Monday, September 15, 2014

September wide angles

As per usual, I'm a day late and a dollar short.  Who knew that fostering kittens would take up so much time?  Okay, that's a lie - I'm currently not fostering.  It has more to do with the fact that my husband commandeers the computer when we get home, and I keep feeling like I have nothing to blog about (which is totally not true).

Anhow, we'll get started with September wide angles and then I'll move into mass writing blog entries and having them post every week.

So.  September Wide Angles.  As you all know the drill by now, Heather at XericStyle (which, by the way, I saw that she was on CTG a few months back) invites us to share wide angle photos of our yards so we can see how they change through the seasons.

This year, it's been pretty dry with maybe one good rain a month.  Unfortunately, we did not have a good rain in August; and the yard is showing it.  

From across the street:

Those trellises are by Bob at Draco - they're pretty nifty.  :)  And you can see Shawn having just come back from a road ride.

A closer view of the hell strip:

And of the far part of the hell strip with the Rose Bed in the back:

And a view of walking up the front door:
A closer look at Bob's Trellises.  I need to do a post on just them...

Around the side yard:
Featuring the sprinkler which I use to water the plants so they will bloom, thus feeding the hummingbirds and bees.

A panoramic from by the rain barrel

A panoramic from the back door

A picture looking toward the garden

Looking at the garden from the rainbarrel on this side

Sadly, the world photos are causing my computer to crash so I can't post either of them.

Monday, September 1, 2014

August Wide Angles

Okay, so a very late "beginning of the month wide angle photo shots" - I swear I take the photos early in the month (August 10, even!)

From the neighbor's drive way:

Hell Strip Part 1:

Hell Strip Part 2:

Leading up to the front door:

Looking at berm:

Backyard from the deck:

Panorama of the back side yard:

Panorama from the back door:

View of the garden - cleaned up for now:

August World Photo

Thursday, July 31, 2014

July Wide Angles

Here we are - at the end of July and I'm just now getting around to posting pictures that I took at the beginning of the month.  The nice thing about my cell phone is that I usually always have it with me (or is easy enough to get), and it automagically downloads all the photos I take to my pictures stash on google.  But it does not, regretfully, automagically make a blog post for me.  It will, however, make auto-albums whenever you go somewhere and take a bunch of photos; like it did for both my husband and me when we went on vacation to London (him) and Paris (both of us).  You can see those albums here and here

Every month, Heather at Xericstyle invites us to post long shots of our yards so we can see how they change over the seasons (and boy do mine change - it makes me realize that I need to add some statuary, or bird baths or something to my side yard).  I also feel compelled to point out that I took these photos after I did the mowing AND weed whacking (Shawn was in London, but the weed whacking almost never gets done because we don't have a long enough power cord - which is why my coworker loaned his to me).  It seems like this is about the ONLY thing I'm doing consistently.  I don't know why that is - I mean, I did make garden goals for the year, those included participating in monthly photos like Wide Angles, Bloom Day, and Foliage Follow Up.  I have been severely negligent in doing Bloom Day and Foliage Follow Up and I don't know why that is.  As mentioned above, this month I was in Paris over Bloom Day and Foliage Follow Up.  But I did take pictures of flowers on Bloom Day (we were at Versailles), and I did take some Foliage only photos on the 16th (we were at Parc Monceau).  We'll get to that when we get to that...maybe.

Anyhow - Wide Angles for July.

From the neighbor's yard:

Of the Berm Bed:

A view of walking up to the front door:

The Hell Strip:

The Rose Bed - after weeding:

Through the gate to the back yard:

A panoramic from by the rain barrel (and featuring our brush pile):

A panoramic from the back door (again, featuring the brush pile):

A closer view of the Grass Corner:

A view of the Veggie Gardens - or as best as I get get both of them in the photo from standing next to my Milkweeds:

And, as always - the Photo Sphere of the back yard

Thursday, June 26, 2014


So I didn't plan on having tomatoes this year...or maybe I planned on having 2 plants.  I somehow ended up with 6.  I blame Roberta. We went to the Sunshine Community Plant sale together (as we always do; and just like every other year we both are like "only 4 tomatoes" and end up with 8).  This year has been a very good tomato year (sorry Lori!).

This is a picture I took when the plants were all producing at the same time (except for the Early Girl).  In this photo, clockwise from upper left: Blue Berries, Cherokee Purple, Japanese Black Trifele (center), Dwarf Arctic Rose (bottom center), and Chico III.  I should point out that the very green looking Purple Cherokee is the size of both my fists together.  And I'm pretty sure I don't have carny hands.

As of today, I have harvested the following amounts from each plant:
Blue Berries: 180 (I'm very happy with this plant and recommend it)
Cherokee Purple: 13 (I like the taste of Black Krims a little better)
Japanese Black Trifele: 26 (I don't like this plant at all)
Dwarf Arctic Rose: 5 (a very short patio plant)
Chico III: 59 (but only 30 of the plants haven't had blossom end rot - do not grow in a grow box.  The fruit is okay, but the skins are very tough.  Most definitely a sauce tomato.)
Early Girl: 2 (meh, but I also planted this one very late - the most "traditional" taste of all of them)

Since the plants did so well at the beginning and are now looking extremely sad (especially the Trifele and Chico which are in the grow box and have horn worms), I don't necessarily feel bad about not keeping them alive through the summer. (Disclaimer - I say this now, but I notoriously can't say no to a plant which is TRYING to survive.)  I have decided that I'm going to try to take some cuttings of the Blue Berries and Cherokee Purple tomato plants and get those started now so I can plant them for a fall harvest - I even went and bought rooting hormone which is like totally crazy.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Sprouting Pineapple

After reading Claude's blog post about growing pineapple from the tops, I decided to give it a go.  The first pineapple I had didn't sprout any roots (I think it was actually "cored" even though it didn't look it), but the second did grow roots.  And, after leaving it in a jar of water for a month or so, I finally planted it in a pot.  This isn't the first time I've grown pineapple, only the first time I 'sprouted' it myself.  The last plant died during a freeze, so I'll have to be sure to not take any chances with this one...

Other plants that can be grown from parts include Celery (which I have blooming right now), Green Onions, and Cabbage

Ginger and Garlic can be grown really easily, though you'll have to give up some of your edible part to get them going (whereas with the linked plants, you're growing the part that you throw away, or it's a part that isn't that big of a deal if you don't eat.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Attracting Butterflies to the Garden

How to attract butterflies to the garden:
1.  Plant Gregg's Mistflower.  The mistflower I have in the back (i.e. full sun) is blooming right now.  The mistflower in the front (i.e. dappled sun) isn't blooming, nor will it until the fall.

2.  Plant Butterflyweed.  Oh my God.  This plant is ALWAYS COVERED in aphids.  But! Aphids eventually bring lady bugs and lacewings.  And, of course, it is the host plant for the monarchs, and they need as much help as they can get.

3. Plant Dill, Parsley, or Fennel (though I've found that Dill works the best).  When it blooms, it brings the bees, and until it does, it will host all those swallowtail caterpillars.  And eventually, you'll find a few of these on other plants (the swallowtails sure like to travel to a different location to pupate).

Monday, June 9, 2014

June 2014 Wide Angles

At the beginning of the month, we join Heather at Xeristyle to show off the wide-angle photos of our yards.

From the Neighbor's house.  I'm really digging the hell strip.  The purple flowers are Horsemint, the yellow ones are mostly santolina.  The white plants are Artemisia.  The cat is the neighbor's (Princess), and the man is my husband (trying to get out of the photo)

Closer in - this is the Berm Bed.  The Purple Puff balls are Peter's Purple Monarda, the yellow are Englemann's Daisy, the purple spikes are Horsemint, and you can just make out one of my heart-shaped cactus pads (in the front right), and the Echinacea in the back of the bed.  The tree in the planter by the door is my Avocado tree (grown from a pit) which came back from the roots after this winter.  I would have left it in it's original spot, except I planted a Desert Willow in that spot because I figured there was no way the avocado would survive the winter we had.

From my driveway.  The Mexican Feather Grass is starting to look a little iffy.

The hell strip.  The neighbor who lives next to us told me the other day that he really likes the hell strip right now.  We'll see how he feels when the horsemint stops blooming.

The Rose Bed and Far Hell Strip.  The yellow/orange flowers by the sad-looking Dr. Huey rose are Zexmenia, the white is Blackfoot Daisy,  I also have some Larkspur and Thyme in this bed.  The Hell Strip on this side of the driveway currently features Prairie Fleabane (white), Blanketflower (red/yellow), and Dahlberg Daisy (yellow).  It also has a bunch of weeds and seeding poppies.

And around to the side yard:
The Passionvine.  Which I have to occasionally pull off of the neighbor's gate.

Looking through the our giant brush pile.  My long-term plan is to fill in the low spot where the brush pile is, and maybe put in a hammock.  Because I'm now obsessed with hammocks.

The panoramic from the deck.  Also featuring the brush pile.

The panoramic from the other side of the deck.  Featuring the electric box.  Seriously, the grasses can't grow fast enough.  I've added a bird bath in that corner, I haven't seen any birds in it, but I have noticed water missing from it every once in a while, so it's probably being used.  Again, the purple poofs are Peter's Purple Monarda.

June 2014 World Photo