According to the Simon & Schuster blog, I rank number 9 (for “You Grow Girl“) in Simon & Schuster’s list of top selling Canadian authors so far in 2007. That’s only 3 places behind Canadian artist/writer/designer mega star Douglas Coupland (for his two S&S published books “Shampoo Planet” and “Life After God.”)
My mind is officially blown.
Can you believe this? RISK OF FROST. It is June 5!! We are well past the safe date in this region!
And as an aside, ahem, can you believe my awesomely instructive and informative graphic? Fades, arrows, highlights, and drop shadows. I had to reach deep into my USA Today brand pool of design tricks to create this little number. Carrying on.
I was out on the rooftop deck this morning giving the plants a once-over as usual when I looked to the east and saw an ominous view.
The wind was whipping at incredibly high speeds, the air was very cold, and the sky threatened nucleur fallout. I high-tailed it inside and closed the windows in time to avoid a hardcore downpour. It was unrelenting. And yet in my naive, It’s practically summer nothing can stop us now! haze it did not occur to me that I should bring some of the tender plants indoors or provide even the smallest bit of protection for them against the high winds. By late afternoon it finally dawned on me that t-shirt weather had indeed left the building so-to-speak so I ran outside and began pulling sad and floppy plants indoors as quickly as possible.
There is no rhyme or reason to the damage. Some peppers are as sturdy and strong as ever, while others are floppy and sad. Some tomatoes have completely flattened out and others are just as healthy as can be. Just about all of my hardening-off cucumbers and gherkins are slowly wasting away.
Yet despite the possible plant carnage I may be facing tomorrow I found myself taking on an air of superiority thinking about how right I was to recommend cloches for basil and other tender annuals during my appearance on the Gil Deacon Show last month, the topic of which was incidently on Gardening with Climate Change.
And then I had to laugh at myself because people, once again I did not take my own advice.
The bank account says, NO Way in Hell but the eyes beg, Yes Please! I love these very inventive and original flower silhoette necklaces by jewelry designer Abigail Percy. Each necklace is handmade from silver sheeting and represents the shape of three different spring blooms: Screw Pine, Magnolia Virginia, and Magnolia.
Not your typical floral motif and oh so lovely!
Ã‚Â£35.00 – Ã‚Â£47.00
I first discovered stinging nettle one day while book shopping on Harbord Street, a popular used book area of Toronto. One of the stores had a selection of herbs sitting out front. Anyone who knows me knows I am a sucker for herbs and am impulsive about touching them. You should see me at the end of our yearly Herb Fair meet-ups. All of those smells in one place! I am a maniac!
So there I am happily rubbing each plant and lifting my fingers to my face repeatedly soaking in a variety of delicious herbal scents. And then I rub the stinging nettle. Let’s just say the experience has taught me to be patient and observe with my eyes BEFORE making contact with my fingers or god forbid my nose! It has also taught me a new level of respect for plants. That initial shock prompted me to look into this unassuming yet powerful plant, and I have since come to appreciate it as a very valuable and fantastic herb.
May 16-27 is “Be Nice to Nettles Week.” The site has a lot of interesting facts and tid bits from a recipe for nettle soup to information about the wildlife the plant sustains. Learning about stinging nettle might not win you over completely but perhaps warm you up just a little to this painful herb.
I’ve been receiving requests for information on starting a community garden since posting about my experience working with the H.O.P.E Community Garden Group here in Toronto. Starting a community garden is an awesome experience but it is also quite an undertaking. Starting a garden is as much about the physical labor involved in building the garden space as it is about building community and working co-operatively with a sense of commitment and purpose. My experiences with The H.O.P.E Garden have been so positive because of the efforts of project organizer Shannon Thompson of Greenest City, a Toronto based non-profit that has gone above and beyond in organizing one of the most well-functioning teams I have ever had the pleasure to work alongside.
Of course most of us don’t have the benefit of a team experienced in community building and the practical ins-and-outs of community garden organizating. In that case I would recommend that anyone looking to start a community garden in their area pick up a copy of “How Does Our Garden Grow?: A Guide to Community Garden Success” published by FoodShare and written by Laura Berman. This is an excellent and comprehensive resource that outlines many of the issues that you will face when starting a garden from leadership, site design and selection, to raising money and establishing gardener expectations. There is even a practical gardening section for beginners covering topics such as companion planting and composting.