Posts filed under ‘Gardening’

How About a Bowl of Roundup for Breakfast?

Monsanto logo via

The last sentence here is the killer:

You probably wouldn’t knowingly eat a substance known to induce death in human cells. But that’s what millions of people are doing every day, even when they’re enjoying foods with “natural” on the label.

Norwegian scientists just published a new study that will appear in the June issue of Food Technology showing high levels of glyphosate—the active weed-killing chemical in Roundup—are turning up in genetically engineered (GE) soy. That herbicide-laced soy winds up in thousands of nonorganic packaged foods and in animal feed for livestock like pigs, cows, chickens, and turkeys.

Why is this happening? Genetically engineered crops are manipulated in a way that could never occur in nature so plants like corn, soy, canola, cotton, and sugar beets can withstand high doses of glyphosate-containing herbicides that would normally kill them. The result? Roundup in food that people and farm animals eat.

As more and more weeds become resistant to glyphosate and GE technology fails, farmers spray heavier glyphosate applications—and more often. Glypshoate is systemic, meaning it’s take up inside of the plant. As nonorganic farmers crank up glyphosate use, the Environmental Protection Agency has been slowly increasing allowable levels of glyphosate in food.


So, Monsanto’s Roundup is doing a number on the planet and, here in the U.S. at least, the so-called Environmental (cough) “Protection” (cough) Agency is enabling them.

The corporations really do run the place.

What a country.

April 27, 2014 at 10:19 AM Leave a comment

Spec. Tacular.

One of our Christmas traditions is to plant an indoor Amaryllis bulb late in November so it will bloom right around Christmas.

When I shop for the bulbs I’m always a little leery that the picture on the little tag won’t turn out to be what the bulb I plant looks like; partly because I think growers tend to embellish and partly because I don’t know if the bulb I picked out was inadvertently put into the wrong bin by a careless, browsing customer.  (I.e., a white flower bulb put back into a red bulb bin.)

This year, everything worked perfectly.  This is the double-flowering “Cherry Nymph” by  The flowers are easily 7″ across.  I was lucky to have two stalks, each with four flowers so the bulb has been blooming for a good two to three weeks.  What a treat.

The orange/red color is just spectacular and in the sun there appear to be sparkles in the petals.

After probably 20 years, this has got to be my favorite:

Amaryllis 12-26-13

Four days from now the buds will begin to fade which is why we love flowers.  They’re fleeting and they force us to appreciate them and soak in their beauty before they’re gone.

Hey, I’m thinkin’ we could learn a thing or two from flowers.

Anyway, gorgeous or what, huh?


December 26, 2013 at 7:10 PM 2 comments

Meet Puya Chilensis, the “Sheep-Eating Plant”

Mother Nature is amazing:

Sheep-Eating Plant via

(Image via the

A South American plant with a 10ft (3m) tall flower spike is about to bloom in a Surrey glasshouse for the first time since it was planted 15 years ago.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) at Wisley said the Puya chilensis, a native of Chile, would bloom in the next few days and last about a week.

In the Andes it uses its sharp spines to snare and trap sheep and other animals, which slowly starve to death.

The animals then decay at the base of the plant, acting as a fertiliser.

The RHS feeds its specimen on liquid fertiliser.


That’s one brilliant plant.


June 21, 2013 at 2:46 PM 4 comments

Calling all Gardeners — Great Idea for Gardening With Shipping Pallets

It’s break time — time to think about gardening.  Woohoo!

I like most of this idea:   Shipping Pallet Garden Wows Visitors at the Canada Blooms Garden Festival.

Check out the photos (link above).  This is the part of the project I love:

(1)  Turning pallets into a garden wall, like this:

You wouldn’t necessarily have to use this many pallets; you could use one or two.  You could paint them if you wanted or let them weather.  I imagine them used either as a planting platform maybe up against a fence, with potted plants stuck randomly among the slats and/or as a privacy screen, again with plants scattered about.

And (2), I love the look and feel of this “room:”

Again, this could be modified but I can see how using pallets to frame a seating area in a corner of the garden (or even smack dab in the middle) would be so cozy.  Imagine vines growing all over the wood.

I’m going to have to think on this and see if I can figure out how to do something with pallets in my yard.

Really like the look and the possibilities.

March 27, 2012 at 4:00 PM 2 comments

Organic Weed Killer — Calling All Gardeners!

OMG, I am not kidding.  I am so excited about this news:  Looking for a harmless, organic, weed killer that actually works?  Me too, and I have been for literally decades, and there really is one:  Vinegar!

I have a Master Gardener certificate from Colorado State University and I have Never.  Heard.  This.  Kinda goes to show how much the Ortho’s of the world control the information, doesn’t it?

Anyway, yes.  Put regular, full-strength, old-fashioned, white, grocery store-grade vinegar in a spray bottle, spray your weeds and They.  Will.  Die.

Spray on a day when no rain is forecast and preferably on a day when no rain is forecast for the next two or three days.

I learned this info from an acquaintance on Sunday and promptly came home and sprayed an area in our xeriscaped front yard that is covered in cobble but through which hundreds of tiny little weeds were poking their heads. I dreaded getting down there and pulling them out but I refused to use something like Roundup because I care about stuff like ground water, bees, birds and frankly, myself.

Today, 48-hours later, those pesky buggers (along with some mounds of clover) are shriveling up.

I am thrilled and I’m telling everyone I know.

I may need to apply another coat but heck, so what?  I don’t feel the least bit guilty and I don’t imagine cancer instantaneously forming in my body if I accidentally inhale a whiff.

Try it.  It really works!

May 3, 2011 at 2:58 PM 1 comment

Time to Make This Happen Again



Yes I can.  Yes I can…

March 21, 2011 at 10:51 PM Leave a comment

Autumn is Coming!

Love that the Sun’s rays are extending farther and farther into the house as autumn approaches and the Sun moves south.  My sun-loving plants — who’ve been waiting patiently — are loving it too.


August 14, 2010 at 6:04 PM Leave a comment

Genetically Modified Seeds Have Got to Go

Kudos to those who were right about the potential dangers of genetically modified (GM) plants. Too bad they didn’t listen, though we know why they didn’t.  As always, it was all about the money (and lobbyists):

Genetically Modified Crop on the Loose and Evolving in the U.S. Midwest:

Outside a grocery store in Langdon, N.D., two ecologists spotted a yellow canola plant growing on the margins of a parking lot this summer. They plucked it, ground it up and, using a chemical stick similar to those in home pregnancy kits, identified proteins that were made by artificially introduced genes. The plant was GM — genetically modified.


Escaped populations of such transgenic plants have generally died out quickly without continual replenishment from stray farm seeds in places such as Canada, but canola is capable of hybridizing with at least two—and possibly as many as eight—wild weed species in North America, including field mustard (Brassica rapa), which is a known agricultural pest. “Not only is it going to jump out of cultivation; there are sexually compatible weeds all over North America,” Sagers says. Adds ecologist-in-training Meredith Schafer of U.A., who led the research, “It becomes a weed [farmers] can’t control.”

Where I live, along the front range of the Rocky Mountains, we’re being overrun by invasive plants.  I see pleas in my local newspaper all the time calling for volunteers to help pull things like knapweed, which is crowding out native plants.

So, great. Now we have a GM plant that’s mutating and doing who knows what.

Thanks Monsanto.

August 7, 2010 at 7:03 PM 2 comments

33% of U.S. Bee Colonies Fail to Survive the Winter

This is huge:  Fears for Crops as Shock Figures From America Show Scale of Bee Catastrophe.

The world may be on the brink of biological disaster after news that a third of US bee colonies did not survive the winter.

Disturbing evidence that honeybees are in terminal decline has emerged from the United States where, for the fourth year in a row, more than a third of colonies have failed to survive the winter.

The decline of the country’s estimated 2.4 million beehives began in 2006, when a phenomenon dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD) led to the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of colonies. Since then more than three million colonies in the US and billions of honeybees worldwide have died and scientists are no nearer to knowing what is causing the catastrophic fall in numbers.

The number of managed honeybee colonies in the US fell by 33.8% last winter, according to the annual survey by the Apiary Inspectors of America and the US government’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS).

The collapse in the global honeybee population is a major threat to crops. It is estimated that a third of everything we eat depends upon honeybee pollination, which means that bees contribute some £26 [$39.7 billion] bn to the global economy.

I look at my neighbor’s darling, 1-1/2-year-old grandson and wonder what the world will be like when he’s 20, much less my age.

May 2, 2010 at 3:15 PM Leave a comment

Planting Tomatoes

My husband is working in the garden; preparing the soil and setting up “Walls-O-Water.”  He bought some tomato plants today that he’s going to plant tomorrow.  One of the varieties is called “Mortgage Lifter.”

We hope it will be VERY prolific!


April 18, 2010 at 5:13 PM Leave a comment

Insane Weather

Yesterday I was outside, raking leaves off my perennial beds.  It was sunny and the temperature was 67º.  Today I crossed my fingers and made my way — barely — back and forth to my volunteer job at the food bank.  The temperature is 29º, we have 11′ of snow on the ground and it’s still coming down — near white-out conditions at times.


March 19, 2010 at 4:24 PM Leave a comment


What a great way to soften a huge expanse of concrete.

October 2, 2009 at 8:40 AM Leave a comment

Treason! — Per Fox News — Clean Air Will Destroy the Country

Yesterday the House of Representatives passed a “sweeping energy and climate bill” which would,

for the first time usher in widespread government restrictions on greenhouse gases and help renewable energy become cost competitive with fossil fuels.

Fox’s response?

Treason energy bill 6-27

The “folks” at Fox are on your side?  Think again.  It’s about:  Money.  Power.  Corporations.  Money.  Lobbyist.  Crushing We the People.  Money.  Union?  Health care?  No!  Money.  You and me = “industrial base” = dumb fucks.  Powerless = good.  Money.  They want us to feel hopeless.  Power.   Money.  We should be happy breathing soot! Money.  Power:  Not!  Sit down.  Shut up.

June 27, 2009 at 3:32 PM 1 comment

I’m Off to the Garden


It stopped raining. Yehey!

June 11, 2009 at 9:04 PM

Cabin Fever

I swear it’s been raining for a month where I live in Colorado.  Had about 20 minutes of large-ish hail just now — grape size — for the second time this spring (not a good sign), but thankfully the leaves are still on the trees.

I am so sick of this!  Come July we’ll be parched and battling wildfires due to the extra-tall, dense and dry prairie grass that flourished because of it.  Oy.

Update:  Tornadoes spotted in the northern suburbs of Denver.

June 9, 2009 at 6:38 PM

Roofs as Gardens

I had a dentist appointment this afternoon (no cavities, no oral cancer).  While waiting to be called to The Chair, I leafed through the May, 2009 issue of the National Geographic magazine and came across this articled titled, “Green Roofs.”  It’s about how the roof tops of buildings in cities around the world are being transformed from ugly dark oasises of asphalt into glorious gardens, both ornamental and vegetable. Here’s the gallery of photographs that accompanied the article.

Since I expected to be called at any moment, I didn’t read much of the text but one thing I did learn is that in Switzerland, it’s mandatory that foliage be planted on all new, flat roofs.  Pretty cool.  (Oops, never mind, we can’t have that, because that would be socialism or communism or something like that, right?)

Anyway, enjoy.

May 21, 2009 at 5:40 PM Leave a comment

Tell the Pesticide Companies to Drop Dead

After all, they don’t mind if we do.  Please consider signing this petition telling them that it’s just find with you, thank you very much, if Michelle Obama’s White House garden is organic and pesticide-free.

These guys are just about as out of touch as Wall Street bankers.

(Hat tip, NA.)

April 17, 2009 at 3:31 PM Leave a comment

Jonathan Singer’s Botanica Magnifica

Jonathan Singer was a guest today on CBS’ “Sunday Morning.”

He’s a mid-50-ish guy, a podiatrist by trade, who is obsessed with taking intimate, exquisite pictures of flowers.  Take a minute or two to feast on his sumptuous photographs here.

The site is slow but it’s worth the wait.  Click on “Collections” and scroll down (left side) through the beautiful images.  Pay attention to the detail –  the cells, veins, pollen pods and stamens (etc.) that he captures.  Sublime.

April 12, 2009 at 10:06 PM 1 comment

QVC as Predatory Television

Every once in a while, especially after I’ve had the kind of day that makes me want to have flat brainwaves, I surf over to QVC to see what they’re doing.  The gardening shows crack me up, the way they tempt viewers with fully mature, three foot tall, bushy, wildly blooming perennials that were grown under absolutely perfect conditions whereas what you get when you place an order is a tiny sprig in a 2″ paper pot.

Right now they’re airing an “EternaGold” show featuring a bangle bracelet for – get this – $848.00 to $919.00, depending on the size.  This gets to me.  I imagine lonely people, drunk people, people who had no intention of spending almost $1,000 on a piece of jewelry today (that’s something one thinks about in advance, IMHO) regretting it tomorrow or when the bill comes.  I think this kind of thing is essentially predatory television.  It prays on our credit oriented, shopaholic society.

I’m not as articulate about this as I’d like to be because I’m conflicted.  Obviously, QVC has a right to exist but I feel so sorry for the people who are seduced into spending that kind of money, on the spur of the moment, without ever expecting to do so.

April 3, 2009 at 7:54 PM Leave a comment

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