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Life is a Garden: A Mother’s Day Tradition to Grow On

IN THE May 5 ISSUE

FROM THE 2012 Articles,
andGoing Green
SECTIONS

by Pat Eby

What better way to show mom how much you care than with flowers? You don’t need to spend a fortune for a dozen roses artfully arranged in a charming vase. Visit your local nursery, home store or dollar store and come away with flowers from the heart.

Here’s what we bought for under six dollars:
• a six-pack of sunny yellow and orange ruffled marigolds
• 1 super-sized packet of nasturtium seeds
• 4 value seed packets, one of morning glory, 1 cosmos and 2 varieties of zinnias at the dollar store–only a quarter for each
• 1 envelope of mammoth sunflower seeds

The seeds and flowers do double-duty as table decorations for mom’s special breakfast. Planting them will be a fun activity for the whole family on mom’s big day.

Let’s start with the table centerpiece because big and little folks alike enjoy craft projects.

Box of Flowers Centerpiece

You’ll need:
• scissors
• invisible tape
• glue sticks or white glue
• a small recycled cardboard box or clean cardboard take-out container
• magazine or seed catalog pictures of flowers
• recycled ribbons or bows

1. Cut flowers from magazines or seed catalogs to cover the box with flowers. You could use stickers as well.
2. Glue flowers to the box with glue sticks. You can leave a little cardboard showing through.
3. Allow the box to dry. Affix ribbons or bow to the box and place flowers, still in their nursery pots, inside the box. You can add colored tissue or cellophane if you like.

Save the Seed Packets

We want to use the colorful seed packets for place cards on mom’s day, so first step, save the packets by following these directions:
• Turn the packets upside down and tap the seeds to the top. Cut across the bottom in a straight line, taking off an eighth of an inch from each packet.
• Empty each packet of seeds into an envelope or container on which you’ve written the seed name.
• Put the empty seed packets with the craft supplies.

Readying Things for Planting

Next, we’ll ready the seeds for planting, which can be a fun family activity. First, the nasturtiums, morning glory and sunflower seeds. They grow best in an area where you get full sun at least six hours a day. They don’t like to be transplanted, so you’ll sow them directly into prepared pots or flower beds. Even small children can handle these bigger seeds, but adults will need to prepare the nasturtiums and morning glories for best germination.

Nasturtiums:
• place the seeds in a shallow dish
• cover with lukewarm water and soak them overnight, not longer than 24 hours

Morning Glory:
• the tough outer coating on morning glory seeds requires a tiny nick with a sharp knife
• once nicked, treat morning glories to a long soak, following the same directions as for nasturtiums

The zinnias and cosmos can also be planted directly into the ground, but the seeds are a little small. Homemade seed tape or planting squares makes planting small seeds easier, and doesn’t take much work or time.
• ‘glue’ small seeds, spaced according to directions on the packet, onto strips of toilet paper or squares of paper towels with a flour and water paste
• the sheets and strips are then covered with dirt to the depth of the packet directions

The internet provides good videos and articles for both methods, so follow the links at the end of this article for more information on making them.

Bloomin’ Family Place Cards

You’ll need:
• colored card stock or construction paper
• color copies of photos of each family member smaller than the seed packets
• scissors
• glue
• invisible tape
• empty seed packets, cut open across the bottom

1. Find paper colors that complement your centerpiece. Trace around the seed packets on sheets of colored card stock or construction paper and cut out the rectangles.
2. Glue each family member’s photos to the paper. Glue the finished pieces to the back of the seed packets.
3. Cut twice the number of pieces as packets from card stock 7-inches long and ½-inch wide for the stand. Tape or glue two strips together for a double thickness. Fold the strips in the center crosswise to make a v-shaped stand when opened out.
4. Cut two slits in the seed packets 3/4-inch from each long edge, just over 1/2-inch deep.
5. Fit the seed packet into the slits and stand it up with photos first facing the plates on the table. Once everyone has taken their places, turn the photos inward so mom can enjoy looking at all the faces.

Directions for homemade seed tape and check out this site too and check this youtube video for square-foot seed tape.

Pat Eby pieces together a patchwork life, following her passions to write, make art, garden, cook and cultivate friends. Visit her blog, for ideas to live well and spend less. Pat Eby, A Food Writer Skinnies Up, explores weight loss and healthy eating.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Sandy MurphyNo Gravatar May 5, 2012 at 11:57am

Nice job! You’ve got a green thumb and inventive mind.

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