve marked a stack of teeshirts for dismantling. I’ve also begun debating whether to use a cord base, or try something less bulky, like another teeshirt strip for a base.

6) White Dress, alteration. I’m using the unnecessary waist ties to replace the uncomfortable shoulder straps. I’ve chopped off the straps and the ties, and now I just need to fit it and sew it back on.

7) Lampshades, watercolor. Got some lampshades for practicing from my gentleman friend’s lovely mother.painted plate

8 ) Plate, painted. I had a ratty old plate- glass with a shiny paint showing through- but the paint was chipping. I fixed it up with a dark green underlay. I hope it chips more, or maybe I should chip it more, because I wish the chipped pattern looked cooler. Plus, if it chipped more, I could add a third color. But for now, finished!

Ok, so I started more projects than I had, finished two projects I hadn’t started, and mostly just gathered supplies. But I have been finding more ways to work making things into my day, and it’s been very satisfying to plan out how to remake and refurbish my stuff so it works better. All in all, relaxing and refreshing, and woo.

So, April! I had this one planned out already, and it’s partially started. In April, I’m gardening. Since forever, my parents have gardened, and I tried deck vegetables last year. This year, though, I have a bright, sunny deck, with areas of partial shade, a composter, and a plan. Well, not really a plan, but I have a hydrangea, a kalanchoe, and a rosemary bush somewhere about. I killed a couple of houseplants this winter, and  I’ve got the remnants of the pots from last year’s latent peppers, so I have a few empty planter spaces. Plus, my mother informs me that my father, who shows his love through vegetables, has already got a few tomato plants started for me. She’s packing up some herbs, and there were strong hints at a geranium. I am told that geraniums are difficult to kill. We’ll see!

I want to plant some vegetables and flowers in my garden, with a view to both edible harvests and beauty. I need a bigger planter for the hydrangea, so that I can grow that to a viable bush. I’ll also need to get the composter going again. Biking Person was kind enough to give me two spaghetti jars of dirt, so I can get the cultures started, as soon as I find an outdoor plug for the unit. Because it should probably stay outdoors, to isolate it from the housemates, just in case of smells. I’ll also need to build it a tiny hut, since we have a tiny, curious dog (Ruby), and its lid doesn’t latch shut.

Plenty to do, and I’m psyched by the prospect of veggies and hydrangeas (my favorite flowers) and creating things from dirt, sun, and water all summer! And possibly fall. It is DC, after all, the summer lasts. I am slightly nervous, given my tendency to kill plants, about how this will work, so I’ll probably be calling my mother for advice pretty often. I wish there was some sort of gardening reference for total deck garden beginners. Actually, there probably is. Hm.

A Finished Project, Almost: Kanzashi Lite

For an event tonight, the organizers requested we bring the flowers- made ones, by hand, please. I sewed mine, and it’s all recycled- made of fabric scraps from various projects, and some beads from a broken necklace. I modified a template for kanzashi, which are Japanese folded fabric or paper flowers worn mostly by Geishas. Here’s the chain of inspiration: I first saw the fabric version on etsy, then found a website with plenty of links to different tutorials for both paper and fabric versions. I adapted the instructions at this site, since I was using a flimsier fabric for the petals. And, voila:

flower petals

I had a petal base. Basically, I cut triangles of fabric, and folded them twice (so you have two folds at the top, and two loose ends and one fold at the bottom), then sewed a couple of times through the four layers at the bottom of the petal. I stitched each new folded triangle to the same thread, until I had a long chain that, when I held it in a loop, formed a solid flower circle with no obvious blank spaces yearning for its own petal. I then sewed through the circle at the bases once more, to space them a little more neatly.

You flower budcan see the “hole” in the middle, where all the petals meet, and it looks a bit uneven. Iflower stem needed a bud, which I made by stuffing a little square of fabric with some leftovers, and sewing on the beads. I also made a stem by rolling a bit of rectangular cloth and sewing up the sides in a spiral- when it was long enough, I trimmed the top to make a neat circle. By poking the bud through the middle of the hole from the top, and whip stitched the sides of the petal to the top folds of the petals. This allowed me to flatten out the bud over the entirety of the messy middle, and to hold the petals evenly in place around the bud. I then stitched together the mess at the bottom of the flower center- all of the folded bases together with the bud base poking through- then whip stitched the stem over all those to the single fold at the bottom of each petal, to space the bottoms of the petals neatly. The results:

kanzashi flower

As you can see, I added a few more beads and a little stitching to the bud, and leaves (folded the same way as the petals and sewn to the stem).

If I get a chance, I’d like to try and add some thin wire to the beads, so they poke up perkily- I’m going to dig out some twisty ties after this and see how that works. And the bud looks unfinished, since I’m no good at embroidery (yet). I’d like to finish it with some cool contrasting beads, and I haven’t got any of those. But otherwise, I’m quite happy with it.

I found other instructions for fabric flowers here, through a post at Crafting for a Green World, and they look pretty cool, too. I went with the kanzashi for this project because I liked the more defined petals, and thought they’d look good in larger sizes.

So, one handmade thing finished! I should have a few more over the weekend for you. If you have any questions about my methods, feel free to ask, of course.

How was your Valentine’s Day?

Mine was pretty good, thanks! The Gentleman Friend and I decided to do our celebrating tomorrow- we’re cooking together.  A movie may or may not be involved. Tonight, I can get ready for my construction site inspection (architecture school field trips are sweet) and munch on the loaf of bread the GF baked me earlier this week.

In honor of both the GF and the day, here’s an article on the more sustainable flower farms in Colombia (his country of extraction, more or less). They don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day so much- instead, Feb 14th is the “International Day of Flower Workers”, since about 100,000 Colombians grow about a billion dollars worth of flowers for export every year. A new program called “Floraverde” is providing these flower farms with a chance to certify themselves in social standards for their workers and environmental standards for their growing operation- and it’s catching on. They’re still working on the whole right to organize labor thing, but over 40% of their farms are now certified with the program since 2003, or are in the process of certification.

I’m excited about the Valentine’s Day when my Gentleman Friend can buy me flowers and know that he’s buying a product that wasn’t grown with dangerous chemical pesticides, and wasn’t transported long distances to him by dirty fuels, and the proceeds of which purchase go back to be invested with the people who produced them in the first place, to help grow everybody’s economy. For now, I’m happier without them. Well, ok, sometimes they do help when he’s got some explaining to do, but still.

Let me know how sustainably yours went!


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virescent.blog (at ) gmail.com

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