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Top Five Serendipity Gardens Stories

September 23, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe
Bottle Tree

The Serendipity Gardens blog is one year old. To mark its anniversary, we are republishing the top five posts. Here they are:

My Bottle Tree “Blooms” Year Round

The bottle tree, based on an old tradition, adds a reliable touch of blue to the garden.

Bottle trees, often seen in the South, have a complicated history.

According to Felder Rushing, in his book Bottle Trees, “Clear glass was invented in Alexandria, Egypt around 100 A.D. Soon around then, tales began to circulate that spirits could live in bottles – probably from when people heard sounds caused by wind blowing over bottle openings. This led to the belief in ‘bottle imps’ and genies that could be captured in bottles … Somewhere in there, people started using glass to capture or repel bad spirits. The idea was, roaming night spirits would be lured into and trapped in bottles placed around entryways, and morning light would destroy them.”

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Five Ways for Kids to Have Fun in the Garden

September 15, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe

The crew at Serendipity Gardens is lucky. We have six grandchildren, five of whom live nearby. We would venture a guess that these kids do not have nature deficit disorder.

What is nature deficit disorder?

According to Wikipedia, Nature deficit disorder refers to a hypothesis by Richard Louv in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods that human beings, especially children, are spending less time outdoors resulting in a wide range of behavioral problems … Louv claims that causes for the phenomenon include parental fears, restricted access to natural areas, and the lure of the screen.

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The “Bugs” of Serendipity Gardens: an Invisible Army

September 4, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe
Grasshopper camaflaged

One of my gardening goals for this year was to pay more attention to the bugs in Serendipity Gardens. I am using the term “bugs” very broadly to include all the small creatures that crawl, hop,  or fly — such as bees, beetles, butterflies, caterpillars, and spiders. In this post, the word “bug” also includes creatures that camouflage themselves perfectly, like the grasshopper in the photo, and more. Put more simply, my intent was to learn more about ALL my garden’s inhabitants.

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Three Ways to Help the Monarchs as They Migrate

August 26, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe
Swamp milkweed

As summer fades into fall, Monarch butterflies in North America are making their way from their summer homes to their overwintering locations in Mexico and California. Get the latest information on weekly migration updates for the Monarchs.

This post will cover three important ways you can help the Monarch butterflies, whose numbers have declined significantly in recent years.

Plant Milkweed

A swamp milkweed in bloom.

If, like the crew of Serendipity Gardens, you are concerned about the Monarchs, you may have planted milkweed in your garden this year. If you did not plant milkweed this year, you can plan to do so next year.

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The Best Way Ever to Deal with Yellow Jackets: A Serendipity Gardens Story

August 20, 2014 by Jo Ellen Roe
Yellow jackets 1

Hard to see, but this hole was swarming with yellow jackets.

A Problem Revealed

While working at my desk a week or so ago, I noticed lots of activity near the sidewalk. Small creatures of some sort were flying up and down and in circles, over and over again. They reminded me of popcorn kernals flying in a popcorn machine.

I went outside to investigate. There, dug in below a Bath’s Cheddar pink dianthus that normally serves as a ground cover, was a hole about six inches in diameter. The flying creatures appeared to be bees of some kind, and they were as busy and active as could be. Unknown to me, they must have been there most of the summer.

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