Sunday, July 31, 2011

End of July is not so bad

We wandered about the garden this evening, pulling a few weeds, moving a few spider webs, giving the pumpkin vines some extra water, counting kinds of blooming flowers (over 50), and nibbling on the harvest.  We picked a basket of nectarines and I ate all the ripe raspberries, a half dozen maybe, while Jerry tried the wild grapes that are growing in the dead cherry tree.  For us, this is a perfect 'date'. 
I really enjoyed the summer weather this week.  Temps were mostly mid 90s and there was often a breeze blowing.  It has been nice to lay out in the hammock at sunset. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Harvesting again

It is really exciting to have as many tomatoes as I can eat!  The past few years I have just had a handful for the season.  Saturday I bought a spaghetti squash at Farmer's Market.  Jerry said it must be cooked and consumed while he was at work.  So today I roasted it for lunch and stringed out the spaghetties and tossed it with a freshly picked juicy tomato, fresh basil, parmesan and salt and pepper.  Oh yum, it was good!  I used a fourth so I can eat it all week.  Fresh tomatoes make anything taste better!  And by the way, I am liking the Solar Fire tomatoes.  They are small, but very productive, very meaty and very flavorful.   

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The great mulch adventure

Side yard path notice all the green from the leafy branches.  It should turn brown soon in this weather.
Back garden with mulch already browner just from two days in full sun.
A few months ago we thought we would buy bark to mulch the yard.  We way over estimated and went for the most expensive stuff and got a quote of $1000.  Crazy!  We hunted around for a while and then just let it drop.  Two days ago a tree trimmer company pulled up in front of our house and I ran out and asked them if I could have the shredded trimmings.  They told me they would empty the truck in my driveway.  Oh yay!  Mulch for free.  Much more like it!  : )  
Jerry's pet Tuffy, in the front yard
Robby got some of his youth group to come over and help me move it to the back and spread it.  We were happy to have them help and to pay them for camp expenses next week.  Together we moved about 2/3 of the pile. Then last night Jerry and I worked on the front yard and our neighbor whose trees got pruned took enough for her yard and there is still some left for other neighbors.  What a really great deal!  I am really sore from all the work but thinking of all the weeds we will not have to pull in the coming months. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Red Orange Pink

Too often plants labeled either orange or red end up being pink.  This 'Orange Perfection' phlox is a good example.  We had decided two years ago that it was too pink to look OK and I took it out.  However, phlox roots are persistent and I evidently missed some.  This year I let it grow up into the 'Bishop's Children' dahlia and we actually like it!  Somehow the very dark foliage makes all the difference. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


An early Hot Cocoa rose. 

It has been a crazy week!  Occasionally I have to stop and remember I work.  I may not have an ordinary job, but the multifaceted one I do have sometimes takes quite a bit of time.  This morning I finally had time to get out into the garden in thankfully cooler air to spread compost on the roses and other heavy feeders.  This should have been done in May or early June I think.  For years I sprinkled the cheapest available synthetic fertilizer over the entire garden every month.  Eventually I began to see an unexplainable decline of my plants.  Then I heard Paul James, the HGTV gardener from Gardening by the Yard, explain that synthetic fertilizer contains salts that build up in the soil over time.  Since our valley soil tends to be salty (as in mineral salts) anyway, it apparently wasn't helping as much as it first seemed.  So now I add compost and other organics to my soil.  I find the roses in particular really show when they are not getting enough, as they become smaller and sparser.  So nice yummy breakfast today for hungry plants via N Rich by Kellogg.  I do make my own compost but it isn't enough for year long feeding. 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Maltese Cross

When I visited Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island with my sisters maybe ten or so years ago now, I got seeds for these Maltese Cross, lychnis calcedonica.  do you see how each little flower forms a Maltese cross?  I have seen them growing in David and Kate's yard in Anchorage and they were about three feet high and just gorgeous.  Mine limps along, but I really like it so I keep an eye on it and keep hoping for more.  This is the best photo I got, but usually the heads are bigger, a cluster about 2-3 inches across. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011


This morning Jerry picked the plum tree clean and I went to Rosalee's and picked about 50 lbs of apricots.  Then I worked all day getting them 'put up'.   I made plum jam and apricot jam.  I froze apricots, canned apricots and put a pan in to dry under  the lights in the oven.  I put about a third of the apricots in a sealed bowl in the fridge, thinking of apricot tart for the 4th of July.  I filled the fridge fruit bin with plums and gave a bagful to the neighbors.  Then I made somc cookies!  Whew!  What a day.  I did not join Jerry for a bike ride this evening.  No pics.  Too tired to make it pretty, but feeling quite virtuous.  : )