Posts Tagged ‘Fairy Garden’

Eco-Watering, Faery Guardians and Plant Wisdom

Well, it’s July 1, which has, since 2010, been celebrated by me as the official “Laura Bruno Independence Day.” What better way to acknowledge the day than by recognizing that deep, abiding connection to Mother Earth, who provides whatever we need if we honor her and have eyes to see: hence another gardening update. (Also, Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian friends and readers!)

Garden July 1, 2012

I have learned so much just by watching plants. Take, for example, my various kale species, which I grew from seed indoors. They had spindly stems when I transplanted them outdoors, and I watched for weeks as they did flip flops every day. At first, I tried to “help” them by straightening them out, encouraging them to find what I considered a “better” angle for growth. Haha, silly me! I finally left them alone to do their flip flop, figuring if they were all doing it, they must have some kind of method to their madness.

Sure enough, they created firm bases from which to grow. The spindly stems have now grown strong, if crooked, responding to their environment in such a way that they have more solid grounding than straight growth would ever have afforded. There’s a lesson in there for those of us who find ourselves inexplicably led down seemingly opposite or unrelated paths for awhile. Follow that intuition as it creates a solid base from which to flourish!

Plants are smart. My cucumbers were planted too far away from the tomato cage and fence setup, but I worried about moving the cage in case it disturbed their roots. Then one day, I looked, and the bigger cucumber plant had miraculously centered itself directly inside the cage. What’s more, someone or something helped manifest even more support. I got the idea that this tomato cage wasn’t really a trellis and might not do the trick. Yesterday, I intended to walk to the co-op to get a green juice, but something told me to walk down a different road. Lo and behold, a garage sale sign! “Maybe I’ll find a cucumber trellis,” I thought. Well, I found a lovely bauble to go with the others I’d hung to appease the faeries watching over my garden:

Garden Baubles for Faeries

Not seeing a cucumber trellis, but sensing one there, I finally asked. The woman tending the garage sale explained that it was not her sale, so she didn’t know. She asked me how large a trellis I needed. “Not large, I guess. I just need to help the one plant over to my steps or to the fence.” “How ’bout this?” asked the woman. She removed several items from a display rack, and sure enough, that would do the trick. I returned home and thought, “String. I need some string for that tomato cage. Where am I going to manifest my string?” Forgetting about that, I decided to plant some lemon balm and noticed a container that had been bugging me all week because its decorative string had begun to unravel. I started trying to replace the string and suddenly, silly me, I realized what had happened. I strung the string on the tomato cage turned cucumber trellis:

Smart Cucumbers and Magic String

In the photo, you can see how the larger cuke has situated itself right inside the cage, and how the white display rack/sorter shelf perfectly fills the gap between cucumber and fence. I’m still shaking my head over that one, in addition to realizing the night before that those faeries wanted more bling in the garden. I had already hung the little peace bauble, as well as a tiny bejeweled Hamsa to protect my cabbage family plants from caterpillars, but the night before the garage sale-string adventure, I had gotten the clear message that garden faeries wanted at least one more shiny thing. As a little reward for finding the bling, I also received a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s lavender hemp soap for only 75 cents. (Winks and giggles from the Universe, since I had just noted I’d need to buy more soon.)

In addition to manifesting various gardening treats and tools, I’ve found that plants really do respond to invitations. We now have tender dandelion leaves growing in our back yard garden bed, along with purslane, nettles, volunteer strawberries, some thriving parsley and other friends. David and I love, love, love purslane, and I strongly invited it to grow prolifically. Sure enough, that Omega-3 rich, lemony purslane has sprouted up in sidewalk cracks, where it’s currently thriving, as well as in the garlic “hole” of our Garden Soxx:

Volunteer Purslane

OK, I’ve shared about the faeries, plant wisdom, manifestion, and invitations, but what about the eco-watering? Wisconsin’s having what some people would call a drought. I don’t like to label things unless I want them, so let’s just call this an opportunity to recognize abundance. I’ve lived in the desert before, although I never gardened there. But my Sedona friend, Toni, does! She’s so cute, giving me weather updates and flower photos nearly every morning, and she often shares about her use of gray water.

We have a rain barrel here, but when it rarely or never rains, those barrels get low. For some reason, our barrel always has at least a little water in it, even when nowhere else gets rain. It’s like a magical cauldron or something, how that rain barrel keeps replenishing itself without rain. The bees and wasps love it, too. There’s a tiny leak at the bottom, and my little pollinators and predator insect friends go there to drink. I love the rain barrel, but this week it struck me just how much water we can waste without even thinking of it. Years of desert living taught me not to flush the toilet after every single pee, but when you live in massive humidity, you can sometimes forget how dry it really gets. You can forget to honor a precious resource.

This week, David and I put buckets in our sink and shower, collecting water from showers and hand/dish washings. I know people in Santa Fe who do this regularly, but in humid Madison, I’m embarrassed to say, I’ve let gallons of perfectly good water go down the drain. No more! We’re reusing our gray water for flowers and thirsty non-edibles. Yes, it’s kind of a pain in the neck (sometimes literally) to bring the buckets outside, but whenever I do so, I make an offering back to the Earth. She has responded with joy and sighs of relief. I also offer all smoothie and kefir rinse water to my plants, as these are so full of nutrients and/or rich organisms to help the soil.

Speaking of offerings, I wasn’t sure about sharing this next part, but it really does work well. I read last year in Mother Earth News that the best all around fertilizer for plants is a mixture of 1 part pee to 20 parts water. Minimum dilution ratio is 1:5, depending on plants’ nitrogen needs, and you can use anything from 1:5, 1:10 or 1:20 depending on frequency and soil. The 1:20 ratio is supposedly the best combo of the main macronutrients Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium (NPK). Other plant friendly additions include kelp, nettle infusion leftovers blended with water, chaga leftovers blended with water, worm tea or worm castings, as well as the coffee grounds I get each week from our local co-op.

When I first heard about the pee fertilizer, I thought, “Ew, gross!” and a lot of people still give me that look if I ever mention it. Watching how my plants respond to the dilution, though, I’ve come to view it as one of the deepest, most intimate ways I can give back to the Earth and plants that feed me. The day after I water the roots with my own urine mixed with water, I swear my plants have grown 30% larger overnight. The flowering ones put out new buds, and the greens seem to stretch themselves proudly to the sky. So yeah, maybe I’ve gone “off with the faeries” to Hippieville, but it saves a many gallon flush and makes my plants rejoice.

Our little side garden plot is so alive with bees, herbs, wasps, flowers, and faeries that it has become my favorite spot to sit and read. I’ve got chamomile sun tea “brewing” now, and the Tupsy Turvy tomato plants are growing well. I’m mid-process of manifesting some free lavender cuttings, and my newly planted lemon balm seeds will either grow this time, or the lemon balm cuttings will present themselves, too. I love our magical little garden, perhaps even more because of its challenging location and rental/weather restrictions. Thanks for sharing the journey with me! May we all flourish with our loving Earth.