Make a Festive Summer Bouquet

The best part about growing flowers in the garden is cutting blossoms for bouquets in the house. Whether you grow roses, sunflowers, lavender or mums, there are always ways to bring the beauty of your garden inside.

Since my dahlias have been growing like gangbusters, I’ve been clipping stems whenever I get a chance. I also have roses that were here when we moved in (that I nearly cut down), mums that are blooming even though it’s not fall and Minoan Lace that reseeded from last year and has taken over a corner of my front garden.

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Here’s a bouquet I made recently with dahlias, roses, Minoan lace and lavender. I reused a glass apple juice container I had saved.

 

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Here are some roses I clipped from a wild shrub outside of my office window.

 

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This one includes a lily, dahlias, poppies, Minoan lace, broccoli flowers and sprigs from my lemon tree in a teapot with bicycles on it.

 

To make flowers last, I use this recipe, that I got from the book Petal & Twig, and adjust it to adapt to the size of the container:

1 chopped up non-coated aspirin

1 tablespoon sugar

1 teaspoon vinegar

3 cups water

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In the Healing Garden

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We rely on our gardens for a lot things, and healing is one of them. Being in the garden is not only good for your mental and emotional health, the items you plant are good for your physical health. This goes deeper than fruits and vegetables–many of the herbs and flowers you grow have healing benefits. Aloe is known to sooth sunburns and is an excellent moisturizer. Lavender has proven properties of relaxation, as does chamomile. Calendula is more than a dye, it has skin soothing properties as well. The list goes on.

lavender and thyme_smallerMy youngest son has eczema and most bubble baths and lotions cause his skin to flare up an angry shade of pink. Since I’ve been making my own facial moisturizers and body bars for the past few months, I decided to make him a special bath tea and lotion as well. I feel very lucky to be able to grow many of the ingredients I use in my own garden.

So, to help others put their gardens to use for more than dinner and green smoothies, I developed a course for Skillshare that allows anyone–whether they’re living in an apartment or on a dozen acres–to grow their own healing gardens. At the end. I give students simple recipes for their own bath teas. As more people turn their hands at becoming self-sufficient, having healing herbs and flowers nearby will become even more important.

If you want to learn more, check out my class for free, while supplies last.

Boost Your Mood in the Garden

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Plant sunflowers–they’re easy to grow and are good for wildlife and your mood!

Now is the time to started planning your garden. And, while you’re planning, think about your mood. If you’re prone to the blues, or just want more energy, plant vegetables and herbs that will give you a boost.

I saw this article from Rodale’s Organic Life, Fight Depression by Growing a Good-Mood Garden. I don’t know about you, but gardening always puts me in a good mood. The combination of being outdoors, digging in the dirt and seeing the (literal) fruits of my labor on a daily basis puts everything else in perspective. Sometimes when you’re stressed, all you need is a spade and some weeds to get your aggression out.

The article recommends the following mood-boosting crops to plant:
Swiss chard
Blue potatoes
Cherry tomatoes
Black-eyed peas
Oregano
Sunflowers
Chamomile
Evening primrose
Lavender
St. John’s wort

Of these, the only ones I grow are sunflowers and lavender. Tomatoes don’t grow well where I live, although I do have some luck growing them inside the sunporch. However, I will have to add blue potatoes and chamomile to the list—the benefit of the latter is that I can also make a tea from it.

While it’s best to continue to take any medication you’ve been prescribed for your moods, adding these to your garden can only help. Get out in the sunshine and get planting!

 

Want to learn more about gardening, especially in small spaces? Take my class on Skillshare. Click here to learn more and to sign up!