Garden Gnome Ecosystems

Creating a sustainable system for gnomes to play in.

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Painted succulents

I’m back. And I have a new plan. Picture posts with a maximum of three sentences once a week. Recipes and plant care tips when I learn something exciting.

I’m making an exception to the rule of three sentences this time.

Spray painted leaves = no photosynthesis. Spray painted succulents = plant abuse.

Sad rescued aloe with much spray paint removed, acquired today for $1.


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Mountain Farming

A couple months ago, when I could hardly stand to think about another 5 years of university, a job posting showed up on my Facebook newsfeed. And on a whim, I applied, thinking that this job might be a great way to find out if the farmer’s life is a life for me.

Next thing I knew I was on a train. I slept through the trek across the prairies, and woke up just in time to watch all the trees go by on our way through the mountains.

Jasper train station

I got to stretch my legs in Jasper. Nice, after 15 hours on a train.


The train stopped in the middle of the bridge over lake something-something (I was sleepy, and it was hard to remember all the lakes we passed). The guy fishing on a board must have had incredible balance.

Now I’ve been in the mountains for a week, living in a renovated bus and pulling weeds.

In the evenings and early mornings I eat wild strawberries and try to get to know the wildflowers.

IMG_1495 IMG_1496 IMG_1494 IMG_1493 wild rose IMG_1491 tiger lily

This morning I helped two spiders out of the bus – one before breakfast, one right after. At night I listen to the wind tear around the stove-pipe and rattle the doors.

Every morning I eat a big bowl of oats with nuts and seeds and fresh strawberries on top. And then I pull weeds, and top-dress plants, and pick strawberries, and pick rocks. I’m not sure yet, but the farmer’s life might be the life for me.


Life Unfurled

It’s funny how our lives are reflected in nature sometimes. I’ve been tired, cranky and withdrawn for a few months. As much as I kept hoping that the ferns would pop up, they didn’t come. The little bumps that I knew were fronds in the making refused to unfurl. Yesterday I finished all my coursework for the year, and switched from school me to garden planning me. And there they were.

There were a few other plants coming into bloom too, so you get pictures of those too. Except rhubarb. It doesn’t bloom. So you get pictures of crinkly leaves and grass that needs to be pulled.







I’m ready for a more open season in life.

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I’m tempted to apply an Instagram filter, and caption the photo with something like #red #blackcenters #tulip #spring #grow #pretty #sobright #etc…

Anyways, tulips for your viewing pleasure. And for my digital garden notes: “today the tulips bloomed, and I thought about turning the compost.”


Happy Wednesday all.


Signs of Life on the Outside

I should have ventured further than the snowbank blocking my path yesterday. If I had, I’d have found all of this:

A tiny asparagus shoot.

Chives, coming up much more quickly than the ones in my windowsill.

Onions of some perennial variety, transplanted last summer from an Aunt’s overwhelmed garden.

A few tiny iris leaves.

Of course, tulips. It must be spring.

Hello spring. You’re a month late, but I’ll take it.


Scenes from the First of May

We turned a page in the SCIC Global Action Calendar.

How ’bout a meat free Mother’s Day feast?

Spring arrived better than a month ago, right?


It snowed again yesterday.

At least there are signs of life inside:

The first seedlings for the windowsills. It’s a thicket of lettuce sprouts! Surely I’m not the only one who can’t be bothered to place every little lettuce seed into a perfectly spaced formation…

The first seedling for the garden! It’s a baby Roma!

Also, new critters arrived today.

Here is the worm house, awaiting their arrival:

I shredded the first 5 newspapers by hand.  And then my husband bought me a shredder.

The latest addition to our family of critters has arrived. They were wiggling away from the sun, sorry about the terrible photo.

Hopefully they survive…

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Tomatoes and Peppers

So, I started seeds yesterday. Two and a half weeks late. And then it snowed. Who wants to start seeds when there’s at least four feet of snow left in the garden and it’s still snowing?

tomato and pepper seeds

Seeds (cheap grocery store varieties, and one lovely locally grown heirloom variety), along with my compostable pots – a few peat pots and pellets (*cringe*) from a couple years ago, and my lazily peeled toilet paper rolls.


planted seeds, tucked in with my oddball recycling, and leveled with the latest issue of the Prairie Dog

Planted seeds, tucked in with my oddball recycling, and leveled with the latest issue of the Prairie Dog.  The last of my unsustainable peat pellets and pots.  From now on, it’s newspaper pots and toilet paper rolls.

They’re all fairly quick to mature, so given that they sprout, my cat doesn’t eat the seedlings, and they survive the transplanting and sub-par soil in my garden, I should be able to get a decent crop this year.  We’ll be overrun with tomatoes from family anyways, so I guess I shouldn’t worry too much. We’ll make salsa. Om nom nom salsa in the fall: the garden blog will come full circle.

basking in the warmth of a sunny window

Seeds basking in the warmth of a sunny window.

Did I mention that the sun finally came out in full force today, and I’m starting to find my sidewalk under the “we gave-up shoveling in Februaruy” snow?