Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Trip to the Garden

We took a little trip to the garden today to water and weed and reep the bounties of our laboring. All we got today were these beautiful flowers and some peas. The tomatoes are growing in leaps and bounds with the warm weather that we have been having. We are trying out a new fertilizer regemine called Spray-N-Grow. It is a foliar feeding. I will be watching closely for the results. I am also trying the Bon-Neem insecticidal soap for the terrible white fly infestation that I get at this time every year. I noticed a huge difference the first day. It seemed like it took care of about half the problem. I sprayed the problem plants everyday for about 3 days and it now seems like most are gone. It will take a little time to totally get rid of them, but it is a much more environmentally safe solution than what I have tried in the past so I am willing to wait.

These little Bachelor Buttons were a total surprise to me and my favorite find of the day. I planted them thinking they would just be blue, but there is a beautiful mix of blue, pinks and white. What a wonderful surprise. I also have a lot of dianthus varieties blooming that are just wonderful, but don't seem to hold well for a cut flower. It seems that I love to plant tall growing flowers...the hollyhocks are about 5 feet tall already and a lavatera I planted was about 6 feet tall and wide, but I did some pruning to keep it from hiding a few other flowers. This garden plot is my place to experiment so I am always getting surprises and learning new things. I seem to find invasive plants quite often somehow, but it is all the learning process and I love to garden so I just keep pulling the things I don't want and trying something new!

Some of my most invasive plants that I fight with are monarda, mints, an artemesia, and my dahlias which I loved last year, but now have just spread everywhere probably because I did some changing of my garden layout and moved a lot of dirt around so I probably tranplanted the bulbs when they were dormant without realizing it. Oops! Oh well...there is always shovel pruning for things like that...sometimes I find someone around to share with so it is never wasted.

Friday, May 25, 2007

A Rose is a Rose (or is it?)

These roses were cut at work almost a week ago and they are still looking beautiful, and the fragrance is heavenly. A bush I just might have to add to my garden. It is an Austin Rose whose name I have already forgotten, but thank goodness I know where to find it. It is in the pink section of roses at the nursery where I work. I had better memorize that name!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Enjoying the Peace and Beauty of Nature!

A day of enjoying nature! This was actually taken last week at Shadow Cliff. It was a fun and relaxing day with the greatest weather. I haven't taken any pictures to show this week so am falling back on last weeks collection. We caught only one fish, but had a fun little hike. This heron was enjoying the sunshine and later we saw him catch a fish.

I love playing with the rocks while sitting and waiting for a possible catch. I love the way they look in the water and always want to take them home, but they are never quite the same after they dry off so I decided to just stage my favorites of the day together into a photo and then leave them there for someone else to find and enjoy later.

I did make it to the garden Saturday with my camera in hand. Things are growing quite nicely and soon (I hope) there will be tomatoes and basil ready to enjoy...can't taste buds are dancing already and my head is spinning with ideas of all the different ways to enjoy them. The showiest part of my garden right now though is all the flowers. Here is a new dianthus called "Supra Purple" and a dwarf guara that is doing quite nicely and attracting all sorts of beneficial insects to my garden. Sort of an organic pesticide and pretty too!

I have been working on my cushion covers for my couch and should be done soon. With working extra hours on my paying job this project has been put on hold quite often, but I might be able to finish it in the next 2 days then will post a picture. They are going together surprisingly well and I am most excited because this project is the first time that I have actually made my own bias tape and piping and I am very pleased with how neat it looks. I am also making up my own pattern so this is especially exciting for me. So check back soon when I am ready to show it off!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Blue Bird of Happiness

I have been working on a new project and have finished one part of it. I made pillow covers for my couch pillows. Next I will recover the seat cushions on the couch...then, who knows! With me it seems that once I start a project the wheels start turning and next thing I know I have 3 projects going at once. I actually covered the seat cushins once with a sheet that I got at TJ Max, but I am wanting something different so I am going to use the old covers for a pattern and go from there. I had washed the original ones so many times that they were starting to fall apart. I know I probably shouldn't be washing them in the washing machine, but it makes me feel good knowing they are clean and since I like to eat on the couch...well, they need to be washed occasionally. Anyway, I am having fun with the project and going a little shabby chick with it. This is a little apartment I live in so I want it to be fun. I moved here 6 years ago when I went through the dreaded "D" word and it has always felt like a place that I could be me. I did a lot of soul searching here and a lot of growing and finding myself, so even though it is small it has always felt like home and I am surrounded by things I love here. When you downsize you are forced to decide what is most important to you so you are left with your most treasured possesions and that changes from time to time.

One of the first things I bought my self was a set of these coffee cups. I love coffee and I was on a search for 'the bluebird of happiness'. I found myself collecting all things bluebird...having them around made me, well, happy! Funny how such a little thing can mean so much to each of us in different ways. I am off to get ready to go to my job, which I love because it gives me the opportunity to see lots of blue birds and talk to lots of people about something else I really enjoy...plants! I do love my life right now...I guess I have found that 'blue bird of happiness' in many different ways...sometimes it is fleeting...sometimes we just have to be reminded about what is really important in our lives,

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Cactus and Succulent Show

This past weekend I went to a Cactus and Succulent Show in San Juan Batista with my sister, Philina. It was amazing how many plants were there and how really beautiful they were. I am usually not that interested in them, but wanted to check them out because that seems to be the only thing that wants to grow on my hot deck. Well, I went a little crazy and bought several (more than several really). I can't wait to have time to plant them in some fun container. I should have time for that on Thursday I think. Anyway, here are a few of the most amazing plants I saw, see if you agree...
This was probably my favorite, though I voted for a Medusa head one because I love them. I kept thinking of how spectacular this will look like when all the flowers start opening. Quite amazing and probably quite old.

This is a quaint little thing that looks kind of like a cork screw. Nature does the most amazing things with out our help.

Can you believe these beautiful flowers are blooming on a thorny cactus? They had my attention for a long time. AWESOME, if I do say so myself.

The one on the left was one of many that I bought for myself and Philina bought one also. I am talking about the aloe with the stripes (though I think I bought the one beside it also...hens and chicks are my favorites). Can't wait to see what kind of flower it will send up later!

In my own garden things are growing and I spent a few hours there last week pulling the weeds that were growing and doing a little planting and cutting back. It was a real work out actually, but well worth it. Here are a few pictures I snapped while there.
Some dianthus was blooming its little heart out, I'm not quite sure what variety it is, but it sure was looking nice! A Lavatera, one of my favorite flowers is putting out quite a few blooms with the promise of more to come. I am noticing that I seem to like pink flowers of all shades I wonder what that says about me...nothing I just like pink! (but, green is still my favorite color.)

Here is my asparagus before I thinned it out. I planted it last year and have actually harvested a nice crop from it this year. There should be alittle more to harvest this week. I am new to growing asparagus so I am not real sure what to do when, but it looked like I needed to take out some of the tall leafy stalks and there were a lot of little spears below just waiting to push up so when I go on Thursday I will see if I did it some good. I am fertilizing with fish emulsion and seaweed extract. I planted some new colmnar basil plants so I can't wait to see how they do. They are suppose to grow tall and narrow. Last year I planted a few low, mounding varieties so I decided to do something new this year. I think I will throw in a spicy globe one again and of course, a genovese and an opal basil. I like to dry the leaves and make my own blends to use through the winter. I also make my own pesto and last year made 3 different flavors. I am all out so I hope the basil starts producing some good leaves soon. I do love basil! (almost as much as tomatoes)!

My garden has been a great source of therapy and relaxation for me. Lately the nursery has been so busy that I need to get away to my own garden and play. That I do very well, the playing part that is! Hopefully I will find time for more gardening and more sewing and more just getting away in the next few days!