Archives for category: Gardening

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brilliant echinacea flowers in front of a nice patch of mint

Is mint taking over your garden?  Here is one way to use it up.

* Take a good fist full of mint from the garden
* Coarsely chop it with scissors and put the mint into a shaker or jar
* Add a little gin to the shaker. Add 3 ice cubes and juice of a lime
* Shake vigorously to bruise the mint. Allow to sit and infuse as long as you can stand (at least 2 minutes)
* Strain into a glass filled with ice
* Top with tonic water or sparkling water, stir, voila!

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal

hello lemon balm, mint and friends!

I like to go for coffee with friends a couple times a week.  These are always important times for me where I am able to relax and unwind and just be with my buds.   When you live in a city and you have such a small apartment that your living room is also your dining room, entertainment centre, arts and crafts room, library and home office, it feels good to get out and embrace the perks of living in a city by going to a favourite coffee shop.

Last week, I was at a famously ubiquitous coffee shop with my friend.  She wanted neither coffee nor tea; she wanted a smoothie.  The problem was that the smoothie cost over $5 once the taxes were included! And that was the ‘prepared’ smoothie; the ‘fresh’ deluxe one was upwards of seven. Yikes. My friend and I go for coffee a couple times a week.  $5 per occasion makes for $10 a week.  Do this around  40 weeks a year, and it all adds up to about $400.  This is a lot of mooola for a few leaves infused in water, a couple percolated beans or a cup of juice and blended fruits.  This calculation is not something new to me. I read about the Latte Factor a couple years ago in a book by David Bach; it still shocks me to figure out the annual expenses for some things.

After feeling a little soured over the high cost of smoothies, my friend suggested that we bring a snack and a thermos containing some sort of drink to a park.  I think this is a great idea, particularly in the summer when Montreal’s parks are so beautiful.

So, this week we are going to try it.  We will enjoy an hour in the park instead of going to the coffee shop.  I can’t rule out coffee shops all together, because they are weather-proof places for me to expand my space.  That said, parks are apart of my space too. I can enjoy fine company in an equally pleasant park as many times as my friends and I wish to do so throughout the summer and into the fall.

To accompany this economical twist to our tradition, here is the recipe for what I am going to bring to our tea-time in the park. It is practically free!

Almost Free Tea

Go to the garden and fill a 1 litre jar with several handfuls of lemon balm, mint and other leaves you can identify as leaves suitable for tea (don’t be a hero and pick something you sort of, kind of recognize… only pick the ones you really know!  🙂 .  Pour a litre of boiling water over the leaves and allow to steep for 15 minutes.  Strain the leaves and allow the tea to cool.  Add a little honey and/or a squeeze of lemon to the tea.  Pour into a thermos filled with ice.  Bring the thermos to a park and enjoy with friends.

*If you do not have a garden or cannot identify plants, then choose a pre-packaged dried tea that you enjoy. I suggest a tangy one made with hibiscus.

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal.

at the Jardin Botanique in Montreal

Last weekend was the Great Gardening Weekend at the Jardin Botanique.  At this fair, there were many booths featuring cool products, rare plants, native plants, organizations and information.  Highlights for me included a chat with the guy who has been in charge of the Japanese and American bonsai specimens in the garden for quite some time and a chat with Marie from Urbain Culteurs about bee keeping in the city.

It set me back $12 to get into the garden because I did not have an Access Montreal Card.  And since I paid to get into the garden, I decided to walk around and check out what was blooming right now.  I walked through the lilacs in the arboretum.  If you love lilacs, and you live in Montreal, I suggest that you get to the garden sometime in the next few days.  All the trees are in full bloom and it is positively wonderful to walk amongst so many lilacs.

If you want to see more of the garden, purchase an Access Montreal Card for $8 and you will have unlimited access to the garden for most of the year.  You can also purchase a garden pass for $21 and have even more access to the garden.  Check this out, it is  a good way to go.

taking time to smell the flowers

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal.

may 21 at the jardin communautaire ste-catherine

Tammy Schmidt, Montreal.

 

egg cartons take a pause before hitting the recycling bin, to nurture my little green pals

 

I am a proud mama… not only to a cat, but to a vast number of tiny, green lives. This year I started my garden indoors. I was waiting to find out which plot I was allocated in the Community Garden, so I couldn’t plant outside.

baby oregano... awwwww!

I took a couple of egg cartons, a small bag of dirt, and a selection of organic seeds to start lavender, coriander, oregano, basil, tomatoes, arugula, parsley, and peppers. I will plant my carrots directly in the earth, as they require more root room!

widdle baybee tomatoes, hea-wooooah!

My plants are keening towards the sun… but I think the when they’re outdoors they’ll manage to straighten up. I am really looking forward to growing, tending, caring for, and harvesting these little guys. I’ll be careful to collect seeds, too!

 
Natasha Henderson, Montreal

Today’s the day… time for an early harvest of my tiny sprouts! I know I could grow them for two or three more days, but I am anxious to give them a taste. Tonight they will find their cute little way into a mixed salad.

about to leave their glass home for the free-living lifestyle of a salad

I will immediately “plant” more in the jar. In a day or two I’ll start another jar’s worth of sprouts, so that I will have sprouts ready every couple of days.

little pals, eager to nourish? I hope so

In the future, I’ll have two or three different sorts of sprouts, and do this staggered method of germination and harvesting with all of them. I’ll refine the system, and try to set it up to look nice, too.

I love sprouts! Gardening you don’t need to put on shoes or a coat for…

Natasha Henderson, Montreal

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