Category Archives: The Frugal Musician gardens…

The Frugal Musician’s Penicillin


 Garden Bounty

The FM woke up feeling poorly this morning. A weekend of heavy cleaning was taking its toll on my nose and lungs. It was however a dark moon weekend, the perfect time to clean and de-clutter.

Did I reach into the medicine cabinet?  I did not.

I walked into my garden and plucked baby kale. I boiled a cup of water and dropped in a chicken bouillon along with a handful of baby kale. I added a good dose of black pepper and a half tsp of ground ginger.

I already feel better.

When you feel poorly, do you go straight to the medicine cabinet or opt for alternative therapy?


The Frugal Musician proves how LOWE you can go


Lowes plants 001


Last Saturday was gorgeous here in Richmond VA and I was determined to NOT spend the day sitting in front of the computer working.

But I only had $15 bucks of  “disposable” income. Don’t get me wrong. I have money, just not cash. And since I have eschewed the use of credit as well as debit cards (except for groceries and gas), my stash of cash is all the income my brain recognizes.

It took a bit of discipline to train my brain to just forget about the Emergency Fund, the change jar, the little squirreling back I’ve done since the beginning of the year.  And sometimes I just get a shopping jones. This is when I usually hit up my favorite thrift mart, The Junior League store, where I can purchase items and know my purchasing power goes right back into the community.

But alas, there was no half off sale at the Junior League shop (the only time I allow myself to partake of goodies) and I just longed to putter around a shop. After all, I had not been out of the house all week.

So my fifteen bucks and I hopped in the 98 Besty Jeep and drove the 3 miles to Lowes.  I was resolved to window shop when what to my wandering eyes should appear but a LARGE GROUP OF PERENNIALS AT ONE DOLLAR OR LESS EACH. They were what I like to call “adoptees” – maybe a little droopy and shabby but with a little love, they’d blossom and grow.

My eyes welled with tears. I would finally be able to fill my planters and pots and have some much needed color on my deck and porch. I had salivated over my neighbors’ gorgeous pots of yellow and red mums  proudly displayed on front porches to welcome fall.  But $20 for a porch display was just not do-able in my book.

I grabbed one of the large Lowes rolling carts. NAY, not the basket or the regular cart but the BIG DEALS with wheels and loaded up. I ended up with hyssop, geraniums, wave petunias in coral, yellow, red and purple, assorted decorative grasses, verbena, tiny trailing Petunia, angelonia, bacopa, red rocks bearded tongue and a few more things I cannot remember. I spent the day pruning and cutting and dividing.

Lowes plants 002

One pot alone was $17.00. I paid a buck. When everything was totalled,  I had purchased 15 BIG pots of plants (enough to divide for my planters) for eleven dollars and oh five cents.

One of the 15 plants was a HUGE  yellow Gerber daisy…..

For my front porch of course (wink wink).

Lowes plants 003

The Frugal Musician’s Neighborhood bounty…



I’m so lucky. Everyone in my neighborhood has a garden and we tend to share among us the bounty of nature this time of year. The photos above is an example of our bounty and sharing. The butter beans are from my garden, the squash and blackberries from Dave and Barbs and tomatoes from Jean’s house.

Barb and Dave to my right have a backyard garden full of the typical southern plants (tomatoes, squash, corn) along with thornless blackberries and a plethora of blueberry bushes. I watered Barb and Dave’s garden when they were gone recently with the instructions “pick what you want!” as an extra incentive.  Last week I picked wonderful banana peppers, corn, tomatoes and blackberries from their exquisite backyard garden.  This afternoon they’re making salsa. I made Icebox Pickles last weekendfrom my garden cucumbers and hopefully will work out a pickle trade for some homemade salsa! When Dave and Barb brought me squash I made a casserole for us and one for them.

Jean, to my left, always leaves a bag of squash or some other vegetable hanging on the front fence between my yard and hers. As the wife of a retired military officer, she visits the VFW on Wednesday, where folks deposit all their leftover garden goodies for the taking. Last week, Jean was out of town and I was instructed to check on her tomato plants and pick anything ripening.

While I was walking Mr Kronk last night, I noticed several neighbors have fig trees. Mr Lundie has apples and peaches growing on the trees in his field, a multipurpose area for the neighborhood. I’ve also noticed nut trees and the corner neighbors have a pear tree.

I am blessed to live within so much natural bounty, in a beautiful neighborhood, with friendly faces and backyard gardens!

The Frugal Musician goes totally green…


First Lettuce


I’d anticipated this day. From the first false hints of spring to the real thing that came rolling in a week ago (yes, a week ago. It has been very chilly here in VA), I knew this day would come.

I went out to the garden patch today and picked my first leaves of black seeded simpson. I nearly cried. I sat on my little brick path for awhile before I picked my first lettuce and contemplated the serious and miraculous nature of a seed. As I picked the first delictable bites of spring, a prayer sprang to my mind.

Mother Earth, thank you for these, the first edible offerings of spring.  I revel in the color, texture and taste of your bounty and pray for abundance from my little garden. May I have enough, not more, Mother Earth. May I have enough to provide nutrition for myself and I pray that my abundance will be enough to share with others.  May my little garden yield enough to preserve and can and freeze so that I can be sweetly reminded of you in the middle of winter when the Earth is cold, gray, sad and damp. 

Thank you Mother Earth for reminding me of the power of a seed, whether it’s a vegetable seed or a seed of thought or action. Seeds contain endless possibilities. Make me mindful, Mother Earth, of the power of a seed, whether it is one of  love, forgiveness, faith or  hope. As spirits in human form, we have the power to plant seeds of peace and tranquility or seeds of darkness and despair. Help us, Mother Earth, to be aware of the seeds we plant as we speak, work, listen, love and live.


The Frugal Musician ain’t got nuthin’ but thyme


Layering uses vine-like growths (or runners) to produce new plants. Layering runners is simple. Peg the runner to the soil by pushing it down at intervals, an inch or two into the soil. Make sure it’s well covered. When roots have formed, lift and plant the root cluster. Be sure to cut off any excess runners. -From the Lowes Website

When the end of the gardening season rolled around last year, my dad’s garden center threw away all their remaining plants. Of course, my dad immediately “saved” them. In mid summer he had tomatoes, hot peppers and all manner of herbs growing in the yard. When I went to visit last July, I brought home several tomato plants and a big bunch of thyme.

I didn’t know thyme was a perennial plant and marveled at its resiliency over the winter.  In late winter, I read about propagating thyme and it was SO easy and applicable to other plants, I thought I would share the process.

THYME 1Clear a space around the plant. I cleared an area below my plant marker. Spade up the dirt a bit.

Then gently tug a sprig of thyme away from the mother plant.

THYME 4Lay the spring in the soil and cover part of it with dirt.





Next, use two stones or halves of bricks and prop up the plant.  One stone or brick should go over the dirt you piled on the plant. The other should prop the plant up.








In a couple of weeks, you’ll have a brand new thyme plant.  I followed this layering propagation method, and now have plants to give away and some to sell.

I also propagated a climbing rose bush this year, but my process didn’t work at all for roses. Maybe someone out there can enlighten me about what I did wrong.

Consider this. Not only am I able to give herbal gifts from my garden but I’m also able to sell thyme plants. And all this is possible because my dad had the wherewithall to rescue discarded plants!

The Frugal Musician believes in fairies



The garden was glorious this past week. Sun and warmth crept back into my life like a long lost friend. After what seemed like an eternal winter, the sun made a spectacular appearance this past week.

In the garden, I noticed this little niche created by stone pavers we had piled in a corner last year.  It just seemed to lend itself to a place for fairies to frolic- so I created a little haven for them to do just that.

I daresay, this project was sorely needed. The long winter has left me worn and ridiculously worried about a myriad of trifling life details. Mostly, I’ve been entrenched during the winter in a particularly nasty mental bout with retirement which I can only guess is the result of turning the magical 5-0 last year.  Retirement is just not something I can consider, having spent the last 15 years in the music business and as an entrepreneurial gal funding my own dreams and visions. 

When I think about the years after 62, I simply know that, those years, much like those before them, will take care of themselves.

So I closed the calendar, put away my files, turned off the computer and stepped outside to create a little fairy oasis. As I worked I sincerely felt flow and meaning for the first time in a long while.  My daily job is  with creative people, but I am remiss to remember my own art and creative endeavors.

Everyone should take time to create a fairy haven.  Bless the spirits in the earth and trees, rocks and flowers.  Feel the hum of flow and contentment. The fairies will thank you and bless you with peace and good tidings.


The Frugal Musician Rocks Out in the Garden



Last year was the first time we’d had a garden space. It was such a pleasurable experience to grow our own veggies, we expanded the garden for the upcoming growing season.

Last year we raised tomatoes, peppers, squash, green beans, carrots, butter beans and corn. Although our efforts didn’t produce tons of produce, our little plot was a work in progress and it was fun to have fresh, home grown food.

This morning I was removing rocks from our plot and I thought about how musicians typically live. We rent rooms or live with others because, as we tour, we simple are not home enough to justify a house, yard or garden.

But that should not keep us from planting something. Even a small plot in the front yard or a balcony or deck space can be used for container gardening. Throw a bunch of wildflower seeds in the alley way or beside the porch.

Growing plants is a metaphor for growing talent. From tiny seeds sprout possibilities. From just a few sprinkles of thought, a melody is constructed.  Given the proper time, attention, water and care, an idea deveops into a song. 

Grow something this year. Be a part of nature.