Archive for the ‘Random Blog Thoughts’ Category

On Saturday February 27th I started my Guerilla Garden Lifestyle Adventure by making a trip to Vancouver to join 30 other contestants for The Kin’s Health Transformation. This private 3 ½ hour event was held at Vij’s Restaurant on Granville (this restaurant has multiple 4.5 star reviews) and it was easily the most interesting event that I have been to in a long time.

GuerillaGardener_DirtHere’s the lowdown:

The Food!
Living in the Fraser Valley I have had many opportunities to eat Indian food and it happens to be one of my favorite ethnic foods but Vikram Vij has absolutely RUINED me for any other Indian food. Described by New York Times food writer Mark Bittman as “easily among the finest Indian restaurants in the world “ it has totally lived up to the hype.
Within minutes of arriving I was served a sweet Mango Lassi and the wait staff circulated with vegetable samosas and pakoras. This was followed by a first course that consisted of various dishes such as Dahl, Monarch Butterfly (relax P.E.T.A. it’s a squash dish) and Nann. The second course included Vegetable Koftas in a green curry sauce (this was my favorite), Coconut Cream Curry Veggie and Lemon Ghee Chicken. Of course dishes of rice and more Nann were included with every course. The owner Vikram Vij not only personally served us alongside his staff but he went out of his way to connect to every person there. He is a charismatic person who has an energy about him as he talked about his passion and his focus. He has a great love and passion for Indian food and wants to share that with the world, but not in the usual Indian Buffet/Butter Chicken kind of way. At his restaurant Indian spices are roasted and ground on site and incorporated into each dish by an all-female kitchen staff. For desert we were served Chai and believe me if you have never had Chai made with freshly ground spices you have no idea what you are missing.
Vikram ascertains that it is food and music that will cure the world of what ails it, not guns and politics. He maintains that he has never pursued money (although rumor has it that this self-made man is worth 50 million dollars) and that money should never be your motivation. He didn’t think about the money when he started his first restaurant but he had a passion and a love for what he was doing and that is what his focus was and still is. Like Ghandi he also believes that everyone is equal so he does not (and never will) take reservations at any of his restaurants. It’s on a first come first serve basis and even when celebrities like Martha Stuart and Justin Trudeau come to his restaurant they must wait in line like everybody else. Not being able to make reservations could be a problem if you are driving all the way from Chilliwack, but if you love Indian food and you’re willing to stand in line it will be worth the wait.

Quotes (and my thoughts) on The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto!
Dai Manual, avid family man, motivational speaker and author of the book the Whole Life Fitness Manifesto was a guest speaker at the Kin’s Health event and he did not disappoint. His business card reads:

Helping people live “FUN”ctionally fit lifestyles

I’m a Dad, Husband, Friend, Entrepreneur, Author, Blogger, Motivational speaker,
Brand Architect, Fundraiser, Biz Mentor, CrossFit Athlete & Coach and Life Enhancer!

I thought to myself, who couldn’t use a little life enhancing so I settled in to listen to this funny, motivational speaker.
It seems that Dai’s passion is to help others live a full life. He believes that lifelong happiness and well-being must be built on a rock-solid foundation of health, and that a sustainable healthy lifestyle is possible for everyone. No fancy exercise equipment needed! This is a good thing as my experience with exercise equipment has been that a treadmill takes up entirely too much space and it just ends up being a really expensive coat rack/plant holder.
Nevertheless, Dai says that after being in the fitness industry for many years he has come to the conclusion that the fitness industry is broken. We are told that achieving a particular body shape will make us healthy and bring us happiness and fulfillment. The reality is that you can lose 20 lbs which will make you feel good and look good but that does not make you a totally healthy person. That is because health is not just physical but mental and spiritual as well. He believes that health is based on the five F words….and FYI….none of them is the F word that I sometimes have been known to use or the one that you may be thinking of.
The 5 F words that Dai uses in The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto are:

Fitness
“Use it or lose it! Physically if we don’t look after ourselves our muscles and bones will deteriorate with age and mobility will be compromised. You will want to do the things that you enjoy now in the future for as long as you can so you need to take care of yourself.”

Family
“Family is your tribe of special people regardless of whether or not you are related by blood. It is the people in your life that you have an ongoing and deep relationship that grows over time. The human need to connect is as fundamental to our survival as food and water and needs to be embraced.”

Finances
“Financial stability is the cornerstone of any happy life. Whether you have a little or a lot of money living with in your means gives you security and peace of mind.”

Faith
Faith is not always about God or religion, although it could be for some people. “Faith is the underlying principle of believing that there is something greater than oneself. This is different for every person and could be a simple as the belief in the essential goodness of people or a sense of interconnectedness of all living things. This meaning that we make of our everyday lives is what gives us a sense of direction which is so crucial to feeling fulfilled.”

Fun
“Ensuring your family, faith, finances and fitness involve fun is key. Enjoying your life, and moving through life with a fun loving attitude is only possible when all the other elements are strong and healthy.”

Dai maintains that “No matter what your personal priorities or goals are, the 5 F’s are integral to a richer, happier life.” He believes that above all else you have to make your health a priority and it does not have to take hours at the gym or involve insanely restrictive diets. The thing about being healthy is it has to be realistic, doable, practical and livable in order to be sustainable. According to Dai all you need to do is take 30 min everyday day for a healthier mind, body and spirit. The breakdown is as follows:

5 min for meditation

10 min for personal growth

15 min movement

Even though I have no plans to become super skinny (I am a firm believer that fat plumps out the wrinkles and is cheaper than Botox!)  I know I need to be healthier so I can go on having more adventures.  I also believe that health is about mind, body and spirit and since it will only take up 30 min of my day I’m going to give it a try.

The People!
The Kin’s Market Transformation was an incredible opportunity to connect with some other amazing people as well. They were from all age groups and walks of life. Spencyre, Abhay and Meghan were just a few of the interesting people that I met and chatted with over lunch and I can tell you that being in a room with so many positive people leaves a lasting impression on you.

The Loot!
As if Kin’s Farm Market didn’t do enough by bringing excellent motivational speakers in to speak to everyone and arranging for an exceptional lunch they also provided each and every person with an awesome loot bag to further their lifestyle adventure!

KinsHealthTransformationLoot

The loot bags contained the following items:

Kin’s Recipe Box

Kin’s Shopping Bag

Kin’s Calendar

Kin’s Fruit Infuser Water Bottle

Granola Girl Sample (this was delicious)

And of course our guest speaker Dai Manual’s book The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto was tucked in the loot bag as well.

The Finalists!
Well I didn’t make it to the next round of the Kin’s Health Transformation but my lunch mate Abhay Sablock did. So Abhay, we’ll be rooting for you! Kevin and Michelle were the other 2 finalists and although I did not get a chance to talk to them at The Kin’s Health Transformation event I will be following them closely as well.
Each of the finalists are receiving the following resources in order to achieve their fitness goals:

  • Complimentary fruits and veggies (valued at $100) from Kin’s Farm Market every week during the 4-week challenge period
  • 2 body composition tests by BodyComp, (valued at $200) both before and after the challenge in order to gauge and rank the contestant’s results.
    Note: I was told that some of the finalists from last year discovered health issues after their body scans that they didn’t even know they had yet and because they were discovered early on they were able to address these before it became a real problem.
  • 2 one-on-one sessions with fitness coach Dai Manuel (valued at $300)

Now I know that you’re thinking that as for the other 27 people (myself included) the adventure is over. But this is not so! We have all have received Dai Manual’s book The Whole life Fitness Manifesto to improve our lives and during his book signing he has made a commitment to each and every one of us that if we have any questions or concerns we can email, Facebook or tweet him any time. What can I say, it sounds a whole lot better than going to a bunch of meetings where people obsess about being fat and it will easily fit into my busy schedule.
According to the book last week was considered week 0.
These were the things I was to accomplish (and have completed) in Week 0:

  • Join The Whole Life Fitness Manifesto (a closed group on Facebook).
    Note: We were told Dumper Daves or Debbie Downers would not be tolerated as this is a group for positive people
  • Take pictures of my food and beverages (not necessary but recommended)
  • Cultivate an all in mentality (essential).
  • Take before pictures front, side and back in a skin revealing outfit (just for myself thank god!), and fill out my goals and measurements using the charts in the book.
    Note: Haters Beware! I just might do a good deed and send you the “before” pictures. After all if the haters are talking about me they will be giving someone else a rest and it could be considered a Public Service really.

Anyhow starting this week (Week 1) I am to spend 30 min of movement, mindfulness and personal development every day for the next 4 weeks. As far as food is concerned, according to the Whole Life Fitness Manifesto and holistic chef Kathy Smart “food as a lifestyle” is the basic philosophy and the only food guidelines are:

– Fill ½ the plate with vegetables and the other half with equal portions of protein and complex carbohydrates.
This works for me as I would rather have brown basmati rice than potatoes and even though it is more veggies than I would normally eat at a meal I can easily do this.

-Eat protein within an hour of waking up.
The thought eating in the morning makes me want to gag. I’ve never been a breakfast eater so this will be a bit of a struggle. I’m thinking Greek yogurt, cottage cheese or maybe a smoothie. However if you have any other ideas let me know!

-“Eat vegetables like it’s your job”.
You’re supposed to eat least 4 cups a day but you can eat as many as you like. I like vegetables so this will be easy!

-Go meatless 1 day a week.
I don’t eat meat everyday anyways so this is easily a done deal.

-Eat on a regular schedule.
I’m really bad for skipping meals and then eating pre-packaged foods because it’s fast and easy. I am going to avoid this by preparing/planning my meals in advance.

– Make sure that 90% of the diet is clean and healthy
I have to admit I happen to be insanely addicted to sugar so I’m going to have to come up with some other “sweet, non-chemical, non-processed alternatives” but fortunately Google is my friend. I think this is doable especially since the other 10% of my diet can be indulged in treats and full fat, full sugar, full cream foods so at least I’ll have something to look forward to. Like arranging a Yellow Deli Cheesecake outing with some of my friends!

Also according to the book I am allowed to have a minimum of 1600 calories a day if I’m sedentary (yippee!) and I am supposed to drink 2-3 liters of a water a day. The water thing is going to be a struggle for me (I think I might be part camel because I never get thirsty) however 1600 calories is more than I usually eat anyways so I’m not really worried that I’ll be hungry.

Conclusion:

Kin’s Farm Market ROCKS!

Kin’s Farm Market is a company that truly believes in promoting healthy eating and active lifestyles and they are willing to invest back into the community. Over the last few years not only have they organized The Kin’s Health Transformation to help transform people’s lives but they’ve also worked with many Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley schools and teachers to provide nutrition-based presentations.
The bottom line is that I had an incredible lunch, met some interesting people, listened to some amazing speakers and received a big bag of loot! Where I go or what I do with it now is completely up to me.
So I’ll keep you posted as to my progress and next year if you get the chance you might just want to enter the The Kin’s Health Transformation for yourself…after all it involves 2 of my favorite F words (no, not that one!) FUN AND FREE and best of all it could help you to make the lifestyle changes that you need to make.

And it just doesn’t get any better than that!

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It’s a fact that there have been no Guerilla Garden articles or posts since last September and rumors and speculation have been running rampant.
For instance, acquaintances and followers have been speculating on whether or not I’m still having adventures. Those who have worked with me any length of time have suspected that I’m up to something especially since being laid off from The-Company-With-Nobody-In-Charge. Then there are the haters that be thinking and talking like I’m on my way back to working at Some-Sad-Company which could be causing some people to rejoice and others to re-develop a mustache twitch. However my close peeps, accomplices and co-conspirators KNOW that I’m up to something and some of them are even in on the plan/experiment!
What can I say other than a yearlong plan/experiment is in the making (more on the experiment part later) and the first order of business is to get fit –body, mind, and soul (most likely in that order).

THE BODY PLAN
The Fat Conspiracy Theory:
When it comes to food the words fast, cheap and easy will make you fat, however if you’re a hooker then the words could be misconstrued as a marketing plan. It’s all a matter of perspective.
Since I’m fat and not a marketable hooker these are a few of the things I know:

I know I should be eating more produce.
When it’s not gardening season it’s hard to find good tasting produce and when cauliflower is $8 a head it starts to feel like a conspiracy to keep you fat. I mean for $8 I can buy a lot of junk/processed food. Note to self: research on how to use a cold frame/ small greenhouse to grow produce year round on my townhouse deck while avoiding a letter/fine from Strata Council.

I know I need to drink more water.
But the weird thing is I never get thirsty. I hate drinking anything from plastic bottles (I swear I can taste the plastic), also I don’t like chlorinated water (it tastes like a public swimming pool) and then there is the environmental guilt factor! The internet is filled with images of large islands of plastic floating on our oceans. Some say it’s Photoshop tomfoolery but I know from experience that plastic gets brittle, breaks into a million pieces but never disappears. On the plus side my Ninja friend says that if she’s ever stuck in a desert with anyone she hopes it’s with me because I never get thirsty.
Note to self: research glass water bottles so that if you get lost in the desert with your Ninja friend you can save her and the environment at the same time.

I know I need to lose weight.
Even though my Wii says I’m obese I’m absolutely refusing to diet! I don’t want to take diet pills and I’m also refusing to eat tasteless prepackaged diet foods, “nutritional” shakes or add weekly meetings to my busy schedule with a bunch of unhappy people who obsess about being fat.
Note to self: research some kind of positive real food plan that actually tastes good, is sustainable and does not include Kale but does include some positive, like minded people.

I know I need to exercise.
Some people get a rush from exercising, but I am not one of them. I don’t want to workout at a gym, because not only do I find it boring but I hate to sweat and I don’t want to clean equipment both before and after my workout. Plus I have physical limitations due to previous injuries.
Note to self: research for exercise that I can actually do, that is fun, that does not involve cleaning and that I can easily work into my schedule.

So keeping this in mind I logged on to the internet to search out a positive, non-cleaning, fun, lifestyle adventure.
While doing some “research” on Facebook I came across something called the Kin’s Health Transformation and I swear it spoke to me. The Facebook post went something like this:

We want YOU for our 2016 Health Transformation Challenge! We welcome people from all walks of life, all shapes, and all sizes! The goal is just for a healthier lifestyle! Kin’s Farm Market is collaborating with 24 hours Vancouver and lifestyle coach Dai Manuel for the Kin’s Health Transformation Challenge! Take a selfie at Kin’s holding our “Produce of the Week” and post it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for a chance to WIN $100. We will then be inviting 30 applicants to our exclusive Health Day event at Vij’s on Granville on February 27th. valued at $200 per person. Finally three contestants with the right mindset to be coached personally by Dai Manuel will be provided with the right resources (valued at $600) to improve their lifestyle forever!

I thought to myself it’s a chance at a lifestyle adventure that doesn’t cost anything and it will totally fit in with my yearlong plan/experiment so I signed up.
The 1st challenge was to take selfies at Kin’s holding the “Produce of the Week” and post it on Facebook. I thought this would be easy after all I have a cell phone and I shop at the Cottonwood Mall anyways, however it was a bit of a challenge as Kin’s Market just happens to be beside Cobbs Bakery and right down the hall from the Purdy’s Chocolate Store. Note: Except for the cheap part this fits in with my Fat Conspiracy Theory and I really think that there ought to be a law against chocolate and bakery products being so delicious and ready to eat.
Nevertheless as any of my Facebook friends can tell you I’ve never been one to post selfies but I thought this sounded like a lot more fun than going to the gym and plus  there was the possibility of winning a $100 so I was all over it in my usual Guerilla Garden Style.

Kin_DragonFruit

Wholelife manifesto
HealthTransformationStrawberry

Note: My friend The Crazy Canner says I have a funny look on my face in the picture with the broccoli.
Since she is my best friend I had to confess to her that I actually was thinking about chocolate at the time. Did I mention that Purdy’s is just down the hall from Kin’s market?
Anyways, I never won $100 but I WAS ONE OF THE 30 PEOPLE SHORTLISTED FOR PHASE 2 OF KIN’S HEALTH TRANSFORMATION!
I was emailed the following invitation:
Congratulations on being invited to Kin’s Health Day!
As one of 30 chosen contestants you will receive:
• a complimentary lunch at this prestigious restaurant (valued at $50)
• a 30 minute seminar by lifestyle expert Dai Manuel with tips to better enhance your life (valued at $100)
• a signed copy of Dai Manuel’s book “Whole Life Fitness Manifesto” (valued at $30)
• a super awesome grab bag (valued at $20)

So tomorrow I will be going to Vancouver for a lifestyle adventure and a free lunch with some interesting people. As for the experiment well…it is a SECRET for now but the results should be available in about a year.
I’ll keep you posted

QuestionMarks

Guerilla-Garden-Gnome-Crap-happens

Take my word for it, if you get together with a bunch of “master” gardeners and ask “What’s the best method of constructing a compost heap” you will receive a bunch of very different answers with very strong opinions on what does and doesn’t work. After much discussion and research I’ve decided that most of it sounds like very hard work and some of what I’ve been told (or even read) is down right weird! One elderly gentleman told me that if you  “pee on the compost pile it will add plenty of nitrogen”. I’m all about Guerilla Garden Adventures but this is not one I’m willing to embark upon…so I decided to surf the internet to do some research on composting. On some blogs it was even mentioned that human hair is a rich source of nitrogen and can help deter pests. As a Guerrilla Gardener on an Adventure I have come to my own conclusions on compost, none of which involves any type of body waste or hair trimmings!

1- The Heap Method:
In order to use this method of composting, you will simply need to dump organic material in a hidden corner of the yard. Children can easily be involved with this process as long as you don’t make it out to be a chore. One guerilla gardener I know (who shall remain nameless) conned her children into willingly taking out the compost by telling them that she would buy them a sled to use on it when the pile was big enough.
To actually create a pile of really good compost you will need to accumulate a heap of layered green and brown material (see list below), then add a compost starter or you can just add some garden soil to help jump-start the decomposition of the organic materials. Water it, stir it and you will have some very fine compost.
There is a potential downside to this method. It just so happens that when some guerilla gardeners (not to mention any names) tried the heap method, the pile quickly became a breeding ground for the most intriguing collection of weeds, thistles and grass. Also some uninvited guests were rumored to have shown up with their freeloading rat faced friends for the free daily buffet.
Guerilla Garden Solution: Sprinkle some flower seeds on the compost pile, call it your “wildflower garden” and leave well enough alone; or you could sprinkle some grass seed on it and then tell the neighbors that it is a giant mole hill that no exterminator is willing to take on.

2-The Composting Bin Method
Fancy very expensive plastic composting bins can be found in almost any gardening magazine or garden center. It’s a tidy, organized container to put your organic household scraps while still being environmentally friendly.
Guerilla Gardener’s Solution: If you simply must have a tidy compost option and don’t want to spend a fortune, you can always go all Guerilla Gardener! Buy a round large plastic garbage can with a lid, from a store in your area whose name ends in the word “mart” or possibly “depot”. Then drill holes in the bottom of container and place your compost material inside. An ideal blend would involve alternating layers of soft/green material and hard/brown material (see list below). Roll it along the ground twice a week or so, keep the contents damp, and you’ll have rich compost in no time.
Note: You may not want to place this bin near your house as decomposing material is not what you want to smell on a hot summer day…just saying.

3-Too lazy to start a compost pile? Or maybe you live in a townhouse where they don’t allow composting. Deploy Guerrilla Composting Tactics!
Discretely place some organic trash right into the garden, all year round. Banana and vegetable peels ground up in the blender and used coffee grounds are all excellent things to bury directly into the gardening soil without the Strata Nazis being the wiser……if you know what I mean.

Green and Brown Material List:
Note: For best results your composter or pile will require a balance of carbon (brown) and nitrogen (green) materials, with the ratio ranging between 25:1 and 30:1 for the optimum combination for rapid decomposition.

Soft and Green
Livestock manure
Fruit and vegetable peels
Grass clippings
Green leaves
Strips of turf
Alfalfa
Peat moss
Seedless weeds
Coffee grounds/tea bags
Seaweed

Hard and Brown
Wood chips
Ground-up twigs
Sawdust
Pruning scraps
Brown leaves
Straw
Shredded bark

 Stay away from these:
oil and fat
animal feces
plastics
meat or fish scraps
dairy products
bones
unchopped wood
treated or pressurized wood
weeds that have gone to seed or that can spread by runners

The bottom line is that no matter how you compost, it’s a benefit to the planet so pour yourself a drink and high-five yourself for getting Sh*t done!

It’s feeling a lot like spring here at Little Mountain Greenhouses.
The real challenge will be trying to keep the customers from trying to buy the seed plugs before they are ready.

image

Ever since the poinsettias overstayed their Christmas welcome and were hustled out the door I have been feeling not quite right. Upon deep reflection I realize it’s not guilt, I just seem to be suffering from Plant Seed Acquisition Syndrome (P.S.A.S.). Luckily enough (or unluckily enough judging by the occasional look on my husband’s face) I happen to work at Little Mountain Greenhouses where I can easily get my daily plant/seed fix and make myself feel better. Some say it’s like the drug addict working in the pharmacy but I prefer to think of it as type of horticultural/shopping therapy. I just have to keep in mind that although my imagination and love of plants is unlimited, it is only the middle of January and my townhouse and cash ARE limited.
So as a part of this week’s Plant Seed Acquisition Syndrome (P.S.A.S.) treatment I bought a 6″  White Kalanchoe for my living room.

White Kalanchoe

Flowering houseplants are an all natural anti-depressant and play an important part in Horticultural Therapy. Kalanchoe plants come in a variety of colors, bloom for weeks and make a great inexpensive gift. This one was found on a discount table with a $5 price tag and rumor has it that having a Kalanchoe will help to relieve the symptoms of Plant Seed Acquisition Syndrome! (P.S.A.S.).

To help out with additional symptoms of Plant Seed Acquisition Syndrome (P.S.A.S.), I sometimes hang out in the primula greenhouse at work. So far I have been able to resist buying any primulas even though they are on sale – 7 plants for $9.99. Although to be honest I don’t know how much longer I can hold out!

Spring Primula Greenhouse

It’s only January here in the Pacific North West, but at Little Mountain Greenhouses it’s looking a lot like Spring!

As for the seeds…..well let’s just say that it’s too early to be choosing what I’m going to be growing yet because there are still several companies that have seeds on route to the store.

McKenzie Seed Display

McKenzie Seed is just one of many seed companies that Little Mountain Greenhouses carries.

Also I’m thinking that maybe before buying any new seeds I should gather all the packets left over from last year that have been stashed around the house, in the freezer and various junk drawers. I can’t remember what kind of seeds or how many seed packets I have left but I do seem to remember some paper bags of vegetable seeds in the garage that I harvested from my community garden plot. I will need to retrieve them before my husband throws them out! It should be an impressive amount of seed once gathered up…… especially for someone who lives in a townhouse. It’s a fact, every spring I suffer from Plant Seed Acquisition Syndrome (P.S.A.S.) and I know I will not be able to resist the urge to buy more seeds. So as a part of my Guerilla Garden  Horticultural Therapy Plan I have been thinking of ways to use up some of my old seeds so I can justify (even if it’s just in my own mind) the buying some new seed packets. What can I say……I’m thinking that there just might be a Seed Bomb Making Adventure in the foreseeable future!

Guerilla Garden SeedbombBombs Away!

F.Y.I –  L. Castro
I know you were most likely worried about the poinsettias after reading about one of my previous Guerilla Garden Pointsettia Adventures but I can assure you that this year no poinsettias were harmed prior to, during, or after this post. As a matter of fact this year they were rescued by a fashionista friend on garbage day and taken to a good home!

Brenda Dyck – The Past Year’s Thoughts on Gardening!
As a Guerilla Gardener I've never qualified for yard of the year but I have won weed of the week

A Guerilla Garden Award


January is the month where most people (including myself) tend to reflect on the past year’s experiences and give themselves a reality check in order to help promote a sense of well being and acceptance for the stuff that has happened in their lives. As a Guerrilla Gardener I’ve come to accept that:

-No plant ever looks like it does on the plant tag, seed packet or in the catalog – sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised, but sometimes it’s off to the compost heap!

-To make compost you simply stop throwing organic kitchen waste away and pile it up somewhere – this also goes for any misbehaving/ugly plants. Some call it a compost heap but I prefer to think of it as the place where plants are sentenced to die. As a Guerilla Gardener I take no prisoners!

-The only way to truly accomplish a no maintenance garden is to just plant weeds. To keep this in perspective you have to realize that all flowers are weeds, they are just weeds from another country.

-If your goal is to have a garden that has color all year round, then you might just have to place a pink flamingo or a colorful garden gnome in your garden in order to accomplish this.

-If you want it to rain, just thoroughly water your garden, wash your car or plan a wedding or a vacation for the time frame that you would like it to rain.

-It’s a fact, the scum of the earth actually comes in many different colors so just deal with it. Instead of trying to change your soil (clay, sandy loam, etc) use Google to search for plants that will thrive in the type of soil you have and the location of where you want to plant them. A little investigating on the internet can save a lot of time and back breaking work, and this is especially important if you are planting stuff on property that does not belong to you. If you are a Guerilla Gardener you might also be looking for plants that are low maintenance, so try adding it to the Google search critera as well. For example as a Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure living in Chilliwack I might type in the Google search bar “low maintenance plants that do well in clay soil in the Pacific Northwest

-I have observed that any vegetable planted in my garden will be at it’s peak when it can be found plentiful and cheap in the grocery store. Here in Chilliwack, even non-spray and organic seasonal vegetables are extremely affordable and available at local greenhouses, road side stands and farmer”s markets everywhere. However, I always manage to convince my self that my homegrown vegetables taste better. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

-It seems that the weeds always somehow manage to multiply in direct proportion to my effort to eliminate them. I swear they prolifically pop up out of nowhere, overnight, just to spite me!

-Rumor has it that if it weren’t for rainy days, no gardener would ever get their housework done. Well if that is true, then I’m thinking that those gardener’s obviously don’t have internet access and a Facebook account or they haven’t discovered Pinterest yet. And that’s all I have to say about that!

The final conclusion to the past year’s reflections, observations and garden thoughts bring to mind a quote from David Hobson, (AKA The Mad Gardener)
“Yup, gardening and laughing are two of the best things in life you can do to promote good health and a sense of well being.”
And as a Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure, I couldn’t agree more.

Here’s to gardening and laughing with my Guerilla Garden accomplices in 2015.

Brenda Dyck
Brenda Dyck
A Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure!

I took this picture today of some fall blooming crocus that I planted about a month ago and a couple of leftover summer planters on my balcony that I can’t bear to dismantle even though it is now November. You can’t help but love gardening in the Pacific Northwest, after all it’s global warming at it’s best!

PNW_Nov_Balcony_Planters.jpg

 

Tomato Smiles!

Posted: August 16, 2014 in 2014, Random Blog Thoughts, Vegetables

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Some people may call this tomato a mutant but after watching the movie Little Shop of Horrors I am going to stay on my bush tomato’s good side and consider it a smile.

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I came home today to a vase of dahlias on my front porch from a mystery person, which is kind of hilarious considering the door mat message. To who ever gave them to me, thanks you made my day!

July Guerilla GardenerA Gardening  Revival!

It’s a fact; there is an extreme decline in the popularity of gardening.
People have less free time, they live in much smaller spaces, vegetables are available all year round and the gardening population is mostly from the baby boomer generation (people born 1946 to 1964). That means that unless I, as a guerilla gardener do something to prevent it I will be participating in what is known as an old person’s hobby!
In order to revive interest in gardening, guerilla gardeners everywhere must focus on the younger generation because unless we improve the image of gardening it could be a lost cause/art form.
It’s really easy to get small children on board with gardening, but most teenagers seem to think that gardening is a “lame old people hobby”.
To help improve the image of gardening and get teenagers involved you must understand that most teenagers rebel against authority and seek to embrace counterculture. It’s a challenge to make gardening as significant and interesting as a teenage celebrity scandal, but here are a few ideas to try:

A Goth Garden
If your teenager walks around looking like a member of the Adams family, and wears nothing but black all the time then don’t fight it, embrace their dark side. Leave a gardening article about creating a Goth Garden lying around (it is better if they think this is their idea, not yours) and give them a gargoyle (or some other creepy garden ornament)  to inspire them to garden. If there is absolutely no way to pry them outside into the light of day then an indoor carnivorous house plant such as a Venus flytrap just might be the ticket to get them interested in gardening.

Goth Garden Ornaments

Moss Graffiti and Seed Bombing
Graffiti is the ultimate counterculture art and moss graffiti brings whole new meaning to the term going green. If you have a cement wall or fence this is the end all to be all for that creative teenager who thinks that gardening is lame. As for seed bombing, well gardening doesn’t get much more rebellious than that!

The “Rock Star” Garden
The slogan for this line of plants is “Cool Plants for Rock Gardens” and their “spokesperson” is a edgy cement, sunglass wearing, Easter Island looking dude named “Cliff”.  The “Rock Star” collection of plants do not require a whole lot of attention or fussing and need very little water. Low maintenance is the key!
These plants are a good choice for any teenage garden because after all, teenagers have things to do, people to see, places to go and don’t want to spend all their time taking care of a garden.

A Fashionista Garden
So your teenage daughter is a little fashionista. For those of you who are not in the know these are the girls who love designer clothes, shoes and handbags. A shoe garden, a purse planter, or a garden with a designer logo spelled out in plants will make the statement that these girls are looking for. I would suggest an anti-fashionista scarecrow contest but lets face it they would just dress it in your clothes.

Red Shoe Planter

Baja 1000 Race Track Garden
The granddaddy of all desert races is the Baja 1000. Only half of the racers will finish this incredible test of endurance where mechanical failures and vehicle flip-overs are all part of the ride. Mention within teenage hearing to a friend that you are thinking of recreating this desert race in your garden by making a track of pea gravel, planting some desert like plants (like the Rock Star collection), and adding some sand pits. Then bring some pea gravel home, buy a couple of remote controlled cars and leave them where they will be seen daily. Teenagers (and possibly some husband type persons) will be begging/thinking  of ways to convince you to let them be involved in this garden project.

The Techie Garden
It seems almost impossible to pry teenagers away from their smartphones, tablets and computers but if you still want to get them on board with gardening, well there’s an app for that!
How about a planter that can monitor a plant’s health and send a message to a smartphone that it needs water, or a robotic planter that will seek the sun all on it’s own, or even a  Garden Watch Camera that will document the blossoming of your garden with beautiful time lapse technology. These are just of some of the high-tech garden gadgets that exist and can provide teenagers the opportunity to garden in a more technological way. As a Guerilla Gardener you can help bring gardening into the new millennium by sending/emailing/twittering/facebooking a teenager near you a link to the Geeks Guide to a Green Thumb. If you are still determined to get a teenager involved in gardening then buy some cool garden techie stuff for yourself and get them to set it up and show you how the software works. This is a win/win situation as teenagers love showing off technically for the “old folks” and if you don’t let on that you’re technically capable, it will be like getting a free tech call and some free software lessons too!

Computer Planter

Guerilla Gardeners Unite!

Make your next adventure about finding a teenager and start your own Gardening Revival,
because after all nothing could be more humiliating than having an old person’s hobby and you might learn something yourself!

Guerilla Garden Seedbomb

Brenda Dyck
A Guerilla Gardener on an Adventure!

 

 

 

 

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