Sunday, December 1, 2019

No Snow! Not so Cold!

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving! 

Last week's forecast was inaccurate!  Not only was there NO snow, it didn't get nearly as cold as they said it would!  Good!  The snow did get as low as the very bottom of the nearby hills, but it didn't touch the valley floor, where I live. 

It was very windy though.  That garden cart was parked against those blocks in the upper left corner!

 The trellises were blown over, and I was able to see an empty paper wasp hidden away in the very top!  There are native paper wasps, and European imports that have only been in the US since 1981.  They are not aggressive unless you bother them, unlike yellow jackets which will defend their nests.  Yellow jackets are the pesky ones on picnics too, paper wasps are beneficial garden insects!

 I don't know why, but I didn't expect the peppers to dry so well!  They were just hanging in a spare bedroom (the Guinea pig room right now) and I forgot about them.  You can hear the seeds rattle when you shake the peppers.

 The houseplants are doing nicely.  

'Little Warty' Gasteria has a couple of babies!

 While the Pilea peperomioides has not had babies, at least it's still alive and gets new leaves quite often.

 'Eve's Pin' has grown a lot taller, and has little buds on her sides.

 The strings on Pearl, the String of Pearls, have gotten much longer than the pot.

 The morning after the big wind storm I saw these pine pollen cones all over a parking lot.  The pollen cones are the male counterpart to the female seed cones, which is all we think of when we think "pine cones."

 Off topic, unless we imagine them loaded with garden produce, are my new Goodwill 
Blue Willow (or Willowware or just Willow) patterned dishes.  I left the tea cups and saucers, I don't collect them, and the set of 6 plates, I collect individuals, one of a kind.

A 9" Allerton's transfer-ware luncheon plate.  My first scalloped edge. The mark on the back dates it 1903-1912. Charles Allerton & Sons, England, manufactured china between 1859 and 1942.  89 Cents!

After I got home and researched the above plate, I realized I needed to go back for the platters!
There was only the smaller one left, an 11 1/2" Allerton. It's has the same date stamp as the luncheon plate, 1903-1912.  $4.49, a Christmas present to myself!

Not Allerton, but a Wedgwood & Co. bread plate from c1906.  Wedgwood & Co. is not the famous Jasperware Wedgwood maker.  It was founded by a distant cousin of Josiah Wedgwood.  Another 89 cent bargain!

I love how each plate in my collection depicts the Willow story just a little bit differently.  To be considered a Blue Willow pattern there must be a boat for the runaway lovers, a bridge with three men pursuers, willow and pine trees, a pagoda, and a fence.  The Willow design was created around 1780, in England, and the story was a marketing ploy! 
I have always love Willow's blue, and it looks great in my yellow kitchen (and in the hutch, I've over-flowed!). 

Sunday, November 24, 2019

One Productive Saturday!

I am so pleased with all I got done yesterday! It was a beautiful sunny day, and I took advantage of that.  Good thing, since snow is in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday!  Worse, Friday night is supposed to be 11 degrees Fahrenheit!  11!  I don't think I've ever felt 11 degrees!

10 degrees Thursday night and 8 degrees on Friday!  
I'm bound to lose some plants, our average November low is 38!  I don't mulch for 8 degree nights!

But, yesterday was lovely.

My son helped me move and place the retaining wall blocks for the new strawberry bed.  The strawberries won't be planted until spring, when I order them bareroot.  I think it looks pretty nice, even if one of the top blocks didn't fit and I put an edger!  It just fit great though!  Unfortunately, I had to remove the dill, which should have died back, but was regrowing... and place blocks on fennel seedlings and black-eyed Susans.  (I left the plants to test their reputation for being perennials we usually grow as annuals - so far they are doing well, but after a night at 11 degrees, who knows?)

The 8 1/2' x nearly 3' bed took a bit more than half my stash of blocks.  That means I can build another bed nearly as large!  These were free off Craigslist.  I haven't even started thinking about my 130+ edgers... or the red bricks... or the pilaster blocks!

I shredded all the bags of neighborhood leaves with the lawn mower and mulched all the vegetable beds.  I don't have my mulching mower anymore, but this one chops them fine.  Don't use whole leaves as mulch, the water can't soak through to the soil.  Leaves are waterproof!

Then, one of my least favorite garden chores, cutting back the asparagus.  It's dusty and dirty, and scratchy and a real pain!  You have to wait until the fronds are brown (or golden in my case), so the nutrients have gone back down into the roots, like bulbs.  But, then the stems are not easy to cut with pruners.  

 That bed got a layer of shredded leaves as well.  It still needs a topping of manure.

The little white fence pieces had these empty larvae cases on them.  I think they are from ladybugs.

It's time to plan Wintersowing!  My milk-drinker isn't living at home anymore, so I'm short on large containers.  And, yes, I've been over-ordering seeds again.  But, not nearly so much over as last year!  I have 58 containers on my list, compared to 130 last winter!  I have 44 containers so far, but most are not large milk jugs.  I may have to use a lot of little ones instead. 

Have a great week, and think of me when Thursday and Friday nights roll around! 

Friday, November 22, 2019

Friday Frost

'Red Ridinghood' Penstemon
'Orange Flame' wallflower
Neighborhood Leaf
Sea Thrift
'Sunset' Rockrose
Red or Corn Poppy
'Red Knight' Knautia Macedonica
Red Dead-Nettle

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Garden Update November 19, 2019

A big surprise this afternoon, a huge rainstorm!  It hasn't rain enough to matter in a long, long time!
For me "enough to matter" is enough so I don't have to water.
There's been a sassy Western Scrub Jay in the backyard.  All Scrub Jays are sassy!
This one is trying to poke its acorns into potted plants!  It didn't even care I was sitting nearby.
I've been gathering Wintersowing supplies!  My main milk drinker is no longer living here, so I'm way behind in milk jug numbers.

The daylilies and ditch lilies (which are daylilies!) are cleaned up and pruned back. The ditch lilies were just lovely.  They were planted this past February, in the snow, after arriving by mail a few days early!    They have grown so much, and spread of course!

A bit more progress on the bed/path/strawberry bed area.

 This mornings carrot harvest!  For the Guinea pig... again.  These 70 day carrots are now
around day 89!  This is why I don't grow fall crops!  In a nice deep container, with brand-new bedding soil and they still don't grow!

I completely forgot about Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day on the 15th!  
I don't have much in bloom, but here are the few that are.

Sea Thrift

 Persian catmint - the last area still blooming, the rest have been pruned back.

 Prostrate rosemary

 Lewisia - sad looking blooms, but it's trying!

 Beebalm - an unknown type from the Pollinator Garden I transplanted into a container on the "propagation table" (picnic table).  It's really taking off now instead of the usual beebalm season.  My other beebalms are died back and pruned.  I believe this one must be an annual (too bad, I love it!), as there is no new growth where the stem meets soil.  Beebalm really spreads, and this is showing no sign of that.  I have the flowers over a plastic lid to catch any seeds!  It must be part of the amazing Dollar Tree seed blend!

Speaking of the Propagation Table, this is what's there now. 

One of the two self-seeded Hidcote lavender from the front yard gravel path.  First time I have
ever had lavender volunteer!

 Coreopsis, which is SO simple to grow I don't know why I bother saving little plants I uproot!
Coreopsis self-seeds like mad, and spreads as well.  And, that's the perennial kinds so it's rather overkill!

 'Blue Spruce' sedum, which began as a volunteer found growing where bagged leaves had been spread.  The leaves were free bagged from the neighborhood.  The sedum was a welcome extra, the acorns weren't!

 'Moonshine' yarrow, another thing I don't need more of, but was rooted already when I divided the mother plant.

 Mysteries I found growing in three different vegetable beds, so nothing I planted and forgot about!
A balm of some sort?  Square leaves, and when in flower, pretty little minty-type, or deadnettley.
Pretty plant.  The three plants have really spread to fill the pots.

The neighbors with deciduous trees have been leaving tempting bags of leaves on the curb.  Finally I found one neighbor raking, and asked if I could have some!  He looked at me really strangely and asked, "You want bags of leaves?"  I'm not sure he quite got what I meant when I told him I chop them up and use them for mulch, and I don't have my own since I have cedar trees!  I jammed as many bags as I could into the back of my Explorer!  

 They are really nice leaves!  All the same kind, dry, clean, with no bark chips, gravel, or acorns.
Acorns were a big problem in last year's free leaves.  The bags were not transparent, so I couldn't see what kind of leaves they were.  I couldn't get them chopped with the lawnmower today though, due to the rain. 

I made the most delicious meatloaf the other night!  Turkey loaf, a recipe from 
Kevin Lee Jacobs (, called 
Carrot-Turkey-Bacon Loaf.  I mention it here because it has garden produce in it.  Not my garden, at this time of year, but garden produce nonetheless, shredded carrots and chopped parsley.
I honestly won't bother making beef meatloaf again!  You may as well just have a hamburger!

Off topic, this is my latest Goodwill art find.  It's a print (woodcut or linocut?) on paint.
The frame is beautiful, custom, and a part of the matting matches the splatter pattern on the frame.
My imagination sees a woman in a medieval headdress, and the areas on the tan paint remind me of boat sails, so I am calling it 'Queen Isabella!"  It always make me a little sad when someone cared about a piece of art enough to frame it well (custom framing is expensive!) and it ends up in a thrift store.  But, I'll take care of her!  She's already hanging in the living room. 


Don't forget to check out my Instagram!  I'm not posting as often since the garden is done for the season, but still several times a week.