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The Forever Fairy Found a Home

April 18, 2011

My garden is basically on cruise for now. Yesterday, I added some more filler flowers along the edging of the path…but, besides that nothing is really new. I had the opportunity, this past week, to get my headbands into two stores in Jackson and I have been busy with that, leaving very little time to get anything done in the garden. Luckily, the brunt of the work is already done and I have been able to get by. However, I do have something to share. This time it’s not Through my Garden Gates…but, mother’s.

She recently moved into a new house and I went to Nashville this past weekend to help her get settled. I was not surprised when I pulled in the drive to see that she had already planted flowers. No furniture in the house, but, flowers along the path… Yep, that’s my mother.

Here are some pics…

A bear and her cub to greet you as you pull in the drive. I have been commissioned to paint it on my next trip down.

Pretty yellow flowers in pots.

My mom has had this piece of driftwood since I was a little girl. She always finds great ways to place it.

This is where the real forever fairy has found her home, of course, quite close to my aunt. I’m thinking she needs a touch up before long too.

I didn’t take many pictures and I am kicking myself now…However, you can get an idea of her garden style and I will have more pics when I go back later on in the summer. I am sure she will have it decked out and looking FABULOUS! You can probably tell already but this eccentric DIY gardener isn’t a first generation girl. I get my creativity, spunk, and craziness honestly. I would have it no other way.

Love you, Mom.

Until Next Time,

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


This week in the Garden, It’s another video edition!

April 14, 2011

This week marks the last expected frost date for 7b and all of my beds are open and ready for planting. I have been hard at work since my last video edition and am now ready to show you what’s new, Through my Garden Gates. Bowser, also has something to show as he begins the video with a demonstration of how he keeps the birds and squirrels at bay. Kings of Leon rock my world… and this video.

I hope you enjoy!

Any comments or feedback is appreciated.

Until Next Time,

Garden Fresh Herbal Ice Tea: Maintained, Harvested, and Brewed from the Beginning.

April 11, 2011

I have been super busy in the garden. This weekend we got so much work done. Bare with me over the next week as I work to blog it all. Today, I am going to share my Garden Fresh Herbal Ice Tea. This is not a recipe, but a formula. I hope you enjoy as I share something I learned last year in my 2010 Garden.

First, we must take the time to do some needed maintenance and ensure we will have a bountiful harvest throughout the entire season. Time to split!

Here’s how… From a mature plant, dig a trowel(hand shovel) into the ground, segmenting off a small portion for your offspring. Make sure the little newb has a good root structure to start with.

Spread the offsprings out allowing for potential growth. Remember what the plant looked like up top, that will give you a good idea of the potential of this herb in particular. I can’t wait until mid summer when it all grows back together into one mean green tea makin’ machine. Oh, yeah!

Now, to harvest. Well, actually I harvested before the split, note that! However, for the sake of this blog post I switched it up. This is my attempt to spice things up and reward those who pay attention. I hope you pass.

Use sheers or designated sharp scissors to ensure that the remaining plant will continue producing for many harvests to come.

When it comes to my garden fresh brew I don’t measure the amount I harvest. Each time, I gather about the same amount of leaves but refuse to make it a precise measurement. (reference the photo below for general amount)

No, this is not that type of tea.

I also switch it up, and gather different combinations and ratios with each brew. It makes for a new experience each time, I love it! So far I have harvested from a variety of different mints and balms. I am constantly working to find new herbs to bring into the mix. Here is some of the data I have collected in my quest.

The Facts and Formula:

* Use Lemon Balm twice as much as anything else.
*Mint is a MUST!
*Marjoram of any kind is not to be used… That was a big soapy tasting mistake!
*Sweeten sparingly by the cup

Rinse and separate the leaves from the stems of the plant. Add the leaves to a blender with 1 cup of water.

Blend it for a minute Until you get a soupy mixture like what is shown below.

Add the mixture plus 5 cups of boiling water to your pitcher.

Cover and place in the refrigerator until it is cold. This takes a long time so feel free to get some work done. I have found that harvesting and brewing first thing in the morning is best.

After the tea has cooled, strain the leaves off into another container.

Once again for good measure after a quick rinse of the pitcher.

Sweeten to taste with simple syrup.

…and enjoy garden side or on the go. I take mine either way.

…and if your wondering, Yes, I did just put a garden fresh-healthier spin on the infamous southern draw…Sweet Taaae. Guilty, I’m a product of my region.

Until Next Time,

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Garden Fresh Spinach and Mushroom Quesadilla

April 7, 2011

From the beginning. Time to harvest.

Use clippers or scissors and only cut mature leaves. Make sure to spare enough of the plant for future harvest.


Now, it’s time to cook.

Cut of the stems of the spinach, or at least I did, and sauté the mushrooms in a skillet. Here’s how… Slice the mushrooms and some garlic. Use a medium to large skillet and place 1-2tbsp of olive oil in the pan on medium heat. Allow the pan to heat up then add the mushrooms and freshly chopped garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste.

The key to really yummy mushrooms is giving them space in the skillet. Make sure not to crowd them.

After the mushrooms are cooked, it’s time to assemble the quesadilla. Add mozzarella cheese, freshly harvested spinach, and sautéd mushrooms.

Flip and brown to your liking.

Cut into triangles and serve with a fresh salad and some herbal ice tea. (garden fresh recipe coming soon)

I can’t wait until my garlic is ready for harvest so that I can make this recipe extra garden fresh.

Yum! I hope you enjoy.

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Red Brick Challenge… and an Eggplant!

April 4, 2011

This week, Through my Garden Gates, it’s a red brick challenge. We were gifted a small load of shinny red bricks (Thanks, Clamy!) and before today I had no clue what to do with them.

After a quick brainstorm with the Mr, this is what we came up with… Our fire pit had seen better days so we decided to use some of the bricks to make a 3 layer base. I used the top to ensure my ring was the right size, stacked the bricks, and set it it.

I’m thinking a Garden Open Party/ Cookout is a MUST…Soon!

As for the rest of the bricks, I’ve got a plan! As you may remember from last week, a trench runs along the side of the gazebo making it impossible to grow up this lattice…until now. I stacked the bricks along the edge and plan to grow in the small holes. Now, the holes are kind of small so I will have to find something with a small root structure. I have something in mind, but, would love to hear from any of my readers with suggestions…cough, cough.

Also, this week I planted an eggplant. I used sticks, Mother Nature provided, and a piece of wire to make a quick support structure.

To prepare, I read page 20&21 of my handy Burpee Garden Fresh Guide and checked out this YouTube video.

I strongly suggest you get you own Garden Fresh Guide, but until then here is an abridged version and what you need to know.

The Eggplant Facts:

*Native to India ( this is need to know info that will allow you to better accommodated the plants environmental needs)

*Colors range from white and cream to almost black

*The plants dont usually grow more than 3ft. tall

*In British-English eggplants are called “Aubergine” (another word to google…hint, hint)

*Eggplants are semi-tropical to tropical (India, remember) and need to be planted it a warm spot after the danger of frost has past. Woops…I’m going to cross my fingers, hope for the best, and prepare accordingly.












Click the link to get your copy today!!! This is a GREAT garden read. If you garden you need this!… and it’s free. I have pulled so much useful information from it already.

If you are wondering what’s next in my garden…it’s this space. I’ve got a plan, stay posted to see more.

…and working on getting my work station up and running again.

All the while, Bowser is still trying to figure out a way in. All right, but you must be on your best behavior.

Until Next Time,

Grow something!…and get your Burpee Garden Fresh Guide so that you can read and plant along with me this season. It’s not too late by any means, in 7b you still have 2 weeks until planting season really kicks off. That is plenty of time to plan and start your 2011 Garden. Do it!

-Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Up-cycle 2liter Bottles into handy tools for the garden.

March 29, 2011

This week, I got a little crafty and turned a collection of 2-liters from the recycle bin into usable garden goodies.

I cut the bottoms off and made wind/ rain protectors for my fresh from the nursery herbs. They worked well to protect against the mild-freeze and kept the harsh wind from tearing my freshly planted to shreds.

After thinking about it, I realized this might be more beneficial to me than I had originally anticipated. Some herbs, like sage, only like to get their roots wet. My bottle shields will do well to keep the ground moist and leaves dry through a heavy rain. Brilliant!

Also, I made some wind shields in anticipation of planting my pepper sprouts in a couple weeks. I simply cut the top and bottom off and plan to place them over my newly-planted peppers. This will allow the little guys to acclimate to the outdoor conditions without the worry of wind or direct sun light. I hope it works, we shall see…

…and what about the bottle bottom?

Self-Watering Starter Containers, sound good?

You will need…

Lighter or candle
Small metal rod… Paper clip, needle, or whatever
Even number of 2-liter bottles

Here’s How…

Cut 2-liters to desired length.
Note: 2 bottles makes one grow container.

I cut my first ones small, but, I think for my next ones I will make them taller to make room for more soil and potential growth.

Poke holes in half the bottle bottoms. Do this by taking a small metal rod, heating it and poking the holes through.

In my picture you can hardly see, but, I poked 3 small holes in each divot of the bottle. This will allow for even drainage throughout the container.

Now, place the holed one into the one without holes and add soil.

Before you plant make sure to do a drainage test to determine how much water your container needs. Remember, moist not muddy!

Check back next week to see how the containers work out.

Until Next Time,

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

The Elements are at it again… Rain and Frost, you are no match for me!

March 25, 2011

I have been quite pleased with my garden lately. The elements gave me a good surprise last week with beautiful weather to welcome in the season. I used that time to add a little green and get things done. I hope you enjoyed last weeks video edition of Through My Garden Gates, if not check it out here.

This week, the elements had other plans and ripped my springtime surprise right out from under me…figures. But, it’s all good. Elements, you are no match for me, my iPad, and the Googles… I saw it coming!

Now to prepare.

My battle against the rain (my most destructive element) is finally taking a turn for the win! Last year, the bed you see through this window would completely fill with water during a heavy rain. In preparation, this year, I installed a semi-raised bed.

My hope is that the rain will redirect around and out of my garden. It looks as if my plan was a success, and hopefully this bed will be a little more useable this year. We shall see…

After this pic was taken and the rain stopped, I went outside to take inventory of the damage and realized my trench needed a little work. Here’s a close-up of my 15 minute fix.

Now that the rain is gone, make way for yet another element.

The weather channel app warned me well in advanced to prepare my plants for a mild freeze between the hours of 1-9am. A quick google search and this how-to gave me tips to prepare. I love my iPad!

So, What is frost?… and why should I be concerned?

Simply put, it is a condition of freezing that occurs when the ground is not necessarily frozen but the temperature get near to or lower than 32 degrees.

It affects plants, internally and can cause the cells within the plant to rupture, therefore, killing or significantly harming them.

To make sure this doesn’t happen to my freshly planted herbs and tomatoes…time to take action!

To the recycle bin! I used 2 liter bottles (minus the bottom) and other plastic remnants to create a small greenhouse effect and protect against the elements.

The moisture from the previous rain will do good to provide some heat to the plant and the plastic will keep that heat in. I covered my plants when the sun was still out to further collect heat within the containers.

Next step, Cover the tomatoes. 2 tiny rubber band and dry cleaning bags worked well in a pinch.

I used rings from a broken tomato cage to gather and weigh down the plastic. Then, I covered the ring and excess plastic with dirt to keep the heat in. I would like to reiterate once again tomato cages are simply better purposes in pieces… or at least that’s my experience.

…and everything else, back inside to sit at the window and wait for warmer weather.

The pups are using this time to get a little R&R before the season really kicks off. I plan to do the same.

For more in-depth coverage of my 2011 Garden follow @AshtonLea on twitter or search hash tag #throughmygardengates

Until Next Time,

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPad