book review: Simply Green Giving

July 24, 2008

I just finished browsing through the book Simply Green Giving by Danny Seo.  In the first part of the book, Seo spoke about a trip to purchase wrapping paper at Christmas.  He hated the idea of buying it, but thought it would make his relatives happy to see nicely wrapped presents.  He realized that when his family opened the presents, however, that it all just ended up in a shredded mess in the garbage.  And after that time, he vowed to never buy wrapping paper again. Think you could do the same? I bet you can!

Simply Green Giving is filled with great ideas for how to wrap gifts using materials you already have, instead of wrapping paper and ribbon that’s just going to get thrown away.  Just a few ideas: using the tape from an old VHS tape as ribbon, using a scarf to wrap up a bottle of wine, using real peanuts in the shell to protect gifts instead of styrofoam packing peanuts.  I *love* this last idea, as it is better for the environment and the gift recipient gets to eat them. 🙂

Another idea that I loved was a way to create gift cards from outdated business cards.  You know  you have them…cards with a maiden name (for women) and old address or even a former employer.  But you don’t just want to throw this little gems away.  Fold two cards in half and glue the printed sides together.  Punch a hole in the corner and presto, instant gift card! To glam it up a bit, decorate the card on the front (or inside) with a rubber stamped design.

A big thing that I learned from this book is to hang on to some items that you might normally throw away (a single shoelace, burned out Christmas lights, etc.) because you never know how you might be able to use it to wrap your next special gift.  So, go forth and wrap!


Al Gore’s energy speech

July 18, 2008

I just read a great speech by Al Gore.

He is calling for the United States to “… commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years.” What a good idea.  He has a link in this article to a website where if you are interested you can join in the campaign.  Personally, I think doing whatever we can to become energy independent is a good thing.

Gardening with perennials

July 14, 2008

P. Allen Smith has a gardening show called “P. Allen Smith’s Garden Home.  This particular episode that I’m watching, he is talking about his favorite  perennial  plants.  These workhorse plants come back year after year, which is why they are a favorite of gardeners.  I would like to add more perennials to our garden, s     so I thought I would take note of P.Allen Smith’s “Top 10.”

Sun loving Perennials:

1.  Salvia – Mexican Sage
2.  Daylillies – select early mid and late season blooming so there is always something in bloom.  A favorite that was mentioned was “Happy Returns” which is                                                                      “repeat bloomer” although I don’t know what that means.
3.Hyssop – easy to grow, I’m not super fond of how it looks, but perhaps look into it more because it blooms for a long time

4.  Verbena Bonariensis – grows up to 5 feet, not a perfennial in all parts  of the United States, but it is “generous seeder” so it will send seeds to other parts of your flower bed
5.  Summer phlox – summer boarder, many colors, can grow really tall, need well-drained soil and full sun, mildew can be a problem, so make sure there is plenty of air around the plant

Shade Loving plants:
1.  Columbine-reseeds itself well.  Origami columbine blooms longer than other varities
2. Japanese Anemonies – need partial shade, filtered light or half day sun
3. Hosta- many varieties
4. Toad Lily-many types, not sure I like these
5. Lady Bells – Adenophora, tall spires of tiny blue flowers, difficult to find, but worth the search

Create a theme garden based on color, conditions of garden, native plants

Native plants advantages- flowers,grasses, etc. – help define the region, economic reason–cheaper because the plants are more tolerant of their particular area, so they can handle drought better, or they might not need fertilizer.

Now Allen Smith is talking about plants native to North American.

First up:
Joe PYe Weed – pretty color, grows easily, grows to great heights
Purple Cone Flower – Echinacea
Black Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia)

Fall bloomers
golderrod, asters, Blue Mist Flowers, beeblam, butterfly weed, beebalm, jack in
the pulpit, yarrow, blanket flower, callifornia poppey, cardinal flower, maiden
hair fern

Oriental LIllies- sunny location, well drained soil, go for the largest bulb you can, becames it means the blooms will be large

It is important when putting flowers together in the same bed to determine beforehand
if they have similar needs for sun, water, etc.  Needs to be similar.  It looks really nice to have many different plants together, not necessarily all in a line.  Mix perennials with annuals.

Another plant: smoke tree, burgundy color, hydrangea, back of the flower border,
as a backdrop, can take a wide variety of light conditions, full sun, part shad
e, etc.

There you have it, a few ideas for how to add perennials to your garden to enjoy year after year!


July 14, 2008

In light of the fact that our corn bit the dust the other day, I wanted to tell you about our zucchini.  I planted one plant, because I heard that zucchini can grow like gangbusters.  So far I have harvested one zucchini, but there are many more on the plant.  After seeing markings of some animal on one of the vegetables, I put a knee-high nylon on it to protect it, as I had heard that would help.  Well, it did, but I’m not sure if I want to be constantly putting nylons on my zucchini throughout the summer.  So I’m going to let them grow nylon-free for a few days to see if the animals let it alone.  Then maybe I’ll try spraying it with a hot sauce mixture or something.

Solar Charger for MP3 player, phone, etc.

July 12, 2008

There is a really cool solar charger on the market for about 169 dollars. Look on the Planet Green website, and I think it was on the program “G word”. It has a lot of different adapter plugs to make it charge many different products. Sweet!

Update: I can’t seem to locate this charger on the Planet Green website right now, but I did find a link to another article that talks about solar charges.  The article is a bit outdated, but it might still point some people in the right direction. Happy charging!

Corn has bit the dust

July 12, 2008

Sadly, our corn has bit the dust.  Either a violent rainstorm, or an animal of some sort, has bit through the stalks and left them on the ground.  I’m not yet ready to pull up the corn yet, though.  There’s just something about it.  Maybe I’ll try again next year, maybe I won’t, we’ll see.  I never really actually thought we would have corn good enough to eat, I just wanted to try it.  Is it worth the time and effort then?  Wouldn’t I be better off planting something I know we’ll have at the end of the summer, like more tomatoes or carrots or something?  Oh well, I’ll think about it next year!

Corn…and ants!

July 10, 2008

Sadly, I have to report that our corn is being eaten by ants.  I looked at one ear yesterday and thought that it looked like it had been a bit eaten, and then I looked at another stalk that had ants crawling all over it.  It’s too late for the corn this year (we only had 4 ears to begin with) but does anyone have any suggestions for next year? If so, please comment, because I would appreciate it!