Friday Flowers: Bye Bye Ranunculus

24 06 2011

Well. They bloomed as we were walking out the door to head to Texas. And we got home just in time to catch their tail end. Ranunculus are such a fun flower. Not as stuffy or heavy smelling (yea, I said it) as a rose, not as petal-vomit-messy as a peony. Just a fun little flower with no heirs. Their bendy stems make for fun arrangements. Alas, who has time for fun arrangements when their child is snotting everywhere? They were lucky to get cut and photographed.

ranunculus sent virtually to little harper's room at TCH

Not so glamorous, but hopefully you will understand.

My Cutting Garden

23 09 2010

It sounds like I have a luxurious English style garden. I don’t. I have one really sunny spot. On the side of my house. 

orange, yellow, and yellow/white dinner plates - about 8" in diameter

No one can see it but the raccoons and cats who wander through there on their way to destroy another part of my yard.

another view of the dinner plates

So…I use it as a cutting garden. I cut every bloom and bring it in. Love it!

monday's harvest

I’m growing about 6 different varieties of dahlias this year. I actually forgot to buy my tubers in late February and didn’t get them planted until after Mother’s Day. I thought I was doomed to no homegrown flowers this year. But this crop has been amazing! My yellow & white dinner plate plants have about 10 new buds ready to pop. I am usually lucky to get one big bloom per plant.

a little perspective never hurts

I like how different each type of flower is and how unique it looks. Hope you enjoyed my little cutting garden. 🙂

I Grew More Than a Baby This Summer

20 09 2010

I scaled back my garden significantly this year, knowing that at the heat of the summer, when the most work is required, I’d be heavily pregnant and not too keen being on my hands and knees in my tiny garden space (remember, it’s only about 18 inches by 50 feet.

This year, I planted three tomato plants, a bunch of hot peppers, tomatillos, cabbages, carrots, basil, cilantro, and a lot of dahlias. I also have some potatoes. They’re sitting on the window sill. Oops. Totally forgot to plant them. They have nice sprouts now though. I have about 4-5 dozen huge, beautiful tomatoes, but unfortunately (well, VERY fortunately for me) it was a cool summer and most of those maters are probably not going to ripen. We’ll have to have a lot of fried green tomatoes here. One of my varieties is actually meant to be green, called the Green Zebra. It’s a tart, crisp tomato that is one of my favorites out there.

jalapenos, celebrity tomato, green zebra tomato, orange dinner plate dahlia

I love my dahlia cutting garden. I’ll share more pictures of it this week as new blooms are popping each day right now. Beautiful!

pink softball dahlias

More Signs of Spring!

3 03 2010

We’ve had some really beautiful weather lately. More sun than rain. Warmer temps without chilly wind. I even am leaving the house without my jacket on some afternoons! Right now, we’re in for a stretch of warm, dry weather through the weekend. This afternoon, I took a long walk around the neighborhood to check out the sights of spring happening in early March.

*please don’t snow or frost.please don’t snow or frost*

plum tree bloom and blue sky

peach tree blooms and crocuses

close up of the plum tree blooms

maybe someone thought he was a chocolate bunny? i always eat the ear first too.

daffs and a bloom free tree - i love the ongoing transitions!

the pinnacle of spring for me - magnolias. this one is not yet bloomed, but getting ready! they call 'em tulip trees here

What say you? Anything exciting going on in your neighborhood?

Fastest, Most Painless Winter. Ever.

26 01 2010

Seriously. We’re on pace to have the warmest January on record. It’s been pretty much sunny since we returned from Paris, save a day or two here and there. I saw a cherry tree blooming this afternoon on my walk, what a confused little tree! It is an El Niño year, which means warmer temps, less snow and usually more rain (what in the WORLD were the olympic organizers thinking when they planned Vancouver Winter Olympics in an El Niño year???). I’m sure we’ll get another blast of cold, but I don’t think we’re in for any week long shut-ins due to 18″ of snow. 

My hellebores have bloomed easily a month earlier than they have the last two winters. 

blooms just opening


My hydrangeas (yes, I have four of them now…i bought a new one in the fall when they were 40% off – it’s a deep red color, I cannot wait to see it this summer) have started sprouting new leaves and my bulbs are peeking up out of the ground. I planted over 100 bulbs in the fall this year, expect a good show in a few weeks all the way through June! 

my new fire red mophead hydrangea survived winter!


When we first bought the hellebores, they just laid down on the ground. I think they hated our house or the yard we put them in. The whole summer I watered them, wondering what I was doing wrong. Then suddenly, after their first winter, they just perked up and decided they wanted to stay. Now they are the best performers in that part of the garden. So pretty and different! 

h. x ballardiae pine knot (scientific name of the plant)


Is spring coming where you live?

Fall. Autumn. Winter?

17 10 2009

Summer has officially ended! The leaves are starting to turn and the rains have come. I think we are making up for hot and dry summer. I remember when I lived on Lake Washington and we would have stinted summer…I lived in a great community of a cluster of cottage-like apartments right on the lake, with a huge dock! In the summer, we would all leave our noodles, floats (I had a giant blow up Orca…yeah), and other summer gear out on our front lawns for the taking. If I had a party, I borrowed my neighbor’s floats and noodles and so on. We had midnight full moon swims during the two hot months of the year. It was such a great community!

One summer we just never had a summer. It was kind of weird. The 4th of July passed, we had an excellent Blue Angels weekend and then it just stopped. All of our floats just sat there deflating…waiting to be used. It was sort of depressing when it was in the low 50s on Labor Day Weekend and we all sat on our lawns closing up for summer without really having one. They had an EPIC swimming summer this year. I miss that place, and beg Scott to have a “summer cottage” there…he has not bought into that scenario. Yet.

This great summer has come to a close. I pulled up all of the veggies (save one plant) and planted the cover crop. Scott trimmed the trees and prepared for a blustery long winter.

In all, we harvested about 100 Serrano peppers, 15-20 pounds of tomatoes (many green ones as you see below), 20 pounds of potatoes, a few carrots, and a lot of Butter Lettuce. It was a great gardening year.

Final Harvest 001


Final Harvest 002

I said there was one plant I didn’t pull. It was the Habanero plant. Such spicy peppers don’t really grow up here in the northwest without a lot of intervention. I planted this one against the house where it would get maximum sunlight and heat. It flowered profusely throughout the summer, but never gave me fruit. Well… three days before our first freeze, I noticed fruit!!!!!!!! I didn’t have the heart to pull it, I’m letting it go. We’ll see if we can get one more bit of spice from the garden. Yum!

Final Harvest 006

I sowed seeds for fava beans, which serve as an excellent cover crop. After the long growing season, they bring some much needed nitrogen to the soil, in preparation for 2010 gardening. It’s kind of nice to see the calm dirt. (note: within 3 days of pulling all of the weeds and plants, there were MORE WEEDS sprouting).

Final Harvest 003

So…this wraps up my gardening posts for 2009. What a good year. Thanks for sharing my vegetable gardening! I guess the coming few months will be filled with pictures from various holidays and an exciting wedding. I hope my blog might become more interesting again soon 🙂

Sunday Supper: Panzanella

21 09 2009

Ok, you caught me again. It’s Monday. Monday Supper: Panzanella? Just doesn’t sound the same. Guess what? Summer is O.V.E.R. tomorrow. So, I went out to the garden and found it riddled with many signs of end of season stress. Powdery mildew has shown up in full glory, starting to take down the cosmos, dahlias, and I even see signs of it on the tomato plants. With temperatures scheduled to drop into the mid to low 40s later this week, I think it’s safe to say…summer is coming to an end.

I clipped all the remaining dahlias (so sad to compost over 30 unopened blooms), pulled up the cosmos and pruned the infected leaves of the tomatoes, but I suspect I haven’t rid the garden of the mess.

I harvested the ripe tomatoes and those that are splitting. Next I grabbed 20 or so serrano peppers and noticed my Scotch Bonnet (habanero) has fruit on it!!! What the heck? We’ve had the hottest summer on record and it took these babies over 100 days to pollinate and make fruit. We’ll see if the cold temperatures take care of those this week.

Panzanella 006

end of summer harvest

With the bounty of today’s harvest, I decided panzanella was in order. It’s a dish originating in Tuscany and a great way to use day old bread. Here is the recipe I pulled together for tonight’s dinner. I served it with a couple of slices of smoked proscuitto.

3 cups of day old unsalted Italian bread, cubed (any crusty bread would work, but unsalted is best)
2 medium tomatoes, wedged and chopped into large chunks
2 sprigs basil, torn into pieces
small fresh mozzarella balls, quartered
1 clove garlic, minced
olive oil
2 lemons, juiced

Mix tomatoes, basil, mozzarella, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper to taste. Let sit in fridge for 20-30 minutes. Mix in bread cubes. Eat!

Panzanella 016

panzanella goodness

I think this dish is a fine salute to the last evening of summer 2009. It was a good one!

Next up…I’m going to harvest the carrots and potatoes for a roast chicken with vegetables some night this week! I’ll need to whip up some fresh salsa with all those serrano peppers too! Maybe for some football watching on Saturday.