Thursday, December 9, 2010

Ew My Stone Face Spewed....

Ok, this actually happened several weeks ago, but I just got time to ask about this:

So my faces actually weren't all that happy when they were transplanted into a container, several got shrivelly and kicked the bucket. One spewed the above white slivers. What the shaizer?! Close-up:

Does anybody know - were those seeds? Is my stone face an annual that's about to die?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Still Not Dead

...yet :9

Just a quick entry so I don't forget I have a blog ;) It's just been to crazy to keep up with entriess, I would really like to do a fall or even full year summary later this month after my night class ends and work projects are finished before the new building code takes effect.

Anyway, my container garden is doing good, I've got alot of new seed varieties to try out this spring via trades, and the front yard is about to get prepped for spring...

My one guilty pleasure during this crazy autumn has been keeping up with everyone's gardening blogs. I'm suffering a bit of zone envy. It's kind of exciting seeing so many gardeners scrambling to winterize everything and stash plants away from the frost. In LA instead  of full on winter most of nature just goes into this weird limbo state. It seems like a cheat down here to get the naked deciduous trees and see all the death and dormancy of many plants - but no snow! No snow angels, snowmen, or snow days off work.

But you know what?

I got fresh strawberries in December so HA!!!!

Ok, maybe that was a little uncalled for. But if we're having the coldest winter in my entire life at least nature could throw us a little snow to make it worth it :/ Anyone else feel like that?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Sunset you are going to get me in trouble...

Some days catching up on my RSS Reader and the internet want to get me in trouble... Through links in the Fresh Dirt Sunset blog I can across this one about a shutter garden...

And I am now plotting to get my dirty hands on those unused shutter doors in my unbiological brother's garage.... (ssshhhh, don't tell)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Must Be Careful

Just another ordinary night. You're bringing your water buckets in for tomorrow's shower. Then as you pass your home nursery you bump into a shelf and it happens...


Yeah, about had a heart attack. I had to step away for a minute and let the shock go before carefully picking up the tray and examining the situation. Luckily the carnage was minimal. All I had to do was gently pick the peat pots up one by one, lightly holding the seedlings in place while refilling the soil. One pot actually escaped, had the group of seedlings but no cup... put them in an extra one.

And my Green Babies made it through the night!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Has a Falcon! - Scratch That - HAWK!!!

...or possibly a hawk - but I think it's a falcon :)

We've spotted a pair of these (and once a young'un) in my neighborhood many times in the last 3 or 4 years. This is the first time I've caught one on camera. It always raises my spirits to see them.

Suprised the hell outta me. There was a commotion in the avocado tree, at first I thought it was a squirrel. Then I heard my little army (the flock of sparrows) getting very upset, so of course it must be the Felis catus "Predator Mode" and I approached cursing at her... Then I hear "maouw" from the carport and oh - Felis catus is on the ground with me... At that point I turned on the video mode just in time to catch it flying out! That was about two weeks ago, last Sunday I watched it fly from our tree again but no camera :/

The video pretty much sucks. I got a few almost decent pics as you can see. I love my Fujifilm cam, but long distance zoom is not one of its strong points... I'm comparing with photos of LA County birds, but still not sure exactly which species this one is...perhaps Falco peregrinus anatum the American Peregrine Falcon, or "Duck Hawk"...? If anyone out there knows for sure please tell me! Here are the best close-ups:

On a related note I've lived in the same neighborhood my entire life (minus about 18 months) and wildlife was a bit on the scarce side until about 7 or 8 years ago. As a kid I was absolutely thrilled to once see a squirrel at the park down the street and a possum on the next block. Besides the sparrows, crows, mourning doves and pigeons that was it, seriously. I had heard of other wild animals in nearby neighborhoods but never seen them. As a kid I felt a bit cheated.

Now it's different. I don't know what or why but there's alot more diversity around here now and it makes me silly happy :D There are quite a few squirrels on my street (I know they could potentially become an annoyance in my garden but I'm still thrilled they're here!), I see possums on my evening walks, there are the falcons of course, I've spotted an american goldfinch in our cosmos, mom saw a blue jay last week (not sure which specie yet either), and Sunday morning I shooed a young lizard out of our kitchen :) I've also found more different bugs in the yard than I ever saw as a kid, many I've never seen at all!

And so I wonder why now? It makes sense that there's more bug diversity and lizards in our yard - I've grown insect attracters, created more shelter, the flower beds hold more moisture and much longer. But what about the squirrels, possums and falcons? What suddenly brought them to us and got them to decide to stay? They started coming long before we improved our yard. They're certainly not surviving off our garden (although the falcon is making more effort to ambush my army!). Several homes have been improved quite a bit, but (except a highly select few) hardly anyone has gone for a garden suitable to wildlife. I don't think the number of backyard habitats has gone up at all.

So why are they coming?

I have no idea... but I'm definitely encouraging them to stay!

***UPDATE 9/23/10***
I owe a big THANK YOU to Glenn Nevill who responded to this post and was able to tell me - I has a Cooper's HAWK! It pleases me greatly to put a name to these raptors.... hey wait a sec.... I has Raptors! Cue the Jurassic Park soundtrack!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I won Honey!!

It seemed like I'd entered nearly every garden blog contest I came across this summer - and finally a success! Two weeks ago I won The Dandelion Wrangler's Honey Give-Away :D !

And if that wasn't thrilling enough - the package arrived on dad's birthday! Just the person I intended to share it with <3

That really brightened the day for us :) Dad loves honey and as soon as I get a chance to cook up some buñuelos we're going to be testing the three flavors out!

Thank you so much Laura!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bloom Day September 2010 - Just Made it!

It's only 10:15 pm in SoCal! I'm still in time! So without further ado, a glimpse at my bloomers O.O for the last week or so...

 pink zinnia Cut & Come Again and cosmos Seashell

alyssum Oriental Nights

 my lovely little cupid's dart :)
cucumber Lemon blooms count!

 shy little delphinium Shades of Blue

 please forgive the mess of this little neglected front strip that still manages to give us petite marigolds and portulaca

I find it facinating that these garden mums (planted for mum of course) seem to only attract flies...and lots of them

no idea what variety of geranium (inherited) and portulaca fill this corner

 love feeling awash in the lobelia Cambridge Blue

 these humoungo marigolds are doing quite well in a pot :)

 can anyone tell me what the heezy thes are?! Foudn them at the 99 cent store with no label, seem to be succulents

 nasturtium Alaska have bloomed and rebloomed 3 or 4 times over the summer

 one of the front flower beds - statice, marigold & zinnia Cut & Come Again (statice has been blooming continuously since May!)

uh oh the oregano and akashiso bloomed!

basil Cinnamon so lovely I forgive it for blooming :9

totally forgot we planted strawflower until two weeks ago!

ok, warning: gratuitous zinnia to follow ;) This odd coloration has been my favorite of the Cut & Come Again variety

 oh, I finally made an outdoor getaway for myself - and the Felis catus "Jackmove" got to it first! Punk!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Plotting a Harvest...?

The other day while taking a walk in the neighborhood I saw this:

And this:

These lovelies are growing in a fenced-in street "garden" in the front setback of a building supply storage yard. This one faces the major street and has a 6 foot iron fence around it. The "garden" on the minor street around the corner has a 4 foot fence. These planted areas are tended to once, maybe twice, a year and otherwise totally neglected.

If you haven't a clue why I'm excited by these cacti it's because in about a week the tunas (prickly pears) will be about ready for picking. I LOVE these fruits, they are juicy and flavorful and... YUMMAY. I got hooked on these the summer I stayed with relatives in Mexico where you can find them being sold all over the place. They aren't necessarily difficult to find stateside, but I don't often find the red ones.... Or free ones...

I am coveting them at this moment. I am tempted to just go by when they're ready withe gloves and a basket, but it seems wrong... Even if the owners/managers of the property don't care enough to tend these guys I should probably go in and ask... Uhg, I hear they aren't very friendly at this particular supplier... :/

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Impromptu Dinner

So a couple of weeks back I got to house sit and had to come up with dinner quick. Begin raid on my edible garden :) I came up with these:

Lime basil; Canary bell peppers (not fully ripe); Early White Bush scalloped squash; strawberries; Bright Lights swiss chard; Dwarf Blue kale; Brandywine, Roma and Yellow Pear tomatos. John later contributed random cherry tomatos from his garden and ground turkey.

After a bit of thought I moved on to preparation:

And the final results:

So it all turned into ground turkey with cherry tomatos, chard stalks and lime basil; steamed squash with lime basil and olive oil; steamed chard and kale; stuffed peppers with cheese, chard, basil and Brandywine tomato; and Yellow Pear tomatos to munch on. Also fresh mint tea on the side :) It was good. I'm falling in love with stuffed peppers...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Family Gardening Meeting in Lawndale

Had to renew a book (The Bountiful Container, this is the 5th time I've checked it out!) at the local library yesterday and noticed this flyer on my way out:

So if you're anywhere in or near the Southbay of Los Angeles you might want to come by and check it out!

Solar Light - Clearance!

Hey all - I'm back in the States!

Anyway, went shopping at Target the other night and found their solar stake lights are on clearance for $1.50 each! They were in the Garden Center in copper, super dark brown and black (the last two have a nice texture to them). I got super dark brown, and being lazy since I returned forgot to take a pic, but this image I found on a search is pretty dark close:

So if you've been wanting something like this I suggest you head to your local Target. It's not on their website, I checked :p

Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm not dead...just on vacation...

Just a quick post to let everyone know I'm away until next week. I probably won't be able to put a proper post together until late next week or the week after...

Until then here's a taste of what I've been enjoying... the Cosmovitral de Toluca

Happy Gardening :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

How to Make a Personalized Garden Card

A few months back I had a post about the Postcarden that had just come out. A pretty nifty gift there, perfect for a girlfriend of mine, but discovered too late for her birthday.

So I just had to start constructing one from scratch. Inspired the by the above version of the Postcarden I decided to make one that looked like her home. Yeah, I'm sort of new to planning an organized post, and it didn't occur to me to document the process until halfway though...sorry.

So here is the practice mock-up. Knowing I was bound to screw up since I just jumped right in without a plan :D I started with scratch paper. First I took measurements of the Priority Mail box it was gonna have to fit into, I think it came out to 8"Lx4"Wx1.5"H. I wrote down the dimensions of each piece directly on it so I wouldn't lose anything in translation.

The base is a large piece, about 8"x7", that make the floor and the two longest fences by folding up 1.5" on each of the long sides. The two short end fences I made with flaps to glue to the base and adjoining fences (5"x2"), the flaps were 1/2" on 3 sides. The walls of the house I cut the full height of the house (4.5") so they could be glued the full depth of the fence to be very strong since they had to be folded down to fit the box. The two walls making the front and back of the house (4.5"x5", 4.5"x4" for the edge wall) I added 1/2" flaps to the upper portion to eventually be glued to the other two walls (by the recipient after opening). I lightly scored the walls where they needed to fold at the top of the fence so it would be clean. The wall down the center of the garden card - I made with a 1/2" flap to glue to the base and it just fit laying flat on the base when folded (5"x4"). The roof was one piece (5"x4.5") folded along the center lengthwise, I did not make any attachment flaps for the roof since it is optional (if you grow sprouts inside the house portion they will need light). For the growing trays I cut the bottoms off of two 1 quart sized milk jugs to a height of 1.25", they happened to fit perfectly!

base, fences and walls taped during testing, milk trays in place

full test mock-up

mock-up in folded position for the box

mock-up folded and inside gift box :)

now that I know the dimensions of each piece I carefully marked up the final pieces on tinted cardstock paper

by now Felis silvetris catus "Gojira" has decided I have been paying too much attention to something 'not-me'

I used two colors of cardstock - one for the base, fences and roof; another for the walls

Here you can compare the final garden card to the mock-up. I only screwed up on the final garden card once so the hour spent on the mock-up was well worth it. In the back are the reference photos of my friend's house and "Gojira" now that she's finally interested in what I'm doing.

I pencilled on fence slats, wall boards, doors, posts, windows, etc. I also cut out the windows for fun. The mini-clothes pins are from Michael's, they are extremely cute and useful for gluing small things. Here they are holding the fence pieces in place as their glue dries. The ones on the walls are just so I can see the progress, they are not glued since the walls need to fold down later. I'm using the trays from the mock-up for the final.

the final Garden Card with roof before being folded and packed into the box
1 hr mock-up, 30 min cutting & assembling final, 15 min appeasing "Gojira", 1 hr decorating final & gift box = 2.75 hrs total

the opened Garden Card

I also ended up creating a 8"x4" backdrop piece with sky and trees for everyone who chipped in on the recipient's other gift to sign. Included with the garden card are two snack size zip baggies with seed starting soil and a packet of baby greens seeds to grow. I wanted to have lemon or wheatgrass seed since I think that would work better, but I couldn't find any in time.

Anyway, the Gin Master loved her card and immediately recognized it as her own home. Big smiles for both of us :)

Now go make your own!

Mary's Gardening Calendar