Front yard in January

Amy Stewart’s blog states:  Sure, it’s easy to post a picture of the garden in June, when everything’s looking glorious. But what about January?

That’s so true. In Spring & Summer, my camera seems to willingly follow me out every time I work in the garden. In winter, there is still a stark simple, beauty that is a constant reminder of the lushness and new growth to come.

Looking ahead to spring, we will spend more time going through all our saved seeds and organizing things a bit. Over the weekend, we planted more seeds (peas, chard, celery, hollyhocks and more) and placed them in on the two long shelves that run along the southern sunny side of the house. 

We also took cuttings from older plants to have new stock this coming year and also a few cuttings from plants we’d like a few more of.   To root the cuttings we put them in small pots filled with wet sand. We aren’t too particular about dipping them in rooting hormone.

We figure the ones that grow are the strongest plants.    If we need to stimulate growth in cuttings that are hard to root, we brew up some“willow water” Willow trees are some of the easiest plants to propagate and hormones found in willows can be used to help promote root growth in other plants. Willow water is a concentrated solution of these hormones.

To mix up a batch of willow water, simply cut a few stems of willow branches about the diameter of a pencil that are green and supple. Then cut the branches into 1 inch pieces and smash them with a hammer. Next, bring a pot of water to a boil, drop the willow stems into the water and remove from the heat. Allow the mixture to steep, stirring occasionally. Once cooled, it is ready to use. Dip the ends of the plant cuttings you want to root into the solution before dropping them into the jar of water or pots of soil.

In addition to using willow water for rooting cuttings, you can also pour it around young transplants to help accelerate their root development.


Inspired by our trip to help out devastated New Orleans, our friend and neighbor has been volunteering her services this past week. Having a love of animals, it was her mission to help in animal rescue operations.   She told of her work rescuing and burying a few of the thousands of abandoned animals in the ravaged city.   I wanted to know what things were like since our visiting back in November, and unfortunately she confirmed the slow rebuilding process. She was in disbelief that parts of the city are still deserted and she has been overwhelmed by the suffering and destruction. It’s been an emmotional time for her, but as with us, she said that “I’m glad I went.”

New Orleans has been changed forever. This is a fact. Most of the city has been destroyed and rebuilding it to the exact way it was pre-Katrina looks to be impossible. Many of its residents are scattered across the country longing to return to the life that they once had. But that life is over, and it doesn’t seem as if it will ever come back.

This city was unique. It was an amalgam created by time, economics, heat, neglect and the cultural past of its residents. A single individual did not create it; no one had this as a dream. There was no master plan. It created itself. That is why putting it back together will be very difficult. … The next wave of hurricane related deaths is beginning to appear. These deaths are due not to the actual hurricane but rather to its aftermath. How do you cope with a life destroyed in a flash? Where do you find peace in the chaos? To many people here thoughts of suicide are not uncommon. Our lives are emotional roller coasters, constantly swinging between highs and lows. Unfortunately some people aren’t experiencing the highs; they are caught in an emotional free fall.

{Courtesy “Inside the Bowl blog: Life in New Orleans}

No Comments

  1. Maya says:

    I feel very bad for New Orleans. Thanks for sharing it here…as I’m Indonesian, the aftermath story of Aceh after tsunami is also heartbreaking…my mom was just there to visit and to buy me some Aceh’s coffees for my shop, and she told me that there’s not much developement after a year of the event. Loads and loads of money pourred in from generous people around the world, but all that does not seem to effect much in Aceh. In fact, my mom told me that there are some foreigners there ‘enjoying’ their lives there on the benefit of donors’ money…how terrible that is. I believe that people working together can make big things to happen even re-building something that’s totally destroyed but it takes everything to do that…I hope that people in those affected areas around the world didn’t lose hopes. I can only hope…it is very very difficult I know.

    Nice winter garden, Anais..:-) Ciao

  2. Sandy says:

    Wow! Like Amy said. Your garden is gorgeous…even in January.

  3. Anais says:

    Hi Maya

    Thank you for sharing your story of the situation in Asia. What a shame to hear about the lack of progress. Our thoughts and prayers and with those who have been affected by such tremendous disasters all over the world.

    We need more BONO’S !

  4. Anais says:

    Thank you Sandy for the comments. Much of it has to do with the fact that we live in such a mild climate. 😉