Mosquito Planter

While Mother Nature is still throwing curve balls (snow balls) at us on the first day of Spring, I have to believe that writing about summer activities might hasten a seasonal change. And so, in preparation of hot summer days and the relentless mosquitoes that come with them, here is a simple idea for a planter that will help keep the pesky bugs at bay.

mosquito_planterA mosquito planter is an elegant and simple solution. All of the plants used for the planter pictured here are readily available and easy to maintain (see Rob Sproule’s site for the original). Typically, mosquito planters are made up of 5-6 different plants, but there are several ways to substitute one plant for another. This summer, our mosquito planters will contain citronella geranium, marigold lemon gem, lemon grass, cat nip, ageratum artist purple and lemon thyme. Garlic, chives, basil, rosemary, and oregano are all other common plants used for these planters. Though many combinations can be made up, cat nip, citronella, and lemon grass are three must have plants for any mosquito planter. If you’re wondering where to get the plants, we’ve always been able to find what we need at Henry Field’s.

Mosquito planters are useful to have around areas you and your family use often, such as the doors to your porch, balcony or backyard. Placing them there may also have the added benefit of being close to you while you cook, as the planters are often filled with herbs that are useful while cooking. Check out this website for some more interesting do it yourself natural mosquito repellents.

Samso Island in Denmark

samso islandThe person who produced this 5 minute documentary is named Hans Christian Andersen. But it’s not a fairy tale.

In the late 1990s, the 4,100 inhabitants of Samsø Island, Denmark, made the decision to become completely carbon neutral. To fuel their homes and livelihoods with renewable energy. And the result is inspirational. Building community power at its finest. Makes us think about more things we might do at Wintergreen, and in our surrounding community.

Take 5 minutes to watch this. Then tell the story.

There are many articles about this project. Here’s a link to one of them. And remember, it’s not a fairy tale!

Plant These for the Bees!

Screen Shot 2014-03-01 at 1.37.48 PMWe recently saw this lovely painting of herbs, annuals, and perennials that are good for the bee population. Most of these we already plant at Wintergreen, but this year, we’re going to plant them all. Come to Wintergreen and see the bees in action!

So while you’re dreaming about spring, grab one of those seed catalogues that seems to come in the mail at this time of year (whether we order from them or not!) and make sure that heliotrope, cleome, and zinnias are on your list.


Red Boot

red boot red bootRed boots, red coats, red sweaters, red scarves, red books, red guitars, red socks (not the baseball team)… it was a red letter day for sure! Thanks to everyone who contributed to make the Red Boot Benefit and Festival such an extraordinary success. Save those boots for next year … sometime in February, we’ll kick up those red heels again.

Winter White

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 8.26.15 PM Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 8.26.32 PMSpectacular snow day (If you didn’t have to drive).

And we didn’t have to drive. Today was the first full day of Lorna’s winter writing retreat, and those of us staying at Wintergreen were completely snowed in. A foot of snow on the lane way, with some drifts waist high.

All of us happy. Warm. We enjoyed a splendid ratatouille and polenta lunch (with tomatoes harvested from the garden late in the fall). Walks in the woods. Poems. More poems.
Gifts galore.

Six Sleeps!

Red Boot PosterThe Red Boot Benefit is just around the corner. Wintergreen is buzzing with activity, as Lorna Crozier’s workshop begins in earnest tomorrow morning. On Saturday, we’ll hear her, along with Swamp Ward Orchestra, in Kingston’s spectacular Memorial Hall (with the red rug). The afternoon will be filled with delights—we’re completely overwhelmed with the support and enthusiasm around this first-time event.

Some people have asked… can we buy tickets at the door? YES! Absolutely!

Do we have to wear red boots? NO! (but it would be fun if you did—there have been some delightful postings on Facebook of boots we can expect to see).

Is it possible to follow the event on Facebook and Twitter? YES! #redbootbenefit



Simple Abundance Workshops

Screen Shot 2014-01-21 at 6.05.32 PMMost people reading this post will know that Wintergreen is an off-grid educational retreat centre. Powered by the sun. Fed by the nearby gardens. Energized by the people who come through our doors. Our programs in the fine arts, outdoor arts, and domestic arts focus on mindful living and simple abundance. We love re-claimed materials—like the recycled glass and architectural artifacts in our buildings, and the twice loved furniture that graces the lodge.

But some of our programming happens off-site, too. Today, there were several workshops held at Queen’s on Sustainable Food and living mindfully. They’re all downloadable from the education tab. Learn more about our workshops at the Red Boot Benefit! #redbootbenefit

Perfect pairings

perfect pairingsThere’s nothing like the perfect food and wine pairing – except, perhaps, for the perfect celebrity and lunch pairing. Silent auction “pairings” for a private lunch include Peter Milliken at (with?) Casa Italian, Helen Humphreys at Le Chien Noir, Steven Heighton at Dianne’s Fish Bar, and Larry Scanlan at the River Mill. Each a perfect pair. For more information about the Red Boot Benefit and the silent auction, click here for details. Tickets available at Tara, Novel Idea, Trailhead, Sustainable Kingston, and online.

Entertainment, anyone?

Copy+(8)+of+vlnvla+007+copyWondering about the silent auction items at the Red Boot? One set of items features entertainment: tickets to the Kingston Symphony, the production “RED” (yes, really!) by Theatre Kingston, Kingston WritersFest, and Cantabile Choir concerts. Or if you’d rather enjoy music in the comfort of your own home, Triola will perform in your living room, playing the music you most want to hear! Check out all of the possibilities at the Red Boot Benefit page under the events tab. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased online. Part of the ticket price will be receipted for tax purposes.

Just who is Lorna Crozier?

lornaJust who is Lorna Crozier, you ask? Well, Margaret Laurence called her “a poet to be grateful for.” She’s read poetry on every continent but Antarctica (but then, again… who has?). She’s read for the Queen (Elizabeth, that is). And Lorna has published 17 spectacular books of poetry. Aren’t we lucky? Because Lorna is also an honorary patron for Wintergreen. It gets better. She’s reading at the Red Boot Benefit on February 1 — and these are her red boots! True story. Ever wonder where we got the name “Red Boot Benefit”? Learn more about Lorna from her website and follow the Red Boot Benefit news on Facebook (Red Boot Benefit) and Twitter (wintergreenstu) — or just use that fancy #RedBootBenefit hash method!
Experience the art (and poetry) of living sustainably.

bringing balance back