Hydrangeas bushes are beautiful pom-pom looking flowers that are native to our zone 6 climate. Hydrangeas bushes can be seen all over Massachusetts in various assortments of colors based on the soil. Before planting your hydrangea, you should plan out which type you’d like to bloom. Use acidic soil for blue or purple-blue hydrangeas. Alkaline soil with a pH above 7 for pink and red hydrangeas. Alkaline soil with a pH below 7 creates a purple hydrangea. (Source : HGTV).
Seed Starting Advice
Most people who are starting to grow hydrangeas start with the root. This can be done in the ground or in a pot.
Plant in an area with partial sun.
Trim around the root for parts that look rotting.
Dig a hole deep enough to cover the entire root, leaving 2 to 3 inches on the sides of the root.
Make sure that the top of the root meets the top layer of soil.
Remove root from hole, fill soil with water halfway.
Once water has absorbed, replace the root back into soil and fill the hole with water.
When growing hydrangeas bushes, you will need to plant them at least 3 to 10 feet apart (Source : The Almanac). This will give them plenty of space to grow out and not be on top of each other. When it comes to protecting them from pests, you should keep your eye out for holes within the flowers. Slugs can be discovered when there are munches on your petals, and can be reduced using slug traps. Other insects, like scale, aphids, beetles and fruit worms, can be reduced using an insect control spray. ( Source : Esponma).
Avoid cutting your hydrangeas when it is hot outside, since this will cause the flower to wilt. Cut within the months of August and October, which is when they are at their blooming season. Pick when the flowers are fully bloomed. (Source : Garden Guides).
The most perfect bouquet featuring hydrangeas include different types of roses, like spray roses and African roses. They also pair well with peonies and dahlias. Alongside these statement flowers, you can add smaller greens, such as babies breath, eucalyptus, delphinium, foxglove, freesia, and bells of Ireland (Source : Cascade Floral Wholesale) When it comes to the colors of the arrangement, you want them to match based on what color hydrangeas you are using. When using blue or purple hydrangeas, you should stick to a more cool toned bouquet, and when you’re using pink, you should use more warm toned flowers- white is the middle ground and can be mixed with either color. Below is an example of a bouquet mixed with both warm and cool colors that looks beautiful as well.
January 1st might seem like a normal day for other people., aside from it being the first day of a new year, but as someone from Haitian descent, it holds a lot more meaning. On January 1st 1804, the country of Haiti would gain independence and liberate themselves from French colonial rule. Centuries later, Haitian people worldwide still celebrate this victory. This landmark date is celebrated in many ways, but there is one way of celebration that is a staple in Haitian culture, and that is the eating of “Soup Joumou” or “Squash soup” as it is called in English.
Now, even though this dish is very well-known in the Haitian community, I still would consider it a family recipe. Though we may not be blood related, I see my fellow Haitian people as my brothers and sisters, no matter how much of a stranger they are. Now, you’re probably wondering how the soup is made. Well my family, and I’m sure lots of other Haitian families, use organic home-grown ingredients to make this dish. Obviously, the most important ingredient is Squash. Last year my mother, who cooks it every year for my father and I, used organic squash which is what I prefer since it improves the soup incredibly. Other organic ingredients we use are cabbage, potatoes, carrots, onions, and corn. The only non-organic ingredients we put in the soup are beef and macaroni. Waking up and drinking this soup with bread on the side is something I look forward to every new years day. My mother sometimes loves to share some soup with my upstairs neighbor, who is also Haitian, and sometimes vice-versa. Same with her other Haitian friends too. I love checking on my social media to see my friends who are not of Haitian descent try the soup. It’s amazing that food can bring so many people together. It feels good to be part of a culture with such a rich tradition. In conclusion, I hope this blog post inspires more and more people from other ethnicities and backgrounds to learn more about this tradition, and maybe try to make their own soup too!
Each year my parents and I grow edible plants and decorative flowers in Spring and Summer. We have a plot in a community garden down the street from our house, where other people in town also rent plots and grow whatever crops they want. I’ve learned by having this plot over the years that there is a sense of camaraderie and a lot of teamwork in a community garden. I see this in a couple different areas- in the upkeep of the community garden land, and in seeing excess crops being shared between gardeners.
There is always help needed at a community garden. At ours, there is regular weeding and mowing that needs to be done in the grass aisles in between each plot. Sometimes the fences need to be mended, the watering tanks need to be fixed, and gas needs to be put in the lawn mowers and rototillers. The organizer of the garden seeks help with all of these tasks from plot owners. Without it, no one would be able to use the land because it would become messy and unorganized, so community gardeners depend on each other to keep the land workable.
I’ve also seen lots of sharing between gardeners, especially in mid to late summer when plants are growing with copious amounts of fruit and vegetables. There’s a picnic table at the entrance to the plots where gardeners often put a basket or bag of excess produce that’s up for grabs. My parents and I have done that quite a few times, especially when our tomato harvest becomes too much for three people to eat and we’ve exhausted everyone we know with bags of them. Whatever is left on that table always gets taken, which is nice to see. You know that the surplus goods did not go to waste. I also see recipes and planting techniques shared between gardeners, which we do often with our plot neighbor, who’s a master farmer.
I think the bond between people in a community garden comes from not only needing to rely on others to have the land be functional and organized, but also because gardening itself is an act that’s all about giving. With a good harvest, you’re giving yourself and your family homegrown produce, and you could have excess crops to give to others who don’t have a garden so they can experience farm fresh food too. In a community garden, it’s all about teamwork to make the gardening season successful for all.