All the photos in this blog were taken by me. The information is taken from friends, books, magazines, conversations at nurseries, the internet and a few of my own amateur-gardener thoughts. Please feel free to share your own knowledge and experiences in the comment section that follows each posting.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Creative Minds

I would not want to be the plants in my garden this past week. Its got to be tough freezing all night, thawing out and trying to grow. Each day I imagine its the end of the garden and each day their resilience amazes me. The remaining dahlias and basil died the first frost indicating that there is truth to warm season and cool season vegetables. The warm ones couldn't even last a night.

The cool season vegetables that I planted this year are: 

Romanesco Broccoli
Bok Choy
Sweet Peas
Lots of different lettuces
Brussel Sprouts
Red Cabbage

"You pray for rain, you gotta deal with the mud too. That's a part of it."
- Denzel Washington

GARDEN TIP:  Protect your frost tender plants when temperatures are low. The single most important thing is to keep the soil moist. Fully hydrated leaves and roots are better equipped to endure the frost. 

A contrast to all this cold, harsh activity is the fact that my cactus plant is blooming delicate flowers that beam as bright as the California sun. Another wonder how this tightly compacted, lizard-looking plant can produce such beauty. Please someone, tell me the name of this gem. 

I went to the Spirit Rock Meditation Center and attended a class led by Jack Kornfield, who has taught meditation since 1974 and is one of the key teachers to introduce Buddhist mindfulness to the West. If you've never been to Spirit Rock, you may want to experience it. It's a special place. In any case, during my Daylong Retreat with Myra, we sat and listened to Jack's wise words.  His voice is perfectly balanced between soft and strong and pulls you in like a warm hug. One thing that stayed with me was his focus on quieting the mind. He said, "Let the mind quiet and the heart will develop".

The other day Elaine, one of my garden gurus, invited a group of women to her house to make holiday decorations. It turned into a lovely afternoon of creating alongside these amazing women. I've gathered with this group a number of times as we all share a passion for gardening, but it was particularly special actually working together, learning from each other and appreciating each others' talents. We commented afterwards about how when a group of women come together to create, something magical happens. Our minds were quieted, our hearts developed and we created. Thank you, Jack for giving me the insight to recognize that. I liked it.

Succulent Wreaths

Materials Needed:
Two wire wreath forms
Sphagnum moss
Potting soil
Plant material - tip cuttings of small sized succulents, stems approximately 2"- 3" long
Greening pins

We started with a wide variety of succulents.
   Wire, straw, styrafoam, vine wreath forms.
Put the sphagnum moss (that has been soaking in water) into the wire form. Let about six inches hang off the sides of the form as you can see below.
Then top the moss with a mound of potting soil. Pack soil down well.This is a messy and wet situation. Remember what Denzel said.
Place the second wire form on top of the first and fold the excess moss (those six extra inches) up over the top of the second wire form. Tightly wrap floral wire around the entire wreath at 1" intervals.
Poke a hole in the moss with a chopstick. Stick the succulent stem into the hole and secure it with a floral pin. 
Work your way around the wreath designing an interesting collection of succulents.
It takes awhile to fill the wreath.
Nice use of color and texture, Mary!
Sue and Lori are high school friends. We loved meeting Lori and watching the two of them work together. Lori, I might add, is a fellow Timbukt2 fan. If you're looking for a great holiday gift, check out this San Francisco company. The bags are excellent quality and you can even design your own. Just reading their web-site is fun. 
The plants we used were douglas fir, bay laurel, variegated Ilex(holly), eucalyptus, juniper, incense cedar, redwood, spruce, and pine.
We embellished with dried pomegranates, pistache berries, pine cones, antlers, rose hips, and ribbons.
Quiet creative minds hard at work. 
Jill's antler swag looked amazing! 
Melinda led the way on the greenery wreaths using the holly and bay leaves beautifully.
Elaine made a stunning 36" Magnolia leave wreath for her front door.
 I accented mine with three dried pomegranates and an amazing bow (that Elaine tied). 

An early holiday gift: 


Try it. 

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