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Friday Favorite: Brown Paper

December 6th, 2013

When I was in 2nd grade, we took kraft paper and crumpled it up over and over again to make faux suede. With this suede we made vests. Ever since then I’ve loved kraft paper and have used it for wrapping gifts.
brown paper packages 1
Whenever I get a package that uses brown kraft paper as the packing material I save it in my wrapping stash. Brown paper bags of all shapes & sizes are saved as well. I love that this paper can be used throughout the year, no need to keep holiday, birthday and other wrapping around.
brown paper packages 2
I also have a box filled with scraps from ribbon, these add a bit of beauty to the humble brown paper. Sometimes I make tags, other times I buy them. I love the simplicity of this paper!

Do you wrap gifts simply or do you like to go all out with your wrapping?

It’s Official – the 2012 Edible Garden

January 27th, 2012

‎”If you’ve never experienced the joy of accomplishing more than you can imagine, plant a garden.”

~ Robert Brault

The 2012 edible garden is officially started. On Tuesday I spent some time starting the first seeds of the season.

Two flats of ‘Copra’ onions are now resting on the heating mat in the basement seed starting area (seed source: Johnny’s Selected Seeds).

Copra onions are described like this: Uniform, “rock-hard” storage onion with early maturity. These medium-sized, dark yellow-skinned storage onions have the preferred blocky round shape with thin necks that dry quickly. Firmness and skin are superior. Copra remains one of the absolute best in our yearly storage trials, staying firm and flavorful after most other varieties have sprouted. Highest in sugar (13°-14°) of the storage onions.

This variety has been recommended to me by a lot of people, so I decided to give them a go this year. I’d like to do an experiment to see which method works best for good growth and storage so I’m also planning on direct seeding some in the garden in a month or two, along with buying a few plants. Should be interesting to see which method produces the best onions (I’m kind of hoping direct seeding works best as it would be the easiest and least expensive method).

Has your 2012 gardening season officially started yet?

The Favored Ones

January 16th, 2012

I’m not much of one for high maintenance plants, indoor or out. The majority of my houseplants are neglected, which is actually what houseplants seem to like! Most of them live on in the same location for months without a thought. There are two that are my favorites though, receiving special care.

These two dwarf citrus trees are my pride and joy when it comes to plants that live in pots (here’s a post with their history and why they mean so much to me). During the long cold winter months, they get carried outside whenever the weather is mild enough. I would put a light on them, but I really hate the thought (plus I’m pretty sure the sherif would stop by every now and then to make sure I was just growing citrus).

You many wonder why I go to all this trouble – I’m really hoping they’ll bloom soon and provide me with some fruit this year or next. One of my garden dreams has always been to have a citrus tree in a pot with a few lovely lemons dangling from it’s branches. Soon, this dream may actually come true.

Do you have any plants you favor above others? What special treatment do they get?

For more information on growing tropical fruits and other exotics indoors here are a few book ideas:

A Match Made in Heaven

May 24th, 2011

The longer I garden the more I start to hone in on my likes and dislikes when it comes to plant combinations. For me, gardening is a creative outlet. Just as I’m constantly trying different angles and lighting to get that great photo, I’m often moving plants around to get just the right combination of texture, color, and form. Every now and then, a few things get planted together and they just work. They look as if they belong together.

I feel this way about chives (Allium schoenoprasum) and lamb’s ears (Stachys byzantina). I find them to be stunning when paired together. Both of these plants are humble common herbs, you see them in many gardens and they have medicinal utilitarian backgrounds. There’s just something about the contrast in texture and form that works in my eyes (you may feel quite differently). One of the best parts of this combination is that both plants are quite easy to propagate. I’m working on incorporating a few more pockets of this combo in other areas of my garden.

What’s a plant combination that you find stunning?

Lovely Hellebores

April 3rd, 2010

I’ve always wanted to have some hellebores or ‘Lenten Rose’ in my gardens. They’re fascinating plants, perennials that bloom at a time when usually only bulbs are blooming. Last year I finally bought one from my friend Scott from Working Gardens when I went to his plant sale last spring. I’ve been waiting for them to bloom. I was super excited 2 weeks ago when I noticed the blooming getting ready to come out.

Then last week they came out beautifully. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of green flowers, and this is one of my new favorites.


I’m always happy to find a plant that thrives in shady gardens. Since I have so much shade I like to find things besides hostas that I can include in my gardens, which is kind of funny since I have a friend that loves hostas of course has a super sunny garden and wishes he had more shade so he could grow more hostas. I can’t wait to get a few more hellebores for my gardens.

Do you have any newly acquired plants you really like?
or don’t like?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but just recently moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine.

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