Posted in family, grandkids, loreeebee.ca, parenting

Mother’s Day: Celebrating my Greatest Achievement

photo credit: Facebook

Today I celebrate my greatest achievement. I’m sure it is apparent how much I adore my three sons. They are all kind, caring and loving, not to mention handsome, intelligent, successful, and definitely more humble than their mother.

I am especially proud of the fathers my two eldest have become with the help of the wonderful mothers of their children.

Raising Boys to Men

When my boys were growing up, people always commented on how difficult it must be to raise three boys. I wondered about that comment as I never had any daughters to compare the boys to and I always thought it was an unfair exaggeration.

These days one would call the comments sexist and all kinds of other descriptive words popular in our vocabulary today.

I have to admit, I loved every minute of it. Ok, maybe not every single minute, but 99.9% of them.

Disputing the Theory

As a mother of three boys and a grandmother to three grandsons, I dispute the opinion that boys are more difficult to raise. They may be busier physically, with different interests, but not harder or more stressful.

My father, who raised three boys and three girls, always said the girls were harder. His theory was based on the fact that he worried more about the girls until they were married. Perhaps another sexist comment, but the norm and and non-offensive back then.

Boys will be Boys

There is something to be said for the saying “boys will be boys.” My experience is that (most) little boys are fascinated with things like bugs, dirt and mud, cars and trucks, dinosaurs and more. I don’t believe these interests are taught and learned, but more instinctive or innate. Encouraged (as they should be) perhaps, but not taught.

For example, my four year old grandson can spend hours flipping over rocks looking for bugs. His big sister and younger female cousin, not so much. They tend to run from the bugs, as fast as they can.

And, one of the words my youngest grandson, at just one year old, can say is vroom, vroom. OK, that’s two words, but I’m sure you get the gist.

Tomboys Raising Boys

Perhaps I find boys easy to handle because I was a tomboy growing up, much to the chagrin of my mother. I preferred playing hockey, football, and other sports with the boys instead of playing dolls with the girls. I don’t recall though, being particularly enamoured with bugs.

You could say I had lots of practice hanging out with the boys, that could be why I have so much patience with my grandsons’ antics and interests.

Conclusions

In closing, bearing and raising happy and healthy children is something to celebrate. Even though mine are now adults, I still consider them to be my greatest achievements in life, bar none!

Happy Mother’s Day to the rest of you celebrating your own achievements!

Posted in gardens, grandkids, loreeebee.ca

How to Make Your Gardens Kid Friendly

It occurred to me recently that I needed to make my gardens kid friendly so my grandchildren can enjoy them as much as I do. They love my backyard, but my repeated “don’t step on the flowers” as they explore was starting to sound like a broken record. So, I decided to make the gardens kid friendly.

Pathways of Stepping Stones

The idea for pathways of stepping stones weaving throughout my gardens sprouted in my brain when a gardening client asked if I had the use for several stones she had left over from a patio project.

how to make your gardens kid friendly

I also have some bricks that were previously used to edge my backyard gardens. I decided years ago that I prefer a more natural edging as the bricks made it difficult to mow the lawn right up to the garden edge. Grass also (annoyingly and time consuming) grew in between them. The bricks had also shifted over the years so were no longer nice and even, a sore spot with me.

A few seasons in and they had to go. Instead of digging up the bricks at the time, I left them in place and extended my gardens in width. Now I am digging them up to use for the kid-sized stepping stones. These are in their new places, just waiting to be sunk into the ground for stability…

how to make your gardens kid friendly

I asked my almost 8 year old granddaughter if I should paint the stepping stones a bright colour so she, her brothers and cousins can see them better. She voted no, telling me it is more fun to discover them.

I added the pathways at the beginning of the season when perennials are small. This way I can visualize the spacing needed to create the meandering effect I desire. For example, in the photo above, you can see the lily of the valley pips poking through the ground. In a few weeks time the plantings will have filled out and the paths will look like they have been there forever.

Landing Pads

Along with the pathways of stepping stones, I created landing pads in specific spots. There is one in front of each birdbath for little feet to step on while filling the birdbath.

There are now also several landing pads a foot back from the edge of my pond, so my grandkids know to stop there. At least most of them do. No names will be mentioned, but one little boy likes to push the boundaries and get as close as he can.

Plants Surrounding the Stepping Stones and Landing Pads

To keep the look of the stepping stones and landing pads as natural as possible, I placed them in the middle of low growing, resilient ground cover. The pathways now wind throughout my back gardens, perfect for exploring and wandering. They also create access for me, the chief gardener, to weed, plant, amend soil, mulch etc.

The stepping stones and landing pads are also located well away from any fragile or thorny plantings. For their safety and my stress level. Again, some of the grandchildren care more about avoiding prickly things and treating the plants with a healthy respect, others run through the paths full steam ahead.

Whimsical Touches

Another way to interest your kids (or grandkids) in gardens is to add whimsical touches throughout your gardens. I have several animals/creatures for them to visit; a black bear and heron rescued from a client’s garden (they planned to toss them out) a frog and a rabbit (that has its rear end busted off, but now sits wedged into the soil) are favourites too.

The kids can visit bird houses, bird baths, wind chimes, painted stepping stones, (on my fence like artwork as they were too pretty to walk on) stone pagodas, obelisks, arbours, and more as they wander through my back yard.

I would love to add a large inukshuk and totem pole, somewhere and sometime. And perhaps a small tree fort; I have a spot all picked out in the sprawling branches of an apple tree.

Posted in health & wellness, loreeebee.ca

Landish for your Daily Dose of Health and Wellness

I was recently introduced (online, through research) to Landish, when searching for a source of collagen to help my arthritic joints this winter.

What or Who is Landish?

In their own, better than I could describe, words…

Landish grew from our struggle to establish a wellness routine that was sustainable both for us and the environment. On our quest to overcome the ailments of modern life and feel our very best, we began to discover clean, earth-friendly ingredients that carry with them both deep ancestral tradition and support from modern science.

Through a process of research, creation and iteration, we bring to you the very best of these ingredients, curated and combined into delicious, crave-worthy recipes for a daily dose of wellness.

Inspired from a Middle English word:

lōndish

adjective

1. From our land; native.

Products I Have Already Tried (and love)

That pitch, along with the fact that Landish is a Canadian company and these days I am all about buying local, convinced me to give their products a try. So far I have tried their marine collagen…

Although collagen is a protein naturally found within the connective tissue (think ligaments, muscles, tendons and skin) of our bodies, its abundance (like many other things) decreases with age.

I add this marine collagen to my daily smoothies for my arthritis as mentioned, but also for the benefits collagen provides to my aging bones, muscles, skin, hair and nails. This brand is tasteless and blends in smoothly to my morning concoctions.

The second product I have tried is the Turmeric Ginger Latte….

I love this combination of turmeric, ginger, cardamom and coconut milk, especially before bedtime. Do you remember drinking warm milk as a child/teen to help you sleep at night? This is an updated version, as everyone knows (or should know) how good turmeric is for you.

With my last order from Landish I received an assortment of their Superfood Bars as a bonus.

Landish for health and wellness

High in protein, good fats, vitamins and minerals, low in cholesterol, carbs (sugar) and sodium, these bars are convenient snacks to have on hand. Flavours such as apple cinnamon, vanilla coconut, vanilla chai and double chocolate make them much more palatable than most other protein bars. I will have to make sure to order some more for summer gardening snacks.

Try Next List

I have a few other Landish products on my wish list to try next. They include the various flavours of mushroom (??!!) lattes and hot chocolates. Although I have read about the multiple health benefits of mushrooms, I never would have thought to include them in hot chocolate, lattes or smoothies…

Conclusions

If you are in the market for health supplements in a powder form, easily added to smoothies, coffee, milk or tea, check out Landish. Another page on their website lists recipes using many of their products, making it even easier to try them out.

If you do decide to try Landish products, please use my referral link! That will ensure I try more products sooner and pass on my opinions to you.

Delivery is free if your order is over $50 anywhere in Canada or the continental US. If you live in the US, please use this site to order from.

Update

I have tried the chocolate, mushroom latte mix and love it too. I drink it alone or in a cup of coffee for an interesting and healthy mocha treat. Today I ordered the berry, maca, beet latte mix, can’t wait to try it and received a Mothers Day special of 40% off.

If you want to try any of these delicious superfood options, be sure to use my referral link for 10% off your order and 10% off my next order. Win/Win!

Posted in Canada, current events, loreeebee.ca, politics, rant

Rex Murphy: This is the Worst Canadian Government ever

This post is a scathing (but accurate) article from Rex Murphy in the National Post. Not my words, but many of my thoughts and opinions!

Economics

The country is in an economic coma. The House of Commons is a movie set. We are shamed in the international community. And the list goes on.

It’s a mess. It’s a shambles. It’s an embarrassment. It is the worst ever by any reasonable measurement.

Judging by their performance on the most important files, the current bunch in Ottawa would need to hire a consultant to figure out how to get wet in a thunderstorm, and set up a task force to study how to tie their own shoes.

Look around you. Canada is in the biggest, most persistent and threatening crisis since — well since ever. The long-term care homes are under a blizzard of mortality. There is heartbreak in every small business in the country. The worry and anxiety level of most everyday citizens — especially those not shielded by uninterrupted cheques from provincial and federal governments, and those not serving as a member of a legislature — is at an all-time high.

On the Covid Nightmare

This government hoards any real details about what vaccines are here, how many are “secured” on paper only, and what they have promised to pay for them, as a miser hoards gold. Every press briefing on this most important of concerns is a dance of evasion, platitude, confused projection and sometimes just pure ignorance of what is actually the case.

They are the most deliberately obfuscatory, opaque, access-of-information-allergic administration under the democratic sun.

One year into COVID our venerated House of Commons is a disemboweled, non-functioning, neglected wreck. The targeted disrespect of the absolute and central symbol and instrument of our democracy has no parallel. No “minority” government has ever operated with the smug insouciance and patented, virtue-perfumed arrogance towards the Commons as the Trudeau government. This is, when we step back, their biggest sin.

Shutdowns and Cabinet Shuffles

Since 1867 no prime minister has abandoned the House of Commons and downgraded its significance for so long a period and for such obviously self-centered and political opportunistic reasons. It is so much easier, so much safer, so much more convenient — to walk from the bedroom to the one-printer office and mail in platitudes and arias of evasion via Zoom

What other government has parted ways with a governor general, and to top it off, a governor general brought in by the world’s No. 1 “male feminist” as a role model for young women and girls? The same male-feminist who conveniently loses all his top-performing female ministers. Someone should do a “gender analytics” study on Justin Trudeau’s cabinet.

Not to worry. It has lost a finance minister over ethics charges during the mightiest spending binge since the Big Bang. An attorney general, the prime guardian of our rule of law, was hounded out because she would not bend the rule of law. The most qualified and respected woman, a doctor of medicine no less (in other words a real doctor) could not abide staying in so carelessly unethical a cabinet. Thus, at the very time Canada would have wished the most competent person to deal with a once-in-a-hundred years medical emergency, Dr. Jane Philpott is not even in the government.

Meantime Seamus O’Regan, the Trudeau cabinet’s favourite nomad — he takes up and puts down portfolios with the “greatest of ease,” leaving no impression behind as he goes — burbles on, during a pandemic, about planting two billion trees. Imagine, two billion. We only have about 300 billion already! Priorities I guess. Repeat after me the holy incantation: climate change, climate change, climate change. It’s better than a vaccine.

Hostages in Chinese Prisons

We have two hostages in the tyrannical torture houses of Chinese prisons. Those poor, suffering and tormented men must truly have been uplifted — if any news ever reaches them — to learn that their government, during a world pandemic, was collaborating with the Chinese government to “jointly develop a COVID-19 vaccine.” Remember the line from Casablanca — “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world …” — and Insert “countries” for gin joints. Of all the countries in all the world why did the Trudeau government pick …. China? Incompetence can’t cover it. We need some term that speaks of dedicated and determined, merciless and staggering wrong-headedness: the purblind leading the purblind.

Budget

We have had no budget in two years. (Actually we have one now, this article was penned pre-budget release, but unbelievably irresponsible) We have spent more than any other government, by far, in our history. We have no idea where all the money has gone. The auditor general has been denied the resources to even keep track of a portion of it. There is no coherence, or trust, between the majority of the premiers and the prime minister. We have been offered occasional delights, like the celebrated comic opera of the WE brothers and the (temporary) $43-million gift to them to administer half a billion dollars of your money.

Distractions

The Liberals have given far more time and dedicated energy to the Derek Sloan affair (whatever that was) than the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, and the emergent threat of Alberta leaving the Confederation. (Query for serious panel discussion: Is Canada safe from Bidenism?) Alberta groans while the Trudeau government spends over $36 million for “stay-at-home chairs” for its civil service.

Conclusions

This is the worst Canadian government ever. Can there be any question?

The country is in an economic coma. The House of Commons is a movie set. We are shamed in the international community. Contracts on COVID are all Top Secret. There is zero reliability on any projection made by a minister or the prime minister on where we are on vaccines and distribution. Rideau Hall is shortly to be listed on Airbnb. Farmers have been hit by fuel and carbon taxes. Newfoundland teeters on bankruptcy. The West has never felt so far out of things. I could go on.

Is this what was meant when the rosy words were first pronounced: Canada’s back?

To calm yourself, however, there is always this: Climate change.

Climate change. Climate change. Two billion trees. Two billion trees. Home chairs. Home chairs. Derek Sloan.

Rex Murphy: This is the worst Canadian government ever
Justin Trudeau

Photo credit: SEAN KILPATRICK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Posted in DIY, grandkids, loreeebee.ca

DIY Stepping Stones for Gardens4me

Santa brought me five ceramic stepping stones for Christmas, a DIY craft project for me to paint with my grandchildren. Well, at least the oldest three of five grandchildren, the youngest two are not yet into DIY projects.

We have added their names and the year they were born to the stones too. They are now decorating a fence in Gardens4me as they are much too beautiful to step on. These colourful masterpieces will brighten up the area I refer to as my ICU where plants or cuttings I remove from clients’ gardens get rejuvenated.

My oldest granddaughter painted hers and I painted her baby brother’s right after Christmas when she was still coming here for her online school lessons.

My youngest granddaughter painted hers this past week as I painted her baby brother’s while the latter was napping.

I also painted my eldest grandson’s as he had no interest in painting indoors, was keener to go on an outdoor adventure. Appropriately, I had reserved the turtle for him…

Stepping Stone DIY Project
Posted in grandkids, loreeebee.ca, nature

Earth Day: Celebrate by Sharing the Love

photo credit: Enzo Pérès-Labourdette

I love sharing my love and respect for nature with my grandchildren, so this article from New York Times caught my attention today on Earth Day.

My grandchildren are at the age where their brains are like sponges. They soak up (and enjoy, I hope) all the nature I throw at them…

Both of my granddaughters love to help me in my gardens, both are great little workers. Planting seeds in anticipation of gardening season and even getting dirty by digging in the dirt is becoming a hobby for them. The eldest has even helped me design a garden for her mother.

My eldest grandson is four, he loves the great outdoors. On our most recent “adventure” we checked out a local pond for tadpoles and fish to enhance my backyard pond. I tried to explain to him that his wiggly friends were still hiding in the mud waiting for the water to warm up, but he was still keen to try…

He is also a bug lover, upturning all the stones (even the stepping stones I installed so he won’t trample my plantings) and statues in my garden looking for their hiding spots. He hit pay dirt on his recent visit…

My second youngest grandson will be two years old this summer. He loves to mimic his big brother (the grandson mentioned above) so it won’t be long before he too shows interest in nature.

My youngest grandson, a pandemic baby, just turned a year old. Not quite walking yet, he does love to look out the windows at the birds and even the wind blowing in the trees. I look forward to the day he toddles around the garden, following his big sister.

The best way to celebrate Earth Day? Share your love of and respect for nature!

Posted in cottage life, loreeebee.ca, nature

Cottage Season is Coming

Cottage season is coming, fast. With increased COVID numbers and resulting restrictions, it cannot come too soon. Isolating at the lake is something we were grateful for last summer, although spending time there is always a relaxing, “unplugged” experience, regardless of what is happening around the world.

Ice on the Lake

A few weeks ago we visited Palmerston Lake to check on our cottage. We took our four year old uber-adventurous grandson with us to show him what the place looks like in winter. He was thrilled to walk on the ice and climb on the frozen pile of leaves. He was disappointed however, that the snakes and frogs were still sleeping…

This Easter weekend, less than three weeks later, we visited again to begin the annual spring cleanup. The grandson stayed home to enjoy Easter festivities, but I couldn’t help reflecting on how much he would love to see the ice breaking up.

It always amazes me how quickly the ice leaves the lake every spring. The property is now snow-free even though we had to park on the road and wade through the snow last visit. By next week the ice will be totally gone!

Cottage Season is Coming

Spring Cottage Chores

Even though we rake up most leaves in the fall at the end of each season, there are always some that are still clinging to the trees as we are closing up. That means there are still lots to rake up in the spring too.

That’s the downside of a heavily treed lot. The advantage of course, is the natural beauty and shade these trees provide in the summer months.

We use plastic bags saved from new mattresses to collect and transport the leaves to the huge leaf pile. These bags make the chore much easier, and fold up for storage between uses. Over the season the leaves break down, providing soil amendment for garden areas.

lots of leaves

Unfortunately, a cold north wind was blowing off the lake during this visit, much to the annoyance of my arthritic hips. I paid for that in pain on return to the city. Once the cold gets in my bones, the ache is hard to dispel.

Gypsy Moth Damage

Last year I told you about the infestation of gypsy moths at the lake. Apparently it was a record year for them in Eastern Ontario, affecting not only deciduous trees but evergreens too.

We have been praying that our trees will survive this onslaught. While the deciduous trees don’t appear to suffer long term, (their leaves return each year) the growth of the evergreens (spruce and pines) is much slower. The needles take much longer to regrow, if they do at all.

I hesitate to cut the damaged tops off these pines and spruce as that would alter the natural shape of the trees, making them bushier and rounder at the bottom. Instead we will wait to see how much regrowth they put out this season.

COVID Affecting Cottage and Campsite Rentals

Last summer Canadians stayed close to home, visiting local cottages and campgrounds more than ever before. We were no exception. With the heat wave we experienced it was a no brainer to isolate at our family cottage. While visitors outside our immediate family were not invited, we managed to get our sons’ families to join us, albeit separately.

Conclusion

This season promises to be even busier for cottage and campsite rentals as we head into a (possible) second summer of isolation restrictions. I’ve heard that campsites are booking up fast as families know to expect availability shortages this summer. If you haven’t already, you might want to get on it soon!

As spring weather warms us up, we relish the fact that cottage season is coming!

Cottage Season is Coming
Posted in gardens, loreeebee.ca, weather

Late Winter, Early Spring Garden Chores

photo credit

Spring is here according to our calendars and the nice weather, although I’ve heard rumours the colder stuff will return for a bit soon. There are many garden or yard chores that should be done this time of year and not put off until the last frost date.

Late winter is considered to be approximately 6 weeks before the beginning of the spring thaw, so will depend on where you live. If you are not sure, count backwards from your area’s last frost date. To me (in zone 4 or 5) this means early April is (usually) late winter or early spring. I can always hope earlier.

It is much easier to see the “bone structure” of your trees before they leaf out, so pruning shade trees like oak and maples now, while they are still dormant, is perfect timing.

Pruning is done for several reasons, even cosmetic ones.

Dead, Broken, Diseased or Crossing Branches

Dead, broken, diseased or crossing/rubbing branches can be cut back at any time during the year. This applies to trees and shrubs. Cut right to the next branch, without leaving a stub.

In the case of crossing or rubbing branches, decide which of the crossing branches lends best to the overall shape of the tree or shrub and remove the other. Keep in mind branches should grow upwards and outwards for optimal shape.

Heavy snow falls and winter winds can snap even the healthiest of branches. These broken branches should be removed for aesthetic purposes as well as for the continued health of the tree or shrub.

Although it may be difficult to determine if branches are dead or diseased yet, you can mark any suspicious ones for pruning later if this is the case. There is no wrong time to remove dead or diseased branches.

Shaping or Rejuvenating

Trees and shrubs always look nicer and tidier when shaped properly and not overgrown. Now is the time to do this, before new growth begins blurring the shape. This is especially true if you have a hard time cutting out perfectly healthy branches.

Pruning to enhance the shape will encourage and stimulate new growth in spring, which is when you want to encourage new growth. Pruning in fall however, encourages growth when future cold weather could kill it off.

Overgrown shrubs and trees also benefit from drastic rejuvenating this time of year. Again, this is because the new growth that will be stimulated has a better chance of survival heading into spring rather than winter. I have had particular success drastically cutting back overgrown dappled willows and forsythia in my business. Even though forsythia is on the list of shrubs not to trim back early, this one was so overgrown my client just wanted it reduced in size, willing to sacrifice the blooms that year.

Evergreen Trees and Shrubs to Prune now

If removing the lower branches of evergreens in your landscape is something you have been considering, now is the time to do so. This is a great way to drastically change your landscape and even improve the condition of your lawn that tries to grow under them.

Boxwoods, yews, holly and other evergreen shrubs should be trimmed now, while dormant, and before new growth appears.

Spruce and firs can be trimmed back now, but pruning pines should wait until June or July, after their first growth of what are called candles (new shoots at the tips). No earlier and no later. With pines, prune (delay growth) by cutting back the candles by half or remove dead, diseased, broken (or unwanted lower) branches to their main stem.

Shrubs or Trees You Should NOT Prune Now

There are exceptions to the “most trees and shrubs” that benefit from spring pruning. These would be the ones that flower early and prefer pruning after they flower. They include:

  • Lilac
  • forsythia
  • bridle wreath spirea
  • mophead and oakleaf hydrangea
  • spring blooming clematis
  • rhododendrons
  • magnolia
  • wisteria
  • flowering almond
  • mock orange
  • weigela
  • nine barks
  • viburnum
  • witch hazel
  • spring flowering trees like plum, cherry, pear or dogwood

The general rule of thumb is “if it blooms before June, prune after flowering. If it blooms after June, prune in spring.” That is because spring bloomers do so on older (last year’s) wood, while later flowers come from new (spring generated) wood.

Cutting Back Ornamental Grasses and Perennials

If you left your ornamental grasses to sway in the winter winds, cut them back as soon as you can get to them, even if you have to wade through some lingering snow. Ornamental grasses should be cut back to four to six inches from the ground. It is much easier to do this now than to wait until new growth starts when you will have to pick the dead and crispy brown stalks from the tender new green shoots. I did mine a few weeks ago when I was itching to do something garden related.

This applies to other perennials you left over the winter. Bird lovers often leave seed heads and pods for their fine feathered friends to snack on. Some leave perennial stalks for their beauty when covered in snow or some variation in an otherwise bleak-looking winter garden. For whatever reason you have left yours intact, now is the time to cut (snap off) the brown and crispy stalks down to ground level.

Conclusions

For more ideas on what you can tackle in your garden this early, check out last year’s post at this time of year.

I’ve got my ornamental grasses cut back already and my lawn raked and seeded, with edging next on my agenda. Garden cleanups will have to wait a few more weeks.

Posted in health & wellness, loreeebee.ca

If You Dont Use it, You Lose it!

photo credit

As I get older, the phrase “if you don’t use it you lose it” is becoming more obvious. Not just the rusty physical parts of my body, but the good habits, routines, and comfort zones too.

Highway Driving

I’ve never been anxious driving on the highways, in fact I much prefer it to city driving where you have pedestrians, bikes, and cars coming at you in all directions. When I moved to Ottawa from the much smaller town of Cornwall, I forced myself to drive up and down the Queensway (the major highway running east to west through the city) getting off each exit, then back on.

It feels like I hardly ever drive on the highways anymore, in fact I haven’t for about a year now, since the pandemic shut us down.

On a recent adventure (that’s what my four year old grandson calls our weekly outings) to my favourite farm, the first few minutes of highway driving felt strange. And then the enjoyment returned, the feel of the open road beneath me, the winding roads and the relaxing rural scenery.

Organized Routines

When I worked outside of the home, especially when my kids were young, I was incredibly organized. At least when I look back to those days now, I think I was. Beds were stripped every Friday for a weekly wash. Grocery lists were mandatory, in preparation for weekly shopping every Thursday. Once the boys were out of diapers, bath nights were Tuesday, Thursday and Saturdays.

I learned that kids thrive on routine, but so do busy moms.

When I retired, and the kids were much older, routines flew out the window with the alarm clock.

Let’s not forget the more obvious physical parts that suffer from the lack of use…

Brain Power

How many of you reach for a calculator or your phone to figure out a mathematical equation, even the simple ones? I admit to forcing myself to use my brain power with a pen and paper to ensure I remember how to. It is so much quicker and more convenient to use the electronics.

One of the reasons I loved helping my granddaughter with her online lessons is that it forced me to think like a seven year old again. At that age, kids’ brains are like sponges, absorbing every tidbit of information they encounter. I like that feeling, and I really enjoy finding the right way to answer their never ending questions. Do you remember how some teachers were so much better than others at explaining things?

Arthritic Joints

When I refer to my rusty body parts, I am talking about my achy, arthritic joints. My ankles, knees, hips and wrists are anxiously awaiting warmer, drier weather.

The problem with arthritic joints is that the less you use them, the harder it is to use them when you want or need to. It is indeed a viscous circle, but the trick (I find) is to make sure you keep using them.

Conclusion

Use it before you lose it!!

Posted in gardens, loreeebee.ca, nature

Propagating Plants From Seeds: What I have Learned

Anyone who has tried propagating plants from seeds will tell you the process is not as easy as it seems. Each year I give it a try, without much success. The ideal time to start the process is six to eight weeks before the last frost date in your area when they can be planted outdoors.

This year I started way back in the fall with my oldest granddaughter. We have had some success, but not much.

Since then I have researched more and tried different techniques. I can get the seeds sprouted but the sprouts always flop over and shrivel up.

My latest attempts (it has been a long winter) have been more successful, using these techniques:

Humidity

Humidity is a must to coax the seeds to sprout. I have several mini greenhouses and peat pellets that are perfect for for achieving humidity levels the seeds require. This is especially important as most homes have lower humidity levels during the winter months.

propagating plants from seeds: what I have learned

Labels

My granddaughter convinced me to use labels to differentiate the seedlings in their rows within the greenhouse. She noticed my memory is not as good as hers, so thought the labels would help me remember what I planted. She was right.

Grow or Heat Lamps

Once the seeds sprout, the seedlings need heat and light. This can be achieved by keeping the seedlings in a warm window, rotating them often so they grow straight up and not tilted towards the sunshine. Or, you can create warmth and artificial light with a grow/heat lamp.

I am using a desk top in a south facing, sunny window as my propagation station.

propagating plants from seeds: what I have learned

Hydrogen Peroxide

With the humidity comes the growth of mold and mildew on the soil surface. Both are disastrous to seedlings, causing them to wither away.

Cleaning all your (previously used) containers before use with undiluted 3% hydrogen peroxide will sterilize them, reducing the chance of mold. You can purchase hydrogen peroxide in your local grocery store or pharmacy and pour it into a spray bottle, or already in a spray bottle here.

Spraying the soil surface daily with a solution of hydrogen peroxide and water (1:4) once the seeds have sprouted will keep mold at bay. This solution will also kill any fungus gnats (the tiny fruit fly-like bugs) hovering around your baby plants.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is not just a tasty and aromatic ingredient in your spice cabinet. Sprinkling it liberally on the top of your seed pellets, before the seeds sprout, will help control mold growth so the seedlings have a fighting chance breaking through the soil.

Transplanting

The use of peat pellets make it simple to transplant the seedlings into larger containers. I just squish them into a pot filled with soil. The size of the new container will dictate how many pellets I transplant into each container.

I like to use a premium potting soil with lots of moisture retaining ingredients to enhance drainage, aeration and add some nutrients.

This is when I use the hydrogen peroxide solution described above to keep the bugs away.

Sticky Bug Catchers

In between the spraying of the peroxide solution, sticky bug catchers work great too to capture the little fungus gnats that like to hang around the plants. They are durable and harmless to kids and pets.

I also use these bug traps in my house plants to keep other insects at bay. They work on the fruit flies and mosquitoes that are more prevalent around here in the summer months…

propagating plants from seeds: what I have learned
warning: bugs appear much bigger here, zoomed in.

Conclusions

A heat source might be a good addition to my experiments as my house does cool off at night. I am considering purchasing heat mats to place below each container to maintain a more consistent temperature for the seedlings. I would love some feedback on these.

There are lots of seeds that can be directly sewn into your gardens and outdoor containers. Of course, they have their own issues. Birds, wandering grandchildren, overgrowing established plants are just a few.

Obviously I could use advice to improve my rate of successful propagation. If any of you have had greater success in propagating plants from seeds, please pass it on!

Oh, and the labels work well outside too to remind me where I planted which seeds.