Thursday, April 29, 2010

Oh How I Love Spring!

Front yard: FULL of color!Delicate little flowers blooming EVERYWHERE!
Have any idea what herb is in this next photo? (Answer is at the very bottom of this entry.) As always, you may double-click any image to enlarge it!
The Triliums are white when they first bloom and they fade to pink, then this deep pinkish purple before they fade away.
I am really happy that I've been allowing the trailing blackberry (native plant that trips hikers on trails) take over certain areas. It makes and excellent ground cover and the flowers are just an added treasure.
This hanging basket dangles from a shepherd's hook in the front yard.
Shade flowers . . .
One of the many rockeries . . .
Does this next deep red plant look WAXY to you?
This red tulip is nearly spent . . .

But the grandma pink ones are just beginning to bloom!
Flowering bush . . .
Pansies . . .
This pansy looks like a lion to me.
Lilac bush . . .
Marigold . . .
Groundcover ... with weeds mixed in. LOL.
More ground cover . . .
Near the koi pond, in the shade . . .
This columbine appeared in the most unusual place ... in a crack alongside our driveway. (I know people say that Columbine self-seeds but I prefer to assume Faeries planted this beautiful gem for me.
Ah ... I took this photo of a most edible flower ... then fed it to the very grateful rabbit. (Not to worry ... the Dandelion's offspring are still healthy and well to make MORE dandelions.
Bluberry bushes are in bloom . . .
This is a blue spruce that I planted when we first moved in ... it seems to be bushing OUTWARD instead of growing upward (like I expected it to do).
Apple blossoms and buds!

The unnamed herb pictured (above) is Valerian. Boiling the roots for tea really helps the sleepless find good rest. Caution: Cooking Valerian root can make the whole house smell like dirty socks or blue cheese dressing. (The odor is rather fowl.)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tulips & Iceland Poppy

I am so in love with my grandma-pink tulips. Just look how delicate and lovely they are. (These bloomed almost a full month later than my dark pink tulips.)Here's one pink tulip up close!
I am still amazed by this Iceland Poppy (a container plant I've been growing for just more than a month now). It has SO MUCH CHARACTER!

Here we are, sticking our tongue out at ya! (LOL)

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Where's The Delete/Ignore/Block Button When Ya Need It?

[Click on the photo to enlarge it & see how cool this tree really is]

I went to Home Depot to pick up a bag of organic potting soil today. With so many seeds sprouting between sheets of newspaper (cluttering the kitchen counters) my need was rather urgent. Yet soon as I arrived at the garden store I saw a big sign that read "BARGAINS!" ((If that's not like dangling a carrot before a donkey, I don't know WHAT is ... ))

In the forefront of this picture you see our brand new little Norway Spruce that I bought for just $27.88. I planted it as soon as I arrived home (even while it began to thunder and rain hard!)

The point of this entry, is that while a store clerk helped me load the precious little tree into the back of my pickup ... some random woman started barking negative accusations at us. She kept insisting I was KILLING the tree (oddly enough). First she said the tree belonged in the cab of my pickup (when it was much too big to fit). I think she was upset because I had to lay the tree and its large pot on their sides since my pickup has a cover over the bed ... but I've hauled much bigger trees than this one in my little red Toyota Tacoma and I was even able to close the lid to bring this baby home!

What was rather irksome was that the woman would NOT quit blabbering about it and we listened to her rant the entire time we worked to secure the tree. I seriously cannot figure out what could have been her motivation for accosting us (other than the idea that she was fruity).

That's when I seriously missed my IGNORE button (on Facebook). If only we could address some people the way we do in virtual reality then irregular folks would have NOBODY left to talk to! IGNORE, HIDE, DELETE. Those are my FAVORITE virtual tools!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring Is In The Air! {{Happiness}}

While sitting at my computer, doing layout work for an eBook, the sun came out. I couldn't help myself. I had to drop everything and went outside to work in our gardens. This first photo proves to me that alien species definitely exist in our world (because this Iceland Poppy definitely has an extraterrestrial-shaped head and the blossom currently looks like a little tongue). [Double-click any photo to enlarge it.]

Here's a ground cover plant that I have growing in the back yard. I bought this about three years ago and it's really taking off/spreading out. (I feel so thankful for colorful low-to-the ground foliage such as this because while I remove more and more lawn (to increase depth & color as well as be more environmentally conscious in my gardens) I can still see all the way to the fence line. Short plants like these also enable the dogs to play in the yard with very little lawn

Last year, while shopping yard sales I bought these flower boxes for about $4 each. They were red and we painted them green. I thought I had found such a great bargain until I paid for the new brackets to hang them with. All the same, this embellishment really adds a lot of personality to Dougs & my house. (I just love them and can hardly wait for the plants to grow and spread out!)
Gotta love having fresh herbs from the garden. Rosemary is one of my favorite garden herbs as it looks beautiful year-round (even when not in bloom). My husband enjoyed a sprig of purple flowering Rosemary with his pasta tonight!

Here's a snapshot of my utterly divine late-flowering cherry tree. It is just now coming into bloom (more than a month after everyone else's cherry trees have lost all of their flower petals. I just LOVE being a little different -- or a little "off" season. :-D

The soil in our yard has been so rocky that I've made fun use of all of the stones I find while I'm gardening. This display is next to our koi pond. The heart-shaped stone that I painted came from my former home, on a creek bank. (You know you're a rock collector when you're willing to pack stones for a household move!)

Here's my native salmonberry bush ... a small plant I rescued (in affiliation with the Native Plant Society) from a site that was going to be bulldozed. This will be the bush's second season in my yard and I'm hoping to finally be able to taste its pinkish-orange fruit this summer. I'm particularly fond of any flower with five petals (like a pentacle). It feels very protective and magical to me.

Amazingly enough, I found the following flower basket and organic insert at the dollar store! The plants inside cost quite a bit more ... but I'm really glad I bought this iron shepherd's hook to hang the display from. It really adds a whole 'nother level to my gardening.

Finally ... in my backyard I have this beautiful flowering vine that I believe is a clematis (it climbs a trellis and I give it hardly any attention at all but it lavishes me with beauty just the same). I planted this three years ago and have never been sorry that I did. It almost matches my flowering cherry tree!

* Interested in books or if you're writing an eBook ... check out my other blog:!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

As Some Hibernate - Other Plants Bloom

This is Russian Sage, still in hibernation. In the next few months this plant will be so vibrant with color. We've had a ridiculously unusual winter here in western Washington this go-around. It was warm in February (usually our coldest month) and now that it's spring we experience freezing night temperatures along with the usual heavy April rains. [Click any image to enlarge it.]

This next bush is native to Washington. It's a flowering red currant. I planted it right next to the Russian Sage (so while one plant hibernates, the other is in bloom).
Look at all the weeding I need to do! This is part of my "shrink the lawn" project where I'm planting a lot of variety (instead of the more common green asphalt) all over our property. It's been raining so hard lately, and the weather is so cold when it's not raining, I haven't been out in the gardens much. [The white wood shavings you see are composted from my chicken coop. Never apply chicken manure directly to your garden without composting first because it's hot with nitrogen and will burn your plants]
I think Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs ... I cook with it year-round. What a blessing when it's in full bloom with such delicate purple flowers.

This next flowering bush is also called a "flowering red currant. Meanwhile it does not look like the native variety (pictured above). This one's flowers are much paler while the leaves look the same on both varieties. [Note, I am uploading this photos from my laptop and do not have editing software accessible to crop out my weeding bucket ... sorry]

So hard to believe that slugs can climb my stone altar, here, but they've obviously been nibbling on my orange pansy. (Click to enlarge photo.)
Isn't spring just beautiful? I love all my flowers planted from bulbs.
I think purple, orange and pink are my favorite garden colors (next to green).
Here's what I've done to keep slugs at bay. They have completely been ridiculously persistent with my flowering carnation variety plant, below. I thought this beauty was just wintering but on closer look I realized why she was not branching out. I'm very surprised this beautiful little gem is still alive. I have continued to circle it with coffee grounds since (which slugs do not like) and if you enlarge the photo you can see how the plant is just now starting to come back with precious little buds.) Ignore the fir tree clippings. They're not part of this plant.
Aren't these tulips just the funnest color?
Amazing discovery in my chicken coop this morning. The chickens that were hatched in early-to-mid October 2009 have already begun to lay eggs. (They're just 6 months old.) My grey hen, who I call Gandolf the Grey was sitting in a corner yesterday, and the day before at feeding time. Today, when I decided to force her out of the corner (because I was worried she was not eating) I found 17 eggs under her! I had no idea they were all laying already ... obviously more than a few days work they had there! Because I didn't know how old the eggs were and they were warm I added them to the compost but TOMORROW? Fresh eggs baby!

Below is a picture of my heartache. This is Runt, fully grown. S/he's always had trouble from the time s/he was a little chick. I believe Runt is a male because he's crowed a couple of times in the last few days. Runt is very crippled. I've posted, before how "she" wasn't growing feathers as fast as the others. Well, Runt's legs are all deformed and he can barely walk. He's just the sweetest bird otherwise. I put him in a cage to make sure he can reach his food. He was growing so thin prior to that decision and when I was previously giving water directly to him the others would come eat it before he could get to it.

Poor baby. Fortunately this bird has not crowd much at all. If he did, I'd have to put him down (as I don't think any other person would want the extra care required to take care of him and roosters are not allowed where we live.