Update: Blackberries April 2021 Part 2

By Melinda Hatfield

They have begun to flower. I know it is a process but I do enjoy waiting for these beasties to produce. I am excited to see them come into bloom and see what kind of taste they have.

I have no idea what kind of thornless blackberries these are. They were unlabeled excess that I purchased last year in bulk. It was a decent deal for the amount that I purchased.

By Melinda Hatfield

This is the first year they have been able to properly fruit and I am excited to see the outcome. I did not trellis my blackberries. Most of them stand upright on their own other hover over the ground.

I wanted to see what they would do naturally. So far the results aren’t awful and it seems they are producing flowers with little to no maintenance.

By Melinda Hatfield

I didn’t realize how many shoots come off the floracane. Not that it matters but in the picture below you’ll see the prima canes starting at the base of the plant. Last year I clipped half back mid summer and it seemed to have caused more side shoots.

I did notice that I have less growth when I don’t cut the tips but they are better at standing upright without the additional pressure and weight of the new shoots.

By Melinda Hatfield

So I bought these black berries in bulk because they were out of growing season and they didn’t have tags. Nameless babies but I am sure they will be delicious.

Some of the bushes have white flowers and some have pink ones. I must say that this makes me curious if they taste different. All I know is that they make it fun and diverse.

By Melinda Hatfield

I cannot wait to see what our first true harvest will look like.

I hope that our blackberries spread (like people have said they will) so that I can uproot and plant more berry patches. I really enjoy blackberries as a fruit. It’s too bad they do not have the shelf life to be sold in most box stores.

By Melinda Hatfield

Above is our only thorny blackberry bush that made it. We have some white blackberries but their roots were not established enough and they were very young plants and were taken out by the winter storm.

Lesson learned. Until next time…

Rosemary Indoors

I am having a lot of fun with rosemary. It is one of my favorite herbs to grow in our garden. I started rosemary in 2020 and I fell in love. Have you ever just taken your face and moved your face between their leaves? It is the greatest experience.

Also this is another perennial for my area. One thing I learned is that perennial doesn’t mean that it will live forever. It only gives the promise of three or more years. The more you know, right?

Rosemary is evergreen that boosts the immune system and helps blood circulation. This plant is high in antioxidants, improves digestion, enhancing memory and concentration, neurological protection, protection against macula degeneration, and many other amazing uses. They have this disclaimer that says: do not bulk up on rosemary and try to just eat all of it. Eating rosemary in bulk can put you into a coma and many other not so cool side effects.

This has been one of the easiest herbs that I have been able to grow. Rosemary can get between 1.5 and 3 meters tall- which is awesome. It can be used as an anti fungal remedy as well.

Fun Fact: this is a beneficial herb to help prevent scurvy and certain cancers.

I love that it is one of the many herbs that grows well in containers. I enjoy the smell and that is an evergreen. It is so pretty. Smells good, tastes good in food and has all of the benefits a humble farmer could want. It makes an excellent border shrub and repels certain insects.

I have dried out a large amount of rosemary and I am really excited about grinding it down. I have been making it into a powder and putting them in cork bottles. One day I plan on doing a lot with it. Unfortunately, my plants aren’t producing large quantities of rosemary just yet.

I have been thinking of it’s uses because I do not use powdered rosemary for cooking. Who knows, but the uses are endless.

Not recommended for women who are pregnant, nursing or wish to become pregnant. If you are taking medications that are prescribed or provide long term medical care always consult a physician before adding rosemary to your diet on a regular basis- as in more than 4 nights a week.

Just putting that out there so that if people see it prevents cancer they don’t eat three pounds, put themselves in a coma then sue me. I don’t have time for all of that nonsense.

Just know rosemary is easy to grow, does well against cats using it as camouflage to attack one another and my children love running their fingers through it and it doesn’t die. I can forget to water it and it doesn’t act dramatic.

Year Zero: Serious Moment

I have a five year plan. It is not a good plan and it changes from day to day but it is a plan. Right now, I have just left year zero. January 2021 is starting a new year for me.

You may ask:

What is Year Zero? Year Zero has been my year of planning. I also went around the area and looked at local nurseries. I wanted to see what everyone had to offer. It opened my eyes. I also planned to go back to college and learn about plant things.

Why is Year Zero so important? Year Zero is my planning year. We moved in October 2019 and that only started our adventure. During this year I have walked the property over five hundred times. I have learned the land-ish. There is a lot more to starting a permaculture food forest then I anticipated.

This is where I outlined my goals. I learned my property and I planted starter plants- which I will get into later. We have a lot to cover so I will continue.

Some of the trees ready for new homes

What does having a poorly planned year zero do for someone who is just starting out? This is a tough one because I had to reset my Year Zero last year. It was insanity. I killed every plant I got my hands on because I just jumped in. I thought I could just wish my garden into growth. It was poor planning and I wasted a lot of money on plants that died. So, don’t waste money use your year zero wisely. Learn to work with your property and not against it.

Year Zero is the most important year of planning and development. This is my year of research and getting to know my property. Here I started and failed then restarted after some research. Even still I am not 100% sure that everything will work out. My year one began with medicinal plants and evolved into the dreams of a food forest. Somewhere it evolved and I wanted to have real food security.

I learned a lot about the native plants that already live here and it inspired me to start a Monarch Butterfly Santuary. I started by going online and joining many types of groups. They kind of inspired me and so I continued with my year zero goals. I did way better than I anticipated.

The reason Year Zero is important is because it lays the foundation for success but remember: you can always switch it up later if your plans don’t work out. I know it sounds crazy but a lot of people (myself including) thought they could just jump in (like I did) and fail. I’ve learned it’s only a true failure if I stop trying and so I will continue.

It took me the better half of the first year to figure out I was doing things wrong and I might need to talk to experts. That’s why I enrolled in classes but I’ll share all of that information as I get it with you.

Squash flower (I think?)

Sure, I was in the best Facebook groups. Unfortunately I hadn’t been utilizing them. So I went online and I just dove into research on permaculture, companion planting, ph levels, soil samples and I was blown away by how much was out there. I will never know everything but I had started down a rabbit hole that brought me here to this blog.

Spoiler alert: my plants stopped dying. I got better at planting the more I learned and there is this feeling of happiness when you are using your own vegetables and fruits.

All throughout year zero I sat outside my plants hoping they might grow. It does not make plants grow faster.

Now I know I need a plan and in year zero it’s the perfect time to decide what you want and where you see that going in five years. Make it fun and exciting but remember: your plan must flow with the tide. So make sure you are ready for those changes and adaptations as you go. For example: I thought I could just put seeds in the dirt and it would just grow. It doesn’t work that way and now I know thanks to countless people.

Goals for my property and my life for the next five years. This is important because it gives me a general outline to work with. Remember, I am making plans but they are like the wind- every changing and straightforward.

In five years, I want to have every individual breed of plant I want on my property. Even if I do not have every part of my land covered (Which I most likely will seeing my progress already- it is a possibility). I am not talking about a neat little orchard- I want trees and shrubs. I want to be overwhelmed with sight, smell and feel like nature surrounds me.

Keep that in mind- it is the foundation for our success. My goals are not primarily food security, even though it is a reoccurring theme, but instead a food based garden of eden, a place for me to retire my body and my spirit. So, not all of my plants will be solely food based. I am going to continue on that note, but keep your goals in your mind.

Another goal I realized: I want the species here to be closer to disease resistant and ready to produce in five years. This means that in the first few years I have to plant my trees that need to be producing as well as create a water source.

In Year Zero, I am going through plant lists to find edible plants, flowering plants, herbs, and pollinators. I am collecting seeds and planting what I like to call guaranteed success plants such as blackberries. During Year Zero I did a lot of planning but then I began planting samples.

For example: I don’t know of I even like certain fruits- this is a great time to plant one or two and try them. If I don’t like them I won’t plant more of that particular tree. It’s good to know before I make a mass planting decision.

The ones that do well and we like: we plant more of them. The ones that don’t we just move on from and don’t plant more. At least we are keeping those three blueberries (if any of them survive), but I am hesitant of planting more until we know they will survive. That is one of many examples. We keep what we like but we don’t want continue any difficult plants. If something happens we want to make sure we can take care of it. (Eventually I hope it will take care of itself, in my old age I don’t want to be chasing around a 7 acre mess)

I want to cover my entire property in plants that are useful primarily with a little playroom for beautiful things. I want to retire in my own hand made forest and I want to leave it for my kids to enjoy. I cannot wait until I make my dream come true, but Year Zero opened my eyes to the many possibilities.

Frankly, Year Zero did not go as planned and there is a good chance your Year Zero will not be magnificentbut don’t give up. I killed a lot of plants that I want to blame on bizarre seeds from China that I never received. Really it all came down to poor planning.

Year one starts now in January and during that year I have a lot of things I would like to accomplish. But first let’s talk about what i have already got started:

  • 75 thornless blackberries, three different kinds.
  • 33 grape plants, twenty four muscadine, six concord, two seedless randoms from Wal-Mart, and one Spanish grape.
  • 8 apple trees, 4 persimmons, 4 pomegranates, 5 peaches, 3 plums, 4 cherries, 2 pears, 2 limes, 2 lemons, and 2 avadaco trees.
  • Planted many perennials and failed two gardens.

Year One I have new goals.

  • I would like to plant 100 additional thornless blackberry plants. This year so far we have planted 75. We know that blackberries will do great here and we want at least 200. We want to primarily plant thornless varieties which is also why we are not dying into raspberries.
  • Set up the irrigation system that will support the amount of plants that I want to bring in. We already bought two irrigation systems. One is set up for bushes and one is set up for the trees.
  • I want to plant a minimum of 25 different kinds of apple trees, but that may not be possible.
  • I want to focus on the 41 disease resistant breeds that grow in my zone. Zone 8a.
  • Focus on filling in the spaces between my trees with shrubs and berry bushes.
  • Expanding my seed collection
  • Creating a creek system that runs through our property
  • Planting as much as I can as fast as I can and keeping it all alive with magic

So, don’t give up. Year Zero seems hard on everyone. We’ve got this now onward to YEAR ONE.

A much more detailed goal list for Year One is coming but you’ll have to be patient. I am busy looking through seed catalogs while listening to permaculture information.

The Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations is dissolving

It is with a sad day as I have recently found out that the Texas Association of Nonprofit Organizations will be desolving as of December 31, 2020. This decision was made of November 24, 2020.

They put up this long thing stating they will be dissolving, but why? This is strange, but it makes sense. Nonprofits are not doing well, in this pandemic they are falling to the side in a record amount. You can find out Base facts about Texas nonprofits at the link provided but I want to talk a little bit about what that means and what we can do about it…

So first, it is no surprise that volunteering has went down and COVID is sweeping through killing Nonprofits. People aren’t donating and they aren’t volunteering, which is not cool but I wasn’t either.

Even before COVID 19 I wasn’t volunteering. Donating old jackets and shoes at the local shelter does not count. I am talking about real volunteering: picking up trash, being active in the community, or joining a nonprofit.

My volunteer work was simply local with my kids- picking up trash (twice a year and it was usually when we went berry picking and sometimes we find ourselves helping someone out.) I thought doing it once or twice a year was good enough but this really saddens my heart.

The reason TANO shutting down is so difficult is because they were advocates for nonprofits all over the state of Texas and have been for decades.

First, they advocated for nonprofits on a legislative level. They lobbied in order for the voices of nonprofits to be heard during critical laws that passed (which touched not just nonprofits but also regulations in small businesses etc).

They also were a secure education and information source. If you joined they gave you discounts on many things and promoted your nonprofit or sometimes innovative ideas. It was job posting, networking and so much more.

This is a loss to the Texas community. There is No Update and no information. I am very suspicious of this, if you have any information on why they are shutting down can someone let me know. I am finding no information on this, which is weird because it’s a big deal.

Regardless, have a nice day and enjoy these pictures from around.

Project Grow Your Roots: I love Plants

Contributed by Ann Millington

These are her Osteospermums. She took this picture in April. They are so happy in her green house.

These flowers are better known as African Daisies, I had to look it up because I couldn’t pronounce that. I didn’t find any benefit other than looks but it is still a win in my book.

Contributed by Tina Hitchens

She let’s us know this is a pomegranate tree from Granada, Spain. She say the birds love the fruit, which I don’t doubt it is a magnificent tree.

Fun fact I learned from our contributer: the word for pomegranate in Spanish is Granada and has beautiful red flowers.

This gets me excited about my own pomegranate trees. I hate having to wait for things to happen.

Contributed by Alison Maparura

While sharing her plants she said, “2020 – when things go wrong find the little left that gives hope, nurture it and watch it grow. Wishing you, yours and my tradescantia a happy and healthy 2021.” We appreciate the warm wishes and our homestead wishes you the same.

This is also called a Spiderwort. This is a perennial flower and allegedly can be grown in any part of the United States. Western spiderwort is considered an endangered species in Canada.

Native Americans may have used this go relieve stomach problems. I don’t know for sure, I’m not an expert but it’s on the interweb so you can find it yourself if you want more specific information.

Fun fact: the flowers are blue but if they turn pink it is because of radiation levels. These flowers can be used as a bioassay, how you determine potency in a substance, to measure radiation levels. I thought that was a cool cookie.

Contributed by Susan Lowrie

Delphiniums come in lots of colors and are perennials as well. They are not are not for my zone. Only to 7… I am disappointed, but they are cool to learn about. All flowers are toxic to humans and livestock and is also known as Larkspur. These flowers can be used to make a dye.

Project Grow Your Roots: Update

Good day humans, it is I. So I have gotten a lot of responses which I love and with that comes the fun part. So I have been keeping up with these as best as I can, but my plan is to make a video and go over it together on New Years. Hopefully my kids will appreciate the time I put in and my oldest said she’d help, which is always nice.

Now without further ado more pictures of plants from all over:

Contributed by Laura Notobartolo

She calls his her dragon tree because of the dragon figurine. This is how they figure our if they need to water their houseplants, which is brilliant. He has also made flowers which is the best part. I love the dragon figurine ideas, if it sinks the ground needs water. Smart stuff from strangers on the internet.

Contributed by Luna Jade

She grew some pumpkins out of her compost and they seem really happy to be there. This is from her 2019 garden, she’s right: Mother Nature will find a way.

Contributed by Kristel Corter Webbe

Now this lady wanted to show off her pumpkin, she put it in a hammock to support it’s growth and boy did it grow. I am impressed. She says it came out to be a 35 lbs pumpkin. I am impressed and I hope you are too.

We have more on the way as soon as I sort them all out. Have a great day and stay safe.

Project Grow Your Roots: From Indiana

Contributed by Robert Hollis

Mr. Hollis said Merry Christmas with a lovely mammoth sunflower. He is from Indiana.

Now the Mammoth Sunflower grows wild from the Carolinas to Canada and over. It is just everywhere, no wildlife conservation unit is keeping an eye on these giants. They are well loved by all and I say giants because they can grow up to 13 feet tall. That’s right they are huge and that is one of my favorite things about them.

Contributed by Robert Hollis

The Dahlia is the national flower of Mexico, which is fun because that is where the flower is native to: Mexico and Central America. They are Edible and that is awesome. Can’t wait to try one in my salad.

Contributed by Robert Hollis

Project Grow Your Roots 2021: Victorious

Contributed by Jeremy Sledd

This Groot house plant was sent from Bauxite Arkansas and where a father is homeschooling his 2 daughters, ages 11 and 8.

This amazing father got his daughters an African Violet, which is a perennial and have lovely fat leaves that look like hairy green tongues. That is not a scientific description don’t write that down.

Contributed by Jeremy Sledd

He sent us a better picture to show off the leaves and the flower which I appreciate. African Violets do not like extreme temperature changes and come from tropical Africa. So they don’t to be cold either, don’t do that.

African Violets are associated with moms and motherhood. I am sure your mom will love the heartfelt well thought out idea. Regardless, love the plant love the pictures.

Contributed by Nicola Stohr-Machowski
Contributed by Joely Ann Lindsey

This amazing Gem was her first plant and it is looking happy.

Project Grow Your Roots 2021: Happy Plants

Last night as I was passing out I got a little lazy. My problem is that I got so into speaking to some of these amazing people that I let my posts get a little sloppy and instead of going back and checking each article over (this is a labor of love not money) I just kept going.

I apologize for my negligence, but I was really enjoying this project. I am still on day 1 submissions if that shows you what an amazing response this has all been. Thank you for your overwhelming support and now without further ado…

Contributed by Helen Evans

There was a lovely lady online who rescued Orchids and gives them a place to stay. I admire her work and I love the flowers (have never been able to keep them alive but someone had to be able to in order for them to be such a widely given gift). She let allowed me to share her picture and said:

“This is one of my rescue orchids – I have 3 that I rescued from the rejected section in Asda for just 10p each. No one wanted them because the original flowers had died, but I knew that with a little tlc they would flourish. This was my reward . Shows that with a little care and attention, wonderful things can happen.”

Orchids have over 28,000 accepted species and are members of a huge plant family. They are roughly between 6 and 11% of all seed plants. They are perennial without the woody structure. Not going to lie there is so much information out there, because there are so many that I am getting a little overwhelmed. I’ll have to look back into this when I have more time on my hands. There is so much Information.

Contributed by Yvonne McLeod

These are her favorite roses! She loves them and takes great care of them. Look at all of those amazing blooms. I am impressed.

This was a mini rose that she bought from the grocery store. Now it’s “3ft tall and gets more beautiful every year!” I love her enthusiasm for her roses.

There is a lot of Information about Roses and I’ll have to do something about them later.

Contributed by Francine Holland

“This was a tiny plant in a small basket 12 years ago. It loves its spot by the window,” she says about her house plant as we see how excited it is about the fresh light.

Thank you for this beauty. These plants always make me feel like I am in a jungle. I love it when people share the pictures in my many plant groups.

Contributed by Catherine Gurney

This plant has grown over the years but it comes with a fun story:

My husband saw this as he was queuing in B&Q. It was £1 (and only a couple of feet high). He could sense that the lady behind him was staring at it too so he picked it up. It makes us smile to think it is doing so well in our house!

We are so glad you bought it all those years ago. Look how it’s grown from a baby in a tiny pot. We are lucky to see your amazing plant. We’ll call it a love-love tree as it is a symbol of you and your husband’s love.

Contributed by Annie Joseph

What she loves about this Succulent Ghost Plant is that “it grows with very little care” and “overflows from a tiny 2 inch pot looking beautiful”. It really seems to be happy and at home with you.

These babies are native to Mexico and their appearance depends on soil and exposure. The Succulent Ghost Plant is a common succulent that has been mass sold at the store. They do not like lots of water but love the full sun to part shade.

Project Grow Your Roots 2021: Beautiful Flowers

Contributed by Jody Foster

She wishes everyone a Merry Christmas and reminds us that Jesus Lives. These are her beautiful hibiscus. I love the cottage core feel to this picture.

Contributed by Leanne Toohey

The Brittlebush is a desert native plant. This picture was taken in the Mohave Desert in Oatman, Arizona. They are frost sensitive and drought tolerant.

Did you know they are a relative of the sunflower? I thought that was pretty cool.

Contributed by Michelle Hartman

She has so many lovely coneflower growing in her garden. I am so envious. I bet her coneflower brings all of the butterflies and bees to her yard.

She has paired us with two of her favorite living beings. Here is what she told us:

I got this wonderful, photobombing, dog in 2020. Bristol is the farm dog I’ve always wanted and with her I don’t feel scared on my own anymore.
Pictured with some of my favorite prairie flowers. Pink Sensation Coneflower (echinacea).

I just want to continue to thank everyone for their overwhelming support so far. I appreciate you all so much. Until next time 💚

Project Grow Your Roots 2021: A Story of Love

This amazing lady Allana Greuel shared something I am honored to share. Here is what she said:

My Heartleaf Philodendron. Although so common, this plant is priceless in my eyes. My dad had passed away in a freak accident this past June; and this was a tiny starter plant in an arrangement a family friend had gifted me. Of course I have my many peace lilies, but something about the heart-shaped leaves really draw me to it. My dad was my best friend for 19 years, so when I look at my philodendron and see new growth I feel that he still lives! I believe the spirit lives forever, but this plant keeps me connected physically. The hearts remind me that his love is never ending regardless of our physical existence. Sorry if this wasn’t exactly the answer you were looking for. I know it’s mainly from Central America! Although what happened is not a “nice” thing. This was what got me to notice plants and actually enjoy the varieties, so I guess you could say I found a hobby in something horrible. That’s nice to me I guess.

Contributed by Allana Greuel

That is absolutely beautiful. This plant is definitely your father telling you he is happy and safe and feeling amazing. The plant is amazing too.

Heartleaf Philpdendron is an indoor house plant around these parts and it does originate from South America. It can trail out up to 4 feet.

This is a beautiful plant with a beautiful story.

Project Grow Your Roots 2021: Plant Sharing

Contributed by Janessa Stewart and the picture was taken on the American River Parkway

This is a Dwarf Lupine and it grows along the river and through the hills of the Sacramento Valley. This is hardy in zones 4 to 9 and is a perennial. I am kind of excited because that means that I can plant them as well. That is really exciting news.

Contributed by Maddie Marks

Sharing a Monstera and a lovely story. This is her very first ever plant and it was given to her by her best friend when she moved back to California. This plant also has a name: Sage.

Fun Fact: This is also called the Swiss cheese plant

Contributed by Jaclynn Aylen

Hailing all the way from Ontario, Canada: Vera the aloe vera. She is a proud mother of two pups. Their names are undisclosed as they are minors. It’s for their protection and Safety.

I love aloe vera plants. I actually have quite a few that I hope survive.

Contributed by Rhonda Gibbens

Project Grow Your Roots 2021: Fun and Short Additions

Contributed by L. McKnight

All the way from Oregon, Groot wants you to know he is proud of you.

Contributed by Adrienne Westbrook

This is a weeks worth of growth on a Sunflower she planted with her daughter. I love the way she made the pictures come together in this photo. I love the family bonding in Indiana. Enjoy raising those Sunflowers.

These bad boys are the state flower of Kansas. They can grow in medium light and in clay soil. I’ll keep that in mind when I am planting. Birds love Sunflower for their seeds and who can blame them really?

But the most amazing thing is the amount of uses:

  • Poultice from the flowers for burns
  • Crushed root to draw out a blister
  • Leaf tea for high fevers

Also, one last bit a little bit of folklore: some places believe that planting sunflowers can ward off malaria.

Contributed by Colleen Esc

Started from leaf cuttings these Violets have grown to be lovely. So lovely she plans on spreading the love this season. I am sure that everyone will be thrilled, I know that I would.

Many are perennial but some are annual and very few are shrubs. The viola category has around 600 species which is amazing and a little overwhelming, but the flower is edible and can be used to add color to salads. If you needed a reason to plant this beautiful flower.

There are so many absolutely amazing people out there. As the pictures flow in I just keep becoming more excited about the outcome. Keep your eyes out for more plants that people are excited about.

Coleman Park: Mean Old Geese

Coleman Park is one of my favorite places to kill time. Here they have a waterfall, five acre pond and so many other things things. My favorite is the walking track that could keep you busy all day.

Lately, coming here has really made me want some mean old territorial geese. The park had to get them to protect their ducks.

It also made me want to get ducks. I enjoy ducks and they’re not vicious like geese are.

Enjoy the geese and have a great day

Project Grow Your Roots 2021: Tonasket, Washington

Another lover of plants like myself is out there living the dream. She has sent us pictures of three different plants that are amazing and I can’t wait to look into and mention some cool facts about these amazing plants.

Contributed by Lisa Swinson

First, we have our Thanksgiving Cactus which is native to Brazil. These are primarily house plants. They are known by many names and there are only around 6 to 9 species of this genus. I found that to be very cool.

Contributed by Lisa Swinson

First thing that drew me into this picture was the amounts of snow. I could not imagine or survive such a large amount.

Amazingly, the Douglas Fir can. This tree has a hardiness of zones 4 to 6 and is number one in the lumber industry. If you couldn’t see this tree is an evergreen and absolutely amazing looking in all types of weather, but it really seems as though this tree enjoys the freezing temperatures.

Contributed by Lisa Swinson

This lovely cactus is unknown for now, if you have the answer comment below and I’ll update it. This was an anniversary cactus so we will call it a love cactus or a cactus of love. This commemorates 5 years of marriage and 2 beautiful children.

Greetings from Tonasket, Washington.

Project Grow Your Roots 2021: Pencil Cactus

So I was sitting here thinking about all of the cool things I could do for the New Year that didn’t require money or leaving the house. So I sent out an SOS in a lot of my cooler groups and requested plant pictures. Here is the beginning to my new adventure

This is a pencil cactus. She contributed this because she informed me her love for the Pencil Cactus but let me know that the sap is considered a neurotoxin. This plant can be dangerous if ingested so we have to be careful.

Contributed by Crystal Yeakley

This intrigued me and so I dug a little deeper. This plant produces a poisonous latex that can cause blindness. That does not sound fun but the pictures are absolutely beautiful. The sap is milky, toxic and corrosive.

The blindness is said to be temporary and if exposed to the skin it can cause redness and irritation and burn the skin.

It is native to India and Africa and can be grown in sub tropical areas and greenhouses. I found some Online Tips to help you if you are interested in this lovely and very hard core plant. Definitely deer resistant and just cool to have around.

I think it’s pretty metal that people keep these as house plants. This is a gold star first submission on my mission to keep my kids awake until midnight with cool information and facts that I collected from all over the world.

Beneficial Grants: Texas Monarch Butterfly Grant

I live in Texas. Howdy.

I was looking into things that could boost my permaculture food forest without costing me any money. As I was looking through the many grants. It all started with the Monarch Butterfly Grant.

This is a very small personal grant that cannot exceed past 400 per person/group. This grant can only be used to purchase plants (which is all I want- free plant money). So there are some rules to this particular grant that go further than that: they have to be native to Texas. I want Butterflies

As I wait for winter to be over I plan. My close friend LD always has a beautiful yard and I want to shine too. This has inspired me to look for money to supply my hobbies.

Challenge accepted.

I want all four hundred of those dollars so that I can expand my already amazing dream permaculture food forest. So I looked into it.

Agarita is one of the native plants. I hadn’t thought about this plant before -primarily because I was so narrow minded on the idea of a permaculture food forest- but I love that we have so many milkweed plants in my pasture because it attracts the butterflies.

That’s also how I happened upon this grant because I decided I wanted to start a butterfly garden to attract even more. The agarita has the nectar that the butterflies crave. If I have this lovely blossoming flower it will give the mom butterflies plenty of food – these plants also are great for other pollinators like bees. Keep that in mind.

It is a shrub that is pointy. I like pointy shrubs because they make good barriers to keep animals away from my property. Sold. They are an evergreen, drought tolerant and they also produce tasty berries (and makes delicious jelly). Sounds like a win-win-win to me.

These are my end game goals guys. I want to be on this list.

Flame acanthus also known as the hummingbird bush. This is absolutely beautiful and another shrub. This is considered a ‘profuse’ bloomer. It allegedly is a huge bloomer and that is exciting because it attracts not just monarch butterflies but also hummingbirds and bees. (It’s also a deer resistant and drought tolerant)

Kidneywood is so beautiful. I had no idea, they are allegedly really fragrant and attract bees and butterflies. They have many branches and they can get up to be 12 feet tall. That is amazing because it is also drought tolerant and can survive cold and heat. (Clay soil is acceptable here). I am digging it. Sounds like it will be a great place for butterflies to settle in and eat some nectar.

Cone Flower is something we already have but would love to have it planted everywhere. Who knew that it was a native Texas plant? Now I know and you do too. This is a perennial and has beneficial properties which I will probably go over at a later time. They bloom from April until September so this will give my early pollinators a snack before the rest bloom in May or June.

The application is online and the application and process seems very easy.

They say purple cone flower can be aggressive- I sure hope so. So keep that in mind.

Cenizo is just a cool name to have. If I get another pet (fingers crossed I don’t but if I do) I am going to name it Cenizo. Regardless, it is made for our zone. It flowers and can take the heat but it does need to be watered. They can get to be up to 8 feet tall. Sounds live privacy fence material to me.

Cenizo goes by another name Texas Sage. Amazingly enough I already have a couple growing. I had no idea. Also this plant does not appreciate heavy pruning- I’ll have to keep that in mind.

The fragrant or pink mimosa is another thorny shrub great for deer resistance and a nice barrier around my property (I hear it smells good too). Another early bloomer but it ends earlier too (March to July). The flowers are lovely and I would love to add them to my butterfly garden (or barrier I haven’t decided). Here is even more Information.

They will check up on us and I can’t wait. This adventure will be really exciting. I can’t wait to start.

Texas Lantana is something I already have growing and they are amazing. I kind of want more of them because they make a beautiful groundcover. All parts of this plant are poisonous and it is considered deer resistant.

Lantanas are perennial shrubs that can grow 2 to 4 foot tall. Wow, they just don’t seem to be scrubbing out for me. They’re just creeping across the ground. That is strange maybe next year they will perk up, regardless I would love to have more. One more link: Texas Lantana. Just in case you’re considering it. It is really beautiful.

Last but not least is Salvia texana and I want this one. If I got that grant I would definitely get this plant. This is a perennial herb and it grows to be up to 2 feet tall. It is drought tolerant and does well in clay or rocky soil (bonus i won’t need to modify the soil I have). Salvias are a perennial flower and have more than 75 species including autumn sage. That is something we already have in honor of my eldest child: Autumn Sage. This is a rabbit hole I’ll have to go down another time, but every new flower or sage that I have gets me more excited.

I have murdered lavender every single year I’ve tried it but look at her growing it like it’s nothing. I am so jealous of her naturally green thumb.

I will, of course, get more milkweed but that will place where where I want them primarily and have a large area in the middle of the garden. That sounds absolutely beautiful.

Can’t wait and I hope I get it, but I already have some of these plants. The milkweed does grow naturally and I want to entice Monarch butterflies. I want them to pollinate all of my fruit trees and attract all of the bees. I understand the importance of planting native plants and I can’t wait to get started.

I will share more grants as I come across more information.

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