Archive for the ‘Gardening’ Category

Time to Tuck Garden Art in for the Winter

November 2, 2011

I usually figure that once Halloween has passed, we are getting close to freezing temperatures at night.  It’s time to bring my favorite pieces of glass and china garden art in for the winter.  Here they are waiting for a quick bath, before they get tucked into the garage.  Come springtime, it will be nice and fun to re-decorate with them again.


Clematis Chain

July 5, 2011

I borrowed this great idea from my clever friend, Julie.  I am training three clematis vines to climb these posts of this arbor structure.  It was super easy to hang sections of chain with nails hammered into the posts.  Now each vine has something to attach itself to.  I’m winding the stems around the posts for extra support as well.  Once they reach the promised land of the top beam, they can travel sideways and work themselves down the posts too.  I only moved the viticella clematis vines (their blossoms are smaller and bell-shaped) from our old garden to our new one.  They are loyal plant friends and never do the wilt thing to you.

Strawberry Heaven

June 30, 2011

You have got to love a home builder like ours (thanks Martha!) even more this time of the year.  Our rockery was planted with strawberries and sedums – both easy care.  Every day we are harvesting organic strawberries from our front yard.  One of our neighbors, with the sunniest lot and the most strawberry plants, invited me to pick a big bowl of her berries.  So of course, I made strawberry shortcakes using the Barefoot Contessa’s first cookbook.  You know it is going to be delicious when there is plenty of butter and egg oozing out of them while baking in your oven to set off your smoke detector!  (The alarm company wasn’t too happy to hear I was trying a new scone recipe.)

Next up was Strawberry Oven Jam, sweetened with some honey, from Sunset’s One-Block Feast Book.  Really easy, and did our whole house smell delectable! 

While that was baking, I then made Strawberry Lemon Balm/Verbena Syrup from Emelie Tolley’s The Herbal Pantry.  I am over the moon with this tasty creation.  I’ll do a future post on the homemade condiments that are filling up our refrigerator.  Having these on hand is making meal preparations way more creative.  Yesterday I picked from our garden: lemon balm, lemon verbena, chocolate mint (to make another herbal syrup), strawberries and rainbow swiss chard for dinner plus a big bowl full to share with another neighbor.

Our garden is my solace.  I feel rich from all its blessings.

Raspberry Rack

June 27, 2011

My neighbor Mark designed and created this brilliant raspberry support.  On a recent Saturday morning, he sketched it out, bought the wood, constructed it, and had it in place in his garden by lunchtime!  After I shared my admiration of his talents, he graciously offered to help me build one for myself.  Here is our creation.

Mark shared his box of handsome stainless steel screws with me.  I bought 12 pieces of 1″ x 2″ x 6′ cedar pieces.

For a trained architect, my neighbor kept the assembly process simple and easy.  So far no measuring.  Only eye-balling it.

The first bottom cross piece gets attached right in place.  No pilot holes necessary with this cedar.

After the bottom cross support is attached in both spots, a screw goes in the middle area.

The first completed section.

The second section is created on top of the first one.  No tape measure in sight yet.

The second piece is left on top of the first while the screws are attached.

Before I knew it, we had three sections completed.

Mark’s daughter, Lucy, showed up and was a first-rate raspberry rack assisstant.

Finally a tape measure is used to mark where the cross supports will go on the three X pieces we just made.  Measurements were made at 22″, 44″ and 66″

The connecting lower cross piece is attached starting in the middle.

Lucy attaching the middle cross piece.

Raoul assissting with the top cross piece.

Attaching the cross pieces is repeated on the opposite side.

Short pieces of wood were attached to each end for additional supports to go into the ground.  Raoul is hammering his end into the ground.

Hardly any waste from our 12 boards.

Many thanks to neighbor Mark for sharing his raspberry rack design, and building one for our garden!

Seattle Tilth Visit

June 20, 2011

Last Saturday, Raoul and I attended a really informative drip irrigation class at Seattle Tilth.  We got there early so we could take a look around their wonderful demonstration garden.  This hoop structure of hops in a whiskey barrel = good fun and function in the garden.

There are informative signs and displays throughout the garden.

Tomatoes wearing some extra protection from this chilly spring (nearly summer) weather we’ve been having.

Potatoes growing in burlap bags that will be filled with more dirt and grow taller along with the potatoes.

A very clever and efficient pea trellis.  I wish I had saved an extra bike wheel from all my moving purging.

It took me a little while to figure out this was a monster lavender plant!

The community pea patch garden adjacent to the demonstration area.  This is my idea of great entertainment – seeing how everyone creates with their patch of earth.

Our First Harvest

May 31, 2011

We have been eating the best salads from our garden for the last couple of weeks.  Everything we planted from seeds just over a month ago (April 23) are going to town  in our stock tanks/raised beds.

We are growing two kinds of potatoes in these garbage cans, and are thrilled they are doing so well.  I am eating my lunch outside in the veggie garden nearly every day.  Even with our less than spring-like weather.

The seeds planted directly in the ground are growing slower, but they are growing.  These sugar snap peas are trying to climb this rescued plant stand.

Next year, we’ll be raising up this section of the garden.  Scooting the bark out of there is on the top of my to do list for later today.  I’ve learned baby slugs are very fond of kale and lovage.  The coffee grounds are helping deter them.  I’m going to add ash from our community fire pit too.  Any other suggestions for organic slug control?  I keep meaning to check on the price of the copper tape to build little fences around these plants.  But I’d need a fair amount.  I’m also trying to pick off the little buggers when I see them.

And thank goodness, the slugs don’t like to shimmy up stock tanks!

Veggie Garden Update

April 28, 2011

Our new veggie garden is really underway.  The stock tanks are filled with organic soil, and planted with all sorts of interesting vegetables, herbs and seeds.  Two kinds of potatoes are planted in the garbage cans.  Besides waiting for the seeds to germinate, I can’t wait for all that shiny metal to start to simmer down and look more aged.  We are enjoying being able to sit right in the midst of our future harvest.

I planted sugar snap peas around the bases of the rusty plant stand and bar stool.  The grate will hold tromboncino zucchini.  And the plan is that the sugar snaps will be picked by the time the zucchini needs more room.

The head and foot boards of an old metal bed are propping up our raspberry vines.  We’ve reinforced them with some rebar stakes and wire.  We’ll beef them up some more in the future.  I’m embracing the idea of making things better instead of perfect.

Rollicking Ravenna Gardens Color

April 26, 2011

Doesn’t this planting combination right outside of Ravenna Garden’s door make you giddy?

Happy and vibrant color combinations inside and outside to make you feel chipper!

Spring Garden Art

April 22, 2011


Spring has sprung enough in the Seattle area for me to start displaying my garden art that isn’t frost-proof.  It’s always a big thrill to see these favorites I’ve created over the years add a little salvage garden style to our outside areas.  Especially this year -making their debut in the new garden!

Snappy Raised Veggie Beds

April 15, 2011

It’s been a big week for deliveries around here.  Our gorgeous stock tanks arrived!  Instant raised veggie beds are what they are.  All I need to do is drill some drainage holes in them.  Snohomish Co-op Farm Supply had great prices and great service.

Equally attractive to my gardening eyes is this 5 yard pile of organic planting mix.  This beautiful manure/compost/sand mix came from Builders Sand and Gravel.  Not so attractive is the task of getting it into those four containers!