Fresh from garden

daffodils.jpg
I came home today to find these fallen over in the rain because they were pretty tall and the wind and rain have conspired to topple them. Now they sit happily in my vintage milk bottle, bright and fragrant.

Ornamental Cabbage and Pansies


Just as a sort of fluke, my garden still has some color even though I didn’t plan for fall color. My nemesia ‘Blue Bird’ is loving the cold nights and mornings, my bronze mums still setting off some new blooms, my nasturtiums ‘Empress of India’ are still loving the rockery and the Japanese maple has not drop all its red leaves yet (unlike last year when it went into a sort of shock). To add some color to the front porch, I put these ornamental cabbages together with cold-loving pansies in a planter. The position of this container allows it to get enough moisture from indirect rainfall and occasional sunbreaks. I think it’s turning out quite happy.

We have a relatively relaxed weekend ahead and it’s a good thing because we’ve been quite busy the last couple of weeks.

Just a birthday shoutout to my dad – Happy Birthday da! We love you!

Jungle

I can’t believe how time flies by. I have been looking forward to some time off this long weekend and it’s finally here. We’re heading to the beach with some friends. Mike has been missing his beach trips these past few years and I feel bad. I hope he gets the rejuvenation he needs, in time for his fall quarter at school. He’s going to be busy but it’s such an enriching feeling to know that he loves what he’s working towards.

As for me, I’m looking forward to some time off work. Also, to visit a rain forest in North America. It will be fun.

Let me leave you with a picture of a new orchid I bought at TJ’s – they have really good deals on plants. I love how this bloom is so tropical and jungle-like. Have you even wondered why most orchids are named after a lady?

Twisted carrots


This is what happens to carrots when we think they are cilantro plants and they get transplanted to a shallow pot. They get all twisted. The flavor of these babies were amazing – and oh so sweet!

Sunflower


The heat wave has eased up here in the PNW. I’m grateful because last night as we laid in bed staring at the new ceiling fan, we were spritzing water into the air with a mister so the evaporative cooling would give us relief. It was fun but quite pathetic in this day of modern technology.

I thought I’d share a picture I took of my dwarf sunflowers. I think every one of the seeds that I sowed, sprouted. Imagine my excitement when the yellow heads started popping out. These are not very tall – about 20″ or so – but I choose these so they didn’t overwhelm the front entrance.

Also, in other garden news, the cilantro has bolted madly. I have a bunch of cilantro flowers that I wanted to remove until I read that cilantro flowers are good chopped up and added into guacamole. Tonight I’m going to get some avocadoes.

For all those of you who have to deal with more heat, try to stay cool.

Kaffir Lime


A very brief piece from Jim Krause’s Creative Sparks:

Slow down, look very closely at the next flower or leaf you come across. Introduce yourself to nature.

Nature is a vast inspirational resource that is all too easily overlooked and/or taken for granted.

Start a garden. Get dirty. Watch stuff grow. Draw, paint and photograph plants. Smell them, display them, eat them. Gardening engages all of your senses. Expand your sensory palette through nature and watch your creativity grow. If not a garden, then how about a potted plant?

No wonder I am enjoying my garden so much. The creative part of my brain seeks out the inspiration that nature has to offer. Good morsel of advice indeed.

Loot for the Garden


I just realized that I haven’t posted in almost a week. We had a fun and busy weekend – lunch at Cafe Flora and then plant shopping at City Peoples. See my loot from there: some groundcover for shady spots, some pretty coleus and a hanging basket with trailing Spanish Eyes.

The weather has been appropriately hot for this time of the year and we are not complaining. It has scorched some plants so I might try my hand in making “self-watering” containers.

I did prune back my overgrown Spanish lavender plant heavily and it is now a better shape, more of a plant and less of a “home to spiders”. There are tonnes of cobweb in the inner part of the bush and horsetail weeds like to “hide” in there as imposters. Hard as they try, they can’t fool me. They do get away with it for quite a while though. You have to really stare at the shrubs to notice that these weeds are hiding in between.

In other news, I’m occupied in a workshop at work but it’s not been too stressful at all. I can’t wait for the long 4 day weekend too. We’re not travelling but we’re planning to relax and enjoy it.

Some good eats I’ve had this past week:
– Grilled buffalo burgers from Costco
– Tater Tots 🙂
– Dungeness Crab Club Sandwich
– Larb Gai (Thai minced chicken salad)

I hope you are soaking in the summer sunshine.

Succulents & their satellite babies


Succulents have been all the rage lately. I think it must have something to do with the growing love of mid-century modern design and how these interesting, self-sufficient plants just fit right into mid-century modern architecture (think 1950s Palm Springs).

I’m nurturing a few myself. I have these cute semps that sprouted little satellite “chicks” one day – they must like the new pot and the sunny window sill. I planted several of these around the patio and they are definitely growing rapidly, spreading to add color and texture. We have a couple other specimens along the rock wall of our garden.

Another group of them are sitting in the same container I bought them in, waiting for a nice indoor container. I’m thinking of these rectangular planters at Sprout Home.

Our little aloe plant we bought a year ago has thrived in our basement with the growlights and are not happily occupying our living room.

Here are some interesting succulent reads I’ve had lately:
Succulents for the Contemporary Garden
Complete Book of Cacti & Succulents (love DK books!)

Dividing Plants


My 6″ pot of Spanish Lavender, pictured here, has now grown into a huge shrub. I will post an update picture later.

I have been thinking of dividing it (and some of my rosemary shrubs) into 2 or more plants but am glad to find out today that late spring is not the time to do so.

Here’s what I found:
“Propagation by division involves digging up a plant and dividing the plant into two or more pieces by splitting its crown and root ball. Because this method is high-impact, its use should be limited to plants already established in your own yard or to salvaged plants.

Dividing should be done when the plants are dormant (late fall through winter). Dig the entire plant up, then carefully divide the crown and root ball into two equal parts with your hands or a sharp spade or knife (if the root ball is particularly large, you may be able to divide it into more parts). Replant each division.” – Uni of Western Washingston

I love the Internet!

Spring Lies


The last week here in the Pacific NW has led one to believe that spring has arrived but today, just 30 mins east from where I live, it snowed all afternoon. It’s almost freaking May!

Still, we stood in defiance, tongs in hand and grill strategically positioned. “Ha ha ha…”, we thought as we shivered and gravitated towards the glowing coals. A lovely dinner of grilled crab legs (Alaskan, of course), Dungeness, shrimp and skate (with sambal of course!) was prepared despite the weather. Even our Romaine hearts were halved and charred with a vinegar marinade/glaze. Homemade bread and family sitting down to dinner – always worth it.

This has made it clear that when the spirit is willing, the body will prevail.

Tomorrow, we hope for the sun to come out.