Thursday, May 28, 2020

Social distancing ~ A slight opening

It has been hot here the past week which makes it much harder to get anything done outside unless you start early in the morning. Last week I spent one morning creating a little gravel sitting area. The gravel is in now and I will be sharing a picture later, once the new gate (which is sitting in pieces in the garage) is finished and hung. When I raked off the existing mulch I found a thick layer of  rich compost that I collected to be used in other parts of the garden. I felt like I had found a gold mine.

Every year I find Feverfew, Tanacetum parthenium, with it's little daisy like flowers growing and blooming, always in unexpected spots, I must have planted it at one time. I have read that it can become a garden thug but in my garden it has been very mannerly and I would welcome more of this tiny charmer. Feverfew is a medicinal herb commonly used for migraine headaches. Interesting.

I accidentally overlooked my first zucchini squash and it got rather large, but perfect for making a loaf of zucchini bread. I tried a new recipe incorporating applesauce and it really did turn out well; very moist and not too sweet. Of course the first of anything seasonal always seems to taste the best. A zucchini plant is so useful to have around, the ways to use this vegetable seem endless.

I took this picture of the lavender walkway just when the sun coming up. This planting was inspired by my wonderful gardening teacher Jan, she had a lovely one in her home. It has been relatively care free, I occasionally clip it back being careful not to cut into the hardwood. I used different kinds of lavenders so if one dies I can easily replace it. Lavenders do very well for us but can have die off. At the end of the path you can see the climbing rose Eden heavy with flowers.

And finally, this casual bouquet made from prunings of a weeping tree rose, they were just too pretty to throw away. 


Things are opening up a bit here although we are still experiencing rising cases of the virus. Today I went to Trader Joe's for the first time in over two months. They were very organized, everyone was wearing a mask and trying to practice social distancing. I had to wait in line, but not for long, and once inside with my list I found everything I wanted. including their pico de gallo which I have really missed - I use it on everything from omelets to tacos. And linguine!

Thank you for visiting

Take care and stay well


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Social distancing ~ a ray of sunshine

While opening up the house this morning I caught a glimpse of the early sunlight  streaming through this window, I thought it was so pretty that I got my camera and took this picture. This is a north facing window and it is usually quite shady, however I did have the trees pruned  which apparently has allowed the morning sunshine in, a pleasure I will continue to enjoy until the foliage on the trees thickens up again.

The first, heavy spring flush of roses is almost over, roses will continue to bloom but not in such abundance. I have been spending lots of time dead-heading, a chore I really don't like. But the rose, Climbing Pinkie trailing across the railing on the back deck, is already covered again in buds. She is a very vigorous rose, one of my favorites and as you can see likes peeking through to the other side. Fortunately she is torn-less and quite easy to cut back.

Like everyone else there have been many things that I have had to give up through this time of social distancing but having a good supply of books to read has not been one of them. This due to the innovation, dedication and organizational skills of my local library. Almost immediately they were offering books and all of the other media materials for drive-by pickup. You call in your requests of  up to 10 items, and within 30 minutes they are available to you for pickup without any personal contact. For added safety, when the items are returned they are placed in a "quarantine" area before being available to be checked out again. I have always known that this library was special but this has only increased my admiration and thankfulness that I have such a wonderful local resource to enjoy.

For any of you that enjoy libraries as much as I do a wonderful book to read is,
The Library Book, Susan Orleans.

I posted before about my increased interest in planting seeds, here is the latest batch, the zinnias have just sprouted but many others are almost ready to plant out. Some of them have been experiments and I have no idea how they will perform in my climate zone, others are old standbys and some are plants I used to grow, such as Nicotiana Sensation and Ageratum Blue Horizon. It should be interesting to see what turns out to be a success and what will sadly end up a failure.

As a side note I read an interesting way to stop seedlings from becoming leggy, not to fertilize overly, which only increases the leggy growth, but to brush them lightly several times a day with your hand, imitating fans that are used commercially. Not all plants have this problem but I have always had  difficulty with zinnia seedlings. I have been doing this and it does seem to be helping. Rather like staking a tree lightly to allow the trunk to strengthened with gentle movement.

Last, I leave you with a bouquet I made to share with my gardening group at a Zoom meeting last week. Rather than being artful I was trying to include some of the things blooming in my garden...Eden roses, alstromeria, spirea, aquilegia, snapdragons, asclepias, and lantana.

Now that we are starting to loosen restrictions I hope that wherever you live are able to do it in a safe manner. This has been such a difficult and strange time, one that will not be easy forgotten.

Thank you for visiting

Stay safe and stay well.


Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Social distancing ~ seeing red

I always look forward to May because it is usually such a lovely time in the garden and also when I put out my red umbrellas. They stay up throughout the warmer months, and come down at the end of September, along with the Wimsey Walkway - more about that in a later post.

I am not a fan of red flowers but I like to use the color red as a garden accessory - umbrellas, furniture, gates, pathway posts, awnings all my same signature red, adding pops of bright color here and there throughout the garden, helping to give it (I hope) more cohesion.

It was with this in mind that I added posts to delineate the new entry into an recently redesigned area in the back. I intend to build a gate to put here but getting building supplies has been a bit difficult for me with all of the restrictions. The posts have been in for a couple of months now so I figured I might as well go ahead and paint them.

It is interesting how this little entry has made this spot make more sense. Here it is from a side path leading to the back...

...and here from the other side looking in from the center path. The posts are nice but a little red gate will be better. 

As long as I had gotten out the paint and had dirtied up a paint brush I also freshened up this bench in far, far back.

And then realized how much these chairs needed to be repainted. There is more painting to do of course because it simply doesn't end. I often liken my garden to painting the Golden Gate Bridge - by the time you get to the end it is time to start over again at the beginning, painting, weeding, planting, etc, with a home and garden it never ends.

There have been many things I have missed during this time of social distancing but I have been fortunate, mostly because of the garden and my home, not to suffer from boredom, rather the opposite, there is too much to do - lucky me to find most of it enjoyable!

Thank you for visiting, I hope you are keeping safe and well.


Sunday, May 3, 2020

Social distancing ~ looking forward

Last week I was fortunate enough to get all of the trees trimmed. I usually have this done earlier but so much is different this year with the virus. Things were really getting overgrown and it is important to get trees pruned before the heat of summer sets in. One big job was the very large orange tree you see in the picture below. It is a lovely specimen but needs yearly attention to keep its shape,  the tree is so prolific I was worried the weight of the excess fruit would cause branches to break. This picture was taken after it was pruned.

Under the tree trailing across the little bridge is the wonderful landscape rose Climbing Pinkie.

Today I picked the first of the sweetpeas, I planted them late last fall and it has taken them a very long time to produce flowers. Now they will require cutting frequently to keep them blooming and not setting seed. There is nothing to add fragrance to a room like a bouquet of freshly cut sweetpeas. To me they are the epitome of charm and seemed perfect to 'plop' casually in this teapot on the kitchen counter.

A very nice friend wrote on her Facebook page recently about a family recipe, this really struck a cord with me as I have always thought how important it is to archive in some manner all the recipes enjoyed and loved by our families - in my family we are still mourning my Aunt's cheesecake recipe that was lost when she passed away. Food invokes memories, enjoyment and love. My collection of family favorites, stained, torn and shabby, copied by hand or in well worn cookbooks have been copied down by my children and are seeing their third generation. I can't imagine a Thanksgiving dinner without the ubiquitous string bean casserole but for us what makes it really good is the addition of sliced water-chestnuts, an addition in my Mother-in-laws recipe, a minor thing but it wouldn't taste the same without it. I hope this is something you have found the time to do.

And last, I leave you with a picture of the foxgloves blooming along one of the back garden pathways. I love foxgloves they seem so magical to me. Here they they are treated as annuals, our summers are just too hot for them to get through. I usually plant them from 6 packs but I am thinking about trying some seeds for next year, the variety Foxy, which you see here, bloom the first year, most of the other foxgloves are biennials. They do not like warm weather and so do not last long but well worth it even for a short time.

I hope that you are doing well during this difficult time. It seems that things are slowly, and I hope safely, opening up. Today I got an email that my local Armstrong's nursery will be open, with restrictions of course - nothing would make me happier than putting on my mask, keeping social distancing, and paying them a visit.

Thank you for visiting

Take care and stay well