Garden Chick - Notes from the Garden

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bella and Gracies

I have met a lot of people along the way while trying to grow my business, and I am always amazed at the people who are willing to share their time to help you. Karen at Bella and Gracies is one of those people. Karen graciously agreed to post my blog content regarding gardening with kids on her blog and site. I would like to share her site with you and the darling dresses she makes for little girls. Wouldn't these make unique Easter dresses? I encourage you to support indi businesses this year, not only local farmers markets, but those hundreds of women who are crafting their businesses.

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Choose to be happy

Refusing to listen to the constant barrage of bad news doesn't mean you're sticking your head in the sand, but each day we have two choices: to be happy or not.

Which do you choose?


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Friday, March 27, 2009

This is Week 5 of the Herbal Blog Contest. Friday March 27th to Thursday April 2nd.

Featured this week are moisturizing Lip Balms from Patti’s Potions Natural Soaps, Ltd.
Did you know that most lip balms contain petroleum products that are NOT eco-friendly? This is your opportunity to experience fine natural oils in your lip care experience. Food-grade lip-safe flavorings and essential oils may be used to add flavor to the lip balms. No sweetener is added. Ingredients: calendula infused olive oil, shea butter, natural beeswax, jojoba, castor, & vitamin E

To win TWO of these luscious lip balms, simply enter by posting a comment in response to this blog entry and take a chance at winning!!! Don’t forget to include your email addy so we can contact the winner!

The following blogs are also participating, so stop over to enter with them for additional chances to win AND the chance to explore some cool blogs. We are unable to ship out of country at this time.

PrairieLand Herbs
Keep coming back and keep entering. We have some great prizes coming up, and we'll be having the contests until the middle of May!
This contest is closed, but there are several more to go. Each week until the middle of May, a different give away will be posted. Tell all your friends to enter!

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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

These fairy garden kits are the perfect gift for any little girls birthday, as an Easter present, or a way to introduce any little girl to a love of gardening. They were named for my first granddaughter Mackenzie, and can be found at

They are packaged in a reusable container perfect for storing all those pieces of jewelry, doll clothes, etc., that seem to find their way under the couch, in the seats of the car.....

Included in the kit is a packet of seeds to attract fairies, card with fairy facts and directions for planting your garden, and a booklet of fairy stickers.

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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fairy Garden Chair

If you don't have a lot of room in your yard, or just want to add a little whimsy to your garden, try planting a fairy chair. It can be moved around the yard, is easy to maintain, and adds a focal point to an otherwise plain area of the yard.

Plant a Fairy Garden Chair

"Just living is not enough" said the butterfly fairy, "one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower." -Hans Christian Anderson

What better way to invite the "wee folk" into your garden than by creating a special garden just for them. To make them feel welcome, plant a few of their favorite flowers or herbs, and add some natural building materials such as small rocks, twigs or shells for them to make their home. All you have to do after that is simple ... just sit back and believe.

Materials needed for your Fairy Garden Chair:
Scour thrift stores, flea markets or the neighborhood curbside for an old chair. Remove the bottom.

Chicken wire. Cut two pieces about 12" larger than the opening of the bottom to allow you to form a basket to place the soil and flowers/herbs.
Wire cutters
Staple gun and heavy duty staples
Sphagnum moss
Green sheet moss
Potting soil amended with compost or rotted manure
Fairy flowers and or herbs- choice of plants will depend on where you intend to place your chair. Sunny spots will require sun loving plants and a shady or woodland area will require shade loving plants.

Directions for planting the chair.
Place the two pieces of chicken wire over the opening of the seat and gently push down to form a fairly deep "basket". Shape the wire over the seat sides and staple underneath being careful to push down any wires.
Line the basket with wet sphagnum moss, placing the green mossy side face down and showing through the chicken wire.
Cover the wire completely. Staple the chicken wire to the frame, bending it around to the bottom of the chair frame. Be sure to carefully bend down the edges to prevent any sharp wire from sticking your fairy friends.
Fill the basket completely with your amended soil and plant some of your favorite fairy plants.
Plant suggestions include:
Thyme: This is a must. Thyme will invite fairies into your garden and it is said that fairies hide their babies under the thyme for safekeeping.
Lavender: Lavender is good for all those midnight fairy parties. They can create wonderful lavender infused wine and the scent of lavender is very soothing.
Sweet Woodruff: The delicate white flowers will reflect the moonlight for their fairy dances.
Lambs Ear: What a soft place to make a bed!
Rosemary: Called the elf plant. Fairy lore maintains they are captivated by it. Plant the trailing variety to cascade down the side of the chair.

Primrose: Attracts the company of fairies. Often called the fairy flower.
Bluebells: Lures the fairies into the garden to dance
Pansies: Created by the fairies from the colors of the sky, (blue) sunset (red),sunbeams (yellow), and brown from the earth.
Lily of the Valley: Dainty, bell shaped flowers, perfect for making fairy caps
Forget-me-nots: A pure blue flower associated with many fairy legends. Forget-me-nots represent remembrance.
Care of your fairy chair: Like all container gardens, the fairy chair will need to be watered more often. Check daily. If herbs and perennial flowers are planted, they will need to be pruned to keep them compact. Also, your soil will need to be refurbished periodically and new plants to replace the annuals.

Fairy Flower Tea

2 T fresh chamomile flowers 1 handful fresh mint (any kind) 1 handful honeysuckle blossoms several raspberry leaves
Steep in one quart of water that has boiled for several minutes. Serve with delicate fairy treats.

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Thanks so much to Cory at for sharing this info on lemongrass. I had this in my garden a couple of years ago, but in my area, North Georgia, it does not overwinter. I need to pick me up a couple of plants at the farmers market this year and replant. Cory gardens in Central Florida and a community herbalist She makes all natural soaps, balms, and herbal products which are available online at


Medicinal uses:Immune & Digestive System Booster: Workers at the Moretele Sunrise Hospice in South Africa have found that AIDS patients who drank lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) tea developed an appetite, put on weight, and become stronger. Lemon grass is high in citral and myrcene, which help it relieve cramps, relieve nausea and stimulate the digestive system especially with the digestion of fats. Lemon grass is also a great choice for moderate immune depletion. Modern life is full of stress and hidden sugars which deplete the immune system and lead to digestive distress. Alcohol is another factor which can deplete the immune and digestive systems. Adding lemon grass tea to you diet is one easy way to help keep your body strong. Lemon grass is also helpful for acute stress on the immune system. It is antibacterial, increases urination and promotes sweating to help reduce mild fevers. This herb is considered a cooling herb by Chinese and Ayurvedic herbalists. Therefore it is a good choice for colds characterized by fever, sore throat, thin yellow tongue coat. To make such a tea, boil one handful of fresh leaves for 2 minutes in one liter of water, let stand 15 minutes, and strain. Drink throughout the day. Refrigerate as needed and use within 24 hours.Steam Inhalation: For sinusitis, colds, and bronchitis a steam inhalation can be helpful for clearing phlegm. Boil a handful of leaves in a liter of water & inhale. As a beauty treatment for normal skin this method can also be applied. Place a towel over the head to make a loose tent to keep more of the steam in while taking care to avoid steam burns. As a beauty treatment for normal skin this method can also be applied.Cancer prevention: Researchers at the University of Negev discovered that citral was able to kill lab cultured cancer cells at a concentration equivalent that found in lemon grass tea. The researchers concluded that lemon grass would be helpful for preventing cancers.Culinary Use:Teas: Monica Brandies, author of Herbs and Spices for Florida Gardens suggests lemon grass and rose geranium leaves for a pleasant herbal blend. Lemon grass is a 'top note,' which means that the essential oils, which give it much of it's flavor, will evaporate quickly if over heated. For this reason lemon grass is also good candidate for making sun tea.
Lemon Grass Herbal Vinegar: Apple Cider Vinegar is great for making salad dressing, adding to soups, or stir fry. Why use plain cider vinegar when you can use herb infused vinegars? Herbal vinegars not only add flavor to your vinegar, but minerals as well. Vinegar is an exceptionally good solvent for extracting minerals, vitamins, and flavors from plants. Lemon grass is high in Calcium 3.7%, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Selenium, and Vitamin A. Add herbal vinegar instead of regular vinegar to any recipe calling for vinegar. Cooking vegetables with a small amount of vinegar has the added benefit of making minerals from the vegetables more accessible for digestion and absorption.
How to make lemon grass herbal apple cider vinegar: Make sure you purchase vinegar from a reputable brand. You should not be using white vinegar that is 'flavored' with apple. Chop clean dry lemon grass leaves & stalk coarsely. Fill a glass jar to the top with the fresh lemon grass, pack down slightly leaving enough room for the vinegar to completely cover the herbs. Fill the jar to the top with your Apple Cider Vinegar and cover with a non-metallic lid.
Gelatin Recipes: Substitute 1 T of water for mineral rich herbal vinegar in gelatin recipes to add minerals & flavor.Lemon grass soups: Lemon grass is very popular in Thai soups. When making soups with lemon grass use the stalk and cut it the stalks at an angle to maximize the surface area. Add the lemon grass at the end of cooking the soup so that it does not boil for more than 10 minutes. Remember that lemon grass is a top note and the flavorful essential oils will dissipate quickly if heated for too long.Simple Lemon Grass Ginger Soup2-3 stalks lemon grass sliced diagonally1 medium onion sliced2-3 slices fresh ginger1 chicken breast cubedsesame oil for fryingchili pastesalt to tasteadditional vegetables as available1 quart chicken or vegetable stockDirections: Heat soup stock with salt and ginger. Sautee onions & small chicken pieces in sesame or olive oil until chicken is cooked and onions are lightly browned. Add chicken, onions, and lemon grass and simmer for 5 minutes. Add chili paste to taste.Coconut Lemon Grass Soup recipe from Dawn Cook:1/4 cup of Mae Ploy red curry paste (Find at Asian markets)2 onions cut into 1/2 in. strips4 cans coconut milk2 cans straw mushrooms1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)1/4 cup lime juice1 LB. peeled and cut shrimp or cooked chicken chunks Cooking wine or sherry (optional)Lemon grass stalks 2-41/4 cup chili garlicDirections: Heat high sided sautee skillet or stock pot to medium high heat. Add curry paste and onion. Stir together till mixture heats through. Pour in two cans coconut milk and stir till combined. Once mixture is creamy add the rest of ingredients except meat and season to taste. Bring to a low boil and turn down heat. Let simmer until desired consistency. Add meat and leave on heat till meat is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with rice. Garnish with chopped green onions.
Mixed Use:Lemon Grass Infused Oil: Lemon grass can be used to make a herb infused oil in a base oil such as Extra Virgin Olive oil steeped with wilted, freshly harvested or dried herbs. Lemon grass is high in antioxidants which helps infused oils resist rancidity. Use the infused oil for cooking, massage or lotion making. I often use lemon grass infused and essential oil in my Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon Balm for aches and pains.
Lemon Grass Extract: An extract or tincture of lemon grass can be made with 80-150 proof vodka or Everclear. Chop herbs coarsely, fill jar with herbs, then cover with alcohol and cap for 6 weeks in the dark. Strain through a coffee filter after 6 weeks and use for cooking or medicinally for colds. If you are out of fresh lemon grass stalks you can use lemon grass extract in soups. Add near the end of cooking. When fresh plants are not available for tea one can use up to a teaspoon of extract diluted in water medicinally for chest colds and sinus congestion for adults.

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Free Victory Garden Issue from Essential Herbal

I saw on the news today that Mrs. Obama was supervising the installation of a "kitchen garden" at the White House. The Essential Herbal editor, Tina Sam, was way ahead of her time on this. Last April/May a whole issue was devoted to the concept and history of the victory garden. In honor of Spring, and the garden at the White House, Tina has offered a free download of this issue. Get your's here.

Now let's get growing!

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Week Four of the Herb Blog Group contest

What a way to bring in Spring. For the week between Friday, March 20 and Thursday, March 26, you can enter by simply posting a comment in response to the blog entry and take a chance at winning a sampler of hand-blended herbal teas from Included are one each of the following: Moontime Tea, Lover's Tea, Spring in my Step, Feminini Tea, DigestiviTea, Nursing Mother Tea, Endo-Liver Tea, Love Your Liver Tea, and Mid-Summer Tea.
Herbs from the has a wide range of herbal products to choose from.
The following blogs are also participating, so stop over to enter with them for additional chances to win AND the chance to explore some really cool blogs.
Good Luck to All, and Welcome Spring!


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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Pizza Garden

If you are trying to think of ways to get your kids interested in gardens, and to "eat their veggies", why not plan a pizza garden. You don't have to have a large space, even containers will do to house veggies for your pizza.

You will need:

  • Good garden soil, either in an existing garden, or a purchased garden soil. (not potting soil)
  • Organic all purpose vegetable fertilizer, or compost
  • Plants. I prefer plants instead of seeds. Children are impatient, and with plants they can see immediate resuts. Tomatoes, onions, basil, oregano, and peppers are good choices. They all require the same light requirements, full sun. Oregano, may need a little less water than the others.
  • Water
  • Mulch to keep weeds at a minimum and conserve water
  • Tomato cage

Allow your child to accompany you to the garden store or nursery to pick out their plants. Have an employee talk to your child about varieties, planting, and care of their plants.

After planting, create a garden journal with your child, taking pictures of the plants as they grow, find recipes for pizza dough, sauce etc, and place in the journal. After the harvest, learn how to preserve some of your garden's bounty for winter use, and lastly take a picture of your child eating that delicious pizza they grew themself.

Homemade Pizza Sauce Recipe

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 bell pepper, finely chopped

3 large, very ripe tomatoes, peeled and finely chopped

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 6oz can of tomato paste

dried crushed red pepper flakes to tast

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon sugar (optional)

chopped fresh herbs to taste (basil, oregano)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, stir in onion, and bell pepper and cook until onion is translucent. Stir in tomatoes and garlic, and cook until juice begins to thicken. Stir in tomato paste, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and sugar. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, approximately 15 minutes. Stir in fresh herbs during the last few minutes of cooking.

Makes about 2 cups. Freezes well.

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Spring is around the corner!

Blueberries budding

My poor water logged hens and chicks

Day Lillies by the barn

Lavender, waiting for me to pull out the chickweed

Peonies: This is one of three plants that were divided last fall from my old peony plant. Divide in the fall and fertilize now with a good organic all purpose fertilizer. My peonies usually bloom around Mothers Day. Knock off the ants and bring in the house for a wonderful scent!

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Planning Your Business

Read my latest post on starting a business at

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Friday, March 13, 2009

Week 3 Herbal Blog Contest SunRose Aromatics

This week (#3), our herbal blog contests swings over to SunRose Aromatics, where Roe whips up the most delightful of aromatherapy and pampering products. For the week between Friday, March 13 and Thursday, March 19, you can enter simply by posting a comment in response to this blog entry and take a chance at winning!! Wish I could enter!!!!!

Good Luck!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Catch my blog posts on a successful woman

One of my goals this year is to promote my business When your marketing budget is tight (did I say tight?, non existant), you have to think creatively. Don't we do this with our gardens? I divide plants, plant older seeds, swap plants etc., to create my garden, just as many of you do. So...given that fact that I like to write, I have been seeking out opportunities to do so. I submitted a request to stating I would write articles for blogs in exchange for the publicity. I received two requests, one from to write an ongoing blog feature, and an article for a newsletter at which is going to feature my fairy garden and butterfly kits. If you have a business and are looking for ways to promote it, there are endless possibilities out there. You just have to LOOK. See my post at

Fairy garden and butterfly kits can be found at
What a great Easter gift for the little girl in your life.

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Monday, March 9, 2009

Lasagna gardening

This is a display by the Master Gardeners at the Nashville Lawn and Garden show on Lasagna Gardening.

Lasagna gardening is best done in a raised bed so you will be better able to keep the "layers" contained. If you do not have access to a tiller, this is a good method because you do not till, or dig out any sod or weeds. On the bare ground, lay down 3 layers of cardboard, or 7 layers of newspaper/overlapping. Do not use glossy newspaper ads, the ink in them may be toxic to the earthworms. Newspaper is easier for earthworms to penetrate also. Next comes a layer of organic material, 2 or 3 inches deep. If you are going to use animal manure (aged) you may want to make this the first layer to keep the smell down. Next place another layer of organic material. This can be brown leaves (shredded), grass clippings, compost, straw. If you use all brown material, sprinkle with blood meal to add nitrogen. Mix the brown and green material at a ratio of 4 to 1. When you have your bed 8 inches or more, add a layer of compost on top and plant your garden. Lasagna gardening is a great way to attract earthworms also. Benefits of a lasagna garden include easy preparation of the bed, water savings, and chemical fertilizers are not needed due to the organic matter, and weeds are easily removed. If you want to learn more there is a book by Patricia Lanza published by Organic Gardening magazine called "Lasagna Gardening"
This info was obtained from a handout by the Master Gardeners display at the Nashville Lawn and Garden show.


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Pictures from the Lawn and Garden show

We drove up to the Nashville Lawn and Garden Show Sunday. There were so many beautiful garden displays, and the recession didn't seem to have hurt the crowd that was there. Lot's of good ideas, plants and merchandise was available.

Yours for only $2300.00 (the butterfly bench, not my girls)

Childrens Garden

Candy Land

Cumberland Herb Society

Cumberland Herb Society

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Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Blog ME!

Let's get ready for spring by celebrating with Garden-themed sugar cookies! It is my turn this week to sponsor the blog giveway. I have decided some lucky people will be the first to get my new product, not even on the website yet. This little kit comes with a Fairyland Cookie Sugar Cookie recipe card, 1 cookie cutter, and a pack of Fairy Sparkles. The cookie cutter will be picked by me, and will either be a fairy, or one of her fairyland friends: dragonfly, flower, gnome, butterfly, or bird.

HOW CAN YOU WIN? For the week between Friday, March 6 and Thursday, March 12, you can enter by simply entering a comment in response to this blog entry. Be sure and leave your email address so we can contact you if you win.

The following blogs are participating, and you can increase your chance to win, AND explore some cool blogs.

Sun Rose Aromatics
The Rosemary House
Aquarian Bath

Patti's Potions
Natures Gift
Torchsong Studio
The Essential Herbal

Good Luck!

This contest is over now, but many more to come. Scroll up to the March 13 post for the next giveaway. These will continue thru May. The winner chosen by me was

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Sunday, March 1, 2009

Nashville Lawn and Garden Show

I love the spring lawn and garden shows. Every year we drive up to Nashville, Tennessee, (2 hours) for theNashville Lawn and Garden Show. Each year they have a theme. This year is "A Yardful of Flavour". It is next weekend March 5-8. I will take pictures and post on the blog.
Check it out

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