Tag Archives: gardens

Quilting Autumn

The days are cooling down, it is hard to tell though because one day it is hot and the next it’s cool, then it’s hot and believe it or not it actually rained.  I was even able to pull our feral cat from her windowsill perch into the house and put her in a kennel in the garage. feed-me-001

There she stayed very content for two days. I left the cage door open yesterday. I think she looked out and decided it was much too wet to go outside. Today I repeated the process and after her lunch she ventured out. Not sure what she got next was what she expected. This week at the Marine Air Station about four miles from the house there will be a big air show this weekend. The Blue Angels are practicing and the airplane noise is very loud and frightening. She went and hid. I hope tonight I can catch her again. For the poor animals it is like firecrackers going off.

Even though it was a pretty mild summer not much quilting happened. More than anything I had a lot of false starts. I have a lot of orphan blocks in wild colors without a home. My studio is upstairs and it can get too hot during the summer to work there.

Most of my time was spent getting ready for a late summer wedding. A beautiful bride Linda with her father.


Announcing Mr. and Mrs. — so happy and thrilled to be finally joined in their journey.


I had little to do with the planning of the wedding. I shopped for a dress and shoes, made travel arrangements and enjoyed the beauty of the event. The beautiful Linda did an amazing job of organizing everything.

I attended the Bridal shower in Montreal where there were games canada-009



and gifts


I also got to do a little touring while I was there — the Lavender Flower Fields. Rain poured down and I stood on the outside porch and I totally enjoyed that too since we had very little rain last year.


It was long awaited wedding and we are very happy that they are so very happy.

Now back to work.


March 5 – Rain soon?

I am placing my faith in the weather person’s prediction that we will have rain this weekend. This week I received 7 bare root roses I ordered in the mail. What was I thinking — roses — you have to plant them. I am so beyond wanting to dig holes is this clay and rock wasteland. I do love roses though and my hope springs eternal that El Nino will come through with more rain after all it is only March and this is when we have rain and winds.

I also bought a Fruit Salad tree this week —

garden fruit salad tree  003

I decided to take a picture before our rains. In the past my fruit trees have set buds and then it rains and the winds blow and at the end of it, the poor tree which looked so abundant would now be naked and fruitless. It is called a Fruit Salad tree because four different variety of fruits are grafter on to one base, in this case they are all oranges. It was my intention when I went to the nursery to look for a Cara Cara Orange which is native to New Zealand. The fruit is a dark red-orange and very sweet. I saw one last year at the end of the season but I didn’t buy it, happy I didn’t for lack of rain. This year I thought I would look again. When I walked up the nursery walkway a beautiful 30 gallon tree was right in front of me. I reached over to look at the tag and to my surprise it read Cara Cara, but wait, it had more tags on it.  The other tags were Washington Navel, a Late Navel and a Blood Orange.

I have had multi-grafted fruit trees in the past and have been disappointed when only one of the grafts survives. In that particular case it was a Nectarine, Apricot, Plum tree. The Plum Tree survived. One thought was there were no other fruit trees in the neighborhood.  I also have a Pomegranate Tree which looked like it was dead. It came back after the last rain. It has only had two pomegranates that were about the size of ping pong balls, I could have framed them. I took a picture of the little fruit buds on it now — there are five all together. garden pomagranante 005This is a picture of one.

I removed all the obstacles in the garden vegetable patch this morning. I struggled for years with raised beds, trying to containerize them: strawberries in one, tomatoes in another, kale in still another. All I was managing to do was give myself obstacles to fall over or into. I decided to take all the wooded forms out and just build up the whole area which is already surrounded by Railway ties. I also removed all the Blackberry bushes. They need to be relocated elsewhere. I put those in container pots. I had bags of soil left over from planting a Lemon and a Tangerine tree last month. I mixed them with soil that was taken from the holes for the fruit trees.  I was stressing myself with thoughts of going early to the nursery on a Saturday to find pots big enough to put the roses in, their base roots are easily 12″ across. That’s when it dawned on me — I have all that planting area in the back forty that as yet had no plants and I have all this soil.

garden 7 roses 002

So I did what they do at the nursery with bare roots, I put them into the soft soil from the bags of compost and soil I just dumped in. Wha-la!

I remember my father planting roses in our yard when I was little — he planted them — not my mother. I remember he and my uncles putting in the fences and pouring the concrete. My mother didn’t help. She did benefit from the roses though. Beside it making a beautiful yard with probably fifty rose bushes, when he came in from working in the yard he would always bring her roses.


Garden and the Rain



Garden banana peels 002My breakfast banana usually goes into the compost pile. This morning I thought a better use. While planting Johnny Jump-ups the other day I turned over some little red worms. I read that worms like bananas and citrus peels. I decide to chop up the banana skins and take them out to put them directly into the garden soil instead of sending them to the compost pile first.

Garden morning dew 012

I was greeted by dew drops on my Kale leaves.  I always love to see this. More likely they were raindrops from an overnight shower. The temperatures are in the 40 degree mark so it was probably rain.Garden Brussel Sprouts 010

I pulled yellowed leaves off the Kale and Brussel Sprouts and found these little babies.  They are usually tucked in the crook of the leaf but the rain and wind left no leaves as protection. They are little beauties and I hope the weather allows then to survive.  Further inspection showed this surpriseGarden late fall tomato  013 My Roma tomatoes are still blossoming and setting fruit.  They have turned red but they do  not have the sweetness of summer tomatoes. Our weather has been so crazy with temperatures still in the 80s on Thanksgiving.  It was no surprise to see this stunner hiding in the tall grass.Garden mushrooms 009 They are quite possibly just as deadly as they are beautiful.  This is a variety I have not yet seen in my back yard. I love the fluting. to me it looks like a ballerina’s spectacular tutu from Swan Lake.  Best to extract it before an animal gets curious.

Gardening: Good Bye Old Friend

dead tree 001This is the tree before it fell over. Notice the toll the lack of water has taken on it. I would have loved to leave it, but it was obvious it was getting dangerous.Epi 001When the tree was removed I discovered a small jungle behind it. The Epiphilium had jumped it’s pot and taken root. There is virtually a dozen plants behind the tree.Epi 002Kim from Los Angeles told me that in Hawaii  Epi’s climb up trees and telephone poles. They are like Hawaii’s weeds. I believe this to be true. Not that there is a good visual — I see the bracks are approximately eight feet long and climbing up the side of the shed.

The pot I moved to the other side of the yard spread out and is probably seven feet across. It seems so very happy to be released.

Bastille Day: Pumkins and Pomegranates

Today July 14 is Bastille Day or French National Day. The day commemorates the storming of the Bastille, which was a fortress used as a prison, and the beginning of the French Revolution.

Why would that be important to people in the United States? The French Royal Treasury ran out of money. They had funded the American Revolution. They also had a tax system which favored the aristocracy — is this sounding familiar?

King Louis XVI called a meeting at Versailles and fired a popular finance minister. A meeting of the people was called by a writer named Camille Desmoulins in a public square where forums were held. Citizens were encouraged to storm the Bastille and set prisoners free. At the time there were few prisoners being held.

To this day the storming of the Bastille makes an overpowering statement of what people can do to overcome oppression and censorship.

My grandfather was French. It seemed fitting to do something good to mark this day. I’d plant grape vines, he loved his grapes and had a huge arbor, but that will have to wait — I need the arbor first.

Its a little late but I planted pumpkins. Garden pumpkins 001 The area wasn’t completely cleared but enough so to put in a frame. In the past son has just planted them in the ground. I read the book French Dirt (how appropriate for today). In it an American moves to a little town in France and tries to fit in and he does it by planting a Potager, a small garden. He is not a gardener, but he succeeds in getting the men in the area to all stop by and offer their advice and opinions on his garden. One said to plant a vine successfully you must make a mound and cover it with black tarp and into the top cut an X.

This is the ring from a compost bin which I have filled with “garden soil” obviously not from my garden. The seed package said “just regular soil” well they don’t have our depleted soil.  I watered it well and covered it with a black plastic liner, one, to keep the soil warm, two, to keep the cat from thinking it was her personal kitty litter box.

And yes, I have a pomegranate, in fact, I have two, but since they both look alike I will share just one picture.Garden pomegranate 004

Garden: Ivy and Figs

Ivy of the YearThis is Ivy and there is an Ivy society for the preservation of IVY (www.ivy.org).

Frank Lloyd Wright used to tell young architects if their structure wasn’t so great they should plant Ivy on it.  In this author’s experience it is next to impossible to get rid of Ivy that has take root. My mother planted it on the chain link fence between out house and the neighbors. She did it because she didn’t like looking at their yard. Maybe it wasn’t their yard as much as the mess in their yard.

My second neighbor Pat, was from Mississippi. She wanted to plant Ivy on her side of the fence. I told her I wished she wouldn’t. She said she’d keep it trimmed. Well keeping Ivy trimmed is like trying to herd cats. When Pat and her husband, a military man, moved — the ivy stayed. Each neighbor since, and there have been about four now, has complained about my ivy.

In that space next to the fence, on the S-W side of the yard, is where I planted two Fig sticks years ago pre-ivy.  Since we were in a drought at the time — like now, they remained sticks for a very long time. One tree got leaves — no fruit. The other tree remained a stick for many years still. I was very tempted to take it out. I read that fig trees are very much their own creature. If they like it where they are they will flourish and if they don’t you have to have great patience.

One Spring after a rainy winter my little fig stick sprouted one leaf, and then another. It was on it’s way. Now they fill the side yard with thin gray branches and beautiful blue-green foliage. The fruit in August is more than I can keep up with. I will go out in the morning and pick a bowl of figs for breakfast.Garden figs 022 All the branches are so heavy I feel I need to put supports under them. The figs from the first tree that did well originally are 3″ across and heavy. The figs on the former stick fig are about 1-1 1/2″ and the leaves are smaller. She is like the smaller, frail younger sister.  I’ve decided it is the IVY. The ivy is rich and lush and taking over under the trees. It is also most likely sucking all the nutrients from the soil.

The ivy is also what is probably holding up the old fence — heck it probably is the fence. The ivy grows on and clings to the wood like a baby does to it’s mother’s legs when he is learning to walk. Ivy, dear ivy, you are pretty, but you are going to be getting a serious haircut — and soon