Posted in DIY, gardens, grandkids, loreeebee.ca

Propagation Project, Seeds and Cuttings

Recently I told you about a project my seven-year-old granddaughter and I started in between her online classes. We gathered seeds from my gardens as well as the kitchen, then tried to sprout them in a mini greenhouse. A month later and we have success. Well, some success.

Successes

Our melons were the quickest out of the gate, and are looking the best so far…

Cantaloupe

Others, like hibiscus, red peppers and lemons are a bit slower, just starting to show signs of growth…

Roots from cuttings

For another project we tried placing leaf cuttings in water so they would form roots. I had read that coleus are particularly fond of this treatment, so I took several cuttings of the numerous coleus I planted in gardens this past summer. They were so gorgeous I just had to give propagating them a try. We are also trying to root some begonias that looked spectacular next to the coleus in containers I planted at our local hospice…

Bingo, the coleus rooted up well, in less than one week! The thicker, fleshier begonia stems are still a work in progress. Eight rooted coleus stems have now been promoted to pots with soil:

Rooted coleus

Potted coleus

Lessons Learned

When many of our seeds showed no growth at all, I investigated further. Rural Sprout for told me some seeds just don’t germinate well straight from the garden or kitchen. We will keep trying though.

We learned to water the seeds from below (inside the tray the pots sit on) instead of from above. This prevents the formation of mold on the soil surface. It also prevents the stems from rotting once they start emerging from the soil.

With the cuttings, we learned to remove all but one leaf from the stem and keep that leaf out of the water. You learn this from the foul smell that the water quickly emits if any leaves touch (rot in) the water. I knew this from fresh cut flowers in vases, just forgot to apply the knowledge to this project. To prevent the leaves from touching the water you can use plastic wrap over the jar of water with holes poked in for the stems.

I have a perfect solution in a glass vase spacer, basically a glass disc with holes in it that fits on the top of a vase. In this case, it sits on a cup full of water…

Glass disc with holes is perfect for tiny stems

I have a kitchenette in my basement with lots of counter space, a sink, and a nearby window to provide natural light, providing a perfect setup for these botany projects.

Come spring we should have lots of plants for our gardens and containers. Any ideas of other seeds we can try? We’ve got lots of time!

Posted in lorieb.com, Ottawa

Purse Project

I am off to drop off purses for the Purse Project I saw in the OTTAWA CITIZEN.  Today is the last day for drop off for this specific purse project, but there are many out there.  Find one in your community to which you can donate.  It is a wonderful Christmastime idea.

Like most women, I have lots of purses hanging out in my closet, many of which I have barely used.  The idea is to fill a gently used purse with personal items for women living in shelters or on the streets.  There are many things you can fill the purses with:

  • feminine products
  • soaps
  • shampoo/conditioners
  • disposable razors
  • kleenex
  • lotion

Find unused products in your home or purchase some to fill the purses with.  Many drug stores have a travel section with miniature sizes of the products listed above.  Gift cards are another great idea to add to the purses.

purse project

I have come up with six packed purses, ready for drop off here in Ottawa.  There are lots of drop off locations listed in the article above, including many Shoppers Drug Marts and most Ottawa Police Stations.

 

Posted in gardening, lorieb.com

Gardens4u garden project including before and after pictures

These pictures are of Gardens4u’s most recent garden project:

befores:

 

and afters:

 

All new plants are perennials, meaning they come back every year.  All are pretty much maintenance free too, a common request from my clients these days.   The brown cedar mulch helps keep moisture in and weeds out.

I can’t wait to see what the gardens look like by the end of summer when all of the perennials have settled into their new homes.

Posted in gardening, gardens, gardens4u, gardens4u.ca, lorieb.com

Gardens4u before and after pictures

These pictures are of Gardens4u’s most recent garden project:

befores:

 

and afters:

 

All new plants are perennials, meaning they come back every year.  All are pretty much maintenance free too, a common request from my clients these days.   The brown cedar mulch helps keep moisture in and weeds out.

I can’t wait to see what the gardens look like by the end of summer when all of the perennials have settled into their new homes.

Posted in gardening, lorieb.com

Lawn Mower for Sale!

This summer I had the pleasure of being part of an awesome project. My neighbour decided she was tired of “feeding the grubs” that were destroying the grass in her front yard each year. When I told her of my plan to retire from the health care industry to start up a gardening company, she enlisted my help to design and plant a grass-free front yard. Although the sweltering heat slowed us down a bit, we perservered, slowly creating our masterpiece. Many curious neighbours walked and drove by, stopping to admire our progress, especially when their yards were slowly turning a crispy yellow with the heat and drought. The finished product is stunning, and since I live across the street, I enjoy the best view!  The project was a “team” effort with many heads and hands involved…..

To get some inspiration, my neighbour and I drove around looking at and taking pictures of other grass-free yards in our area. This step helped us visualize what we wanted and also what we didn’t want in our design.  We then took measurements of her yard, working with the existing landscaping features she planned to keep, such as the stone garden wall  installed several years ago,  the neighbour’s garden and grass, the driveway, the road etc.    Slowly, but very methodically, we created a design on paper of what would be soil/plants/mulch and what would be rock.

Next, we called on Sean Fagan and his crew from Shamrock Painting and Finishing to  remove the sod, which would have been a back-breaking and time consuming job for us.  When the sod was gone,  we transferred our design to the dirt surface so Sean and his team could then position and install the edging between the sections, and shovel the soil and two different sizes of river rock into the designated areas.

While they were doing that, perennials and shrubs were chosen to plant in the soil.   I must admit to being a plant shopaholic, so picking out and purchasing plants was right up my alley!  A variety of bloom and foliage color, shape, size and bloom time was selected, with a mixture of evergreen and deciduous plants, so that the garden would look great from all angles as well as all year around. We also dug up, divided and moved many existing plants, incorporating them into the plan.  Plants were spaced well apart so when full grown they will not be overcrowded.   The finishing touch was a layer of black cedar mulch to prevent the soil from drying out and to keep the weeds from taking over.  The black color is beautiful, like freshly watered soil,  contrasting nicely with the green plants.

Photos below are before, during and after the completion of our project….I can’t wait to see what it looks like when the plants fill out in summers to come!