Monday, June 29, 2009

Flashback to June 10th 2008

What we did this weekend


I got G a pallet of pavers several months ago. (Nope, wouldn't want to have a yard that wasn't decorated with piles of SOMETHING....) So Saturday, I threw a bunch of them down to get an idea how wide we might want it. What kind of pattern, etc. Carried them six at a time from the pile at the front, AFTER ruthless smashing the black widows who had set up shop there.

The bad news is that I was so sore Sunday, I didn't dare start putting up new little storage shed--which I really wanted to do. Should have used the wheelbarrow, shouldn't I?! sigh.

Anyway--we decided that my original mock-up was too wide, so we took a course off the left (which is why it isn't "centered"... I haven't shoved everything left yet.) We'll need to take it all back up, dig up some old bed edging, add a foundation of sand, then move/add metal edging to hold everything in, nice and tight. We also decided we would try adding a 2x4 cross-wise every 4th course, to break it up a little. We haven't figured out how we're going to deal with the landing in front of the front door yet, or how we're going to coax our square pattern into rounding the corner. We also may end up being short ~1/4 pallet's worth... so it seems likely we'll use this pile and create a new one, that sits and waits for a projected extra patio. That should console the remaining spiders.
[Update: It was bugging me that I couldn't remember exactly when I bought the brick. After a lot of searching, I pinned it down:
June 10th 2008. "...a few months..." sigh. I realize our pace is glacial. But to be fair, we have been through an awful lot--good and bad--the last 6 months. Chinese curse - May you Live in Interesting Times.]

Gloria has been reading about composting. So she took the yellow wheelbarrow and went trundling down the street to her ex-brother-in-law's and asked to be let into their cow pasture to harvest manure. With this bunch of brown gold at hand, she entirely rebuilt her compost pile... carefully layering everything. That was Saturday. By Sunday afternoon, she was so curious to know how it was doing, that she took the candy thermometer out back and lowered it down into the central "vent." 130-degrees! (She said she was aiming for 150.) P.S. She promised me she would boil the thermometer before returning it to the drawer. Hey--my honey has a ditch, and a really great pooh pile! grin.

Oh... and I forgot to mention my amateur archeological escapades. (What gets into me?!) I decided to attack two Chinese elms we have been repeatedly hacking off with clippers--to go for the roots. This pair was over by the neighbor's grubby cinder block wall, between the back of the shed and the woodpile/ back corner of the raised bed. By the time I was finished, I had taken out half the tools in the shed to dig/ hack and pry. The root systems on both were impressive, as was/ is the apparent ability of the plant to send up new shoots from relatively small rootlets. Are they related to Peppermint somehow? I asked Gloria to photograph me with my trophies. Did I rout them once and for all? Maybe. Maybe not.

And while I was in a digging frenzy, I decided it was high time I put a few last pots of decorative grass in the ground up near the front. I hadn't gotten very far before my shovel crunched into something. As I brushed dirt away with a gloved hand, I thought, 'No. It couldn't be...' After a bit more digging, I started to laugh. To G. I said, "Did you lose something?" Yup: I had unearthed an old dented hub cap! Vintage 70s... Made back when they were actually metal instead of plastic. With her usual aplomb, she replied, "Let me know if you find the rest of the car."

Accidental Still Life


At some point during our Sunday night grill session, we realized we had a very scary but funny (feral?) collection of things on the "picnic table": (left to right) Fish emulsion, expensive sunscreen, Buzzaway (bug repellent) and Chipotle mustard. Along with our fake hamburgers and 2 kinds of fresh organic lettuce we just snipped from the garden. (tomatoes not ours yet... a couple of weeks and we'll be under a pile of them). Oh, and a very nice dry, fruity red in a pretty glass.

Our first sunflower (from seed!) opened over the weekend. She's a beauty. Unfortunately, her head is pointed towards the center of the bed, as if she was shy and didn't want to talk to anyone. I had to crouch around in a funny position to get a photo.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Nature Watch Update...

*Lilies in the president's garden on campus blooming wildly
*Saw a roadrunner with a dead baby bird dangling from its beak ... it ran alongside us all the way from the back of the library, across the street, down the alley next to the president's flower beds, across Rodondo, and disappeared behind the Faculty Club. It was poignant. The limp baby; the sharp-eyed, purposeful roadrunner. Julia, who has two young children and works a full-time job said, "Hey honey, that's a long way to carry your groceries... !"
*Spotted the hawk I've heard was working the territory around the duck pond yesterday afternoon. About 8-10 inches in body size. Slate gray flat topped head. Tawny rust brown feathers. Long rangy hawk legs. A group of a dozen Barn Swallows drove it away from their nest sites back across the pond.
*G watered with the ditch water Thursday. No flow until almost 10, which made her day harder. Her neighbor Toby, has a very large field behind us. He is already harvesting zucchini and chilis. Our pepper poster child [link?] is now obscenely large: the plant is maybe 8" tall, the pepper nearly 4".
*G has been patrolling the squash plants several times a day. Caught and killed 3 Thursday--2 were in the process of mating. (Bring on the war metaphors!)
*G put up chicken fence around her new batch of buffalo grass. Then posted the huge plastic owl as a sentry. She's getting tough! "It works!" she told me later. "I checked several times during the day and there were no birds in that part of the yard." After mucking with the project for a day and a half, she does NOT intend for the birds to sweep in and casually make off with her $13/pound seed.
*She brought in a dozen blackberries and a little strawberry this morning. [I insisted she take a picture. Will post it eventually. They were so perfect in that wide white bowl.] I snarfed another cherry tomato yesterday.
*Locally heavy thunderstorms. Early this week it poured at UNM. Poured! I got home--bone dry. Nothing. Last night, it rained a bit on campus, and the showers spread a much wider net across town. Caught half a trash can's worth (the big ones--how many gallons?). I have this uneasy feeling that the weeds are going to explode.
*The Sunflowers from seed: s l o w motion like the Echinacea. Our first bloom had a tiny bit of yellow visible amid the dense greens. I can barely breathe.
*G's pink rose on the west side. I counted ~2 dozen buds. (*gasp*)
*G planted some of the Clary sage babies along the front of the fence, near the mostly dead ash, to the side of her current parking spot. I read they were biennials, so we'll have to hold our horses until next season to see what they really are all about.

*Non sequitur: Mary & JJ are off for Peru today!
*I've been doing some armchair travelling: started Marco Polo by Laurence Bergreen last night. Boat travel in the 1260s--aye gods! They were some tough bastards, the lot of them. Handy to have someone you know be elected pope though. And also reading the sumptuosly illustrated Plants in Garden History by Penelope Hobhouse. Medieval gardens. I find it humbling to consider how ephemeral gardens are... how changeable, and ultimately, how often they disappear without a trace. Maybe Paleobotany will grow in stature and popularity, and we'll have a few more studies to tell us what was where....
*And speaking of things very old, NPR reported a find of some 'the earliest undisputed musical instruments' ... flutes made not only from turkey bones (pretty easy), but from mastadon tusks. Now there was a carving project that would have taken you months, given the crappy tools they had on hand! Made me want a vacation even more emphatically!

*Also non sequitur: Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson both died yesterday. She was 62 and had anal cancer; that had to be a rough way to go. He was 50 and in crappy health. Who knows.

Robin update...


Earlier in the summer I mentioned the robin's nest accidentally on 'display' at UNM (where the walkway lets you lean over and look right down into the very handsome little abode complete with a bit of ribbon strategically placed). She laid 4 eggs, and successfully fledged 2 youngsters. We all suspected she was abandon her public spot for a quieter venue, but she didn't! After a break of a week or so, she laid 4 more eggs. Three hatched. One mysteriously disappeared. The last couple of days it has been very hot. We have all felt sorry for the gawky teenagers; the nest seems way too small/ they are stepping all over each other. They seem to take turns standing on an interior edge, stretching their straight heads up to lean against the main truck of the tree. Beak to the sky. It looks very precarious. And if their little bodies weren't heaving, you would think they had been hit by lightening and died in a strange rigid posture--akimbo.

The last two or three days, we have had sudden hard rains. Which has to add to their misery. Though we were heartened to see that Mom shoved and scrooched her way onto the top of the whole works, to protect them. It certainly is chastening, to think of raising young in a space the size of an old Volkswagen beetle. Maybe a convertible, but still... No room for 6 pair of shoes and sports equipment in that. Let alone a full-sized refridgerator with built-in icemaker and in-door cold water.

Marie Browder took the photo. Nice huh?
Trina and Laurel have been keeping a photo log: http://picasaweb.google.com/trina.altman/Spring

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

G. bought more grass seed at Plants of the Southwest yesterday, and valiently resisted buying anything else. (Blue Gramma or Buffalo? Hmm...) Low water, hot weather grass. She was reading about how to get it established (Thank you Google god.) She's planning on adding a bit more on the west side of the house, and displacing the rampant Globe Mallow.

Baby's breath (from seed) still small plants, but about to bloom! Black-eyed susans and sunchokes and sunflowers coming along. We will be a field of yellow in a couple weeks. Chaste tree outdoing itself. Thick with bees, including an iridescent green one.

Green bean babies look like a fairy ring: soooooooo cute.

Weather: hot. 93 yesterday, and completely still. I had sweat streaming down my face as I did a little weeding in the onions and peppers. (Cheering the sweet potatoes on; not much change in the way they look. A few diminutive new leaves, so they are apparently settling in.)

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Neighbors' Names...



Puttering around last night, we leaned against the garden fence at the back, admiring the basil--one plant in particular looks bushy and robust. I yelped, but didn't say anything. G scanned and re-scanned the garden nearby, before finally breaking out into a big grin. Toad - sighting number two. When we went in, I dug out my UNM Middle Rio Grande field guide (sorry, not the exact title). Woodhouse toad. Female bigger than the male. Primarily active at night. Mate in April.

Oklahoma Wildlife Department's Mike Mcallister says:
*The Woodhouse’s toad’s (Bufo woodhousii) name comes from Samuel Washington Woodhouse, a surgeon and naturalist who explored the southwestern U.S mid-19th century.
*This toad is a wel­comed guest in lawns and gardens because it eats insects and slugs. A single toad can eat thousands of insects per year.
*Perfer sandy soil.
*All toads have enlarged glands, called the pararoid gland, on the side of the neck and behind each eye. These glands secrete a sticky white liquid that gets smeared in the mouth of any would-be predator. This substance inflames the mouth and throat. Humans should take care to wash their hands after handling a toad.

Wikipedia - originally native to the US and Mexico.

http://www.garden-city.org/zoo/animalinfo/ReptAmph/woodhouses_toad.htm
*Toes partly webbed.
*The eggs hatch in about one week, and the tadpoles develop into adults in 2-3 weeks. The young toads are [sexually] mature by 3 years of age. In captivity, they have lived up to 13 years.
Some individuals will consume as much as 2/3 of their body weight in insects each day.
*Adults only return to the water to breed. They do not lose water as quickly as other amphibians, and dew usually provides plenty of moisture for them. They can also survive higher temperatures than similar toads.
*Woodhouse's Toads secrete a chemical called Bufotoxin from their shoulder glands. This toxin is irritating to mucus membranes, and causes an increase in heart rate if it reaches the bloodstream. It can be fatal if swallowed in sufficient amounts.
*Hognose snakes specialize in eating toads, but few other predators can withstand the toxins that they produce.

eNature page has an audio file of their call. Ah hah--that's what is making the noise in the ditch across the street at dusk!

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
[Very UR Toadly. grin.] They usually have a light line running middorsally down their back, but Woodhouse's Toad really doesn't have any distinguishing markings. So if you catch a toad that may be a Woodhouse's toad the best way to proceed is to first determine what it can't be. [It looks a lot like the American Toad and the Fowler's Toad.]

http://www.desertusa.com/mag99/aug/papr/wtoad.html
*One of the few suburbanities...
*Predators: raccoons, skunks, snakes, herons & fish who eat the tadpoles.
*Because they have microscopic mucous glands, which keeps their tight skin moist, Woodhouse's Toads may be seen away from water.
*Several subspecies (4).


- - - -

The dead wasp I found looks like a Steel-blue Cricket Hunter.

The red-brown dragonfly is probably a Flame Skimmer.

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It's all about sex...


Check out Green Porno
by Isabella Rossellini
on YouTube...

Terribly creative and funny.

Monday, June 22, 2009

*!! Scared myself by accidentally bothering the toad. I was digging out peppermint under the asparagus and under the newest blackberry canes. First 2 berries, by the way! And netting, for the first time ever. Hmm.

*Squash bug count: 2 Saturday, 1 Sunday.
*Monarch has come wandering past daily.
*Ditto: the red dragonfly.

General Size and State of the Garden photos:



Found dead in the garden

G wants to know if it had food in its mouth, or if the light area is mouth parts. ?! It was a gorgeous color: dark flashy iridescent blue. Our hoards of tiny black ants were already trying to figure out how to chop it up and haul it off when I found it. I moved it several kingdoms away (from the garden to the comfort of my chair in the shade). Eventually it blew off the table, so some new ant fiefdom doubtless claimed it as a meal for their masses.



*Hand full of peas. Not sure if they are sugar snaps or snows... we planted both, but one did NOT come up. Maybe the one that really needs cool temperatures to germinate.

Third Week of June (Solstice!)


*Ditch water. I "helped" G. water using the irrigation ditches Sunday morning. She has an electric pump, and also has been developing a set of feeder ditches in the various garden beds. She calls her back neighbor Toby, and tells him she's going to run the water... because the flow will wind its way back to his house. He's up & ambles around to get ready--send it wherever he needs it. Then she takes a wrench and opens the gate out front: whoosh. The ditch fills up and away we go, kind of fast and furious. While she monitors the trenches, I take the hose and run around with watering that way. About half-way through, the flow drops to a trickle. The pump starts sucking air. We turn it off and stomp down the street to see what's happened. (Though we know already, that someone somewhere opened their gate and siphoned it off.) It was a pleasant walk. We discover that a neighbor has 7 bee hives and a wild-looking mix of corn and sunflowers. We can't see who's house it goes with. It would be fun to talk to them and see what they are doing. And further along, there is a gorgeous tract--like a picture book. Field crops, then orchard with cover crop I think, then chickens and several sheep. And a handsome new adobe structure we covet instantly. We see someone, so we holler to him. Tomas and Valerie... he's an artist: iconography in the Eastern European tradition. With gold leaf. Hm... (And a white beemer in his fleet. Not bad. Not bad at all.) The coveted building is his studio. He has a chicken tractor, but it's 'parked in the barn' ... my assessment not his. A rooster. What a looker. (Noisy buggers). He has a clump of green stuff in his arms; the sheep are so eager they are practically dancing and knocking him down. He says they have a small pile of wool, and haven't done anything with it yet. He kills and eats the boys. Has a deal with his daughter and wife, to leave the girls. Interesting.

*Beans, beans, beans are coming up and gaining steam this weekend. Pole beans. Bush beans. I've seen the bush beans starting to pop up in the garden proper... for several days now. The nearby little square for wax beans had a couple of sprouts we spotted Sunday afternoon. But the rings under our tee-pees were bare. Straw and hope. At about dusk last evening, when we were relaxing with a glass of wine, we suddenly realized that we hadn't looked carefully. We both leaped up to go look. And lo and behold, there were fat necks curling up! And a couple with their seed leaves out--like newly hatched butterflies with wet wings held up stiffly in the warm still evening air. A whole passel of Kentucky Wonders! I'm already eying the trellises nervously, suspecting that these fellows will want more airspace... Gloria smiles and shrugs. "I've only grown them on fences," she says, "It's all a grand experiment." Yellow pencil-thin wax beans, and Kentucky Wonders. Hmm.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Mid-week update. Just before solstice...

*Wed night we unceremoniously plucked and sucked down the first glorious tomatoes. A pair of cherries from the back corner of the garden. YUM.

*Sighting of a red-brown dragonfly.

*Something ATTACKED the butterfly bush, taking a bite here, a bite there, enough to wilt and kill the buds and new growth all across the top. The black ants were swarming the wounds. We kind of wanted to blame them for the damage, in the absence of any other obvious culprit. We were distressed.

*Daily squash bug vigilante rounds have not turned up any new attacks. We're hoping that clearing away the old straw from last year helped. That and swooping down on that first three and their modest stash of eggs...

*Thursday - mysterious flock of tiny grey birds. Very much a group. Nervous. Vocal. And off they went! brown/grey. no wing bars. no white rings around their eyes. tiny grey bug beaks. ?! [Update. Watching them again with Trina at UNM--someone walked past and shouted "Bushtits" Very funny. Yup, that's what they are alright. He said there was a Robin's nest over in front of Castetter Hall. I pointed out ours... He was impressed. Trina had just taken some great photos of all the baby Barn Swallows.


*First load of compost in our garden truck. Soilutions trip was as much fun as ever. Dot likes all the big equipment. The person on yard duty said it takes about 2 years to rotate one of their enormous piles full circle--ready to go out the door as compost. G fell in love with a handmade pitch fork in with the tools of a landscaper who was making a drop off. He got her a business card and said he makes them. (Why do I see a new pitch fork in my future?!)


*Hotter than they said Wednesday night. Those Indian Givers. And no rain. A muzzy sky.

*Bamboo wind chimes. My mantra the last couple of years has been: Powers of Observation. To develop and hone my skills at reading the natural world. This is not a project I've been able to undertake without a lot of "aids." We had 2 sets of wind chimes already... a big metal set and a tiny metal set. And I often notice them: wind. The invisible passing of energy. Motion. When we got the sudden urge to go find a bamboo set, for a different sound, I was shocked to discover that they sang and sang and sang, while their metal relatives didn't even wave. It was as if we got a new weather instrument, one that was 5 times as sensitive as the previous ones. Who knew?! And of course, the sound has an entirely different mood to it. Falling water.


*Wind has knocked off most of the desert willow blossoms. Chaste tree next to it has begun to bloom in earnest. The bees have moved right over; that corner of the yard is humming!

*Maria told us about the Green Porno short posted to YouTube. G looked them up and we watched yesterday afternoon. Hilarious. Bawdy. Ingenious. Guaranteed to get the attention of the average disaffected highschooler. I said they should have to create one as a group project, but G. said that might not go over well. After all, "sex"?!! Hmm.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Last summer I didn't keep any real record of the weather. This year I'm trying to do better. I suppose it was always just a matter of writing down what I was seeing at any given moment. Checking the weather is a habit with me--weather.gov several times a day on weekdays. This week the news was good: the 90s they warned about have been nudged into next week. Though the 79 they predicted for today's high swelled a little. All in all, a fair trade, especially when you add that outside chance for overnight showers. Given all the casinos in New Mexico, it's the rain fall recipients who are the real winners. Don't you know, the odds are about the same. Lots of flashing lights and near misses, the occasional gush of nickels.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Don't forget the cherry tomatoes

Playing with Sticks

The plan (probably next year) is to put in a second shade/ shelter area. But in the meantime, that spot looked lonely. For reasons I can't explain, in the heat of the day I got it in my head that I wanted to put a climbing something there for color and interest. So I got out the poles because I have liked G's little rustic, impromptu tripod trellises. G said it was fine with her. At which point my inner gardener caught up with my fort-building 5-year-old and I realized I should weed, loosen the soil and add some compost if I really expected anything green to play along with my whim. A lot of red-faced huffing and puffing and heaving with the heavy duty garden fork ensued.
     As these things happen, it escalated. G discovered the next day, that her pole bean seeds were vintage 05, so she went on a seed quest. "Everybody is out," she reported later, as she was sailing (without me) to Osuna Nursery. I told friends that like any true addict, she had her slender excuses--rushing off for another hit of plant crack. (Did I say, without me?!) And of course we didn't have enough cane poles for the other two or three stations we both had started visualizing. So that will doubtless become a quest in itself. But back to the afternoon at the nursery unsupervised. G was the paragon of self-control. She returned with a fist full of seeds: more lettuce, 2 kinds of bush beans and 2 packs of locally packaged Kentucky Wonders. And a couple of things in pots. Will have to get back to you on those... it was late when I got home and got the report.

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We knew better...

Oops--it's HUGE!
...than to put tomatoes in the raised bed and think we'd have room leftover for anything else.
...than to put in new plants without reading their tags to see how big they'd get. (Heavens--the Clary sage will probably grow to 3'. Got to move those out of the Onion bed. And oops... the yellow thing from the sale aisle the end of last season is a St.Johnswort. Very handsome BUSH. Got to move that out of the Red Bud Bed. Girls, girls, girls.)
...and THOSE are just the things I KNOW about.

Last year, it was the butterfly bush.
And the year before that, the Sun Chokes (currently up to my chest at the back, and ever so slowly leaning/ creeping over towards the onions... hoping I won't notice).
And I think I confessed that we've moved the poor artichoke no less than three times.

Oops--it needs more sun.
...8 basil plants later
... (there's something else in this list)

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The other gardeners...



I laughed as I realized, "We couldn't afford our yard if we were paying the gardeners."


Also pictured: our Bee Buster. We wish she wouldn't chase and eat them. She seems to catch one now and then. Must not be allergic.

What is the sound of wind?
Spirit.
Ghost.
Sky walker.
Whipping the branches.
Stealing water, or hurling it down.
Spitting sand.
Wafting away seeds.
Tossing the birds.
Shaking the powerlines.
Whistling around the corner of the house.
Parting the grass tufts.

Okay--flowers, THEN grapes...


New Bed - steps 5, 6 & 7









Eggplant and peppers


A friend put in an industrial quantity of seeds this past February, and then with wild generosity, gave us a tray full. Among the gift plants were several squash. [This made us very nervous after our near plague-scale infestation of squash bugs last summer... more on that later.] And 4 globe eggplants. 5 or 6 basil--which we put into a spot where they didn't get enough sun; transplanted into the garden proper where they are now just starting to really dig in.

Eggplant?! Member of the nightshade family, like tomatoes and peppers. With those demure flowers that never look up. I have grown some lush yummy basil, but I've never met an eggplant plant before. When Gloria gently pushed aside the top leaves to reveal a large lavender blossom nestled in the crown of the little plant, resting crosswise like a baby, I was smitten.

Growing up, we grew yard plants... big serious things for hedges. Tough, handsome things for borders. Landscape plants. Annuals were froofy--frowned on. And in one way or another, we distanced ourselves (Webbs Wholesale Nursery Inc) from farmers, gardeners, and amateur flower enthusiasts. We had the remnants of a once sprawling orange grove: 15 acres? And a Key Lime in the back for my mother. I have an abiding conviction that I know a lot about plants. But up until now, have never had a veggie garden.

I am head over heels in love. Strapped in for that excruciating, exhilarating roller-coaster ride--watching the smallest rustle and furl. Admiring the fall of light on leaf: the beloved.

Swooning over the rainbow chard, hopelessly in love with pea vines and their darling flowers, speechless over the squash blossoms (male and female flowers?!), delighted to rustle the leaves of a young pepper plant and bump into a chili the size of my thumb. The bok choy sprouts make me greedy and impatient; I can already taste them.

Breathless: love, fear, appetite--commitment.


Monday, June 15, 2009

The Ides of June


G worships the new trellis. Finally finished phase one Sunday afternoon. Can't believe how even and level it looks. (Even beginners get lucky now and then I suppose.)


Rain. After watching it rain everywhere around us (alone, dry as a bone in the center of the ABQ North Valley doughnut) it took pity on us and unleashed 2 bucket's worth at dinner time. Of course, today, we were back to 15% humidity by mid-afternoon. And starting tomorrow, it will be back to seasonal norms: low 90s all the way. G. took some stirring photos of the clouds; the sky was all drama and suspense.


Chaste tree starting to bloom. [not pictured at the moment] Lovely, soft lavendar blossoms. Transplanted thread grass babies looking very handsome up near the front instead of squatting like green highway cones in the middle of the back yard all by themselves. "Real" sunflowers coming along. The plants very handsome.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Summer seems to have arrived fully. A little bit of rain. A few cool days. A luxurious 12-hour photoperiod. It's about to shoot back up to 90. The frogs in the ditch across the street are in full voice (means courtship and territory battles right?), and the crickets have turned up the volume. Do they do that all night? Do they all do it all the time? Or do they take turns, come and go, etc. Honestly? I don't know a thing about crickets except that they rub their back legs together to make those sounds, and don't bite or sting humans. Do some folks use them as bait on their fishing poles?

Unexpected trunk full of plants: Linda & Teresa are having a driveway put in, so they gave us a trunk full of plants plopped into plastic shopping bags. G spent yesterday scrambling to find a place for everything. We think there is a young chamisa, a lavender fragrant blossoming bush thing, a couple of sprigs of trumpet vine (variety and blossom color unknown), a bunch of Penstemons (past the blooming stage... so kind-of an unknown. relatively short, maybe purple). Probably something else that I'm forgetting. In the process, she relocated a couple of clumps of threadgrass. Now she's ready to plant all her little flower seedlings!

Blossom update? The butterfly bush which got relocated this spring is almost ready to bloom! And we think that some of the dwarf sunflowers we grew from seed may be thinking about it. (?!) Honestly, if I don't wander around every evening, I miss something. Of course, for me, part of that is having a full-time gardener who is busy doing things all day long.

Teresa alleges that she had artichoke plants that produced 20 or 30 fruits in a season. ?! Fact or Fish story?! Of course, we have re-located ours 3 times in 3 years. We probably just exhausted the poor thing.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009


There's a lot of hope out there.

Comfort, in the curl of a hose.

Clary Sage


G grew some Clary Sage from seed. Heavens they are cute.... I'm a sucker for those fuzzy rounded leaves. We plopped a couple in the Egyptian onion bed. She says they will pop out in pink blooms eventually. (We may end up working on our color schemes in years to come. grin...) Not pictured are the two babies breath she planted in the Red Bud bed. They seem pretty happy too. The Silver Brocade we transplanted from a pot (Dot's Backyard special) is about to bloom. I didn't even know they did that. Tiny yellow dots--opening very slowly. So perhaps they are relatively long-lived?


Onions, (peppers nearby, but out of the photo), dark wine holleyhock at the back, and sunchokes--plotting their next expansionist move. With the grapes along the back side of the garden fence in the very back.

Echinacea - Purple Cone Flower

What can you tell me about this hearty, gorgeous plant?