About Me

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Fulton, MO, United States
I am living in the middle of a wonderful, small town. My passion is gardening. I dream of living on a small farm, just outside of town, and selling vegetables and eggs to those that drive by. This blog is to document the slow process of learning while reaching and wandering towards my goal.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tea Herbs


 I have been outside this morning working in the dirt.  I potted a few hanging baskets.  (By the way the selection of plants at Callaway Fields in Auxvasse, MO is amazing.  Thanks to the rain this spring people are holding off on planting and they still have a lot of plants in their greenhouses.) My main objective this morning was to collect plants that I could dig up and put in the plant sale that the Fulton Garden Club is having this Saturday in the parking lot where Royal Automotive used to be from 8 to 12.

Now to the point -- Invasive or self seeding plants are not evil.  You just have to plant them in the right place.  I planted apple mint, chocolate mint and pineapple mint last year in my tea garden.  It looks beautiful already this year and is growing up to a foot outside of the bed into the yard.  I am happy that it is spreading.  I dug up some for the plant sale and it will smell will be wonderful when we mow the yard!  I planted it on the garage side of the house about 5 feet from the property line.  It can't go into my garden because of a wall and the neighbors won't even know what it is when it takes over their yard! 

I love waking up in the morning, walking outside, picking mint and coming inside to make a cup of tea with it.
 "They" say that mint helps with indigestion, stomach cramps, menstrual cramps, gas, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and colic in children.   Let bruised mint leaves sit in water for an hour or so, chill the water and then you can use it for a face washRubbing mint oil on your skin or making a compress of bruised leaves is said to help with arthritis and joint pain.   Can't hurt to try.  At least you will smell good.

If you would like some mint for your yard, you can come dig it up out of my yard, or the neighbors, anytime you would like. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bloodflower (Asclepias curassavica)

This will be the second year that I have grown Bloodflower.  Mexican Butterfly Weed, Scarlet Milkweed or, Tropical Milkweed are other common names. It is native to South America and a cousin to the American native, Butterfly Weed.  It will grow 2 to 3 feet tall and attracts birds, bees and most importantly the caterpillar that produces Monarch Butterflies.  In late summer our house will be covered in emerald green cocoons. 

                                                                               It is amazing to watch the process as the cocoon turns from green to gold and then darkens as the butterfly gets close to emerging.  My goal this year is to witness the butterfly breaking free. 

I have purchased this seed twice now from different online sources.  This years seed came from Monticello.  If you have not visited their website, you should.  Thomas Jefferson was one of the first "master gardeners".  To be able to purchase seed from his gardens is amazing to me. 

I looked forward to getting the newspaper each morning and searching for new caterpillars and cocoons.  When the caterpillar first starts making his home the cocoon shakes back and forth and the green gets less translucent.  This one here is getting closer to becoming a butterfly, the black is the wing color starting to show through.  When the whole thing turns black there is just a few hours until the butterfly will make his first appearance.

Friday, April 22, 2011


When I was four my mother and I lived in a house on a dairy farm just outside of Butler, MO.  Alongside the road was a double row of sunflowers.  I remember walking in between them as they towered above me.

I planted sunflowers for the first time in 2009.  I bought a mixed package of seeds from Baker Creek in Mansfield, MO.  Visit the Baker Creek website.  They were amazing. 

All kinds of birds visited the yard.  We had yellow finches, chickadees, cardinals, red winged black birds to name just a few.  In the summer the birds used the sunflowers for perches while they hunted for tomato worms.  I don't think I hand picked a single worm or bug off of my garden plants the entire summer.  In the fall the birds ate the seeds and planted a few for the next year. 

As winter got closer the squirrels would brave the yard and climb to the top of the sunflowers.  They worked quickly.  One of them lost their life to one of our dogs early in the year trying to get through the fence.  They ate the sunflower head off and ran back over or under the fence with the whole thing in their mouth. 

Last year I let the sunflowers come up where they wanted.  This year I am gently digging them up and moving them.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

James and The Other One

I had been wanting chickens for a while.  Not really sure why.  I've never been around them much.  My only chicken memory is that Tammy Potter's grandmother had them.  I vaguely remember a building full of chicks on her farm.  I was probably 11 when we were there for a day or two visiting but I don't think that had anything to do with it.

This past summer we were at the Callaway County fair volunteering for the Fulton Jaycees. We took a break and wandered around the carnival area.   I noticed that  at one of the carnival games you got a chick as a prize.  I saw my opportunity.  James came home with us that evening.

James began his life here in a large, metal dog crate in the kitchen.  After a few days Diana began to worry about him getting lonely and dying.  (I did nothing to perpetuate this theory).  Soon we came home with an adolescent chicken that we call The Other One.

The name came from the constant question of  "Is that James or the other one?"  My mother says we should give the chicken a real name.  Honestly, at this point I can't tell them apart.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

White Salvia

Sage is a member of the salvia family.  This particular white salvia is one that I grew from seed in the winter of 2010.  I ordered the seed from an online company that did not supply the scientific name so I can't tell you exactly what it is.  I have learned that I want to know exactly what I am ordering.  It came back up again this year and I seeded it last year.  I hate to pass it on not knowing what it is.  Last summer I spent a day or so doing some research on salvia trying to discover what it is.  I decided that it might be one of the hallucinogenic varieties but didn't want to test the theory.

The Beginning

My love of gardening came from my grandmother, Dorsey Bogard.  I must have been 4 or 5 years old when we watched from the window of the upstairs porch at the lake house while a tulip opened.  I'm amazed that she knew when it would open and that she got me to sit still for what must have been the better part of a day while it happened.  It is a memory I will never forget.

My grandmother lost her ability to do her own gardening at a very early age due to Osteoporosis.  I was about six years old when she was forced to quit driving.  She lost the ability to walk a few years later. I was lucky enough to always live very close to her and spent almost every day with her after school.  She would sit in her wheelchair and instruct me as I planted her plants.  "Dig the hole a little deeper.  Pat the dirt down all around." 

My farm animal fascination comes from my grandfather on the other side of the family, Robert Baker.  I spent the third weekend of every month and two weeks in the summer with my dad's parents on their farm.  Grandpa was a quiet man but we had great times together.  He taught me how to drive by the age of 8.  I always know which way is North thanks to him.  My basic knowledge of constellations he taught me one Friday night after we got home from driving into Butler for dinner.  We would spend entire days driving around the farm counting cows and fixing fence.  Those were the days.