The Amazingly Easy All-Natural Method for a Thriving Garden

Special thanks goes to Brandon, our local worm and horticultural expert at Armstrong Garden Center in Tustin, California. It’s thanks to Brandon that I found out what I am about to share with you!

Worms. Pick ’em up and drop ’em in. That easy. BUT! There’s something magic that happens. Brandon explains it more like the horticultural expert that he is, but I will tell it to you like the dabbling hobbyist gardener that I am.

These are red worms, which stay closer to the surface. Earthworms tend to dig deeper.

They poop 💩. They excrete stuff that is beneficial for the plants in two ways—nutrition and help with pest control. There are enzymes in their digestive tract that is harmful and unpalatable for the bad bugs that gets passed along with the nutrients that the plants take up. Plus, all their digging and activity makes the soil super light and fluffy, which is called aeration. This helps minimize compaction of roots and helps plants grow a healthier root system that is better able at absorbing nutrients and water. It is a mutually beneficial relationship! Plant matter getting broken down feeds the worms, worms feed and safeguard the plants.

You can use worm castings to shoo potential bad bugs away, they will think that there are worms and vamoose. Does it work? I have a 20 gallon gardenia pot that is full of worms, deeply watered once a week, and sometimes neglected, and I have not seen any issues with bugs or the plant looking anything other than deep green and lively, even during the summer when heat spiked to triple digits.

Did you know that you can feed them? Brandon highly recommends this stuff:

Down to Earth fertilizers can be found at most major garden centers

Whether for outdoor, indoor, raised bed, and container gardening, you can drop some worms into some holes you dig into the dirt or pots and sprinkle this stuff on top. They eat it and turn it into even better fertilizer for your plants.

I don’t know how, but there were some in my indoor bird of paradise and outdoor gardenia pots. Which is how I got to asking Brandon at the garden center about worms and (pun 🧀 cheesily intended) opened up a whole can of worms about worms. I am telling you, this guy needs his own show. He’s like Bob Ross, Neil Degrassi Tyson, and Bill Nye for plants.

I popped some in my fuchsia, rose, begonia boliviensis, abutilon, and camellia pots. Here’s my lovely yuletide camellia:

The water pan has some dirt and stuff that comes through when I water. The jizo statue is from Portland Japanese Gardens, I just placed him in along with patches of cotton candy fern, selaginella, an alpine strawberry sprout, and a pansy.

Did you know that hummingbirds are interested in camellias? I’ve had a few visitors and am just loving it. Currently, I am living in Southern California. It’s supposed to be winter, which is when camellias like to bloom but we are having a temporary hot spell. Still, the camellia seems unfazed! The hardiness zone here is 10. I will introduce Jizo to you and show you the Portland Japanese Garden in another post. Thanks for reading my blog!

You can contact your local garden centers to check to see if they have good bugs and to ask questions to learn more. If you are in Orange County, California, here are some places where you can find good bugs for the garden:

  • Green Thumb Nursery (multiple locations)
  • Armstrong Gardens
  • Roger’s Gardens
  • Plant Depot San Juan Capistrano

Keeping It Simple

Hello! Aloha! Kia ora! Allô! Ciao! So many wonderful ways to say hello, the newest of which I have learned is ‘Kia ora,’ a beautiful Māori greeting acknowledging the mana, the life energy of all who are greeted. If you haven’t met me yet, my name is Emma. You may have noticed some changes. We’re in the process not reworking just about… everything. I have scaled a lot back and reduced everything down to keep it all much more manageable.

The beauty of keeping it simple is not only manageability, but scalability and sustainability, two things which are often noted as important in matters of business but have proven to be very important for life itself. When I began working towards the creative independence Albert Camus wrote of in his book, Create Dangerously, I had tremendous expectations. Most everyone is aware of the socioeconomic, geopolitical, cultural, and technological challenges of today’s world. Along with these, I’ve also faced the challenges of a traumatic brain injury, the traumatic effects of domestic violence, and chronic neuromuscular conditions which have damaged my nerves, cervical spine, and right shoulder considerably.

Through pain and tiredness, how does one attempt to not only be an artist, but a free agent who works for no one but their selves?

I’ve been working steadily and consistently towards this aim from September, 2017, and have found that my own mana, my life’s energy, vitality, and essence, has grown alongside the increases in my creative potential and personal power. It has become a mutual, almost symbiotic aim, the will to heal and the will to succeed, one inspiring and supporting the other. As success increases in holistic ways, both personally and professionally rewarding, I am able to invest more into lifestyle choices which bring more and more beauty, healthy foods, fabulous experiences, breakthrough insights, and therapeutic treatments into my life.

I found that I could not and would not fail. It meant everything. My life, my health, my personhood. Winning was not simply a matter of conceit but sine qua non, an absolutely essential and necessary condition.

More work does not necessarily yield greater results. Working smarter, not harder, can create great leverage and advantages. It is challenging to learn but it has been done and can be done, especially if one holds the steadfast commitment to mastery.

Today, I have won. Every day, I win. With every choice I make, my personal power grows. Yet, I do not base my self-worth nor the measure of my value, on what I am capable of doing or a quantity of hours worked, dollars earned, social media engagements, or any such metric. I have worked for so many corporations lost to metrics that they have lost vision, originality, and creativity, I have learned from their mistakes. Additionally, people lose insight and inspiration when they feel as if they are observed—social media has become a boon and a suppressor of human potential.

I am unable to work at a computer for very long and do much of everything the old fashioned way, with a pen and paper, and I call people on the telephone rather than text or email them if I really wish to speak to them. Face to face interaction is very valuable. It is okay to have limitations if you learn how to work with them to the best of your ability.

Oprah Winfrey’s famous quote, “You can have it all, just not at once,” does not mean that you cannot have all the elements of a happily well-lived life all at once, which I strongly feel I do in every given moment. I have a loving relationship with an emotionally available and intelligent partner who sees me and accepts me for who I am, we have a beautiful home, I have a beautiful life, and I feel highly inspired and creatively fulfilled. Yet, when it comes to having so many big ideas that I can’t possibly handle all at once, I cannot afford to overwhelm and inundate myself to the point of burnout—I’ve been there done that! Recently, in fact. I had no idea until we had a holiday in New Zealand for two weeks that I was so burned out that the littlest thing took the greatest effort.

Always take one thing at a time. I have worked with project managing incredibly large digital multimedia operations and know how it all works, well enough to know that I alone cannot take on the work of hundreds of brilliant people. For this reason, I am scaling back on everything I was formerly trying to take on all at once, including writing and publishing, branding, marketing, email newsletters, social media, networking, etc. It was too much and very foolhardy to attempt to take on. I am going to trust the universe and will gradually scale and collaborate as needed.

Below, I have included a photograph I took at Flaxmere Gardens in New Zealand. I was looking through stock photos and found that none could match the beauty of this garden. We had a wonderful time visiting New Zealand recently and I would love to go back as soon as possible. Maybe even live there! It is such a great place to feel inspired.

If you love my writing and enjoyed this article, please consider making a donation pitch into my pool to support my thriving and creative independence. Thank you!

Sean on the bridge, Flaxmere Gardens 128 Westenras Road, Masons Flat 7385, New Zealand