Gardening Naturally

Gardening Naturally
I grew up with two grandmothers and a mother who loved to garden.  Some were more focused on food growing, while others loved beautiful flowers and plants.  Spending time with them simply made me adore planting in all of its forms. 

Gardening is a therapeutic activity that yields more than just fresh produce. It also provides an avenue for you to connect with nature, take care of the environment, and even boost your mental health. However, gardening can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if you're trying to keep track of different plants, planting schedules, and garden tasks.

This is where a gardening journal comes in. If you're looking for a tool that can help you keep your gardening life organized, a gardening journal might be just what you need. Not only will it help you plan your garden beds and catalog your crops, but it will also help you organize your monthly and seasonal gardening tasks, as well as compile your garden shopping lists.

When you keep a gardening journal, you'll be amazed at how much easier it is to keep track of everything. You'll be able to see what you've accomplished and what you need to work on, and you can use your journal to make adjustments to your gardening plans and schedules.

But a gardening journal isn't just for practical purposes; it can also be a resource for recipes and inspiration. In fact, my gardening journal includes my 8 favorite oily garden recipes, and I'm happy to share those with you!

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3 Tips for a Successful, Beautiful Butterfly Garden

3 Tips for a Successful, Beautiful Butterfly Garden
Years ago, when we first made the decision to homeschool, one of the first things we did was to plant a butterfly garden.  The kids had so much fun choosing plants and seeds, and I let them plant without any particular plan in mind.  Every year we add a few more plants, but this year we are really upping our game, hopeful for a bustling butterfly location.  Since so many people are becoming aware of the importance in supporting pollinator populations, I thought some simple tips would help you get started.

1.  Know your growing zone.  If you’ve never gardened before, a simple online search will tell you what the zone is for where you live.  Fortunately, many butterfly-friendly plants are hardy across several zones, so you’ll have plenty from which to choose.  It is a suggestion because you don’t want to invest your time and energy into a gorgeous plant that really only likes to grow in Florida if you live in Maine. 

2.  Decide your feelings about native versus non-native plants.  Some people have VERY strong opinions on this subject, so be forewarned before you engage in online conversation on this topic.  There are many wildflowers and local options if you want to stick with those.   My personal thought (which counts for nothing, so feel free to ignore it) is that weather can often cause butterflies to be off course of their usual areas, so I plant a variety of host and nectar plants. 

3.  Choose both host and nectar plants, as well as some resting spots.  What the heck does that mean, you ask?  Host plants provide places for butterflies to lay their eggs, and some also give the caterpillars food to eat as they grow.  Nectar plants provide the nutrition to the butterflies once they undergo metamorphosis.  Resting spots, such as rocks or a small birdbath, provide downtime from flapping those beautiful wings.

Need help deciding?  There are so many plants from which to choose, so here are a few of my favorites.   I love mixing in herbs with flowers!

Host plants:  parsley, dill, fennel, Baptisia
Nectar plants:  butterfly bush, purple coneflower, bee balm, black-eyed Susan, sedum, zinnias, yarrow, verbena, lantana, salvia, cleome, common sage
Both:  butterfly weed, aster, Angelica, perennial snapdragons, daisies

If you want a more organized butterfly garden, you can find lots of free plans online.  For a free printable garden journal, you can find a great one here.

Happy planting!  Please send me photos of your wonderful creations! 

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