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16 Monday, March 5, 2018

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Monday, March 5, 2018 • Last Mountain Times DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE CONTENT Terrariums – a landscape within It is a wonderful time of year to explore another gardening alternative – after all with winter still keeping us within its’ grip why not get growing! A terrarium is really just a self-contained landscape – complete with a variety of living plants and even a critter or two if you choose. First and foremost it is important to select a container for the terrarium that is attractive to you – be a bit adventurous here and choose something that is unique. It can be as small as a brandy snifter or as large as a huge aquarium. Spend a bit of time browsing to find any type of vessel that will hold both soil and water. A terrarium is a beautiful, self-contained, self-sustaining environment – one which emulates a greenhouse on a smaller scale. They operate on the same principle as the whole earth runs on. The rain falls, then evaporates into the air, gathers in the clouds and then once again falls to the earth. It is an example of the beautiful cycle of nature. They are great choices for those who live with pets that like to chew up plants; for those looking for a beautiful living area; and for those looking for the absolute perfect gift for a gardener. The terrarium began as a rather happy accident of pollution. In 1827, a doctor in London who was a bit of a plant fancier found his fern garden was being choked by the heavy pollution in London during the industrial age. At the same time he was studying caterpillar cocoons in glass jars. One day, he noticed a tiny fern growing quite happily in one of the jars. Needless to say, he made the connection between safely growing his garden ferns in jars thus protecting them from the harsh realities of life in London at that time. The lure of terrariums quickly spread as they proved to be a solution to keeping some of the more exotic tropical plants alive and well in the colder, less hospitable climate of England. Ideally, the best terrariums are filled with plants that need less light – or what we would typically call “shade plants”. A journal is a place for processing our feelings Have you ever considered keeping a journal? A journal is like a diary, but with a difference. In journal writing, there can be a variety of different purposes that the writer might have. It is much more than a running record of what you did each day. Keeping a journal is a way of getting to know yourself better, it is an opportunity to share your innermost thoughts with someone you can trust: you. In our busy lives we can get caught up in doing things and talking to others, with little time left for self-reflection. It is easy to become alienated from ourselves. In many cases, life has been a series of responses to others, including parents, teachers, friends, and the true self is buried under many layers. The prospect of beginning a psychological archeological dig can be a little bit scary. Sometimes it feels like turning over a rock in the woods, and you’re hesitant because you’re not sure if you really want to see what’s been hiding there. But journal writing does not always make things quite that obvious. Herein lies an important purpose of the process. By writing daily about your feelings and reflections relating to whatever is happening in your Choosing the right plants is essential as in an enclosed environment, it is necessary to ensure that all plants have similar cultural needs. Other than that, your imagination is really the only limiting factor! Begin by lining the bottom of the terrarium with a drainage layer that is needed to help keep the roots from rotting in a very humid environment. Next, layer crushed charcoal lightly covered with a thin layer of pebbles or gravel. Following next is a layer of sphagnum moss whose purpose is to prevent the soil from sifting into the bottom drainage layer. The top is a layer of soil or media – ideally a potting soil mix laced with sand. To make your own media use two parts soil to one part coarse sand and one part compost. This soil layer is typically where you create your landscape by creating hills, terraces and hollows. HORTICULTURE PAT HANBIDGE SASKATOON, SK If you are planning to include a critter or two, ensure you are also creating an environment that will be conducive to the survival of the critter of choice. Consult a knowledgeable pet person or veterinarian to ensure the environment will fit! Next is the step where you add the plants. Place them in such a way that they will be attractive from all sides that are to be viewed. Plant and ensure the soil is firmly placed around the roots. Keep an eye on the terrarium to ensure all needs are being met. Be careful not to overwater! A well-planned terrarium will ensure years of “green” happiness! Good luck! -Patricia Hanbidge is a horticulturist with the Saskatoon School of Horticulture. She and can be reached at 306‐931‐GROW(4769); by email at or check out their website at life, you may notice, in time, certain patterns that emerge that you just don’t see on the surface. Sometimes, in the beginning at least, your journal may be the only place where you PSYCHOLOGY FOR LIVING GWEN RANDALL-YOUNG feel you can express your honest feelings. If you are not being honest in your journal, then you are not being honest with yourself, but that too is an interesting pattern that might emerge and is a very important insight. As you begin to learn more and more about who you really are, you can begin to live your life in an increasingly congruent way. If you are spending your time in certain ways, and your journal reveals that it is not really satisfying, you can begin to shift your priorities. If there are difficult relationships in your life, a journal can be an excellent place to process your feelings so that you are less reactive in your interactions. You can vent a lot of your strong emotions in writing, and decide then what you want to do about these feelings. You may tone done the message that you want to give to the other person, and be clearer about the outcome you wish to achieve. The most important person in the world for you to know well is yourself. The quality of your life depends upon that knowledge. Give journal writing a try. -Gwen Randall‐Young is an author and award‐winning Psychotherapist. To obtain books, cds or MP3’s, visit Drone bees It should be stated from the outset that I am generally pro technology. AG NOTES CALVIN DANIELS While there have been missteps at times, in general technology, especially in agriculture has taken the industry forward. And, while we sometimes fail to remember, the first iron plow was a technological step forward from its wooden predecessor, and a huge step forward in terms of soil tillage. And while I am still a huge fan of the draft horse, I in no way lament the emergence of tractor technology and what it meant in terms of farming. The combine is a huge step forward from the stationary threshing machine, direct seeding technology was a huge step in preventing soil erosion, and geo-mapping has been an aid in the most productive applications of fertilizer. And I do not doubt as the world population grows and land acres capable of growing traditional crops decline, we will become more reliant on technological advancements to meet our demand for food. But there are times I admit to shuddering when I read about the cutting edge of technology and just where it is headed. In this space in the past I have written about worldwide concerns that bee populations have appeared to be in decline. As recently as last August, wrote that the problem might be reversing itself writing in an online story; “The number of U.S. honeybees, a critical component to agricultural production, rose in 2017 from a year earlier, and deaths of the insects attributed to a mysterious malady that’s affected hives in North America and Europe declined, according a U.S. Department of Agriculture honeybee health survey.” That has to be looked at as an immediate positive, but since we don’t seem to have an understanding of what caused the decline or more importantly how to prevent it happening in the future, it is unsettling. The majority of crops around the world, an estimated three-quarters from as apples to canola, rely on pollination by bees and other insects. There are concerns the pollinator insect population is being negatively impacted from a wide range of things including land clearing and climate change to the use of pesticides. Severe population declines would cause problems for farmers. One solution might be to use technology, in this case robotic drones which can pollinate flowers much as bees do. “Eijiro Miyako at Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, and his colleagues have used the principle of cross-pollination in bees to make a drone that transports pollen between flowers,” according to an article at “The manually controlled drone is 4 centimetres wide and weighs 15 grams. The bottom is covered in horsehair coated in a special sticky gel. When the drone flies onto a flower, pollen grains stick lightly to the gel then rub off on the next flower visited. “In experiments, the drone was able to cross-pollinate Japanese lilies (Lilium japonicum). Moreover, the soft, flexible animal hairs did not damage the stamens or pistils when the drone landed on the flowers.” It’s certainly intriguing tech, but the science fiction reader in me worries about a world that could become reliant on patented technology to pollinate our food supply. The potential to use the tech for financial gain with the threat to our food production a threat that would not need to be spoken to know exists is a bit too real. While one has to marvel at the new tech, one is left hoping as much effort goes into ensuring pollinating insects prosper naturally so that the drones become fascinating but little used. 17 - Calvin Daniels Disclaimer: opinions expressed are those of the writer.