Moonflower

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Moonflower

The name itself conjures up an allure. It sounds so seductive. It sounds so mysterious. It sounds so pretty; moonflower. When I first heard about how it unravels itself at sunset over a matter of minutes, I was immediately attracted to it. Its existence is so poetic.  I knew I had to have it once I found out it was fragrant. That just made it over the top exciting for me.  So I did my research.  Once I researched it I became so conflicted because I found that it can be invasive in some zones. All parts of it are poisonous. Then I came across the fact that the CDC reports that a person who has ingested Moonflower may experience anxiety, confusion, hallucinations and coma which would likely take place within 1 hour of the ingestion of Moonflower. I was pretty sure I didn’t have to worry about my kids eating flowers as long as the flowers didn’t look like sour candy or chocolates.  So the real kicker for me was that it attracts bats!  Now, I don’t know about you, but I do not want to attract bats to my yard. I know, I know, they are beneficial because they eat the mosquitos and other unwanted insects in your yard. I just didn’t want my 2 year old to walk into my backyard and find a bat hanging upside down by its tail.

But I got over all of that and planted it for the first time ever. I started the seeds pretty late. So they are just started budding in mid-October. And I was so excited I was going to get my first bloom! It was a matter of a day or two before it unfolded, then it aborted! I’m sure you can imagine my intense disappointment. In fact, all the little blooms started falling off one by one. Its late November now and I’m still waiting for one little bloom to mature. If I could only just smell ONE bloom, I swear I would be satisfied and feel my mission was accomplished. But I am not giving up on it. It’s a perennial in zone 10 where I live so I’m thinking; next year will be my year. Does anyone out there have a description for what it smells like? I would love to know how you describe its fragrance.

On a fun note, I picked up a book called “Flower Therapy” which stated that the energetic properties associated with Moonflower are: Breaking cycles, getting back on track and clearing up confusion. It is also associated with the crown chakra.  Another interesting note is that moonflowers attract hummingbird moths which are said to be very interesting visitors to the yard. Historically, ancient Mesoamerican people used extracts from the Moonflower plant in the manufacture of a rubber substance.

If you are interested in growing Moonflower, you should know it is a relative of the Morning Glory. The seeds are hard and should be soaked overnight in water before planting. Some people even nick them slightly with a knife or file them a bit. They can be invasive in more humid zones. They do best in full sun and like humidity. They will climb up trees, archways, fences or any other structure you plant them near. The blooms can be as large as 6-8 inches in diameter.  The Moonflower is a tropical perennial vine. In colder climates it is an annual as it cannot tolerate frost.

Go to Your Garden for Baby Shower Party Favors!

A couple of years ago, I hosted a baby shower for my cousin. It was a small party with only close family invited. I needed:

1.  party favors for all the guests and

2.  prizes for the party games

I really wanted to give away something unique that would be memorable and lasting. Since the baby shower was in November, the garden was winding down and I had very little to work with. Thankfully, succulents are available for use in projects year round and they are so easy to root. In fact one of the reasons I grow them is for use in arts and crafts projects. For the party favors, I decided to spell out the baby name in miniature terra cotta pots. Each pot would have a small succulent cutting in it. I spelled out the future baby name by putting a letter on each pot. I do this sort of thing holiday time also, using holiday greetings, and I use paint to decorate the pots. For this particular baby shower I decided to use glitter glue. It’s easy to work with an dries fast. Plus the fact that I love glitter. Since it was a boy, I chose the “blue eye” theme. If you are not familiar with the blue eye, it’s a symbol used in many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Cultures to ward off the “evil eyes” of ill wishers or jealous people from your newborn child. It’s very fashionable these days in jewelry.

Here is what you will need to for this project:

  1. Mini Terra Cotta Pots
  2. Glitter Glue or Paint
  3. Soil
  4. Succulent Cuttings of your choice. I predominantly used Jade and Hen and Chick because that is what I grow.

Simply decorate your pots by painting them. If you don’t have time to paint them or you want to keep it really simple, just write a letter on each pot, spelling out the name of the baby. When the pots dry, put soil in each pot. Break of a piece of the succulent plants you want to use. You may dip the broken part into rooting medium if you wish. That step is entirely optional and I have never needed to do that. I’m not sure if that has to do with the fact that I’m in zone 10 or not. Stick the cutting into the pot of soil. Arrange the pots to spell out the name. If your guests outnumber the letters in the baby name, even after you have included the middle name, you can always draw cute symbols like hearts or baby bottles or “evil eyes” on each pot.

As for the prizes for the party games, I love to arrange flowers in pitchers. I purchased several cute pitchers. I didn’t have many flowers blooming so I used the few that I had and filled up the rest with herbs like lavender and rosemary. I also filled up one with twigs I thought were pretty. For one of my pitchers I purchased a mini Christmas tree that had glitter sprayed all over it. That was my little splurge and it looked amazing!

Here is what you will need for this easy project:

  1. Herbs of your choice
  2. Decorative pitchers
  3. Water
  4. Twigs
  5. Ribbon (optional)

This is what it ended up looking like:

Aren’t you glad you have a garden?

Welcome to Love, Live and Garden! I hope you make yourself at home!

Honey Dijon Rose, Nature Speak,

In nature, we find messages. God, the Universe.. whatever you like to call it.. sends us messages only we can understand and interpret. Pay attention to everything around you. I walked into my garden very annoyed one morning. I looked closely at this Honey Dijon rose, I noticed a heart shape in its center. I realized Ms. Honey Dijon was telling me to love more and be annoyed less. Sometimes there are such powerful messages in nature. Pay attention to your surroundings. The gardenia below looked to me to be in a state of contemplation. Maybe she was contemplating Honey Dijon’s message 🙂

Love, Live and Garden

Hello and welcome to Love, Live and Garden.  I’m Nadia. Here is a little bit about me: I’m married with 3 kids. I am also a psychologist with 14 years of experience in that career.  I live in beautiful Southern California in a home with an exquisite rose garden and many unique fruit trees. Roses are among my favorite flowers. I especially love antique roses, unique colored roses and fragrant roses. I aspire to have a spice garden one day abound with a cinnamon tree and plenty of cardamom, turmeric, ginger and the list goes on. We all have goals! In fact one of my other goals is to get acquainted with different gardens around my community and around the globe. I absolutely love to see what other people are growing! I aim to feature different gardens around the globe on this blog. If you are interested in sharing photos of your sacred backyard space, please feel free to email me.

I have been itching to reinvent myself for quite some time now. With that, I’ve decided to be true to myself and consciously make decisions that will keep me on that path. That is a big part of why I started this blog. This is my attempt to speak my truth. I have an ‘inner mystic’, as I call it, that helps me see ordinary things in extraordinary ways. That inner mystic seems to be coming out of the closet more and more these days. I love the spoken word. I feel a strong connection to both the earth and the word. In them both lies a deep beauty.  And I’m a lover of all things beautiful; beautiful words, beautiful flowers, beautiful art and beautiful thoughts.

One of the things I really enjoy about my garden is that it is my “go to” spot.  I really love to go to my garden for my daily needs.  Why lay down on the couch to relax, when you can lay down on the green grass while looking up at a blue sky as butterflies and dragonflies whiz by? Why buy the ingredients you use in your favorite recipes when you can harvest them from your garden? Even if you don’t have a large space, come with me on this journey where I aim to really cultivate a relationship with the strip of earth that my family lives on. You on your strip of earth and me on mine, there is no telling what could transpire! But in the end, I’m sure it will all be just beautiful!