So called seed bombs — balls of seed, compost and clay — can give an instant lift to any undeveloped area.
Meadows, vacant lots, etc. To make, mix together five parts natural air-drying clay, one part compost, and one part seeds. Roll into 1-inch balls; dry on waxed paper a few days. Give them as gifts, in muslin or paper bags.
• It is important to remember that not all “wildflower” mixes are a good deal. Some include invasive plants that will spread and do harm. Use native seed mixes when possible.
A neighbor of mine used a wildflower mix that included an invasive daisy seed. I lived three houses down and was killing those volunteer daisies for several years afterward.
Native plants promote insect and wildlife health in the area. Visit local nurseries or americanmeadows.com to buy seeds that thrive in our region.
• Bringing the outside in with decorated candles
Several years ago, while traveling to visit friends near Glacier, I found some beautiful candles that were decorated with grass, dried pansies and other flowers. They were just so beautiful I had to have one. I still bring it out each summer for the dining table. How did I keep this candle, use it and still have it all these years later?
I bought a candle with a large enough diameter to cut out a portion of the top center and insert a votive holder. I get to keep the beautiful outside and replace votives when they burn out.
Make your own grass candles using light-colored pillars, a nonflammable all-purpose glue stick, and blades of grass.
Apply adhesive to a single blade and affix to candle, folding the bottom of the blade underneath. Repeat process, varying lengths and spacing to mimic natural growth and create a pleasing pattern.
• Refreshing topsoil
Even a plant that doesn’t need repotting should have its soil replenished yearly. Remove the top 2 to 4 inches of soil with a fork; avoid harming fragile feeder roots. Refill with fresh soil mixed with slow-release fertilizer, and, if desired, top with grit.
Susan Woody has been a home and garden writer for more than 20 years and is an advanced Master Gardener.