Posts Tagged ‘gardening’

There was a story in the news this morning about a man named Andreas living in a town called Wiener Neustadt, which is south of Vienna in Austria. He was turning the soil over in his backyard and uncovered buried treasure. Hundreds of pieces of jewelry and baubles around 650 years old: a nifty reward for doing one of those ordinary mundane gardening tasks we all do in the Spring. Who buried it? Was it a pirate? I bet it was! The best part of the story is that he was considering loaning the collection to a museum instead of cashing in. I would do the same thing of course. Well, after I played “Pirate Dress Up” for a few weeks, THEN I would loan it out.


It reminded me of all the things I have unearthed while gardening. Mostly toys like little plastic soldiers or marbles, some tiny skeletons which I assumed were Halloween favors from long ago, animal bones, costume jewelry for little girls and strange articles of clothing. Every time I find something it gets my imagination working. How did that get there or what was the child like who was playing in this dirt, or how did that sock get buried under this tree and is it evidence in some serial killer’s murder spree? A few times I’ve hit a power line or a water pipe that I wasn’t supposed to hit – oops. The best ‘buried treasure’ story came from my grandmother. Apparently my grandfather was digging her a garden many years ago in Indiana when they were first married. He found a wedding ring, a real one. He immediately came in the house and asked her to marry him again. She always said “of course I said yes.” She wore both rings on the same finger for as long as I can remember.

Resist the urge to jump! - Kauai

Gardeners are like mini-archeologists. We are compelled to dig and till, turn over and stir up Earth, always with an eye open to what’s down there. We bury some things and we find some things. How many amazing and random objects have seen the light of day once again simply because some of us cannot leave the soil alone. It’s pretty awesome when you think about it. Makes me want to go garden.

My very own pirate, Tom, getting some morning exercise in Kauai with his new rooster buddy, who followed him around all morning.

All of today’s photos were from a trip to Kauai a few years ago because thinking about treasure makes me think of pirates and pirates make me think of tropical island paradise. And also Johnny Depp – the best pirate ever!


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When we were little, our mothers sent us outside to play when we were getting on her nerves. We thought she was being sweet and encouraging us to have fun when all she really wanted was a moment alone with her thoughts and perhaps a Highball or two. Well, I’m on my own nerves lately, so the moment I get free from work, rain or no rain, I’m going outside to play and I’m dragging Tom with me.

Carrots get curly if the soil isn't loose enough - be sure to prepare your soil!

In gardening news, it’s an excellent time to plant anything with an underground harvest such as root vegetables, like carrots before it gets too warm, or bulbs. Today I’m planting the garlic that was leftover from an olive oil roasting I did on Monday. When the garlic you use in the kitchen has little green centers, it means the garlic is growing again in your pantry and it will most likely be bitter tasting and it’s past its prime. Bury it and you’ll have fresh garlic later. I know I’ve said it before, but I really really want you to plant garlic! It helps keeps aphids off your roses and vampires will think twice before messing with your garden.

red Dragon Carrot - sweet and adds color to salads or cake - did someone say cake? πŸ™‚

It’s also a good time to plant radishes if you live somewhere with a cool spring. I just harvested mine, so I won’t be planting more, but it’s not too late if you want to get another batch through before summer. I had the “Easter Egg” blend and they were delicious!

Spring Radishes - Easter Egg Blend - April 2011

The Moon is waning so it’s also a good time to prune where needed. My pruning is done for now, so I can take a break on that front. In fact, the garden seems to be doing her own thing quite effectively right now, so I can take a little breather. I have some extremely feral patches around the property, but I’ve put those off until summer when school is over. Thanks to the budget cuts, summer classes have been canceled so I have no opportunity to change my mind about taking the summer off. Tom and I are going to plan a little trip someplace we’ve never been. It’s very exciting.

I didn't really like carrots until I grew my own

This is also a good time to think about feeding your garden. Spring is a time when nature has a voracious appetite and plants need food and mulch and compost-y nourishment to reach their full potential fruit and bloom-wise. I like the pellet kind of food because I can walk around the garden with a bucket of it and toss toss toss. I’ve tried the Miracle Grow liquid with the hose attachment and, although the food itself works well, it’s not a great way to apply it and I think it wastes a lot of water while being inconsistent with the delivered amounts. I did see an ad in Sunday’s paper that they have a fairly new device with premixed solution, but I have not tried it yet. The bucket/toss method seems to work for me, for now. That’s the key with this gardening thing – do whatever works for you and you alone. Gardening is a much easier task than it was even a decade or so ago. When I started gardening seriously about 10-15 years ago, there wasn’t a huge online community of plant enthusiasts, garden blogs were rare, websites that explained how to care for plants were terribly incomplete, tools and products were still old fashioned and not much of it was geared toward those of us who choose the organic way. Now, the world is your oyster, or pea, if you want anything from a tiny pot of herbs on your urban balcony, to a farm in the backyard, and anything and everything in between. Information is instant online and there’s a huge community of people just like me writing about gardens just like mine and sharing information. It’s awesome, easy, rewarding and healthy, and will improve your mood considerably. Even if it’s just one Strawberry plant – the fresh and pristine pesticide-free fruit will have you hooked in no time. So, what are you waiting for? Go outside and play!

Inside a sea of Nasturtiums - March 2011

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β€œIt is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”
~Charles Darwin

grape leaves in autumn

Ok, let me just say right up front that this has been one of the hardest fall/winter seasons for me that I can remember. No details here, since this is not a bitching post. The fact that there have been no recent entries here speaks for itself. Also, I haven’t gardened in so long, there’s no telling what’s alive out there! But, I’m here now, and with some happiness intact, if not my sanity. Perhaps there are a few more crows feet, some weird thing with that nerve that runs down the back of my hip and leg, my belly put on a few pounds of comfort food, and I certainly drank a little solace wine along the way. Oh, and I completely lost my temper at some strange man who insisted on following me home and stalking me up the driveway to personally critique, and subsequently report to the authorities, one possibly over-brief visit to the stop sign two blocks from my house on a particularly horrible afternoon – he will certainly not be doing that to any other woman. Ever. I assure you. Silly man probably still doesn’t know what hit him. Bwahahaahaha! So, as far as damages go, not too bad.

Miss Peanut stalks a Dandelion poof. She's probably wishing for a mouse.

Yesterday was Tom and my 16th Wedding Anniversary and a very good day all the way around. It came at just the right time, at the end of a very long quarter, and seemed to put a cap on the season, leaving some optimism in its wake. Some important and worrisome projects we’ve been working on made progress in a very positive way, we shared a good day for our business with a happy client, and finished off the day basking in the glow of still being deeply in love and happy together. And so much has changed. When you’ve been with your partner for so many years, neither of you are the same person you were then, or even yesterday. The ability to be changed and accept change in others is the key isn’t it? And not just with relationships – it’s that way with every area of life. Ok, enough of all that and back to point of my journal!

go ahead, make a wish!

Somewhere in all the chaos and worry, Tom and I booked a little trip to Napa to celebrate our 16 years and get away from the office for a few days. We literally dragged ourselves up there, completely unprepared and clinging desperately to all of our obligations as if we didn’t think we could survive without them. We tried really hard to relax and almost succeeded! The photos came out really well and I’m enjoying the trip more through the photos than I did when I was there. Weird, but true.

Jungle Peanut

Here’s my plan, which I’ll put in writing to give it a better chance at fruition;

* finish work today and take the rest of my Saturday afternoon to rest
* Tomorrow I will start posting fabulous Napa photos and then head out to the garden to assess the winter’s damage. I know winter isn’t over yet and I have lost a lot to frostbite and neglect, but my garden muse is out there somewhere, dormant in the muck, and I need to wake her up.
* Monday I start cleaning up the messes made over the last couple months, everywhere! The year-end filing alone would make a lesser bean counter cry. Hell, sometimes it makes me cry. But the Moon is waning, so the timing couldn’t be better for cleaning up and clearing out – office, garden, closets, brain….well, I guess you can’t make changes without making messes. Oh, and you know what else I learned? Growing pains actually HURT! See you tomorrow!

a little Napa teaser...

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The ramp to algebra class - up up and up!

β€œThe most essential factor is persistence – the determination never to allow your energy or enthusiasm to be dampened by the discouragement that must inevitably come.”
~ James Whitcomb Riley

Jacaranda tree blooming on campus

Last night, around 6-ish, I did the last algebra homework assignment due for the year. Next week, I have three tests and then I’m finished. It feels as if I’ve done nothing but push numbers and x’s around on paper forever and ever! That’s probably an exaggeration, but math was not easy for me in any way: I’m aware that I would not have needed so much time if I had taken to it a little more naturally!

rainy morning campus foliage

Today is Sunday and I’m going to spend a little time celebrating my persistence with something that scared the hell out of me, made me break down a couple times and doubt my intelligence like never before. At this point, no matter how I do on the final tests, I will be proud of myself because I know what I overcame and I know what I did. There will be bigger and badder math classes in my future (I don’t even know exactly what calculus is but it’s on my to-do list) but I’m ready for it and now I have a solid (mostly solid) math foundation under me. It feels as though a previously missing piece of me has been restored and I feel more complete.

campus flowers - need to find out what these are!

So how will I celebrate? As soon as I finish this, I’m going out to the garden. My poor abandoned, overgrown, grassy weedy garden. I’m going to water it by hand, then sit on my stone bench and tell it how much I love it and that I’m sorry for being away so long. There has been a promise made that I will not get upset over what has died or dried up. Simply an acceptance of what had to be and what is, with a commitment to return when I have time. There will be a full month in between semesters and you can bet I’ll be out there as much as possible putting things in order!

autumn leaves near the classroom

After that, I’m going to brunch with some friends and maybe a walk on the beach. This evening, I’ll be back to the books to study for the final tests, but not until I get out in the Sun and share some laughter with people I love. Today, I will raise a glass to persistence – the most essential factor in gardening, and apparently, mathematics!

I pick up pine cones on campus after difficult classes. I have a lot of pine cones!

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There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. ~Mirabel Osler

A busy day and weekend planned. No time to write today! Sharing a garden photo and a link to a fabulous website. Welcome to summer – hang on, here we go!

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Nasturtium, Alyssum, Evening Primrose

“The glory of gardening: hands in the dirt, head in the sun, heart with nature.”
~ Alfred Austin

the ever grasping nature of all living things

“Exclusiveness in a garden is a mistake as great as it is in society.”
~ Alfred Austin

Layers June 2010

“Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.”
~Alfred Austin

Datura reaching for Sun (2010)

“There is no gardening without humility. Nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder.”
~Alfred Austin

Cupid with Basil

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