The earth laughs in flowers & burps in weeds! ~ Emerson & MP50

Pre-Summer Gardening Reminders

   So here we are on the precipice of the summer season!! Two exclamation points on that one. It is the time of year we gardeners long for, dream of... There are a few reminders I'd like to pass along now to make your gardening life easier this summer. Yes, put in the time now and the rewards will be felt all summer long.

Weed ~ Yes, weed now often and then weed some more. You need to get to the buggers while you still can. Before your perennials go whoosh. (my description of what happens one day you go outside and look around and they have all grown inches seemingly overnight. I call it The Whoosh Affect.) Get to them before the roots head to China or out like a Compass Rose in every direction!

Staking ~ You know the plants that you have in need of staking. Early staking will alleviate any sleepless nights you have when you're hearing that pouring rain coming down. Get in there while you can still reach them!

Seed Heads ~ I am already staring at the columbine & forget-me-not seeds that are poised to drop. Decide now what you are sharing, what you are carefully cutting down to avoid volunteers, or shaking and going to town on the spreading (the most fun I feel). This forget-me-not photo shows the results of going to town last spring.

Weed ~ Okay you see where I'm going with this...

Edging ~ Nothing makes your beds look professional like edging each year but you need to do it now before the soft, rain-drenched ground goes bye-bye.

Fertilizing ~ Scratching an organic fertilizer around you plants will give them a smile. Need to do this before The Whoosh Affect & that final step...

Mulch ~ To take advantage of all your hard weeding work, you need to mulch. Leaf mulch & mushroom compost are the best choices for your plants and soil. My township provides leaf mulch for free, but you need to haul it yourself. Garden centers are getting the message and you can find these more readily & have them delivered.

Enjoy ~ Sit back and enjoy the fruits & flowers of you labor!

Kokedama ~ Moss Ball for Plants

   Kokedama (pronounced coke-eh-dah-mah), is a Japanese term for a moss ball, and is the technique of planting in a pouch of moss and soil or oasis. It is a fun and different way to 'plant' a favorite plant. Once complete, the balls can be used to hang plants like succulents, orchids, ivy & herbs or placed on a lovely dish on a tabletop or windowsill. Be creative and watch each plant suddenly transforms into a beautiful specimen plant!
    The traditional kokedama uses sheet moss to surround a bonsai-type soil. The most cost effective way to do this is to use round oasis in place of the soil. You then take a knife like a pumpkin carving knife to carve out a pouch at the top of the ball to accommodate your plant. (If you trim away a small flat bit at the bottom of your oasis, you can keep it steady & standing if you don't plan to hang). 

Take your sheet moss and cut into pieces that you can wrap and pin (with heavy gauge (green) garden wire cut and bent like large bobby pins). Work your way around to cover your kokedama. [Another less traditional option is to use coconut liner in the same manner] 
Then, using your plant of choice from a 3-4 inch pot, shake off the majority of the soil and place securely into the pouch. You may then like to wrap in twine for decoration or function (to create a hanging option). To water, submerge in a small bucket to saturate the oasis. To keep moist use a spray bottle to mist. Keep in mind the watering needs of your plants. A succulent or begonia would need less watering. Kokedamas hung outside would dry out more quickly & need more frequent water.
    I love this project, because the sky is the limit. Just use your imagination! I imagine three fragrant herb kokedamas on beautiful tray as a centerpiece for your dining table. Family or guests can then pick fresh herbs for their meals! This is also a fun Mother's Day project with your kids or the other Moms in your life. It would also make a great stay in girls night out project. Have a (kokedama) ball & have a Happy Mother's Day!