Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Freezing Okra

This year we are having a bumper crop of okra, much more than we can eat.  The okra is also called Lady Fingers, probably because they are long and slender.  The pale yellow blooms are beautiful, too.  What is better than to pick okra or any fresh vegetable in your garden, bring it to your kitchen, and cook it within minutes?  How fresh can you get?

For freezing okra, I use the freshest.  It goes from the garden to the pot to the freezer in a very short time.  Since we are not using any pesticides, I am not too concerned about thoroughly washing the vegetables from the garden.  All I have to do is cut off the tip part of the okra and leaving the bottom intact.  In other words, I am freezing he okra almost whole.

In a pot, I let the water come to a roaring boil and then I add the okra to blanch for a few minutes.  What a beautiful color!  When the blanching is completed, I pour okra and water into a colander and let it cool down (stop boiling) under cool running water.  Some say to use ice, but I don't believe that is necessary.

When the okra is cool enough to handle, I pack the okra into quart size plastic bags and put them into the freezer for later use in gumbos, stews, and soups.

To Stir Fry Okra:  I like to use fresh okra for the stir fry, not the frozen okra from my freezer.  I simply cut the okra into bite size pieces discarding the tip of the okra.  I also cut up some onions and bell peppers.  If I have tomatoes available, I chop and add them to the stir fry, too.  Oh, yes!  Garlic and parsley make the stir fry extra nice.

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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pickled Peaches

I was sitting in the summer kitchen having another cup of hazelnut coffee when my husband opened the sliding doors.  "You've gotta come and see this on TV.  They are pickling!"  I thought that it had better be good.  It was.  Some food guru was pickling peaches and it looked easy, doable, and delicious.  But I had already "done" my half bushel of peaches for the season.  I don't even have any more jars.

When the program was over, my husband asked if I wanted to go to the Farmer's Market.  The Farmer's Market in Jacksonville Florida is located a stone's throw from the seed store whose shelves are still empty.  He said that he surely would like to have a water melon.  How about some cantaloupes?  We could look for peaches, too.  He is such a tease!  Yes, I could use some tomatoes and onions.  Peaches, huh?

I give in so easy.  Well, here we are at the Farmer's Market.  I couldn't decide what box of South Carolina peaches to get.  "Come on, guys!"  I urged.  "Help me!  Talk me out of getting a box of peaches."  They just grinned from ear to ear.  They were so eager to help carry the box of peaches to the car.

The peaches were nice and firm.  They were 'free stone' peaches meaning that the flesh separates easily from the stone.  This makes it very easy to halve the peach and remove the stone.

The following morning, I measured out 5 lbs of peaches which came out to be 10 peaches.  I peeled and halved the peaches before bringing the syrup to a boil.

I measured 1 cup of white vinegar and 1 cup of water for making the syrup.  I also measured 4 cups of sugar, 2 tbs of whole cloves, 5 cinnamon sticks (each about 2.5 inches long), and a Star of Anise for each jar for decoration.  Instead of water, I could have used white wine but the wine cellar was empty.

When the vinegar and water was boiling, I added the sugar and spices, stirring until the sugar was dissolved.  I let the syrup come to a boil again, added the peaches, and let it boil for 10 - 15 minutes.  I checked the tenderness of the peaches with a toothpick.  I didn't want the peaches to fall apart or be mushy.

I spooned the peaches into clean/sterile jars, poured the syrup, and sealed with hot wax.  It made three (3) pints of well packed pickled peaches.  I made several batches and I had plenty of syrup left over that I plan to use for my tea.

Thank you for visiting my blog.  We're going to have a peachy week.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sea Oats on the Beach

After leaving Pete's Bar, we rounded the corner and decided to go for a walk on the beach.  As soon as we reached the sand dunes, we kicked off our flip flops and waded out into the surf.  We frolicked.  We splashed water on each other.  We walked along the water's edge looking for shells.  We held hands.  We laughed and giggled.

The life guard had left his tower so we climbed it to sit on top and listen to the surf, watching the waves ebbing and flowing.  We laughed at the pelicans.  They are so elegant in flight but they crash with such a splash into the water. The sun bathers with glistening bodies and young men with sun bleached hair and long boards were leaving.  The sun cast long shadows on the dunes and it was time for us to leave for home.

On the path through the sea oats, we stopped to admire the the interesting but yet common sea oats that has formed such dense clusters, or colonies, to hold the sand in place, to anchor the dunes down with its long and deep roots.  It is an aid to erosion control.  It is illegal to collect seeds or plants in most states because they are on the list of endangered species according to Miracle-Gro's Encyclopedia of Plant Care.

I have heard that it is difficult to obtain nursery propagated plants but not impossible.  I asked the staff at my favorite nursery if I could buy sea oats from them.  They shook their heads.  They did not carry sea oat seeds or plants and they did not know of anyone else selling them either.  The staff at my particular nursery did confirm that the sea oats indeed are illegal to collect.

I don't ever recall having seen sea oats for sale at any of the nurseries and home improvement centers that I frequent.  However, Google Dave's Garden for additional information on sea oats and sources where you may obtain these beautiful plants.

In addition, the lady at the nursery said that there was a plant called river oats that looked very much like the sea oats but they liked shade and would not grow in full sun.  It is somewhat difficult to find shade on the beach.

Other suggestions:
A.  Be careful where you sow your wild oats.
B.   Eat your oatmeal with cinnamon, freshly sliced peaches, and skim milk.  It's good for your heart.

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Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pete's Bar

I am slowly preparing the garden for a fall planting of vegetables but the shelves at the nursery stores are still empty.  That's all right.  I pulled up the tomato wines and sowed black beans in its place.  It doesn't matter if the beans mature or not in the 62 days allotted because I am basically using them for cover to prevent weeds from growing.  If I have to use that plot for the fall vegetables, I will till the beans under and use all the bean plants as green manure.

Other than that, I don't have much to do today and I am fresh out of ideas.  I have not prepared any writings or musings for my blog.  Forget it:  Let's go to Pete's Bar to cool off for a while.  Pete's Bar is located in the heart of the Town Center in Neptune Beach FL and across the street from City Hall.

Pete's Bar is a historical establishment founded in 1933.  Some call it a "dive" with pool tables at a quarter per game.  It's a smoky pool hall.  The not too many choices of drinks are cheap and strong.  The beer is limited to a few brand names and the wine list reads:  red, white, and rose.

I thought I would find the same table as John Grisham once did.  He frequented Pete's Bar where he found a quiet corner and people didn't bother him.  He wrote about the bar and the area in The Brethren.

On Thanksgiving Day, people from all walks of life, from near and far away places, gather for a meet and greet, and to enjoy a Bloody Mary before the turkey calls for a more somber festivity with friends and family.  It  and has become a tradition to meet at Pete's Bar in the morning.

My husband and I went there last year and I elbowed my way into the bar for the required Bloody Mary.  This affair should be attended at least once.  It was fun mingling with the people, their puppies, and babies in strollers that were spilling into the street for a short time.

I've had my glass of white wine and it's time to go home, but before I go let me tell you this joke that I read in "Guns and Gardens:"  A young boy was walking down a country road in Tennessee when he was stopped by a state trooper.  "Do you have any ID?" the trooper inquired.  "'bout what?" the boy asked.

I confess:  I have no idea either.  Let me get outta here.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Dollar Weed

If I had a real dollar for every dollar weed that I have in the Back Forty and Park, I would be a millionaire, no make that a billionaire.  The dollar weed gets its name from the silver-dollar-shaped leaves which are round, bright green, flashy, and looks like a miniature lily pad with scalloped edges.  That's how the Clemson University SC describes this weed.  How kind!

This little monster is also known as pennywort.  It's a forever plant;  it returns every year.  Actually, it never leaves.  It grows low in the grasses but it is no mistaken it.  The weed spreads by seeds, small corkscrew-like rhizomes, and long white tubers.

The dollar weed, or pennywort, is a water loving weed.  The presence of an abundance of dollar weeds is an indication of excessive moisture in the yard or in the garden.  In research conducted by the University of Florida, it was clearly demonstrated that a reduction in irrigation frequency reduced the presence of the dollar weed.

In a healthy lawn with St. Augustine grass, I am hoping that the grass will overtake the dollar weed and squeeze it out.  The dollar weed thrives in weak, thin turf with some moisture.  It will seek out bare spots in the lawn, grow and prosper.

For me, there is only one other method to control the dollar weed and that is manually:  digging it up and pulling it up.  The white root system seems to go on forever.  What amazes me is that the roots are pure white reminding me of spaghetti.

The dollar weed likes every soil condition.  It grows well against the house in the rose bed.  I may be able to mulch the rose bed heavily but the dollar weed still manages to poke through.  It likes sandy soil; it likes loamy soil; it likes rich soil; and it likes poor soil.  It doesn't discriminate.

Caution:  As a last resort, there are herbicides, or weed killers, that could be used with extraordinary caution.  One such thing is Atrazine that may kill the dollar weed for one season, but the herbicide travels through the soil and may enter the ground water.  Users are advised not to apply to sand or loamy sand soil where the water table, the ground water, is close to the surface.  Please, read the label carefully and ask extension agents and professionals at nurseries for advice.

Although the dollar weed is a nuisance, I don't want to use herbicides to eradicate this blooming weed because I am acutely afraid that I will destroy not only the grass but other plants as well.  I am keeping in mind that the spray will be carried by the wind and it will also sink into the ground.

Source:  Clemson and me.

As always, thank you for visiting my blog.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ute Prayer

We are seekers.  We seek peace and quiet.  We seek harmony.  But in this day and age, there is always something going on with family and friends, with the community we live in, and with the world that disrupts our lives and throws our sensibilities to the winds.  My quiet place is in the garden tilling the earth that nurtures the vegetables that nurtures me.  In the garden, I hear the birds twitter, the wind rustling gently in the trees, the surf meeting the sand, and the sun caressing my back.  I am at peace for a little while.

Ute Prayer

Earth teach me quiet 
as the grasses are still with light

Earth teach me suffering 
as old stones suffer with memory

Earth teach me humility 
as blossoms are humble with beginning

Earth teach me caring 
as mothers nurture their young

Earth teach me freedom 
as the eagle that soars in the sky

Earth teach me acceptance 
as the leaves that die each fall

Earth teach me renewal 
as the seed that rises in the spring

Earth teach me to forget myself 
as melted snow forgets its life

Earth teach me to remember kindness 
as dry fields weep with rain

Some time ago, I copied the Ute Prayer from Earth Prayers; From Around the World by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon.

Photo was provided by the Gator Dude from

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Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

How to Make Crackling Bread

From what I understand crackling is made from the pork skin, seasoned, and deep fried.  I found out about crackling in the first Foxfire book, thought it was interesting, and had to try it.  Some say that crackling bread is a Southern delicacy; maybe so.  If is was Crackling Biscuits, I would agree.  Delicacy?  It is hearty and interesting.  Anyway, I have closed the Foxfire book and put it away, at least, for now.

To get the crackling and find out find out what it was, we ventured out to the country store.  I was too shy to ask the old timers behind the counter so I asked my husband to inquire.  He told them that I wanted to know!  This friendly butcher showed us the way and told us that his grandmother used to make biscuits with crackling.  He said that was some good eating.

Before using the crackling, I chopped it up into smaller pieces to make one (1) generous cup for the crackling bread.  Crumbled up crisp bacon may be used instead of crackling.

Mix the following dry ingredients:  1 and 1/2 cup self-rising corn meal, 1 tsp each of baking soda, salt, and baking powder.

The recipe calls for 2 cups of buttermilk.  If you don't have buttermilk, add 4 tbs vinegar to 2 cups of milk.

Beat one (1) egg.  Mix the beaten egg with buttermilk and the dry ingredients.  If this concoction is too soupy, add all-purpose flour until the batter becomes a tad thicker than cake batter.  Pour into a well-greased form.  I used two forms.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until brown in 450 degree F oven.

I was surprised to find that the bread did not taste more of the crackling.  It is very good with margarine and homemade peach jam.  (See how to make Peach Jam in one of my June blogs.)

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Where have all the Bees gone?

Our neighbor across the scenic creek moved a couple of years ago and he gave away his bee hives.  Needless to say, we have not seen any bees since he moved.  His bee hives were visible to us and his bees regularly came to visit our garden.

One time some of his bees swarmed away and set up their own hive in our Cassia bush near the creek.  We didn't mind the bees but we felt that the city workers could come and exterminate them because they had to mow the grass on the right away.  So we hollered at him to come and get his bees.  He suited up and did.

I have heard it said several times that the reason we don't have any cucumbers is because we don't have any bees.  I read in the garden section in Sunday's paper that the first cucumber flowers to appear are female and the guys are a bit slower; but with no bees it doesn't make any difference.

Every season, I have let a few broccoli heads go to seed.  They put out lots of small yellow flowers  which are quite edible, too.   The bees like them.  I also let the mustard greens go to seed.  They also put out a lot of small yellow flowers.  These yellow flowers last a long time and attract the bees and other pollinators as well.

In the spring, the citrus trees generate a mass of fragrant flowers and so does the azaleas.  The roses are also providing blooms for the bees throughout the summer.  The lambago are producing an abundance of blue flowers in the summer time and well into fall.

In addition, the Canna with its immensely red flowers should attract the bees and so should the Crepe Myrtle that is full of red blooms.  It that isn't enough, there is the honeysuckle along the wood side along the Back Forty.

I have planted sunflowers on the edges of the two garden plots but they are not blooming yet.  We usually have sun flowers along the borders and they do attract the bees.  I have also heard that the Marigolds attract bees and deter mosquitos from visiting.  Zinnias are also easy to grow.  They are colorful and keep blooming a long time.

But where have all the bees gone?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Caring for an Orchid

The orchid is the most beautiful, the most sophisticated, and a most demanding plant.  Some growers believe that the plant is easy to care for in the right environment.  It will bloom for a long time. Since the shelves at the garden centers are still lacking vegetables, I had to go and get a small light purple colored orchid.

At one time, my husband and I attended an orchid show where we bought a couple of blooming plants.  We bought books on caring for orchids; we bought special moss, terra cotta pots, and we bought special fertilizer.  We followed the instructions to the letter.  You know what happened?

To grow an orchid, imagine it living in the rain forest where it is damp, rainy, and dark on the forest floor.  The orchid has managed to find its way to the tree tops where it obtains moisture, nourishment, and air circulation.  It is an epiphyte, not a parasite, that has attached itself to another surface such as a tree trunk.

As soon as I came home with my orchid, I transferred it to a small basket so that the root can get some air circulation.  I placed a few rocks at the bottom of the basket to hold it in place, then I filled the basket with cedar chips and Spanish moss.  The orchid was placed near the screened in windows in the summer kitchen away from direct sunshine and exposed to plenty of humidity fit fir a rainforest.  Today's humidity is only 77%.

Proper feeding of the orchid gets a bit tricky.  Every two weeks or so, it should be fed with liquid foliage food; and every 4 to 6 weeks it should be fed with a liquid blossom boasting food.  Once a month the root system should be flushed and cleansed of food debris.  Is this a special diet, or what?

Most of the time I drink chilled tap water but this little orchid's thirst should be quenched with tepid non chlorinated water.  It is important that the root system remain moist but not overly wet.

I have had this orchid for almost two weeks and the blooms are dropping and when the last bloom is gone, I will cut the stalk.  There is something growing from the root system. It may be a "spike" or it may be a part of the root.  It's living! I am going to let this beauty surprise me.

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Friday, July 12, 2013

Summer Time

I am going to enjoy this sultry summer evening and quench my thirst with a Mint Julep using mint from my herb garden.  For the Mint Julep, I need to make a simple but very sweet syrup by boiling one (1) cup of water, one (1) cup of sugar, and 1/2 cup of chopped mint.  Let it cool and then strain it.

In the meantime I will crush the ice, pull out the prettiest glasses, and pick more mint for garnish.  How about small umbrellas for decoration?  For a true Southern taste, I use fine Kentucky bourbon for the Mint Julep.

I pour one part of the cooled syrup and one part of bourbon over the crushed ice in the handsome glasses, and garnish with sprigs of mint.

I kick off my shoes, lean back in my chair, listen to good music, sip and enjoy the sweet Mint Julep.  I am blessed to have somebody who will enjoy the drink with me.

It is summer time.  
Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Painting Flower Pots

Painting a terra cotta flower pot is a fun project to do for yourself or with your children.  It brings out the artist in you and your child.  It's time well spent with your child while sipping lemonade and thinking about a fall garden.

Terra cotta pots are beautiful and interesting as they are, especially when they have aged and have been exposed to the elements.  For this project, we need to head out to the arts and crafts store to pick up new pots in different sizes.

I checked to see what kind of paint I already had that could easily be used for this project.  Somehow I always have paint left over from other projects and stored in the shed so I had plenty of paint to do several pots.

It doesn't take much to paint a pot inside and out.  I only painted one pot to see how it would work and I used a small spongy paintbrush.  I also had a lot of acrylic paint in tubes that I used to paint my motif.  A small dab of acrylic paint goes a long way and it's easy to clean the brush in water.

It is an inexpensive but fun project to do and it is quality time spent with your child.  I am looking forward to doing this project with my granddaughter.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Seed Store

The Sports Complex with the Arena is located in the heart of Jacksonville, Florida, along with churches and banks.  The jail and the court house are also located down town and so are insurance companies, hotels, and many office buildings.  A few blocks from all this glitter and high rise is our seed store.  It's really known by another name but we refer to it as "the seed store."

Small home gardeners and farmers alike come to this store for their feed and seed.  It's an interesting place because it has everything a serious gardener may need.  As you walk in, you are met with a lot of twitter by beautiful chicks and some of the guinea pigs will also make some noise that reminds you about the guinea pigs that you once had for your children.

If your pets and farm animals are sick, this is the place for over the counter medication and free advice.  There is an assortment of  flea powders and dips lining the shelves against one wall.  There are sprays to terminate ants, roaches, and mice.  Other potions may stimulate growth for greener grass or "take out" the dollar weed.

How about a few canaries or how about yellow, green, and blue parakeets?  There are several cages filled with these seemingly happy birds located in the middle of the floor amid stacks of fertilizers, seeds, and salts.  Have you ever seen a 100 pound sack of mustard seeds?

This is the only feed and seed store in this area where you can buy vegetables in bulk.  Although the seeds are already packaged, you may buy the vegetables of your choice in bulk.  Barrels are filled with seeds and small packages are placed above with a short description of the vegetable.

If you can't find what you are looking for, ask this very nice and helpful lady who is growing Romaine lettuce under bright lights and in a soil free nutritional solution.  I have not paid too much attention to it: I don't want to start anything new such as hydroponic gardening.  Oh, don't get me started!

Now that the seeds are taken care of, we'll go outside for a look at the vegetable plants.  It is impossible to leave this area without plants.  However, since it is the middle of July, the shelves are bare.  In this area are also fruit trees, berry bushes, azalea and rose bushes.  My husband couldn't resist getting two each of Muscadine and Scuppernong grapes earlier this summer.

Before we leave our seed store, we check out the garden tools, different types of wires including roles of chicken wires.  We don't leave empty-handed; we picked up a planting calendar.  For the month of July, the following vegetables may be planted in Northern Florida:

Beans (pole and Lima)
Eggplant, Okra
Southern Peas, Peppers
Cherry Tomatoes

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Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Banana Trees

I am amazed that the banana trees we planted about 30 years ago are still standing and producing.  We planted them in a protected area in the woods among other trees and on the north border of our Back Forty. In this area, the banana trees are protected from the winds and the weather.  The wind will blow right through the leaves and tear them into strips but they will remain green.

The leaves will reach a length of about 9 feet and about 2 feet wide.  The banana trees are susceptible to cold weather and frost, not to mention a freeze.  We know that we've had frost when the leaves turn brown and brittle; however, the rhizomes will survive and put out new shoots.

The banana trees require a lot of fertilizer; we didn't know.  They have received food from mulching that have occurred naturally and thus obtained their nutrients.  Occasionally we add more mulch.  Mostly, they have been left to fend for themselves and they have done fairly well.

They say that the banana trees need little water.  We've been putting the outfall of the water from our heating/cooling system into the area where the bananas grow.  Was that a wrong thing to do! At the most, they need a good soak a couple of times a year.  I'm going to leave the banana trees alone and let Mother Nature take care of them.  She knows best.

The long showy purple flower is the male part and it is called the "tail."  When you actually see the bananas, the tail may be chopped off:  it is no longer needed.  We have left it because it is rather unusual and quite handsome.

After the harvest, the stalk is supposed to be cut down to the ground to grow new suckers.  The stalk will eventually topple over and fall if left alone.  The banana trees have few pest problems but it is recommended that you choose a plant bred for your climate.  The Musa hybrid, another name for our banana tree, does provide ornamental appeal and the fruit is an added delight.  The fruit is stubby but oh! so sweet.

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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Celebrating Independence Day

I love camping:  to sleep under the stars in my Mother's bosom, even if her bed is uneven, lumpy, and rocky.  I love cooking on an open fire and sitting around poking the ambers until I am the only one awake at the camp ground.

I recently found a journal and for 4th of July 2002, I wrote the following in Greenbrier State Park, Maryland:

Majestic oaks are reaching proudly to the blue heaven but kind enough to let the sun in at high noon.  At night, the sky is bursting with fireworks that soon fill the air with pungent smoke and mingling and lingering with the campfire smoke.

Children are playing. Woodpeckers are pecking. Shy squirrels are searching for nuts.  The traffic from the Interstate is constant.  The wind in the tree tops sings its lullabies.  A crow is crowing on occasion.  There are flies and mosquitoes. There is daddy long leg making his way through my camp.  A solitary frog is heard. Night is falling.  There is peace and harmony.

During the days, I paint and read, make coffee on the fire, go for walks, and pick wild flowers.  I am alone but for dinners with Mike.

Be careful and be courteous.  
Hold on to your children and be kind to the elderly.  
Be kind to each other.

Thank you for visiting my blog and leaving comments.  I'll be back on Tuesday

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Plumbago Blues

The shelves at the garden centers are bare, with the exception of a few wilted cherry tomatoes and some tenacious herbs that are refusing to give in to the summer heat.  The gardening on the Back Forty has come to a stand still with the exception of the weeds that are growing under any weather condition.

Then there is the bright blue Plumbago that is braving the hot Florida sun and is just beginning to bloom depending on its location.  I have one Plumbago that is blooming profusely at the end of the garden near the scenic creek.  Others are more sheltered from the sun and are leaning and climbing up a wall on the shed.  I am waiting for those plants to break out in a profusion of blue blooms.

The Plumbagos fit in very nicely in the landscape on the Back Forty because they are so informal.

Left without discipline these evergreen plants will grow up to three or four feet high and just as wide.  They grow in cascades or ramble on and enjoy themselves.  I enjoy them, too.  

The Plumbagos are so forgiving.  They will recover without much ado if I should run over some of their branches with the lawn mower.  They will forgive me and recover if I should trim them too severely.  They are disease resistant and they do well during dry spells.

Dry spell?  Yesterday, we had over 2 inches of rain.  The Plumbago may enjoy a bath once in a while.  You be the judge and tell from this morning's picture.  The rain is still coming down and it is going to stay with us for a while according to the weathermen.

I like this plant because it's evergreen and it survives the winters in Florida.  It can weather a frost but I am not sure that it will recover from a prolonged freeze.  The Plumbagos come in many different hues of blue but I opted to go with only one color.  Bees and butterflies seem to enjoy the Plumbagos, too.  Another reason for liking the Plumbagos is that they do chase away the summer blues.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Lucky Bamboo

When was the last time you gave someone a flower or a plant?  Don't you think it's about time that you surprised someone dear to you with a lucky bamboo?  In feng shui, it is said that bamboo plants bring good luck and fortune, especially if the plants were given as gifts.  What a nice surprise if would be to receive a lucky bamboo as a gift.  We sure could use some good luck and good fortune.
Lucky bamboo Royalty Free Stock Images

Don't tell the recipient that the bamboo is nearly indestructible. It will live well in a vase of pure water, in soil, and in a variety of light conditions, particularly in filtered light.  It thrives in hot weather, too.

The lucky bamboo is actually not  bamboo.  It belongs to the Dracaena family and does not grow outside.

The vast majority of the lucky bamboos are shipped from Taiwan or China where professional growers braid, twist, and turn the stalks into intricate shapes.  They also come with a hefty price but there are many beautiful bamboos at more reasonable prices, too.

The bamboo require little care, but it is recommended that the water be changed once a week and that chlorinated water not be used.  Healthy bamboos have red roots.  It is important to trim the bamboo plant by cutting shoots within an inch or two from the stalk.  Yellow leaves indicate too much sun or too much water.  Move the plant to another location and hold off on the feeding for a while.

Bamboo is a sacred plant in most Asian cultures.  The bamboo stalk symbolizes the wood element and a red ribbon tied around the plant enhances the fire element.  Elizabeth Murrow writes in Cultivating Sacred Space that the bamboo "is a symbol of graceful aging because it remains evergreen, unchanging with the seasons, and grows more beautiful with maturity."  Why not give someone a special gift today?  It may bring good luck and good fortune to both of you.

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