Toni Leland's News for March

Between 60-degree days and 20 inches of snow, March has been interesting, to say the least.

The freelance fun begins now in earnest with upcoming spring and summer events to investigate and write about, as well as my own adventures, which recently included a Native American cooking class with Chef Sherry at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum. Lobster Mac & Cheese is easier to make than it sounds, and oh-so-delicious! I also spent an evening at the Taste of Windsor snapping pics for Connecticut Lifestyles, and of course sampling all the fabulous food.

The May issue of Ohio Country Living will include my feature article on interesting and unusual perennials for the home gardener. Of course gardening is my favorite subject, so this one didn't feel much like work. In the March issue of Norwich Magazine, I explored the use of foliage as a year-round focus of interest. That issue was also a freebie in the goodie bags at the Connecticut Master Gardener Spring Symposium this month! Several of my photographs on ViewBug have earned some nice recognition, including this tiny tree frog who thought he was hiding from me.

My latest novel, Lost & Found, the fifth book in the Kovak & Quaid horse mystery series, is on target for an April release date. Rather excited about that!

As the last of the snow melts, I see bits of green peeking through the leaf mulch, and swelling buds on the Montauk daisies and forsythia. Not much longer until we can enter the season of beauty and sunshine. Hope you're hanging in there with me.

101 Organic Gardening Hacks

by Toni Leland

Did you know that hacking is just a clever way to tweak traditional rules and methods to accomplish something? It’s especially used to save money or time or both. In 101 Organic Gardening Hacks, eco-friendly solutions can improve any garden, and all these top tips, tricks, and solutions were dug up (no pun intended) by Shawna Coronado, “America’s most creative home gardener.”

Some of the hacks in this book are practical timesavers, others offer clever ways to use everyday items in your garden. One characteristic of every hack in this fun new book, however, is that each is completely organic and environmentally friendly. And all about the very sustainable process of searching your community for treasures and keeping those items out of the landfill by using them smartly.

First and foremost, the best thing about this entertaining and well-written book is the theme of protecting our environment and the future of the planet. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Author Shawna Coronado has a passion for making the most of everything she does, and credits most of her inspiration to role-model grandmothers. “One thing you learn from grandparents who grew up in a wartime era is, they wasted nothing and they saved everything,” says the author.
On leafing through the colorful pages well illustrated with photographs of each hack idea, as well as several step-by-step pages, one realizes that even the simplest things can be beautiful and beneficial. Every section is themed and filled with great ideas for everything from creating your own soil, to the ultimate compost recipe, to capturing rainwater, to attracting pollinators, to collecting seeds, and everything in between. Clever and colorful uses for discarded furniture, tools, fencing, buckets—you name it, the author has found a use for it in the garden.
The book is well-presented with dozens of beautiful photographs, conversion tables, and a good index. 101 Organic Gardening Hacks is a book worth having on your book shelf, and would make a wonderful gift for anyone who loves to garden and loves the environment.
This book was provided by Hachette for an honest review.