Monday, April 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sweet Granddaughter!

The Sweet Granddaughter and I spent a fair amount of time outside this weekend during our trip to San Diego for her first birthday. We practiced having gentle hands with flowers in her courtyard...with only a few pink marguerites sacrificed in the process...and I swear she can almost say flower! We walked up and down the front sidewalk so we could see more of the world...maybe as much as 50 feet..and she loved hearing the birds and would sign "bird" (her mom and dad have taught her baby signs and she knows quite a few!) Other things she really liked examining included pop-up sprinklers, drains in the landscaping, wood chips and iceplant. Just about every little thing was interesting and deserving of inspection...helping me to slow down and notice things I might not have otherwise seen. The least interesting things we saw were ants and a beetle. So maybe she won't be an entomologist...a dislike she comes by honestly from both mom and dad. So one possible career choice crossed off....eight million to go!

Monday, April 14, 2008

GBBD April 2008

Having gardened in the same place for almost 28 years I have the remains of many gardens in my yard. So there are many flowers that I have a few (or one) of and only a few plants that are in larger swaths, if they could even be called swaths! The shasta daisies (not yet blooming), cranesbill Biokova (blooming), iberis (blooming) and fortnight lilies (blooming) are the only things that are really in bigger clumps. Mostly I've tucked things in here and there...sometimes in desperation when I've suffered a loss of impulse control at the nursery. As sun exposure has changed and my time and financial constraints have eased or increased the garden has evolved. Add in a few obsessions (perennial geraniums, succulents, daylilies, salvias, working on lilies) and you have quite a menagerie. In any case, what that means is that I have a fair number of plants in bloom this month...some that will continue to bloom for another 8 months or so and some that will be gone by next week. Some, like the Chater's Double Hollyhock, are (in an unusual turn of events) still blooming from last summer. Granted, the stem is rather long and convoluted but how could I get rid of such a trooper? The Berries and Cream rose is quite pretty now with lots of 'berry' due to the still somewhat cool weather. As it warms up we'll see more 'cream'. The yellow columbine seemed pretty common in Austin (from the photos I've seen) but it's a first for me. I'm hoping it continues to survive here in Davis. The sweet peas are from pass-along seed given to me by a friend from HER friend who has grown them for 20 years. And yes, Kim, they do smell wonderful! So with no further is the rest of the list for April in Davis...

Sweet Peas…pass-along seeds
Sugar Snap peas
Marguarite Comet Pink
Blue marguarite
Dutch iris blue, white, lavender (ending)
Bearded iris lavender. blue, purple, white (beginning)
Peruvian scilla (at top of page)
Bush mallow
Bearss lime
Improved Meyer lemon
Tulbaghia fragrans
Scabiosa Butterfly Blue
Rosa Climbing Cecile Brunner (beginning)

Rosa Flower Girl (beginning after a couple months off)
Banksia rose Alba Plena
Banksia rose double white
Salvia Blue Hill (beginning)
Salvia May Night (beginning)
Salvia Dancing Dolls
Pink pandorea (beginning)
Lavandula Wings of Night
Lavandula pinnata buchii
Polygala dalmaisiana (sweet pea shrub)
Pink alstroemeria
Dwarf Carnation Evermore
Carnation white
Dianthus bright pink
Culinary thyme
Anisodontea Hibiscus Bits
Anisodontea Very Cranberry
Anisodontea Elegant Lady
Nemesia Bluebird
Freesias (ending)
Wax begonias
Snap dragons yellow
Lobelia blue
Various succulents
Gladiolus yellow
Erodium reichardii ‘Bishops Form’
Geranium Staghorn Oak
Scented geranium chocolate mint
Scented geranium Citrosa
Cranesbill Biokova
Geranium endressiiPenstemon heterophyllus Blue Springs
Heuchera Lillian’s Pink
Black stem pittosporum
Abutilon Pink Parasol
Abutilon light pink
Solanum jasminoides
Solanum rantonnetii
Italian parsley

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tiny Blooms

Walking past the black stem pittosporum the other day I was surprised to see some tiny blooms...something I'd never noticed in years past. I'm crediting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day with making me more aware of what's going on in my own garden...having posted about various blooms over the past year I'm now on the lookout for surprises. So I went on a tiny bloom search and came up with a few more...culinary thyme chocolate mint geranium and not so tiny, but eagerly anticipated, the first sweet pea bloom.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Katarina over at Roses and Stuff has been kind enough to include me in a list of blogs that she enjoys reading and has presented us with the E for Excellent award. In accepting this award I am asked to pass it along to 10 other Katarina says, a difficult thing to do with so many wonderful garden blogs out there to chose from. So what I've done is take ten names from my Google Reader list...and here is my list of ten blogs that I enjoy reading..

Connie at Notes From a Cottage Garden
Sue at The Balcony Garden
Angela at Garden Bliss
Billy at Garden Wise Guy
Meems at Hoe and Shovel
Weeder at Weeder's Garden
Trey at The Blogging Nurseryman
Kim at A Study in Contrasts
Annie at The Transplantable Rose
Carol at May Dreams Gardens

This is for you:

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Training My Compost Rat

Last night when I went out to feed my rat (as in add kitchen scraps to the compost bin) I discovered that he (and I really hope it's not a she) has been trained. Of course we all know rats are smart in theory but now I have proof. First off, let me say that I have never put any meat or dairy or other scraps that supposedly might attract rats into my compost pile. Be that as it may I have more than once heard a thump as I opened the bin and also have had the pleasure of seeing the little guy run off down the fence. So I've gotten into the habit of kicking the side of the bin before I open it in hopes of scaring him away. However, it turns out that if you kick the bin on 20 or 30 occasions before dumping in some prime kitchen scraps (our ex-CSA box always had way too many bitter greens) the smart rat will learn that it is feeding time and pop up through the leaves to see what's on tonight's menu. He looked at me, twitching his nose, as if to say "What took so long?" And even though I told him in no uncertain terms that he had no business hanging around he stayed there, half buried, waiting to be served. So I dumped the bucket on the pile and covered it with leaves from my holding bin that were collected last fall. This weekend I will think about ways to discourage his presence although at the moment I have no idea what might work. My bin is black plastic with doors on all four sides at the bottom for easy removal of completed compost and last night, besides the rat encounter, I had one other moment of excitement. I've been piling kitchen scraps, leaves and garden trimmings in the bin for over half a year. I'd begun to think it would never fill matter how overflowing I left it after doing some pruning or deadheading it always settled down to a foot or so below the top. Last night I thought I'd peek in the door to see what the stuff at the bottom looked like...and amazingly enough it actually looks like compost! I've never been a good composter...things here seem to dry out but not compost easily. But I've been trying to get better at it and it looks like maybe I have! So this weekend I'll remove some of the completed compost and see who or what I find. Hey, it might not be Spring Fling, but it could be fun anyway. And I'm saving up my Southwest points so maybe next year I'll get to spend the weekend with a more compatible group of gardeners.