I continue to require eye-candy this winter, and here’s a dose for today. Salpiglossis ‘Stained Glass’ (Salpiglossis sinuata) is a beautiful annual flower from Chile that derives its name from the hand-painted quality of its blooms. I first grew it from seed a few years back and have been considering it for this year’s garden.
Last summer I resolved to try and make further use of the plants that I grow by employing them as natural textile dyes. When their season was through, I did a few experiments, dying various fabric scraps with the burgundy leaves and immature blooms of the large false roselle plants I had grown that year. Unfortunately, time quickly slipped through my fingers and the other plans I had in mind did not come to fruition.
This winter I have made a dramatic shift back to embroidery and my brain is consumed with thread. Recently, in preparation for the growing season, I have returned to experimentation, but this time I am dyeing threads rather than fabric.
This plant is practically the antithesis of what I am typically attracted to, but when it’s mid-February and I am aching for the fragrance of fresh flowers, my standards shift dramatically. It’s akin to when I am in search of coffee while on the road or out of town. At home I am a supreme coffee snob. Good quality espresso-based coffee only and it had better have the right proportions of milk as I will not tolerate spending $4 for a puffy while cloud floating on top of a lake of indeterminate brown liquid. Away from home I will pretty much take what I can get.
While I will always promote gleaning your gardening gear from the recycling bin or second-hand via garage sales and thrift stores, there are times when buying new is required. A lot of gardeners looking to save money have been turning to the dollar store over the past few years, especially since many chains have been expanding their gardening aisles and selection has grown. For that reason I have put together a guide to products that I have purchased in my local stores and have found to be useful and of decent quality. Oddly enough, much of the best garden gear is not found in the actual gardening aisle so it helps to think outside the box and look around the entire store for objects in the housewares, craft, and stationary aisles that might suit your needs.
- Plastic Dish Pan Basin: These bins are fantastic for a variety of purposes and I keep a few on hand. I use them to mix up and moisten seed starting soil (and other potting soils, too) and as a working surface for filling pots. They can also be used for bottom watering delicate plants and as a wash basin for soaking and cleaning used pots. Brand new cat litter pans also work well for this purpose, although the dish pans tend to be deeper.
Davin surprised me with this drawing on our kitchen chalkboard this morning.
I know that some of you in the warmer regions have already started your tomato seeds. Around here I still have a month(ish) to go before I will start my first batch of dwarf varieties.
Which varieties are you growing or planning to grow this year?