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How does the color, ultra violet (purple) make you feel?  Every year, mid-December, I get a phone call from my daughter, Sarah. “Hey mom, did you hear what the Pantone Color-Of-The-Year is”?  Typically, she has to tell me.  Sarah is artistic and is fascinated with color.  I love to hear her talk about it.  We discuss the colors and how much we love them or hate them or how we may see or use them in the future.

I didn’t really think about this until I started to write this blog post, but Sarah’s choice of floral colors for her 2016 wedding were inspired by the 2016 Colors-Of-The-Year!  In 2016 the colors were Rose Quarts (pink) and Serenity (blue). I see purple and green in her bouquet too.  A beautiful summer palette!

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Marcy, of Foster’s Flowers on Beaver St. in York, created the most gorgeous flower arrangements for Sarah and Garrett’s wedding. Wouldn’t you agree?

Do you eat purple food?  I, personally, love to eat anything purple. It’s one of my favorite colors!  According to some, the darker the skin of a fruit or veggie, the higher the nutrient value.  Check out this article from the Telegraph:   https://www.telegraph.co.uk/food-and-drink/news/start-eating-purple-good-health-science-behind-2017s-new-food/

Last year, 2017, the Pantone Color-Of-The-Year was Greenery (green).  Think about it.  Have you been seeing a lot more green in packaging, paints, furniture, wallpaper, clothing, floral design,  etc.  Green plants are making a big come-back in our homes.  I love it!!!  Pantone sees color trends, selects the color of the year and the trend setters go from there.

Just because purple was chosen for 2018 doesn’t mean green is so yesterday…not at all.  The trends continue on for several years.   Think about green and purple together.  YEESSS!

The following is from Pantone’s website and announcement of the Color Of-The-Year for 2018:

Inventive and imaginative, Ultra Violet lights the way to what is yet to come.

A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.

Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now. The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.

Enigmatic purples have also long been symbolic of counterculture, unconventionality, and artistic brilliance. Musical icons Prince, David Bowie, and Jimi Hendrix brought shades of Ultra Violet to the forefront of western pop culture as personal expressions of individuality. Nuanced and full of emotion, the depth of PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet symbolizes experimentation and non-conformity, spurring individuals to imagine their unique mark on the world, and push boundaries through creative outlets.

Historically, there has been a mystical or spiritual quality attached to Ultra Violet. The color is often associated with mindfulness practices, which offer a higher ground to those seeking refuge from today’s over-stimulated world. The use of purple-toned lighting in meditation spaces and other gathering places energizes the communities that gather there and inspire connection.

What is purple?  It’s blue and red mixed together.  Complete opposites on the color wheel.  The last paragraph of Pantone’s announcement really hit home with me.  What do you think?

Want to guess what the Color-Of-The-Year will be for 2019?

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Hope to see you soon!

Karen Doyle

 

Let It Bee….

Did you know honey bees are not native to North America?  I had no idea!    I first learned of this in a book by Lisa Mason Ziegler, “Vegetables Love Flowers.  Great read! I highly recommend it if you love to garden.

Lisa does a great job educating us about companion planting, what the beneficials are in the garden (even spiders and snakes….oh my), succession planting and the photography in her book is just beautiful. She even has an on line book discussion.  Loved it!

There are apparently 4000 different types of native bees to North America, and they are in danger too – it seem the honey bees get all the press.  We need bees to pollinate our fruits and vegetables.  Believe it or not, native bees can be better pollinators than honey bees. I am in no way dissing honey bees – I love their local honey!!!!

Honey bees came to North American from Europe with the colonists and have been managed as an agricultural resource ever since.  When a farmer needs bees, honey bees are the easiest to bring in and go away when finished.

Honey bees cannot pollinate tomato plants – wow – who knew!!  The humble bumble bee can! Some plants have their pollen on the outside (like a lilly’s anther, you can see the pollen).  The tomato plant’s pollen is inside the flower – the bumble gets in there and shakes the pollen out!

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I’m an avid podcast listener, are you?  One of my favorite podcasts is “Living Homegrown” by Theresa Loe.  I recently listened to podcast # 141 (www.livinghomegrown.com/141 ) where Theresa interviews Lisa Mason Ziegler and podcast # 147 (www.livinghomegrown.com/147 ) where author Paige Embry is interviewed by Theresa regarding our native bees.

Both podcasts are full of educational facts about our native bee problems.  Paige Embry has written “Our Native Bees: North America’s Endangered Pollinators and the Fight to Save Them”. This book looks fabulous and is on my Amazon wish list!

Please know that I, in no way, make any $ off of any of the books or podcasts I recommend.  I find the books and podcasts highly interesting, and want to pass on what I have learned to you.  If we work together, we can all make the world a better place! Yes?

If you would like to receive more info about our farm, what I’m learning (you’re never too old to learn, right???), tutorials, etc., please hit the yes, please button on our contact page.  For subscribing, you will receive my little recipe “TASTY” pdf of Family Tree Farm’s Favorite Summertime Recipes

Happy Summer!

Karen Doyle

 

 

Wabi-Sabi

Have you heard about Wabi-Sabi?  What is it you ask?  A new dance move, or is it a song?  Nope, Wabi-Sabi is an ancient Japanese practice that appreciates imperfections in life and the ability to age gracefully.  I am fully on board with this – how about you?

So, how does Wabi-Sabi relate to gardening?  As per “Garden Media Group”, Wabi-Sabi gardens imitate nature in a way that allows you to relax and appreciate their humble and imperfect forms – yes, even the weeds.  I am so into this!  I’m not sure about the weeds, but then again, I use Goldenrod and Queen Ann’s Lace in my flower bouquets.

Then there are dandelions!  I have a recipe for dandelion wine that my dear Uncle John passed on to me years ago.  I’m gonna have to dig that out!

As a flower farmer, I am always experimenting with new flowers.  I plant a lot by seed.  Check out my lovely stand of pigweed I grew last year!

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My only guess is, I thinned out the real flower and left the weeds.  They grew so nicely in a row!  The hubs kept telling me it was a weed.  I, of course, didn’t believe him – BAHHAAAA!  I’m sure it will happen again, but this time I will embrace the practice of Wabi-Sabi!  Maybe I can use the weeds in bouquets!

I love to pick flowers.   Many times, the flowers that I pick are not always perfect.  I love them anyhow.  I will pick them and use them even if they do lean a little this way or a little that way.  I love using the center disk of a flower in an arrangement after all the petals fall off.  There is something in their imperfection that I love and is unique.

 

 

I have watched others while they are cutting flowers and they do the same.  Just because the flower is a little wonky, doesn’t mean it won’t fit in.  That imperfect flower always fills a spot where something is missing.  Wabi-Sabi was meant for me, how about you??

I love this quote:

Imperfect Gardening

“The garden is a natural place to embrace Wabi-Sabi – the art of imperfect beauty, and practice the delicate balance between nature and nurture.”

     Ilana Goldowitz Jimenez, PhD.

Do you want to be part of Family Tree Farm’s community?  Click HERE to receive the latest farm updates, recipes, tips, tutorials and more delivered right to your in-box one to two times a month.  This month I’ve created  “TASTY” Farm Fresh Summer Recipes.

Gardener’s Hands

Are you hands on in the garden?  I start out with gloves, but end up working in our gardens with my bare hands.  There is something primal about touching, planting and working the soil with my hands.  I feel better connected to mother earth.

At one time in my life, having farmer hands was soooo embarrassing!  My hands can be rough and not look so, let’s say, well kept!  At this stage of my life though, I really don’t care what folks think.  I play in the dirt!  A LOT!

I keep my nails short and if I need to have them polished for a specific event (it has to be a good one), I get a gel polish. I can’t get out the door of a salon without ruining just a plain old manicure.  WHAAAAAA!  Who can relate?

I found this very easy Gardener’s Scrub on Pinterest (where else, LOL!).  I decided to give it a try.  My lovely assistant, Anna (my Granddaughter) assisted me every step of the way and took all the photos!  I must say, this scrub has helped the roughness of my hands and really cleans them up!

My theory is, the Epsom salts (I bought the kind with lavender in it because I’m thinking it would be lovely in a bath) and the Kosher salt which has large salt crystals will help to exfoliate and sooth my gardener hands.

The smell is incredible too!

Here we go with the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • Zest of 1 Large Lemon
  • Juice of 1 Large Lemon
  • Leave of 5-6 Stems of Fresh Thyme (I used Rosemary because I have it in my garden)
  • 1-1/2 Cups of Epsom Salt (I used the kind infused with lavender because I thought it would be nice in a warm bath after a hard day’s work on the farm)
  • 1 Cup of Kosher Salt (I keep this in my kitchen and use it often to cook with)
  • ¼ Cup of Coconut Oil (I use coconut oil for the popcorn we grow – recipe to follow later)
  • ½ Cup of Natural Liquid Soap
  • Optional:
  • 5 drops of Essential Oil (lemon, rosemary, lavender) I didn’t use this

 

Instructions

  1.  Combine softened Coconut Oil with the Juice and Zest of 1 Large Lemon till smooth

IMG_E14682.  Add the Liquid Soap and the Leaves of Thyme or Rosemary and blend

IMG_E14723.  Add the Epsom Salts and Kosher Salt and combine well

4.  You may need more salt or liquid at this point – add sparingly

5.  Add the Optional Essential Oil

6.  Pack up in Mason Jars – we filled five 4 oz jelly jars. One for me and 4 to give away

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If you give as a gift, it would be nice to put a label on it and wrap twine around it. A little spoon would be nice too.  (As you can see, I just hand wrote what was in the jar and we moved on)

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I really like this scrub.  And, I’ve been given rave reviews from those that we gifted the scrub to.  I keep it by my sink and use it every day (sometime more than once)!

It was fun and very easy to make with my 11 year old granddaughter.  She thinks I should be vlogging (video blog – I had to google it – LOL)  instead of blogging.  I told her to give me time….YIKES – stall tactic!

Let me know what you think of the scrub!

By the way, it’s not too late to plant a cut flower garden!  I’m still planting cut flowers for our PYO Flower Garden that will open late June or early July.  Click HERE to find my 5 Favorite Easy Cut Flower varieties for your garden.

See you soon!

Karen

 

It’s Hard To Work The Plan….

My beloved Father-In-Law, Dick Doyle, once told me, “it’s fun to plan the work, but hard to work the plan”. I keep thinking about his words as I’m on my hands and knees this spring planting, planting, planting.  Why did I buy so many plants – YIKES, how many seeds do I have to plant?

Are any of you in the same boat?  This spring has been so unpredictable – one weekend I was wearing my winter coat with three layers under it while watching my granddaughter play lacrosse, the next week I was planting in 80+ degree weather.

The seed catalogs started rolling in just after Christmas.  My spring job here on the farm is to plan and plant our PYO Flower Garden.  I had so much fun picking out all the wonderful flowers I want to plant.  Someone, please make me STOP buying seeds!  Well, no one did. The hubs did roll his eyes at me as soon as the seed packets started arriving in the mail,  but it was too late!!

Don’t get me wrong – I love spring.  I love to plant something and watch it grow, but OH my aching back.   Ah, yes, it’s a labor of love.  I can’t wait to see all the flowers blooming and have folks taking a time out just for themselves, enjoying the garden and cutting beautiful blooms to take home.

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I’m sure many of you will be asking yourselves the same question over the next couple weeks – why did I buy so many plants?  How many zucchini do we really need?  Just remember:

It’s fun to plan the work, but hard to work the plan.

Can you dig it?  Bahhhaaa!

Every year, I get a lot of questions about how we constructed our vertical pallet flower fence at our roadside stand.  It’s so simple – maybe you have an area around your home for something like this.  I made a short video on how we did it…

 

Don’t forget to plant some flowers in your vegetable garden this year.  The flowers will attract beneficial insects and make your garden chores happier!  Check out my list of 5 Easy Annual Cut Flowers HERE.

See you soon!

Karen

 

 

Flower Power

We’re all itchin’ to get outside after this very long winter and spring!  Here on the farm we are planting Christmas trees and getting the gardens ready for veggies and flowers.  Have you started to think about what veggies you want to plant in your garden?  I know you have! 😉 Along with your favorite plants, why not add some flowers?

My grandmother’s garden always had marigolds in it.  I realize now that she planted them as a natural way of deterring aphids, bean beetles, squash bugs, etc. !  There are varieties of marigolds that are 8″-9″; however, there are some varieties that grow 40″!

Think about it: while you are harvesting your tomatoes you could be tip toeing through the tulips too.  Well, maybe not tulips, but how about some annual flowers that you can cut and bring into your home or give away to friends and relatives or someone you know who could use a little lift in their day.

There is no denying it.  The power of flowers is contagious!!

Here are a few reasons why planting flowers in your veggie garden is so very worthwhile:

  • Most annual flowers are EASY to grow right along with your vegetables.
  • The flowers will attract beneficial insects to your garden which will help with the pollination of your veggies! Yes, most insects are good!  Snakes too! YIKES!
  • Gosh, having flowers in your garden could make the hard work of gardening fun!
  • When you harvest your veggies (should be twice a week), harvest your flowers too! Keep them, or make someone’s day!

The key to a great garden is to pick, and pick often.  The annual that you plant will produce for one season.  It’s whole mission in life is to produce a seed.  If you keep picking, you are kind of tricking it into producing more and more!  If you are a seed saver, collect the seeds from the flowers that you plant at the end of the season.

We start a ton of our flowers and vegetables by seed each year along with plants.  When the plants are at the end of their useful life, you will have another crop of veggies or flowers coming along.  Succession planting is key to a long and healthy garden.

If you are interested in my Top 5 List of EASY Annual Flowers to plant in your garden, please click HERE.