Sunday, June 10, 2012

Blooms... And A Garden Tour

 Hello Friends!  Thanks so much for stopping by.  I know that most of my posts have been garden related lately, but I really love this time of the year.  My garden is planted and things are starting to bloom around here!  I thought it was time that I took you on a tour of my little wonky-willy-nilly garden.
 I have been so excited to show off these canterbury bells!  I remember the first time I saw canterbury bells-- I was working at a florist shop.  (Many, many years ago!)  I thought that these flowers looked like something straight out of a fairy tale or a Mary Engelbreit picture!  I've missed growing them and decided it was well past time to grow some at this house.  I'm so glad I did!
 My garden is kind of spread out... some of it's in pots, some of it is in a garden box, and some of it is planted in the side border next to the house. 

I like a bit of whimsy in my garden, and this year I added these fun skeleton lampshades into the mix.  I love them so much!  I found them at a vintage fair being sold by my-favorite-garden-art-people-of-all-time, Old Soul Studios
 Many of the plants that I grow are from heirloom seedlings that I purchased from a lady in my neighborhood.  She sets up her little heirloom plant stand on the sidewalk in front of her house, like a lemonade stand.  Don't you love that?!!  Her adorable little daughter helps her cultivate and sell the plants. This plant growing on the lampshade is some kind of an heirloom purple/scarlet bean.  I can't remember the name, and I've lost the marker.  It's just starting to bloom.  I've never grown these before, so I'm excited to try them.
It's crazy fun how fast things start to grow when they get to a certain point.  These are the purple beans, red and yellow peppers, sugar snap peas, herbs, and flowers.
 I like to mix flowers in with the veggies.  I try to companion plant where I can.  (Another link about companion planting here.)  Keeps everything happy and colorful.
Lots of herbs... I think that I really take them for granted.  I don't use them as much as I should, but when I do use them... yum!
 These peppers were starting to bloom here...
...and not long after, they looked like this!  These bell peppers will grow and turn yellow.  I'm not a huge fan of green bell peppers, but I do love the red and yellow!
 The sugar snap peas are starting to bloom here...
...and poof!  Seems like they turn into pods overnight!  These sugar snaps rarely make it into the house-- I love to eat them right off the vine.
  Every morning, usually in my pajamas, I go out to water and putz around in the garden.  This happy guy follows me everywhere.  It's kind of our ritual, and my favorite way to start the day.
 This garden box was already here when I purchased my house.  I've got about four heirloom tomatoes, a lemon cucumber, a dragon's egg cucumber, petunias, zinnias, sunflowers, and sweet alyssum growing in here.  The nasturtiums are from last year, so I let them stay and hang out with the others.  Oh, and there's a mystery plant.  I bought it from the plant stand. I know that it's "suppose to be good for the garden", but I cannot-for-the-life-of-me remember what it is.  Don't worry, it looks legal. (Ahem.)
The larger plant is a "Mortgage Lifter" tomato, and the one next to it is a "Purple Cherokee".  Do you see the chicken wire to the right?  I put it there so Hagrid wouldn't get in there and play "rototiller" like he did the day after I planted the garden last year.  Yep, he did.  The soil looked gorgeous-- so gorgeous-- but he dug up the entire box.  Seriously, the entire box.  Why couldn't he have done that before I planted?! Silly boy.
These two tomato plants are "Green Grape" and "Hawaiian Pineapple Stripe".  They're growing sooooo slow, and not doing as well.  I amended the soil before planting them, but some thing's off.  The nasturtiums are blooming like crazy and that's a sign.  Nasturtiums bloom well in bad soil.  I might also be over watering the plant on the right.  Any pointers, friends?  Although I've been gardening for a while, I'm still always learning.  I hope that I never stop learning.  I think that's part of the fun of gardening! 
I know, this ohm chime is kind of random.  I've had it for years and I love it.  I bought it at a Hare Krishna llama festival.  Yes, I did.   

 These are the lemon and dragon's egg cucumbers.  The dragon's egg cukes are new for me this year.  I'm kind of curious about trying them.
Nasturtiums... they're edible and taste kind of spicy, like a radish.  I love putting the blossoms and leaves in salad, especially my favorite tomato salad.
I had extra sunflower seeds leftover, so I threw a variety of them in here.  I'm so glad the birds didn't eat them before they germinated.  (I think they got to some of them in the box.)  The small pot has bee balm.  It comes back every year and I love the blooms.  So do the bees!
This is the first year that I've cultivated this border along the side of the house.  Everything looked so small when I took this photo.
This is what it looks like today.  That's a "One Ball Summer Squash" there.  C'mon, (nudge, nudge) I know you want to laugh at that name.
 The shasta daisies have been taking their sweet time.  I'm eagerly awaiting the first bloom.  Hurry up, shasta daisy!  How is it that some things seem to bloom overnight and others take forever?  Gardening teaches me patience every year.  It's all good.
 The summer squash blooms are huge and abundant!  (Watch out neighbors... someone could accidentally leave a bag of squash on your porch.  I have no idea who...)
Hello, cosmos.
 This "Dinosaur Kale" came from the plant stand.  I kept the original marker.  The plant lady's daughter drew a tiny dinosaur on it and I love it.  It makes me smile everytime I notice it.  This plant was teeny, here when I bought it, and has taken it's own sweet time to grow to a whoppin' five inches or so.  Right now it's struggling with a hungry pest of some kind.
Well, here I am.  After hunting for quite a while, I purchased a vintage lounger this year at the Sacramento Antique Fair. At the end of each day I try to spend some time out in the garden lounging and decompressing.  Hagrid looks for squirrels, visits (through the fence) with the neighbor dogs, plays with his toys, explores the garden, and lays around. 

Well, if you're still reading, thank you for hanging in there.  I hope that you've enjoyed this little tour.   It's a funky, wonky garden...but I love it.  It's my little piece of this big planet.  It's where I work out my stress and anxieties-- and find my calm and happy.  It's my happy place.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Itty Bitty Harvest

Mmmm...nom nom.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Visit To Lavender Hollow

Hello Sweet Friends!  This past weekend I had the fun opportunity to travel with some gal pals to visit Lavender Hollow Farm.  This beautiful little farm is located in Escalon- only an hour drive away- and was a perfect, easy day trip.
 As soon as we opened the doors of the car the lovely fragrance of lavender greeted us.  I love the smell of lavender, so the fragrance was like heaven for me!
  The gardens surrounding the private residence are so charming.
 We enjoyed walking around the grounds.  There was plenty to look at...
 ... like this beautiful clematis climbing the entry to the private residence.  I love how it looks against that pretty used brick wall.
Aren't these beautiful?!  I love the vivid violet color.  No alterations were done to the color in this photo-- this is really how it looked!
  Lavender Hollow Farm is open for a very short season, only 5 or six weekends.  The lavender is in early bloom right now-- and I imagine that the color will intensify throughout the coming weeks.  Each weekend the farm offers lavender crafting classes under the canopy in the photo above.  On this day, the guests were creating heart shaped lavender wreaths~ so pretty!
Charm and sweetness around every corner...
  ...and a really great variety of lavender plants were available for purchase. I purchased two-- Sachet and Betty's Blue!

 I never knew there were so many varieties of lavender!  I love that this variety is named "Alice".  That happens to be my favorite auntie's name.
 Inside the lavender barn was a fun boutique.
I love the hardware on the door to the barn-- so pretty!
  We found a great variety of lavender goodness-- lots of bath, culinary, and gift products.  I ended up purchasing some ground culinary lavender for baking, and can't wait to try it out in a batch of shortbread cookies!
 It was refreshing to find items at such reasonable prices.  Sometimes prices of items in tourist locations can be so inflated, but that wasn't the case here at all.
 We wandered around the grounds, taking photos and enjoying the sunshine.  Lavender grows well here because of the Mediterranean climate in this valley.
 We enjoyed a really great box lunch catered by Leonardo's Cafe.  Every item was infused with lavender.  It was so good-- not overpowering at all.  Click here to see the yummy menu! 

Oh, and I couldn't leave without treating myself to a lavender infused pink lemonade for the road.  The perfect ending to a perfect visit to Lavender Hollow Farms!  (Now, off to shop the antique/vintage stores!)