Here in St. Louis, folks often quote Mark Twain as having once opined: If you don't like the weather in Missouri, just wait a few minutes.
Sharing the wonders of nature and a love of gardening with children is easy with Usborne Books & More. A division of Educational Development Corporation that also includes Kane Miller books, Usborne Books & More is a line of titles made available through independent consultants directly to consumers. They are not sold in stores, but through these small business owners. I am one of these small business owners. I became a consultant because I am passionate about spreading literacy to as many families as I can, but also because I truly love these books. My family are avid nature lovers, and I was looking for books that could keep my two young girls engaged and spark in them a love of nature and learning. An Usborne title Peek Inside The Garden got us started on our journey. It is now available in this boxed set with other wonderful titles of the same series. From there it was easy for us to continue building on what our girls had already learned from this first title to so many more available through Usborne Books & More. Here are just a few current titles the children in your life will grow to love.
We received our third conservation award this summer - this time from the organization Wild Ones, which promotes native plant gardening. They've designated our yard a Native Plant Butterfly Garden. We're now part of a network of gardens providing needed habitat for butterflies across the United States.
There's nothing so hopeful as an early spring flower, defiantly emerging out of the deadened winter landscape and signaling a renewal of green. Here in the St. Louis area, that usually means daffodils. These cheery trumpets sound in early March to lift our collective spirits and zing us with the energy of the season of growth.
We're excited to share that our garden has been designated as a Monarch Waystation by the non-profit Monarch Watch.
Anthony and I attended the St. Louis Native Plant Tour for the first time this year. It was a masked, socially-distanced, outdoor (of course) affair in early June, with a wide range of gardens to view. A joint offering by both the St. Louis Audubon Society and Wild Ones St. Louis, this year's tour included nine residential gardens located across the St. Louis metropolitan area, on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River. We made it to six of the nine.
Back in the fall of 2018, we signed up for the St. Louis Audubon Society's Bring Conservation Home (BCH) program. A couple of "habitat advisors" came out to survey our garden, and they provided us with a list of recommendations for making it more wildlife- and pollinator-friendly. It was a long list, too: Our one-quarter acre was comprised of nothing but invasive plant species run amok, a huge expanse of turf grass, and a smattering of exotic ornamentals that did little to feed native insects and critters. Everyone agreed there was much work to be done.
Claire Schosser writes Living Low in the Lou, a blog chronicling her and her husband Mike's journey of reduced energy consumption and self-sufficiency. She opted for early retirement back in the mid-1990s (with Mike following in 2001) by reducing their expenses through living simply, growing much of their own food, and forgoing many of the shiny new conveniences that the rest of us take as givens. For those outside the area, "the Lou" is a popular nickname for St. Louis, Missouri. The Schosser/Gaillard homestead is located on a one-acre plot in suburban St. Louis and includes many mature, productive nut and fruit trees, an extensive annual garden, an herb garden, and a glassed-in front porch that functions as a greenhouse.
I've been tossing around the word 'permaculture' to describe some of the activities Anthony and I are engaged in here on the suburban farmstead. As it's not a mainstream way of gardening (and way of life) yet, I thought it might be helpful to define it.
I've had the privilege of sharing my home with four dogs and four cats over the course of my life, and Chaco is definitely the most entertaining. As this includes a poodle who had the odd habit of 'hanging' his turds on plants instead of depositing them on the ground like a normal pet, that's saying a lot.