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Archive for the ‘Sunday’ Category

The heat and the need to study are keeping me out of the garden today. I’m ok with that. There is a HUGE new vocabulary to learn for class and most of the outdoor plants don’t need anything but water right now. So, as I head off into a cool part of the house to learn about the chemical bonding habits of hydrogen molecules and why that matters to plants, I will leave you with a butterfly I met at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco when we were up there last month to visit Terri and Emily. Happy Sunday!

meet the Tiger Longwing Butterfly (Heliconius hecale)

I got to looking at the photo and noticed how well I could see the proboscis, which is a straw-like mouth, curled up and quite visible. It’s hard to get that in a butterfly photo since they usually flutter off when you approach. So, I enlarged the photo – I think this is a pretty awesome picture of a butterfly and she looks quite lovely against her green background:

...this one sat still for an entire photo shoot!

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As promised, I took a lot of photos on the tour of the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers. Terri and Emily took us there because the special exhibit was out of Amy Stewart’s book “Wicked Plants” which I have read and loved. The old Gothic conservatories and hot-houses are another love, so basically it was an awesome day all around spent with some of my most favorite people in the world ever. Thank you, Terri and Emily πŸ™‚ I was going to find the names of all the plants and label them for you, but that would keep me from posting them sooner. Basically, enjoying the photos this time is better than worrying about the names. There are orchid things and waxy things and steamy things…mostly tropical things and some poisonous things…enjoy.

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Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability. ~ Sam Keen

Ophelia by John William Waterhouse

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Lazy Sunday

Today, I’m going to honor my lazy bone. Sometimes you just have to take a day and do nothing, to melt into yourself and emerge later as something new, something fresh. Or perhaps just something that looks rested. Happy Lazy Sunday, and to all the awesome Dads who never get enough credit and who suffer through ill fitting boxer and hideous neck tie gifts, Happy Father’s Day! Go take a Dad-nap!

Segundo, King of Cat Naps

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I meant to do my work today,
But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,
And a butterfly flitted across the field,
And all the leaves were calling me.

–Richard Le Gallienne (1866–1947)

Miss Peanut answers the call of a Mint leaf

Well, the last week has simply been heaven. Every spare moment was spent planting the seedlings started during Spring Break. Several huge cans full of grass and weeds were pulled as well. There is still a lot to be done, but the garden looks tended again. It’s impossible to express just how good for me this process has been. My intellectual pursuits of the last 20 months were very intense and I had not been grounded in the way I need, which is that special brand of grounded I only get from, well, the ground. All head and no body makes one a bit insane after a time. The garden is medicine. My muscles are delightfully sore and I have a touch of color back in my cheeks. The weather was even on my side with cool cloud cover and a bit of rain midweek. The photos all came out with a bit of fog in the center, so I apologize for the quality – not worth retaking them though. Let’s just pretend that I was going for that vintage nostalgic hazy days of summer sepia toned wonder and call it a day. Later I’ll clean the lens, since I know I probably thumbed it with sunscreen. We get messy when we’re gardening πŸ™‚

Somewhere around 42 Tomato seedlings went into the ground in various spots around the property. They had priority, of course. Those are the leftover winter peas drying on the tops of the stakes so I can plant them later.

the Brandywines are in the ground and all is right with the world

The Artichoke seedlings, 4 of them, came from last year’s fruit.

Artichoke seedling

I found a bird’s nest, probably doves, in a burrow on the ground in the meditation circle. This makes four nests that I save in a special place in the potting shed. They are among my favorite things.

I have quite a growing collection of bird's nests in the potting shed

The Hollyhock seedlings are from Andrea’s seeds, so of course I’m hoping for dark colored flowers!

Andrea's Hollyhock seeds are finally in the ground

Tom bought me an upside down hanging Strawberry planter so I would have more than just a few ripe ones at a time. He loves me.

Tom's Topsy Turvy

There were at least three of these cans full of grass and weeds pulled out to make room for seedlings.

out with the old - in with the new!

At a certain point, I had pulled out so many plants needing new homes, I had to spread out over the lawn. I find I have to make a mess before I can bring about any kind of order.

finding joy amid the chaos

There is still a lot of transplanting to do; finding new homes for what I dug up, re-potting things that have grown out of their pots, moving all succulents and cacti to pots leaving more ground for herbaceous plants, etc…

looking for new homes

When I get it all cleaned up, probably by the Full Moon this coming Wednesday, I’ll be able to sit in my rocking chair and celebrate with a juicy glass of wine. In the meantime, the bees are busy gathering pollen…

greedy little bee in an Agapanthus

…the flowers are blooming…

Roses and Grapes and Andrea's birdhouse

…completely oblivious to the fact that I’m literally turning the entire garden upside down. The only ones to really notice have been the spiders, but we get along famously as long as we respect each others space.

the ever-faithful Feverfew

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Hello and Happy Sunday! I’m celebrating extra today because school’s out for summer! Thursday was my last day of class until fall and I couldn’t be happier. Not that I won’t miss school, because I know I will. Happy because I did so well in botany. Yep – I totally kicked ass! When I started back to school, when was it – almost three years ago? – I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up, but botany was there over my head in flashing chlorophyll-colored neon lights. It was fun to say and fun to think about. Really, I didn’t quite know what it all meant and what would be involved and which road I had to take to get there. Options were left wide open so I didn’t get my hopes up for something I couldn’t handle, namely science. Safe, reserved, lacking in self confidence, and feeling my lack of eduction in every fiber of my being…tentative. I already knew I loved plants, but what if I didn’t love the science part, which is the whole point of botany? Thankfully this class was not difficult, it was an introductory class that focused on the way humans have used plants and why we couldn’t live without them. The science was fairly straightforward and spread out over the semester so it could be digested, but the big picture, our relationship with plants and how they drive our lives, was UH-MAY-ZING. Somewhere along the line when I wasn’t even looking, I fell in love with science, biology, and totally serious botany. I cannot wait to get more. MORE!

When I got home from the last class, Tom had a bottle of bubbly waiting to toast. Afterward, I took my glass of Champagne happiness outside for a walk around my beloved garden, to cry like a baby (I do that when I’m proud of myself) and to let my new reality sink in, taking photos along the way so I could see what had been going on in my near-complete absence. The tour was wooly to say the least, with everything overgrown in the wildest way. So much so that I’m inspired to re-read “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett this summer. You can’t really tell the plants apart because they’re growing into each other, but at least they’re healthy. Each corner needs some of my loving attention, and with these photos I’ll plan out my summer in the garden.

Hollyhocks on the West side of the house...a bit slow this year but still alive.


Under the Lemon tree - the Roses have taken over. Who knows what else is there...


Leeks, Nasturtium, Swiss Chard, Borage, Grass, Weeds....can't even see the nifty border I had put in to separate the garden from the lawn.


Peas, Purple Beans, a volunteer Rose...this space will be cleared for tomatoes soon as I can get to it.


One Large Empty Pot...well, except for the grass that took over - nature abhors a vacuum and she will plant grass wherever there's one in the garden! Whatever shall I plant here?


The Wisteria - badly in need of trellising - and a sunny chair with my name on it.


my Schefflera is so root-bound it makes me claustrophobic. It's ability to hang in there means it gets the first of all my future transplanting efforts. This is no way to treat a 'money plant!'


East side of the house - where the wild things are. Honestly, I don't know what lives back here any more, but I'm sure I'll have a lovely time finding out!


my 'little' herb garden has become too bushy...there's a huge statue there and you can't even see her! also a wooly apple tree at the end of the row, which looks more like an apple bush.


Had an ugly yucca-type thing dug out here. We're letting the Earth rest before replanting...with who knows what.


Nasturtiums took over the "Iron Butterfly" and the Hummingbirds love it! Somewhere under all the Fennel herb, there's a Hydrangea trying to bloom, and hopefully some Cilantro.


Where in the world is Guatama Buddha? Somewhere under the fig tree covered in grass. I'll bet he doesn't mind though.


There are at least 20 different species of plant in this photo, all struggling for space and air and sun. Foxglove, Agapanthus, Daylillies, Evening Primrose, Fennel herb, etc...and one magnificent red velvet Amaryllis down at the end...


...red velvet Amaryllis rising up above a sea of wildness - I can't wait for the Grand Opening - stay tuned...


At one time this was the 'meditation circle/wedding chapel' and now it is a sea of nasturtiums giving way to a sea of grass. I can't wait to see what's under there. This is one of my top summer projects, starting from scratch and doing things a bit differently.


Grapes...definitely NOT vine-ing, mostly spreading out waving their little arms in the air like unruly children. Good for them, I say!


The door to the Secret Garden has grown most enticingly closed.


There is a path here, complete with stepping stones. Hmmm....


Matalija Poppies, Artichokes, Agapanthus, Passion Fruit, and one Pomegranate tree that might actually give fruit for the first time this summer - if I can find it! and what should I do with that old pipe structure?


Indoors - half of my former Orchid collection...the rest suffered neglect but I am impressed that any lived, so no sadness allowed!

Well, that’s the tour of the back garden. It’s amazing that I neglected it so much but it still looks like my familiar old garden, my faithful friend. I didn’t tour the front that day because I was in my pj’s five minutes after I got home from class. The Roses in front are thriving and the Avocado tree is fine if not hungry, the Lime and Mango trees need serious help and I can’t find the Asparagus under the Beans. Which translates into “all is well” despite the need for some serious Mama love – my kinda love. Maybe I’ll start today, maybe I’ll wait until I have a good long self-indulgent nap and another mimosa. Cheers!

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The title of today’s post makes me very very happy. I’m going to say it again: Spring Break. Ahhhhh. One whole week without classes coming right up! It took a lot to get here and it’s a Full Moon, so today I’m going to rest and roll around in thoughts of what I’ve managed to accomplish over the last little while and pat myself on the back. We should all do that more often you know? Go ahead, pat yourself on the back right now. You are awesome and you know it! If someone else pats you on the back, it’s a great feeling, but why the hell should we wait for that?!

Spring Peas - April 2011


There will be no starting of anything new either. The week ahead will be spent finishing the things I normally don’t have time for. Work is caught up, but I will have the opportunity to do those projects that seem to get put at the bottom of my in-box over and over, like balancing the bank statements and taking inventory of my supplies, cleaning up computer files and reorganizing property photos…sooooo much excitement! There are also some weird and time-consuming school projects and one humongous botany paper to write. Yes, it would be more fun to flake more over the coming week, maybe even leave town a couple days, but my plan is to have everything done that I can do so the rest of the semester goes easy and when it’s over I have a clean Summer Slate to work with. Yes, I am becoming more pragmatic with age. Sigh.

Glamour and Drama in the Swiss Chard patch - April 2011


It will not be all work though…Tom and I have already started to enjoy the extra time together starting with a fabulous lunch out on Friday. I even pulled out a pair of four inch Louboutins to wear. We always enjoy our lunch dates, but the extra glamour went a long way towards starting the break on a positive, mildly self-indulgent foot. πŸ™‚

Fresh Spring Strawberries - almost! April 2011


There has even been some gardening happening the last couple of days. Yay! My big red apple cookie jar is completely empty of seeds right now, which I believe has never happened. It got a good bath inside and out and all of the seeds except for a few odd ones have been planted. (By the time they sprout and get ready for permanent Earth homes, I will done with the semester) The last few remaining seeds will go in the dirt today to honor the Moon and I will not be buying any more for the rest of the year. The time has come to use what I have and clean out the potting shed of stuff I don’t use – I can hardly get in the door! It will be fun to see what germinates because most of these seeds are a bit aged. Some of them are even leftovers of envelopes that have not produced a single viable seed yet, Cantaloupes and Cucumbers among them.

Seed Inventory Day - January 2011


It always amuses me when that happens. Was there just a dysfunctional mother plant that put those seeds out? Most of the time it’s because they have been on the shelf too long and I always forget to check the date on the envelope. Perhaps that will be my nugget of advice for the day; always check for a ‘sell by’ or ‘use by’ date on your seed packages. They should be fresh and no more than a year old when you plant them. Yes, some seeds stay viable for much longer, but why take chances when they aren’t free? Also, I never buy seeds from outlet stores like “Big Lots” or odd stores like a drugstore where you normally wouldn’t buy seeds. If they are displayed in the direct Sun or outside, I don’t buy them either. In fact, I have discovered that seeds ordered online seem to be the most reliable in terms of germination. As far as storage goes, I’ve learned to keep mine in zip-lock baggies in my cookie jar or air tight glass jars, which I collect in every shape, color and size imaginable. They stay up on a shelf in my dark potting shed. It floods in the winter time, but my seeds stay dry and at a consistent temperature. Of course, the best place for a seed is in the Earth!

Boing! Grape vine tendrils....


So now I’m off to have breakfast with Tom and plan the rest of my day. It’s really a wonderful feeling to be able to take my time doing whatever it is I’m doing without feeling pressured to hurry up and finish so I can go do something else that needs doing. Ahhhhh. I can stop running now and enjoy the journey a little more, perhaps contemplate ‘things’ and ‘stuff.’ Contemplation has become a fancy luxury these days. Or maybe I’ll just go outside and sniff some roses – just for hell of it….

The bedroom window roses are in full bloom again. - April 2011


Happy Spring Sunday! and once again because I love saying it – Spring Break!

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