Posts tagged ‘Garden’

January 20, 2015

How to Make the Garden an Extension of your Home

When choosing a house, one of the non-negotiable priorities for many buyers is that it must have a garden. There’s something about having that patch of lawn bordered by flower beds, or that useful patio, littered with pretty flowerpots, that we just can’t do without. And even when it’s the size of a postage stamp, we cherish it. So how can you appreciate your garden even more?


Having a solid wall between you and your slice of outdoors will never do. And whereas most people opt for a set of French or patio doors, this won’t invite the garden in like a bi or tri-fold sliding door. The beauty of this type of door is that it’s possible to have wall-to-wall glass, which then slides open and neatly folds out of the way.

With this type of door, you’re truly extending your kitchen or living area into the garden. Even when shut, you can see your garden unimpeded, plus the extra light brought in is a real bonus.

Creating Flow

An interesting way of extending into the garden, is to have the same flooring going from room to patio. This ‘infinity’ look can be quite effective. Solid oak flooring is suitable for both inside and out, and together with the sliding, folding doors, will create a large, combined living space. If you’re not into the wood look, then limestone tiles would work equally well or some frost-proof porcelain tiles. If there is a step down, then you may want to consider raising the patio so that it’s on the same level.

Mirror Plants

By choosing varieties that are equally happy indoors as out, you can have mirrored plants. Get matching containers and pot them up with the same plants. Then place one just outside the door and its twin on the inside. This further confuses where the garden starts and the house ends. If you think flowering plants might require too much maintenance, why not choose some robust succulents, which include cacti and sedum.


To blur those lines even further, particularly if the room in question is a conservatory or living area, you may wish to consider all-weather furniture, both inside and out. There are some very attractive and comfortable sofas and chairs available, such as a mock rattan design.
With a little ingenuity, and by making relatively small changes, it’s very possible to give the illusion of bringing the garden into your home, for maximum enjoyment.


July 3, 2013

Dog strangling vine Threatening Native Species and The Monarch Butterfly

The dog strangling vine is a destructive invasive alien plant that is threatening to strangle out native species in North America. Even the name sounds so horrific I want to just call it the strangling vine for short.

This strangling vine Cynanchum rossicum is from the milkweed family but it is a different Genus than the native North American milkweed that the monarch butterfly lays their eggs on.

Flower They not only strangle out milkweed, the vine tricks the monarch into laying eggs on it, probably because it is from the same family. The eggs do not mature which endangers the monarch butterfly population numbers. The loss of milkweed due to pesticide use and loss of habitat is having devastating consequences on the monarch butterfly population.


This plant is tough to take out too, you need to remove all the roots or it will grow back.

I have removed all of these invasive vines from my garden. I pull them every year because I didn’t like they way they strangled everything and now I know what a true danger they are I will pull them even earlier.


I am growing a small patch of milkweed in my garden for the Monarchs and it surprises me how many people say to me why don’t I pull ‘those weeds.’

Between people pulling native milkweed or putting pesticides on them, destroying natural habitat and now invasive aliens competing it is no wonder why the monarch butterfly population is in decline.

If you see this plant in your garden or anywhere else please remove it. As a caution wear gloves and long sleeves when removing it, it may cause a rash or wound.

Thank you for helping the Monarch butterfly and our native plant species.


June 26, 2013

Why Comfrey is Essential for First-aid Medicine and Permaculture


Comfrey is a very beautiful beneficial addition to any garden and an important herb for medicine and permaculture. Other common names for Comfrey are knit-bone and boneset, because of its amazing ability to regenerate and stimulate the growth of bone. Comfrey is a must have for the first aid herbal kit, because it has demulcent, astringent and vulnerary herbal properties that make it ideal to treat any type of injury, whether it be sinew, bone, tissue or flesh.

Its powerful cell regeneration is mainly due to its allantoin content, which has a calcium type of effect that stimulates cell production that repairs collagen, connective tissue and bone.

Comfrey has tannins that produce so much astriction, which means tightening together of the skin, that stitches might be avoided.

It’s mucilage content is demulcent, sweet and moist, which relieves dryness, acute inflammation as well as swelling and provides good treatment for burns. It provides a protective coating that soothes, moistens and cools making it a good choice to treat any type of ulcers, internal or external, inside or out. It is also good to use for arthritis.

It is also a nutritious restorative having many vitamins and minerals in it along with other healing properties.


Permaculture- Working with the biodynamic forces of nature

There are countless uses for Comfrey in the garden adding much-needed nutrients and enriching the soil. Comfrey does not compete for nutrients with trees so it is ideal to plant around fruit trees.
It attracts beneficial insects and earthworms while it breaks up compacted soil and draws up nutrients.

The many uses in the garden include:

Compost- add to compost
Mulch- chop and drop mulch
Fertilizer- green manure
liquid fertilizer provides nutrients like potassium

Powerful cell and bone regenerator.
Stimulates the growth and healing of bone, flesh, connective tissues, collagen.

*Note that for broken bones it is important they are set in the right place first before using comfrey to knit the bone together. If in any doubt about your injury please see a doctor for proper diagnosis first before applying comfrey.

Heals any injury, ulcers external and internal.
Use Comfrey leaves and root  externally in the form of poultice, compresses, ointments, tea infusions or tincture. The fresh tincture is the best choice for serious injuries with pain or mix it with clay.

There are other species of comfrey Russian comfrey and prickly comfrey and they are all used in the same way, but the officinale species is the one herbalists use the most.

It is from the Borage family and like borage it has pyrrolizidine  alkaloids that have some cautions attached to it regarding internal use, but caution comes from animal testing using isolated alkaloid constituents in high doses for long periods. There have been no human fatality cases reported.

Do not use internally when pregnant, lactating, liver disease, small children, frail elderly and caution with external use in these cases. Contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids, avoid long-term internal high dosage use due to potential liver damage.

The alkaloids are least concentrated in the mature herb. The young spring leaves contains 8-10 times the amount found in the mature herb. The root has the most which is 4-5 times the alkaloid level in the mature herb. The alkaloid content is higher in the Russian variety than the prickly comfrey.

Common Name  Comfrey herb/ root
Latin Name  Symphytum   officinale
Family Boraginaceae
Parts Used Perennial-   flowers mid June to July pick from before flowering to mid flowering/ root rhizome- Fall/ Spring
Target Organs skin, mucus   membranes, skeletal-muscular, connective tissue, collagen, bones, respiratory, digestive, stomach,
Common Uses External use only: broken bones, fractures, scars, ulcers, wounds, abrasions, burns, sunburn, bites, stings, bruises, dislocation, varicose veins, sprains, strains, any injury, periodontitis, pharyngitis, eye infections,
Internal use with supervision for inflammation and ulcers of the digestive tract, colitis,
Properties astringent,   demulcent, vulnerary, anodyne, emollient, tonic, pectoral
Constituents Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids, mucilage, gum,   tannin, allantoin, Essential Oil, triterpenes, resin, inulin, choline,   protein, steroidal saponins, mucopolysaccharide 29%, phenolic acids, vitamins   A, B12, C, E, mineral iron, calcium, phosphorus, trace minerals
Cautions Medium strength: Mainly external use only. Do not use internally   when pregnant, lactating, liver disease, small children, frail elderly and   caution with external use in these cases. Contains pyrolizidine alkaloids   avoid long-term high dosage use due to potential liver damage. There have been no human fatality cases reported all research backing this toxicity claim were conducted on animals using using isolated alkaloid constituents and not the whole plant. The alkaloids are least   concentrated in the mature herb. The young spring leaves contains 8-10 times   the amount found in the mature herb. The root has the most which is 4-5   times the alkaloid level in the mature herb. The alkaloid content is higher   in the Russian variety than the prickly comfrey.
Dosage the average dose is 10 g or 2-4mls of tincture
June 4, 2013

Different Types Of Lilac Bushes


I love the way Lilac shrubs/bushes/trees perfume the air in springtime. Come and sit in the garden and smell the fresh scent of lilacs blooming.

This Lilac is blooming now and the smell is really strong attracting hummingbirds, bees and hummingbird moths.

This lilac bush blooms later and has smaller flowers, but it has a larger fragrance.

This lilac bush blooms later and has smaller flowers, but it has a larger fragrance.

imageOther than the purple and white solid colours, I love this striped variety of Lilac, Syringa vulgaris L.

Enjoy the fragrance while it lasts.

Enjoy the fragrance while it lasts.

September 29, 2012

Making Wildflower mud seed bombs

Wildflower Power Movement: Making wildflower mud seeds ‘bombs’

 As a response to cities ripping out wild gardens that people have planted for growing food and a sense of community, make some wildflower mud bombs to seed cities and other areas with wild flowers and plants.  Looking down on the earth from a plane in the sky, square green boxes are all the eye can sometimes see and one wonders where have all the wildflowers gone? Turf the square green turf and return the wildflowers!!! Make sure you plant native flowers for your area.

here are some other strange alternatives :D

Making Wildflower Mud Seed Bombs:

Packets of wildflower seeds or any seeds you want to grow

Mud or plant soil, compost

Mix seeds in soil in 5:1:1 ratio. Wet soil and form into mud balls

Throw mud seed bombs wherever you want them grow.

Best time to mud seed bomb is right before rainy days.  Even if the flowers don’t grow, birds will eat the seeds. Their food supply has dwindled due to monoculture in society and lack of wildflowers.  

June 16, 2012

What’s blooming in the Garden?

What is blooming in the garden? It feels like everything! Plants are blooming so fast, I turn around and it is almost summer. More delicious smells and tastes emerge :) I wish I could capture them all!

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June 5, 2012

Making Natural Perfume from Flower Petals

The flowers that are blooming smell so divine I made perfume out of them today.

I started with wild rose petals, and I choose a native rose that grows around Lake Ontario and in parks. It has a euphoric, subtle sweet smell that is going to get me through a long cold winter.

The wild rose petals look like white hearts when you pluck them out.

The peonies are so delicate they look like tissue paper, and the most exotic smell exudes from their floral pink clouds. With my fingers I tore the petals from around the center and left the remaining flowers to continue to bloom they are so gorgeous.


The small lilac bush smelled so hypnotic I could smell it through the open bedroom window at night haunting my dreams. I just have to capture that smell again! This is the lilac bush the hummingbird moth visited.


Dianthus is a favourite perennial that smells like white chocolate to me.


I know it will make amazing perfume. Dianthus petals

All the flowers are basking in sunbeams of the sun and venus transit in a water alcohol mixture.

See how these natural perfumes press out next month!

June 4, 2012

Rose essential oil

The Rose, considered Queen of flowers is a symbol of love and rules the heart. This thorny plant with exotic, hypnotic flowers has a long history of medicinal, cosmetic, and culinary use.

Rose that bloomed today

The hydrosol, also called rosewater is the water-soluble part separated from the essential oil part.

The essential oil is also called Attar of roses. The steam distilled extraction is my choice.

 The concrete absolute extractions are solvent extractions of petals and should only be used externally. Rose essential oil is widely used in the perfume industry and it is the most expensive essential oil to buy, but it is worth it.

First Rose to bloom this year

Latin Name Rosa centifolia,  damascena spp.
Family Rosaceae(Rose family)
Country of Origin France, Turkey, Morocco, Bulgaria
Volatility Base note
Extraction steam distilled from flowers, referred to as otto, attar of roses. Concrete absolute extractions are the solvent extractions of petals
Colour Otto: greenishAbsolute: orange to red brown
Aroma exotic, sweet, flowery
Caution Contraindications Do not use during pregnancy. Do not take absolute or concrete oils internally.
Primary Uses Digestion: tonicReproductive: impotence, frigidity, PMS, balances female reproductive

Skin: mature, dry sensitive, wrinkles, eczema, allergies

Circulation: heart and circulatory tonic, varicose and thread veins

Properties antidepressant, antiseptic, euphoric, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, antibacterial, cholagogue, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue, hepatic, laxative, splenetic, stomachic, sedative, tonic,
Constituents Esters: geranyl acetate, citronellyl acetate, neryl acetate, 

Sesquiterpene alcohol: farnesol,


Aldehydes: benzaldehyde

Monoterpene alcohols: Citronellol 15-20%, geraniol 10%, linalool, nerol 15%, cedrol, linlool


Monoterpenes: a+b pinene, limonene, camphene, b-caryophyllene, citronellal, p-cymene


Damask rose: a-damascenone, B-damascenone, B-damscone, B-ionone, rose oxide



May 29, 2012

Blooming garden

I go away and come back to a blooming garden :) I love perennials, they take care of themselves and keep on giving more every year.


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May 9, 2012



imageimageimageTip-toe through the tulips of my garden :)


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Plant Tulip bulbs in the fall for bursts of amazing colour in the spring time and they come back every year!

Happy Mother’s day to all Mothers and all women who nuture! <3


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