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Spreading Positivity One Sticker Set at a Time

This May, Well-Grown Home has teamed up with Designing Polly to create a sticker set for a cause! Both living in the Barrie area, both myself and Kelsey Morin are self-starting creators loving local and the beauty of the world around us.

With my love of flora and her designing talent, we created a set of two stickers featuring positive messages… and, of course, two of my favourite flowers! $1 from each set sold will be going towards the Women & Children’s Shelter of Barrie, Ontario.

Photo by Kelsey Morin

The Cause

I was raised to give back whenever I can. In particular, supporting women and children’s shelters has been a huge part of the past seven plus years of my life. In university, I was heavily involved in the fundraising for a similar organization with my sorority (and still am!).

Seeing the need for organizations that give women a safe place for protection, learning, rehabilitation and overall support has pushed me to continue seeking opportunities to benefit these shelters as much as possible. #WGHlove

Women & Children’s Shelter of Barrie is an emergency shelter that operates 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. It can accomodate 27 women and children at a time but also offers off-site support.

These are some of the many functions that this shelter supports vulnerable women in our community:

  • Short Term Solution-Focused Counselling
  • Safety Planning
  • Information And Education About Violence Against Women
  • Referrals To Other Community And Social Service Agencies
  • Public Education About Violence Against Women
  • Legal Information And Support
  • Safety Planning
  • Legal Referrals
  • Accompaniment To Legal Appointments & Court Support
  • Public Education About Violence Against Women
  • Psycho-Educational Groups
  • Support Groups
  • Individual Counselling As Needed
  • Public Education About Violence Against Women

I encourage you to explore their website for more information.

Everyone deserves to feel safe and loved.

The Stickers

If you’re interested in supporting our collab and Women & Children’s Shelter of Barrie, have a peek at these limited-edition stickers! Both stickers come in a set. The positive messages recognize the value of the people who make up our community. Every single person matters. YOU ARE IMPORTANT!

Sticker #1: Lavender

Photo by Kelsey Morin

Sticker #2: Hydrangeas

Photo by Kelsey Morin

They are going fast, so if you are interested – buy now!

P.S. Remember you are so incredibly valuable and anyone should be honoured to know you. You are worthy of love, so add your beauty to the world!

Great Annuals to Plant in Zone 5 – Ontario

It’s the time of year where millions of people across Ontario flock to garden centres in search of annual plants to put in their gardens. There are dozens of plants to choose from across the different varieties and species.

Annuals are plants that last one season then die. They are grown from seeds either by a nursery or a home gardener. The main aesthetic use of annuals is to provide colour to a garden as many perennials (plants that last more than one season) do not have bright flowers, especially at a low standing height.

Below are some great annual options that do well in zone 5! Don’t know what zone you’re in? Look up your hometown here. Barrie, Ontario is now zone 5b. Now is a great time to plant your annuals in this area.

Violas

These sweet little flowers are adorable. They’re smaller than common pansies but have similar “faces” on their tiny blooms. They are also edible – be sure to check on the type you have to ensure they’re safe before eating.

Photo by Karolina Grabowska

Alyssum

This is hands-down my favourite plant. It makes me feel like I’m in a fairytale when light purple alyssum line my pathways. You can find them in white, purple and magenta. You may get some alyssum sprouting the next year depending on the frost severity in the fall but typically you should replant each year in zone 5.

Photo by Mareefe

Snapdragons

These tall cones of medium flowers are showstoppers and come in a variety of bold colours. Their blooms are said to look like tiny faces of dragons, which is where they get their name.

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani

Zinnas

These large blooms look like a one-sided puffball of bright colour. They come in yellow, white, orange, pink and red. They can be used in bouquets or as a tall pollinator attractor, depending on the type. They are similar to dahlias but with more rounded petals.

Photo by Ekaterinna Popgeorgieva

Baby’s Breath

Simple and elegant, Baby’s Breath is a cut-flower essential that also will fill those awkward gaps in your garden without being overpowering. Their white blooms add brightness against dark soil or shrubs.

Photo by jisoo kim

There are plenty more annual options that can brighten up your garden. A nice thing about annuals is that they are not permanent. This means you can change up the colours of your garden year after year with different varieties. This year, the gardens around me are largely purple and yellow. Yellow is the garden colour of the year for our neighbourhood!

What annuals are you planting this year? Let me know what your faves are and any colour preferences in the comments below.

Don’t forget to tag @wellgrownhome on Instagram or use #wellgrownhome for a chance to be featured and so others can find your beautiful gardens.

Planning Your Garden – What is an Annual vs Perennial?

Whether you’re picking up some seeds or potted plants, knowing how long your plants will last is important when you’re designing your garden beds so you buy accordingly. This will ensure you have a full garden all growing-season long. Where I live, the growing season outside is basically from Late May-Early September.

In a nutshell, an annual doesn’t come back each year but a perennial does. I’ll go over the differences a little further!

Annuals

Annuals have one growing season and then die (or reduce to seeds). Annuals are only intended to last one season but their viable seeds may remain in the garden. You might get a lucky few surprise returns the next year but that’s not the expectation. At the end of their life cycle, you just need to accept the yearly loss.

Why choose annuals?

Annuals are perfect when you can’t make up your mind. Some only bloom for a couple months then die away. This is a great way to experiment with what Think beautiful blooms! Annuals often bring a lot of bright colours to your garden. They can attract bees to pollinate, which will help any veggies or fruits you’ve planted grow too. Annuals are typically cheaper than perennials per plant.

Photo by NeONBRAND on Unsplash

Perennials

Perennials come back year after year. These are the plants that don’t lose their roots at the end of their growing season. They will reduce in size, lose any flowers and much of their foliage, but will grow back the following year as the weather turns to their liking. These plants may need protection outside during their dormant (read: non-growing) season(s). You can protect them in a variety of ways. Depending on their size and type, here’s some suggested ways to create a safe haven from the ice and snow. These are what you’ll want to mulch or mound. Wrapping smaller perennial plants can be helpful too if they will be near sidewalks or roadways using road maintenance supplies like salt.

Why choose perennials?

Perennials are great to maintain structure in a design and add staple plants to your gardens. It’s nice that you don’t need to plant them or move them every year. These make a good investment plant because they’ll be around longer, which offsets their initial price tag. Choosing perennials that grow naturally in your region is important to help the natural ecosystem.

Try Gardenia’s plant finder to learn about your plants and so you can do a quick search when you’re browsing at a plant shop.

Check out my Pinterest board for some inspiring designs!

One Year of Well-Grown Home

On March 10, 2020, I shared my first blog post on my new Well-Grown Home plant blog. I wrote about how I don’t like naming my plants and the millennial plant parent phenomenon. It’s been a full year since then with now 21 blog posts, 150 social posts, 250+ followers under my belt. I’m only excited to keep growing this journey (and my plants of course too!). Thank you for all your engagement and support!

Establishing My Blogging Roots

I had thought about starting a blog for a while and had dabbled gently years ago into some biweekly writing about what was happening in my life. Not that my life isn’t full of passion but it never really mattered to me to share it in this format. By spark of a two-term assignment, I found myself staring to the abyss of what to blog about. I have never been great at focusing at one thing, whether it’s going off on a tangent during a story or working on a hundred things at once. This is why a plant blog became a wonderful fit for me.

Plants became a front-runner of a blog theme due to their timeless ability to connect to all elements of life. Of course there is leisurely gardening but plants also connect to home decor, travel, mental health, cooking, medicine and more. I could write about the skincare uses of plants and flowers! Writing about plants has opened up my mind in so many ways to new possibilities.

My partner Angad on a trip to Bradford Greenhouses – Garden Gallery in Barrie, ON.

Others in the Garden

My relationships and interactions with other plant lovers has also grown. I’ve joined many groups on social platforms, signed up for newsletters and read the works of others both digitally and in print. More and more frequently I’ll get messages from friends and even strangers. This always brightens my day as I’m able to share what I have learned and see where someone else’s plant journey takes them.

On the other hand, one thing I’d like to note is that you don’t need dozens of plants to be a plant lover. Your appreciation for living things is enough. Despite so much positivity in the plant fanatic networks, there is seemingly so much pressure to expand one’s plant collection. Especially with the year it’s been, this demand is difficult to see. I see so many people of all ages posting in forum-style groups about where to start. Research is valuable but just pick something within your budget and try it out. Plants want to grow!

My advice to anyone interested in learning about plants is to develop connections with other people and just give it a go. Learn from each other, be it by the losses or the successes. 

Where to Grow Next

I’m excited about helping plan what to grow outside this year in my family’s garden with my mom. It’s been extremely rewarding and inspiring to have a backyard garden to explore again. After living in so many student apartments, I have been enjoying this outdoor space. Right now, I can only feed the birds with the few feet of snow still lingering. I’m also looking forward to incorporating more of my indoor plants into this home. When moving back to Barrie just after starting this blog, I had plants scattered wherever they would fit between my mom’s. They blocked many doorways and walking paths across our kitchen, dining room and living room. The mantle is my next place to organize… and take over with cascading plants and vines.

I hope to post more frequently this year, as I’m sure most bloggers do. When originally planning for my assignment, I thought I could post four times per week… wow did I ever underestimate the work that goes into it all plus how much free time I’d actually have. Even if it’s just one more post than last year, that will be sufficient for me.

I’m thankful to have this plant journey and to be able to share it with many others. If you’ve read this far, please know that I appreciate your time and interest. Your support has been incredibly generous. I hope to continually engage with you and inspire an increasing love for plant life.

Here’s to many more years of Well-Grown Home and to ever-vivacious plants!

How to Help Your Yellowing, Drooping Monstera

Plant troubles affect us all – no matter if you’re new to plants or an experienced green thumb. Most recently, my Monstera deliciosa has been looking a little rough and needed a major overhaul in terms of its care and environment. I’ll be sharing things that have gone wrong with my plants on my Instagram page as part of #PlantFailFridays but here’s a recap of what happened to my Monstera and how I (hopefully!) have fixed it.

Warning Signs

I bought my Monstera late fall 2020 as a reward for paying off all my student loans. I knew was signing up for a high maintenance plant but the dramatic highs and lows are throwing me for a loop!

After noticing draining issues, I changed the dirt and tried to poke more holes through the soil in the root ball to allow water and air flow. I should have recognized how much of a big plant I actually had shoved back into that nursery container but with the winter as a standard dormant period I figured I’d wait for warmer weather. I know now that I shouldn’t have tried to wait.

The Issues

  • Some leaves have yellowing around the edges
  • New leaves are still drooping after unfurling
  • Pot is heavy still a week after last watering
  • Roots are becoming visible

What these Symptoms Mean

The Water Issues

Droopy, yellow-edged leaves often mean the plant is overwatered. I blame cartoons for telling us drooping flowers always need water to perk up. This may be true with leaves that are crisp around the edges and darkening/browning but not those getting lighter!

We need to remove the excess water and let the plant breathe.

Some analogies for you:

When thinking of light leaves (excluding shiny, new ones!!), you can think of mixing white and red paint. The white paint is like the water. The more white you add, the lighter the shade! The more water, the lighter the leaf.

Similar to when you’re outside on a winter day, your weaker extremities are affected first as your body protects the core. The water is pushed to the edges of the leaves as the plant tries to protect the stem to stay alive.

The Environment Issues

Part of why the water isn’t draining is because of the soil and the fact that there is just too much plant in one pot! The root system was pushing its way out of the pot because it had grown too big for its current home. The heavy weight of the potted plant came from the amount of water hanging out deep inside the soil.

We need to ensure the soil can drain and have air flow.

What To Do

Here are the steps I took to help my Monstera plant.

1. Remove the plant from the current pot and soil.

I started by holding the base of the entire plant and slowly wiggling to loosen the soil around it. I removed the plant from the soil (in of course the messiest way possible on my kitchen floor) and then discarded wet, foul-smelling remnants of the rotting roots. I did not reuse any soil either – out the door it went!

2. Divide the plant.

Plants need room to grow and thrive. The next thing to do is break up the plant into segments. Dividing by the roots must be done carefully to avoid fatal harm to the plant. For me, this was a challenge because of the root rot occurring. The plant was stuck in wet soil too long. As I would pull the plant apart and untangle the roots, there would be pieces that would easily fall off.

3. Wash the roots.

If roots are black or brown, they need to go! Removing them will prevent spread to the still-healthy roots. White or bright green roots are what I was looking for in this case. I’ll take the losses to ensure the root rot disease doesn’t spread.

I washed them in my sink and by using my hands to scrape off any decay (Plant moms need to get their hands dirty!). This was an incredibly tedious task and took quite a long time. More and more roots would break but, again, most needed to as they were rotten.

4. Put them in some water.

This may sound counter-intuitive but plants still need water. I started taking my plants apart at night, so they needed to stay hydrated while I slept. I used whatever glass vases I could find from my mom’s cupboard. Due to my Monstera’s large foliage, I needed tall ones to support the stems from toppling over with the weight of the leaves.

I had my Monstera in its original nursery pot with the intention of exploiting the large drainage holes but WOW this plant was way too big for the pot. I was able to divide it into six parts.

Not all of these segments currently have big strong roots. Some actually were just like cuttings because I went a little wild and cut too much off… oops! I’m hoping they’ll propagate in water.

5. Plant the segments with strong roots.

Some of my plants still had great white roots and dark green leaves. I grabbed some nursery pots and plastic white pots with many drainage holes to put my plants in. I then put these inside of larger decorative pots for a nice home decor aesthetic. For soil, I used a mixture of 75 percent tropical soil with 25 percent perlite to help with drainage. I kept some Monstera segments in water and will continue to watch them to see if they grow roots.

6. Continue monitoring growth.

Finally, it’s time to water the plants in soil sparingly and keep an eye out for root growth for the cuttings. I’m keeping them out of direct sun too. As the cuttings grow solid roots I will plant them too. No deaths yet across any segments! It has been about a week since my Monstera fiasco – it was a dirty war scene!

I now have so many potential Monstera plants after only getting my first one in the fall! It’s exciting to see my collection grow, despite the traumatic event of ripping my plant to pieces. I’ll keep you updated on my Instagram feed.

How are your plants doing lately?

If you’re looking for advice on some troubles, then let me know! Tag me on Instagram and Facebook or chime up in the comments below. Take care!

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