This blog continues to focus on soil and our relationship to the earth beneath our feet. I would like to share a quote from Michael J. Roads, from his book, Conscious Gardening, with you. A conscious relationship with the soil reaches us on a deeper level. Soil components react with our brain chemicals and create a feeling of peace. I hope that as your gardening begins you reflect a moment or two on the amazing world that exists in dirt. Soil, dirt, is the seat of all our fertility on the planet. Each of us can make a difference with the choices we make. Organic fertilizers, organic mulches, organic insect sprays fill the pages of our cyber worlds and are only a click way.
“Care for the soil with conscious attention. Be aware and conscious of the soil as a living medium. The soil is alive, and it is your responsibility as a conscious gardener to support and value that life. It is estimated that the weight of life in the soil far outweighs the weight of all humans, animals and creatures that live on the soil. That is a sobering thought. It is up to us, as conscious Beings, to support this natural balance, in however small a measure, by the care and intelligence of our actions in the garden.”
(P.80.) Conscious Gardening by Michael J. Roads.
Can we walk more softly upon this earth, this soil, this dirt beneath our feet? I hope so. Remember we are caretakers here honoring our commitment to co-create with nature and all her aspects. Stewardship is a responsibility and a privilege.
Take a moment and walk barefoot if you can today. Touching the earth this way keeps us grounded and connected. Like the tiny Hummingbird, we can be conscious gardeners simply by “doing the best we can.”
Happy Planting. Judith
The beginning of the year delivers garden catalogs to our door. So much to choose from; new hybrids that delights the eye with color and shape and form and maybe the unusual. All tempt us.
Edible landscaping is a concept and plan that gives us an opportunity to sculpt a landscape with food production in mind.Today I would like to propose 2 edible fruits that can easily be placed under and near shrubs and used as ground covers.
1. Alpine Strawberries: Fragaria vesca
These varieties do not send out runners and therefore you will find them more contained. They produce all summer till frost; This plant does well in rock gardens.
Need full sun, well drained soil;
Space 1′ apart and may need dividing in 3 to 4 years;
2. Lingonberries: Vaccinium species
These plants are native to Sweden and used in a variety of culinary recipes such as jams, jellies, sauces and syrups. They produce bright red berries and deep evergreen leaves that turn red in fall. They also form a dense mat and can choke out weeds. Lingonberries take two years to fruit and can yield 1/2 to 1 lb. fruit/plant. Like blueberries they require a soil pH of 5.8 or below.
Needs sun and likes good drainage and acid soil;
Height: 12-18″ tall;
space 1-2′ apart when planting and select two varieties for better pollination.
Lingonberry is related to blueberry and cranberry. The photo to the right shows a lovely patch that fits right into this landscape adding variety in texture and color. It is typically found in colder regions just like its cousin the cranberry. No pruning is needed and it can effectively block out weeds.
Adding berries such as the lingonberry provide food for wildlife as well. The berries of the lingonberry arrive at the end of summer when other fruits dwindle. Various birds, such as thrushes, bluebirds, cowbirds and even hummingbirds enjoy the flowers, shiny leaves that repel water and snow and of course the fruit.
These two plants enhance the landscape from providing easy to maintain ground covers that help choke out weeds, to supplying food for humans and wildlife as well as visual interest.
What are the health benefits of both? Strawberries provide vitamin C and fiber. Lingonberry is considered one of the new super fruits by Dr. Oz.
He states: : Animal studies have shown how the lingonberry can lower inflammatory molecules, block oxidants from destroying tissue, and also help the body replace important antioxidants, like glutathione, which is a master antioxidant in our body. Lingonberry has also been shown to increase red blood cell and liver enzymes needed for antioxidant protection. We need antioxidants to protect vessels and nerve tissue, and also to help decrease the damage from inflammation. Proanthocyanidin extracts from lingonberries were also found to be effective against the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, which can cause a wide variety of infections. “
If you do not have an organic seed catalog for Organic seed source, try this link.
Healthy for us, healthy for wildlife, supports diversity.
Enjoy your day. Judith
Bee Balm: Monarda
“Percentage wise, the hummingbird has the largest brain of all birds (4.2% of its total body weight).”
“Hummingbirds in the U.S. and around the world have the benefit of being garden and backyard favorites. Many people put out hummingbird feeders or grow flowers that attract hummingbirds in the warmer months that allow these birds to refuel during their long migratory journeys. What’s in sight is often in mind, and many fans of hummingbirds are doing what they can to keep every backyard, park and garden a friendly place for these beautiful birds.”(quote from Defenders of Wildlife )
The hummingbird like many species is suffering loss of habitat. We can provide a suitable habitat by placing flowers and trees, shrubs and vines that will attract them.
This is a great article from Virginia Tech, titled ” Backyard Habitat for Wildlife: consider the flowers, trees, shrubs and vines listed as possible additions to your garden this year. The flowers tend to range from orange to reds with trumpet type shapes. Here’s a few examples:
Sweet William: Dianthus barbatus
Coral Bells: Heuchera sanguinea
Enjoy planning and preparing a welcoming for these marvelous and enchanting creatures .
Enjoy your day. Judith