Made to Order Holiday Outdoor Container

Are you ready for the holidays! I’m now taking orders for made-to-order holiday outdoor containers.

I’d love to make you a holiday container like this one!

The cost for the container includes the pot, soil, live greenery, some extras like lotus pods, red dogwood twigs, and/or dried hydrangea blooms, a ribbon in your choice of colors (red, red white green, silver, burlap, or blue colors), and delivery in Lexington. Cost $125 plus tax

Container should last until beginning of January. These are made to order, so put your order in soon and I can have them made in a few days.

You can choose some add ins: 3 white birch logs $30, faux red holly berries $10, pinecones $10, magnolia leaves $50, cotton stems $40, or decorations like a mini sign, Santa, reindeer, bird, bells, etc. $10-$25. If there is something specific you’re looking for, let me know and I can give you a quote.

IMG_1268IMG_1269

DIY Foaming Handsoap

I use natural soaps and cleaning supplies around my house, but many pre-made natural soaps can be costly. Some of these I’ve seen are $5 and $7 a bottle or more.  Some also claim to be ‘green’ while still containing harmful ingredients. The best part is when you can easily make your own natural products for little cost.

I’m going to share with you a way to make your own all natural hand soap very inexpensively. Once you have the ingredients on hand, you can make the soap at home as you need it instead of running out to the store. You no longer will feel the urge to stock up on soap when it’s on sale either. Plus, you’ll be reducing the amount of packaging entering and exiting the waste stream.

Foaming hand soap uses 5 times less soap than gel hand soaps since water is mixed in with the soap. This is another reason why the foaming hand soap is frugal. The soap works great too. Always gardening, I’m constantly washing a lot of soil off my hands and to me this soap gets the dirt off easier.

Purchasing the ingredients will take cost upfront, but once you have them they’ll last a really long time.

The first part is figuring out the bottle you want to use. You can simply reuse a foaming hand soap bottle/pump you already have, save the pump and outfit one onto a mason jar, or purchase these foaming soap dispensers you screw on a mason jar.

I recently purchased these foaming pumps by Jarmazing Products and so far they have worked well. I like them because I can use them with a glass jar I already have, like the quart size mason jars, which I don’t have to refill it as often. It also looks nice and I like a heavier glass jar instead of plastic. The investment for this bottle was less than $5.

You will need:

I like the scents rosemary, peppermint, lemon, lavender, and eucalyptus a lot. Mix and match for a custom scent you really like.

You basically want to keep a 5 part water/1 part soap ratio.

The recipe I used for a quart size mason jar:

  • 24 oz water (3 Cups)
  • 4 TBS liquid castille soap in almond scent
  • 1 tsp almond oil
  • 20-40 drops lavender essential oil

For a pint jar or smaller bottle, half or third the recipe.

Directions

  • First add the water to the bottle, this is important so the soap won’t foam.
  • Pour in the soap, and then the oils.
  • Don’t shake. I gently stirred the mixture to blend the oils.

I like this recipe even more than foaming soaps I’ve bought because the soap feels better and not as drying. With this recipe you can make a cup of hand soap for around $0.50, more or less!

 

 

Plant By Numbers Project & Art Exhibit

This summer LFUCG released the ‘Plant By Numbers’ program for citizens who want beautiful, pollinator friendly garden along a stream bank. There are 12 gardens to choose from and are divided by sunlight requirements, garden dimensions, and color palettes.

They all feature native plants which are better suited for the environment, stabilize banks with their root systems, benefit pollinators, and create colorful pretty gardens.

EARTHeim’s part in the program is designing the 12 gardens and the planting plans.

You may visit the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government’s website to view and download the templates.

On Friday, August 17th 5:30-7:30pm, there will be an opening reception for the ‘Paint By Nature’ art exhibit. The exhibit will feature local artist’s artwork of LFUCG Department of Environmental Services greenway projects in Fayette County.

The exhibit will run through October 21st at the Downtown Arts Center.

Tree Care Means Healthy Trees

Some trees can live healthy lives even with some damage to them. Certain species can be more resilient than others, like oak trees for example. Some trees can receive only slight damage and decline very easily.

There are often clear indicators that a tree is unhealthy. This can be evident with obvious damage to the bark, pruning cuts, dead branches, irregular growth, or discolorations on leaves. Other signals of neglect can be weed eater damage, no mulch ring, improper mulching, weeds around the base of the tree, and more.

Trees have to battle a lot. They have to withstand competition from other plants, weather, diseases, pests, and humans. On the human side of things, trees may be planted where they don’t want to be, be planted at the wrong depth, and staked or pruned incorrectly. All of these stressors can show up in different ways.

Trees stand out in our landscapes; when we see a nice tree it can really create a magical sense of place. When we see a tree in bad health, we may start to feel bad, uncomfortable in the space, or we may pass judgement on its caretaker.

Here are some examples of trees that have been neglected. Trees like this are seen all too common in landscapes. This may be due to a lack of resources like funding, knowledge, or intent. However, any tree is better than no tree.

IMG_9735
KY Dept of Revenue Grounds

Identifying a tree can start with observing its shape from a distance. This one may be hard to identify this way from its irregular shape. What is the story behind this tree?

IMG_9736
KY Dept of Revenue Grounds

This tree is a white oak with many trunks. Oaks should have just one main trunk. The many trunks of this tree is a signal this tree has endured some type of stress.

IMG_9737
KY Dept of Revenue Grounds

From this image you can see that the tree has been topped, perhaps even several times. Topping is a practice of pruning that cuts off the top of the tree in a drastic way, stunting its growth.

IMG_9738
KY Dept of Revenue Grounds

In response to the topping, this tree is growing suckers. Suckering is a growth response of the tree to try and save itself. Topping reduced the tree’s size. However, the root system stayed the same, which means it still provides the same amount of energy to the tree. This energy has caused new stems sprouting very rapidly.

If you’ve looked closely at the photos, you can also see poison ivy vine on the tree. While poison ivy berries are a great nutrition source for birds, it is a safety hazard to let it grow on trees in public spaces.

Vines growing on trees can easily kill the tree. Allowing vines grow on trees in wooded areas is okay, since that vine (native vines, not invasive ones) offers value to the biodiversity of the area. However, allowing vines to grow on trees we want in the landscape, may not be a good practice since the vine can eventually kill a tree.

IMG_9734
KY Dept of Revenue Grounds

This tree looks in bad condition. Many branches have been lost due any type of reason, some which may have been preventable. This tree is also suckering at the base of the tree in response to loosing those branches.

IMG_9733
KY Dept of Revenue Grounds

This tree could have died for a number of reasons, but the pruning cuts are an indication that it has struggled for a while.

While these trees are not in good health, they are better than having no trees at all. They may still offer food for wildlife (oaks are the best!), habitat and shelter, space for nesting birds, shade, wind break, and carbon sequestration. From this perspective, removing them would be worse if no other tree was planted in its place.

However, healthy trees are always the best. Unhealthy looking trees on a property doesn’t create a pleasant or inviting space. As a general rule, for every tree removed in a landscape, three should be planted in its place.

When a tree dies, it’s not all bad. Ones left standing (snags) provide good things to the environment by creating habitats for many animals and insects, like birds. As long as they aren’t a safety hazard, it is better for wildlife to leave them standing. Dead trees on the ground eventually break down into humus, providing good things for the soil.

 

 

Storing Strawberries for Long Shelf Life

I’m not sure how many times I’ve bought strawberries, only to discover they’ve started to mold in a day to two.

Moisture increases mold time. So the key to storing strawberries is to reduce moisture.

Try this method of storing them. It only takes a minute to do after the trip to the market.

#1- Don’t wash the strawberries.

  • First, choose a wide/long container as you have.
  • I’ve really like using the Rubbermaid Freshworks Food Storage line. They have a tray in the bottom which allows moisture to fall to the bottom, preventing contact with the produce. They also have a vent in the lid to help with air flow. I also use them for lettuce, grapes, cherries, green onions, herbs.
  • Line the container with a paper towel.
  • Loosely place a layer of strawberries in the bottom.
  • Place another paper towel over top, then another layer of strawberries.

Having less layers will help reduce the strawberries on the bottom getting too much moisture (why having a wide/long container helps).

The paper towels help absorb moisture.

Using this method sometimes strawberries will keep up to 2 weeks.

IMG_0987

%d bloggers like this: