Wednesday, July 7, 2010


This morning, I opened to the door to put the Netflix envelope in the mailbox, the air smelled like summer. Warm and dusty. Don't you love the way scent takes us back to a time and place in such clarity?

Starting from age 11, I worked for local farmers. We picked strawberries: pole beans; boysenberries; and thronless, evergreen blackberries. We also weeded newly planted fields and 'trained' the blackberries. (Training blackberries consisted of grabbing a cane, bending it under the first tension wire, tying it to to the top tension wire, and clipping off the end of the cane about six inches above the wire.)
Farmer Robert C grew the berries and hired a group of us junior and high school girls to weed and train as well as pick the berries.  Other farmers used squads of boys or hired migrant workers.  Bob just said he got his monies worth with the girls.  We laughed, sang, flirted with the irrigation boys, told jokes, got into arguments and in the end.......GOT THE JOB DONE!
Mom was our boss.  She ran a tight ship.  You goofed off too much and she would just have a talk with you and you didn't goof off anymore.  She knew when we needed a break from the work and would set up a surprise with Bob of some pop or ice cream at the end of the day.  She was fair, even, and furnny to work with.
I earned enough money to buy a nice school wardrobe and set aside a growing savings account. Good memories and times.
Cherries are available now.  That means boysen, marion, and young berries will be available very soon.  Yum, cobblers and pies!  I've got the get Mom's recipe for 'Tar and Rocks' from Debbie, I've misplaced mine.  I'll post it over on Cooking in Nana's Kitchen in the next day or so.  You will love it!
Summer's here and I'm keeping cool!  Hope you are as well.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What's Blooming This Week

Victorian Poppy, Papaver paeoniflorum
Yes, this is also called Opium Poppy, Papaver somniferum, but this is the variety grown by the Victorians in their gardens.  This plant was here when we moved in.  Over the years, this annual, has shown up all over the yard and garden.
About 25 years ago, we saw a program on how to harvest the opium and process it.  So we tried it, short of actually ingesting the product.  I harvest the seeds for poppy seed cake, poppy seed bread, poppy seed muffins, etc.

Oriental Poppy, Papaver orientale
My Aunt Vi used to grow these.  My step-mom Dorthy gave me the start for this.  If you want to transplant these, do it in August.  Otherwise, it's a crapshoot for the thing to survive.

Love-In-A-Mist, Nigella damascena
This is 'Miss Jekyll' after renowned English garden designer Gertrude Jekyll.

I have no idea what this grass is.  It has a pinkish cast to the flower head and I like it for that reason.  Being allergic to grass pollen, I decided not to get close enough to the flowerhead to identify it.  Yeah, Plant Taxonomy was a bitch when the professor pulled out the grasses!

Borage, Borago officinalis
These flowers will turn pink as they mature.  It's a fun herb.  I just allow it to bloom all over the garden since bees just love it!

Subterranium Clover, Trifolium subterraneum
A lawn weed.  I like them because the plant fixes nitrogen and that nitrogen is released to the soil when the plant dies.  Hey, it's cheap fertilizer!

Yarrow, Achillea millefolium
This came in my eco-lawn seed.  I would recommend not getting a seeding mix with yarrow, it creeps into the flower beds and is highly invasive.

Mole or Gopher Plant, Euphorbia lathyris
This plant does not work against moles or gophers.  It does work against me.  I am severely allergic to this plant.  The only reason it is growing this year is because of the foreclosure, we are not doing anything in the garden, at all!  Usually I would have hit it with Round-up when I first found it growing.

Mop-head Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla
These flowers will slowly turn blue, then fade to yellow, then dry on the plant for winter interest.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Think Wildflowers

We took a trip to the Coast Saturday. It was glorious, sunny and no wind. I had wanted to give my new camera an outing. Unfortunately, the traffic was too heavy to stop for wildflowers along the roadside.

So, we went on a short, less than an hour trip Sunday. There were many plants in bloom.

I love to use our native wildflowers in the home garden landscape. There are all the usual reasons: drought resistance, beauty, forage for native wildlife, and pretty much no-fail plants.

I tend to see the roadside plants as both weeds and wildflowers. So many of what we think of as a wild plant are just those that have escaped cultivation or come in with imported agricultural products.

I took a slew of pictures, so here are just a few of the best ones:

Wild Rose, Rosa nutkana
There was a Wild Rose growing at the corner of our lot on Hembree.  The rose hips were tart but tasty.

White Oregon Iris, Iris tenax
This iris may be any shade of white, blue, lavender, purple, or yellow

Wild Iris and Teasel heads, Dipsacus fullonum
Teasel is an European import.  It was used to 'tease' the wool before spinning.

Milk Thistle, Silybum marianum
At first I thought this weed had been hit by an herbicide.  On closer inspection, the white veins are natural.  This is an European import and considered a noxious weed here in Oregon.   It looks vicious.  By the way, say the name out loud, "Silly Bum."  Those old biologists did sometimes have a great sense of humor.

Mule's Ears, Wyethia amplexicaulis
Scott's eagle eye saw this plant.  I didn't see it until he pointed it out!

Scotch Broom, Cytisus scoparius
This plant is highly invasive, as are all brooms.  The seed heads are spring-loaded.  When ripe, the seeds are flung far from the mother-plant.  They make a 'popping' sound.

The One and Only Real Trailing Blackberry, Rubus ursinus
You will find male and female plants.  Don't ask which this is.  All other blackberries: Himalayan and Evergreen are invasive imports.  (I used to work on a farm with Thornless, Evergreen blackberry fields.  I thought the flavor was okay.  Himalayan better, and Trailing the best ever!)  If you are lucky to come upon a patch of these natives in fruit, stop and pick.  You will have a blackberry pie that will spoil you forever.

If you are doing your own scouting for wildflowers in the wild, here are some books I recommend: 


There are great botanical tomes on Plant Taxonomy, but I feel those are best left to the botanist.  Since wildflowers are sometimes quite regional, it is best to check with your local bookstore, Extension Office, Wildflower Societies, community college or university botanists for their recommendation of identification books.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

What's Blooming This Week

Red-hot Poker, Kniphopia sp.
with Shasta Daisies in the background

Forget-me-not, Myosotis ramosissima

California Poppy, Eschscholzia californica
all four sisters remember these and purple vetch going on the railroad right-of-way in front of the little house on Hembree.

Bachelor Buttons, Centaurea cyanus
Blue above and Pink below

Oregon Iris, Iris tenax

Monday, May 17, 2010

Looked in the garden and what did I see? Poison hemlock living next to me!

Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum

I have been battling this extremely poisonous plant for nearly 29 years! It grows in damp ground, like down at the creek that flows about 100 yards away. The cats used to bring its seeds up to the house, along with Queen Anne's Lace, Bedstraw,Galium, and other 'sticky' seeds. I don't know how many pairs of socks we had to throw away after Selene went 'hiking' through the field and orchard that used to sit between us and the creek.

Anyway, this is the plant that killed Socrates. A prefered method of death penelty of the ancient Greeks. It will bloom into lovely umbrels (umbrella shaped) of small flowers, like a loose version of Queen Anne's Lace, Daucus carota. The stems are streaked, spotted and sometimes all over colored with purple. The stems are hollow.  AND THE ENTIRE PLANT IS POISONOUS!

I donned my gloves and pulled up a patch about 2 ft square.  I have kept after this plant yearly.  We have not had a cat in over 10 years who brought up the seeds from the creek.  So these seeds are at least 10 years old.  Yes, some seeds are viable for a VERY long time.

I taught Selene about poison hemlock when she was just four years old.   In terms of, 'If you put any part of this plant in your mouth you will die.  There is nothing that will save you.'  We kept at the warnings clear through grade school.  If she found a plant in the garden, she would come get her Dad or me to pull it. 

Even if the smallest part of of the plant is ingested, get the person to medical help immeadiatly!  There is no home cure.

This is not meant as medical advice or plant identification.  If you find a plant you cannot identify, see your local Extension Office.  If someone ingests an unknown plant call your Poison Contol Hotline with as much of the plant avaiable as possible to identify it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

What's Blooming This Week

Cranesbill, Geranium
 This plant reseeds prolifically but I still love it!

Jacob's Ladder, Polemonium

Multiflora Rose, Rosa sp.
Growing beside the shop, this multiflora produces bouquets of flowers on a single stem.

Peony, Paeonia
These long-lived plants don't like to be disturbed.  I love the cut flowers, such a clean scent!

Friday, May 7, 2010

It's Warming UP!

I love reading all the home garden blogs. Seeing the creative ways people across the world grow their gardens. Some of the bloggers are telling of their early vegetable gardens and others will wax on about their gorgeous borders and unique plants. It is a joy to share a passion with others.

Like you all know, there is no vegetable garden here this year. We couldn’t prepare the soil if we tried. It has rained so much this spring; the ground is like soup at times. This weekend is supposed to be lovely with temps in the high 60’s to low 70’s! Oh, we are looking forward to some real sun!

I am sure local gardeners are chomping at the bit to get some veggies in the ground. But wait; check out the texture of the soil first, please. If your garden soil is still wet and sticky, refrain from tilling until the soil has time to drain out. Working the soil before it is dry enough can damage it and it will take years to restore your tilth. Best to watch when the local farmers are plowing their fields and time your tilling to coincide with them.

About 30 years ago we lived out in Perrydale. It was a great old farmhouse with a great-sized garden. Our landlords lived next door and plowed up extra garden space for us. We planted our garden a bit at a time; watching the air and soil temperatures to make sure we got the optimum seed germination. While the landlords replanted beans and corn several times, the spring was cold and wet like this one, we only planted once.

Back then, we watched The Victory Garden every week, gleaning what we could. Of course, we subscribed to Mother Earth News and Organic Gardening. We read Ruth Stout, Square Foot Gardening, Rodale's Organic Gardeningand many more.

We’ve tried some strange garden items; like kohlrabi before anyone we knew were eating it, turban squash that were not seen in the stores (Hubbard was the only squash most stores carried), seedless watermelons that astonished everyone, luffa that rotted before it dried enough to make a scrubber, etc.

We fell in love with the idea of growing plants in beds rather than rows. With beds about 3’x6’ we had less ground going into aisles and more going into production. We just cast seed out into the bed, keeping the plants at the right spacing when we thinned the crop. I think the root crops were easier to harvest since the ground around them was never walked on. Because corn is wind pollinated; if you plant a long row you won’t get many ears. Planted in a square or rectangle you will get more ears.

The message here is simple: Do your homework before getting out to play in the dirt. Pay attention to the details of soil and temperature so you don’t waste money on ruining your soil or paying for more seed than you need to.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Bees are Here!

Bee! I'm expecting you!
Was saying Yesterday
To Somebody you know
That you were due --

The Frogs got Home last Week --
Are settled, and at work --
Birds, mostly back --
The Clover warm and thick --

You'll get my Letter by
The seventeenth; Reply
Or better, be with me --
Yours, Fly.
                     Thanks to Emily Dickinson

Today I had to run by the City Offices to pay the water bill. While I was there I caught sight of my first bumblebee this season! She was just too busy to stop and talk as she drank nectar from a lovely Rhododendron ‘Alice’ at the corner of the building.

Don’t you love all the creative bicycle racks showing up? This one is in front of City Hall.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lavender Trees

permission to use copyrighted material granted by holder

Oh Joy, my Paulownia kawakamii is blooming! Such lovely blooms! And I can’t get a decent picture because my digital camera broke and I only have a camera phone now. So, here’s a picture of Paulownia tomentosa from the OSU Landscape Plants website. P. kawakamii has lavender flowers with a white throat speckled in purple.

I planted this tree in about ’98. It was broken off several times (trick or treaters got it once, an angry teen another). It is now about 20’ tall. It should top out at 25’ – 35’.

There are mixed reviews of this plant. Some people see it as a weed; while others see it as a beauty in their yards. I love that it is fast growing and produces a lot of shade during the summer. The fragrant flowers make it an ideal spring specimen. On the down side, it sheds leaves all summer, there is no fall interest (the leaves turn brown and drop), and it produces copious seed heads.

The Victorians grew many of the Paulownia species for their leaves. The immature plant produces huge, almost elephant ear size, heart-shaped, fuzzy leaves. By cutting the plant back every year, you can have a specimen of about 6’ that will stop traffic. Literally, people stopped their cars and asked about the plant when it was very young! Of course, you sacrifice the flowers for the leaves, but what a choice. I think I would love to have at least two of these trees. One for flowers and the other for the leaves!

P. kawakamii is an extremely endangered plant back in its native Taiwan, China, and Japan. Loss of habitat is to blame. It is also touted as one of the great carbon sink trees. (Carbon sinks are plants that take up carbon from the atmosphere and hold it until the plant dies.) The tree is drought resistant – no need to water during our usual summer drought here in the PNW.

P. kawakamii is one of up to 17 species of Paulownia. As with any tree, research to find the one that will fit your space at full maturity. After all, it is better to spend the time in research than to spend it cutting down the tree and waiting the years for another to fill the void.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Who Ordered the Weather?

Will it ever warm up? Our days are hovering in the low 60’s and the nights in the low 40’s. Presumably our last frost date is about May 9. We may have no more frosty weather, but it sure is not balmy by any stretch of the imagination.
It has been so wet that no one can put in a garden yet, not to mention most veggie seeds need warmer soil than we have now. Low lying areas are still retaining water; of course the duckies love that. It’s nice the aquifers are being recharged and the dams are full for the summer drought. Yet, I WANT TO PLAY IN THE DIRT!

There have been a few days warm enough for the bees to be about. I haven’t seen a bumble bee, yet; but there are scads of honey bees this year! What a joy!

With Global Warming all the rage these days, I thought I might just list off some of the strange sights I’ve seen over the years:
  • Roses blooming on Christmas – on the sheltered south side of a neighbor’s house, circa 1965
  • 18” of snow during Spring Break, 1960 – It covered the blooming daffodils!
  • 3’ of snow in Eugene, OR January 1969 -- It closed down the city since Eugene never did get much, if any snow
  • There was at least one foot of snow on the Willamette Valley floor at least once a year up until the early ‘70’s. Then, there was almost no snow until the mid 80’s. Snow was intermittent for the next 20 years. Now, we pretty much expect a week of subfreezing weather and snow in January or February every year.
  • We usually plant our garden on Memorial Day. One year it was so hot, the rain turned to steam in mid-fall. What a sight! The rain clouds were visible through a fog. Selene was just little and she spent most of the day on her back, in the grass, watching the sky change with each passing minute.
  • Memorial Day flowers – cool Spring we set out peonies, warm Springs get roses.
  • Unusual flower combinations are frequent in Spring. Flowers that bloom based on day length may combine with those that bloom based on temperature. You never know what you may get.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Reminder, Mother's Day is Coming!

Hi, just a reminder, Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 9th. As we are not going to do anymore gardening this year due to the move; Scott and I were reminiscing about our garden of the past 29 years. One thing that sticks out in both our minds are the years he bought me mushroom compost (many neighbors complained it was stinky – I told them to be thankful he didn’t get the pig manure), hemlock bark to finish off the beds (no slivers like douglas fir bark and it is a wonderfully deep brown hue), and a load of ‘washed’ dairy cow manure (my favorite, we had tomatoes the size of a cat’s head and those were just the cherry tomatoes!)

Anyway, this is just an explanation of what each company listed on the side of my blog brings to the table and why I have chosen to have their advertising. Yes, I have chosen these companies because I believe the in products they have to sell.

So, if the Mom in your life is a gardener, here are a few businesses you might find useful in getting her a gift! Amazon has books, DVDs, and magazines for the gardener. I searched: sustainable living and green living beyond just the printed matter and came up with thousands of useful products any mother would love to receive.

Terrain – has unique products for the home and garden. I love the antique looks of their line. Many items are handcrafted from industrial parts making them an artistic way of recycling. There are antiques, unique shaped enamled cooking pots, furniture and there is a collection of Heirloom Seeds in packets that would inspire me to use them for a large framed piece. Imagine: a burlap covered board with old time seed packets displayed in groupings. Seeds scattered about. All framed in a gorgeous copper antique frame.

Gardens Alive – is an environmentally responsible gardening company. I have bought their products for years and enjoy reading their catalog for more information on sustainable gardening. From responsible pest control, they have the cutest toad house, to organic seeds and fertilizers I have always found just what I’m looking for at Gardens Alive! was chosen because the seeds are guaranteed to be non-GMO. I liked that there is more seed per packet than many other seed sellers. Plus they have so much more to offer gardeners.

Whites Flower Farm – I have been buying plants from Whites for about as long as I can remember buying plants. They have quality plants at great prices. And I love being able to find cultivars that many companies do not have.

Worx – no emission tools. What green gardener would love to have that! As we age, we have found that using our old muscle powered tools is getting harder and harder. We have been looking for a green alternative and Worx tools seem to be one of the best. These battery powered tools really do work. And when the battery expires we can recycle them at our local landfill.

How the program works: You view the site for products you like. Take your time to think it over and when you want to make a purchase, just enter the site from my blog. That way, I will make a small commission on the products you buy. Plus anytime you want to purchase through Amazon, again enter the site from my blog, and again, I make a small commission.

I see this as a ‘win-win’ for the both of us. I get to make a little ‘pin money’ on the side and you, my dear readers, get to read my literate and informative blog. AND if you want to buy a useful garden item, you know I have used the business and recommend it (disclaimer – while I recommend the businesses, I in no way imply a guarantee, refund, or anything of monetary value other than being an advertiser.)

Make the gardening Mom of your choice a happy person this Mother's Day!  Take her out to breakfast, lunch, or dinner (or all three!) and give her a lasting gift for playing in the dirt!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Time for a Change

With the changes going on, I thought I would change the looks of my blogs to something a little different. I hope you like the changes as much as I do. Right now the Olde Timey look suits me. Wait a couple of months and then we’ll see what feels right at the time.

Officially, we are moving house on August 1.  That means all garden plans are now changed.  I will be digging a few of my plants to take with us.  Our planned patio garden is scaled back to just a couple of tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, and basil.  There will be a very few pots of color.  Keep it simple for the move. 
Until then, I will continue to keep you apprised on what is blooming, how you can have a simply beautiful garden, and rant about those things I see fit to rant about!

What's Blooming This Week

Either Brussells Sprouts or Cabbage, Brassica oleracea
I will save seed for next year and see what I get!

Rhododendron 'Cindy'
I always think brides should use Rhodys for their bouquets.  Just the right shape and size.

Columbine, Aquilegia × hybrida
I love to let the plants go to seed just to see what new combinations happen.

I dropped a package of Shasta Daisy, Leucanthemum x superbum (AKA Chrysantemum sp.), seed in the squash bed last spring.  Imagine my delight to see these!  Did you notice the 'Jewel' on one bloom?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Okay Part II; if you missed it, here’s the link to Part 1.

Today we are going to talk about the overuse of pesticides, both herbicides and insecticides. And yes, I am counting both organically produced and laboratory produced in this one.

We use pesticides to rid our gardens of unwanted guests. Whether it is that nasty aphid infestation or those pesky dandelions we reach for the fastest, most effective of blasting them out of existence.

Eradicating Crane Fly:
Recently I overheard a conversation between two men about the European Crane Fly. This large mosquito-looking insect lays its eggs in our lawns. The resulting larvae eat root crowns of the turfgrass. This damage is noticeable by the thinning of the turf in irregular patches of the lawn.

These men were talking about what would be the best solution for dealing with the Crane Fly. I had to join the conversation with a question about how bad their infestation was. They replied they did not have an infestation; rather they were seeing the Crane Fly about and wanted to do something preventative. They were planning on applying an insecticide, double strength, to the entire lawn to kill off the bugs.

I was intrigued by their decision to pour their money down the rat hole and told them so. Nicely, of course. I recommended they do a check for the ‘leatherjackets’ (that’s what Crane Fly larvae are called) by looking for a thinning patch of lawn. No thinning patches of lawn, no crane fly! No further action needed. By the way, the only time a homeowner needs worry about applying insecticides for Crane Fly is April 1 to April 15. It is the only time the application will be effective. Applications of insectide in August when then the Crane Flies are emerging and mating are NOT effective and cost homeowners too much money for zero in return.

If there are thinning patches in the lawn; cut a one foot by one foot shallow square in the lawn, remove the square and count the number of larvae in the sample. If you find less than 25 crane fly larvae in the sample you are golden, don’t waste your money. If there are more than 25 larvae then treat that one spot with an approved insecticide for Crane Fly and for heaven’s sake READ THE DIRECTIONS AND PRECAUTIONS CAREFULLY! Some of these insecticides are dangerous to children, pets, and bees! Bee responsible.

If you have lawn damaged by Crane Fly, overseed with the same grass right now. By June, you will have a great looking lawn!

Learn more about Crane Flies, knowledge is power and often saves you money!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Wow, so sorry about posting this month. We have been hit with illness almost every other day! First, we got sick right after Easter for a few days. Then, the next week our entire extended family was sick after Selene’s 30th b-day. I celebrated 60 and then got sick again. I am still not Tom Terrific but am better.

During my lucid moments, I got to thinking about it being Spring and everyone wanting to get ahead on their garden chores. Here in the PNW, it has been raining and cold. Upside: all the flowers are lasting longer then ususal. Downside: it is too cold and wet to get into the garden. In fact, I was trying to corral the dogs one morning and fell into one of last year’s compost piles. Chasing dogs + wet clay = one fat woman face down in fragrant, completed compost. If I wasn’t so mad at the dogs for fussing over a possum I would have laughed harder than I did!

I would like to address the overuse of garden chemicals, both pesticide and fertilizer. That’s right folks, just a few well expressed thoughts on our environment and your pocketbook all rolled together into one HUGE MOTHER OF A RANT!

Our environment, health, and pocketbooks are paying the price for the runoff from the overuse of pesticides and fertilizers.

Now, don’t you go saying it is the farmers and golf courses that are responsible; because they are not. No, professionals know that not only is it against EPA regulations to overuse chemicals; overuse of said chemicals costs them more money with less return. It is pure economics for the professional.

People, it is the home gardener who is doing most of the pollution and overpaying for what they do not need. Really, take a good hard look at your own use of garden chemicals.

Recently I have had the privilege to speak with many home gardeners about their landscapes and gardens. So many people are doing things that are so wrong, I decided to write about it and share my feelings.

Fertilizing the lawn:
Your lawn needs, at the most, one pound of Nitrogen (N) per 1000 square feet per month during the growing season, April to October. The calculation is simple. The first letter on the fertilizer bag is the percentage of Nitrogen content per pound of the fertilizer. Say, you buy a bag of 27-0-4. One pound of the product contains 27% Nitrogen. Easily, 4 x .27 =~1; now figure square feet, just multiply length x width. 40 feet long x 25 feet wide = 1000 square feet. You would spread 4 pounds of that product over the 1000 sq ft of lawn.

New lawns, diseased lawns, and weed choked lawns can do with 1.5 pounds N per month until they are lush and healthy.

By mulch mowing, you can cut back on N by 1/3. That means in our above example, you can reduce the amount applied from 4# per sq ft to 2.5-3# per sq ft. Saves you money and saves on finding a way to dispose of the debris.  Total cost is 18 pounds of Nitrogen a year.

Mulch mowing does not add to thatch, that impermeable layer of old grass roots that is not good for you lawn. You are adding the moist, nutrient-rich tips of the grass blade which decompose in a matter of weeks. On the topic of thatch, unless you have an old bent grass lawn you don’t need to thatch every year or even EVER. More on that another day.

The mid-point of fertilizing is to use your fertilizer only three times a year; June, August, and October. Use the above formula for one pound of N per 1,000 sq ft. If you mulch mow, reduce N by 1/3. That means you only need to use a total of 9 pounds of fertilizer per season,.  To just keep your lawn, you may opt for a one time application of 1#N/1k sq ft. in June and that means only 3 pounds of fertilizer per season!

And of course, many lawns go without fertilizing at all. I don’t fertilize my lawn, my dogs do. Oh, and we mulch mow.  Our lawn if lush, thick, and grassy to the extreme!

I recommend Fertilizing Lawns, an OSU Extension bulletin by T. Cook and B. McDonald. Tom Cook taught me what I know about turf. And that is a lot of information! There is a great picture of the Lewis Brown Farm where Tom Cook, Professor Emeritus, designed and installed golf green years and years ago. Turfies, those students studying Turfgrass Science, used that green to become great putters. Oh, and really great golf course managers!

Besides pollution, when you over fertilize you are just pouring your money down that proverbial rat hole! Think about it. Please, think about it. If you are still wanting to throw your money to the wind trying to have the best lawn on the block; at least learn a little about the what, why, and how to get that perfect lawn! The chemical companies do have good information. And so does the Oregon State Extension Service: free, at your fingertips, saving your money, health, and environment!


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Birthday Flowers

Dad & Dorthy took me out for dinner last nght to celebrate my 60th!  88 year old Dad, gave me a dozen apricot roses for the occaision. 
Right now the dining room smells so good.  These long-stem roses are fragrant with a real rose scent.  Add that to the Easter lily fragrance and it is almost overwhelming.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What's Blooming This Week

Columbine Aquilegia x hybrid

Lilac  Syringa x hybrid
This one has no fragrance at all, just gorgeous purple blooms
It was a gift from my father

One lone tulip  Tulipa x hybrid 
This is the only tulip to survive dozens planted about 20 years ago

Here's a small portion of the Candytuft on our parkway.  We have about
40 feet of it!


Spanish Bluebells Hyacinthoides hispanica

These are growing around a hazelnut (filbert), Corylus sp. tree the blue jays planted for me.  I also see there is a dandelion I missed.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tuesday Morning

Good Tuesday morning! It is overcast with just a hint of blue among the grey clouds. More rain is on the menu. The neighbor’s flowering pear, Pyrus calleryana, is beginning to bloom. It is a variety bred by an Oregon State University professor; and for the life of me, I can’t remember the varietal name. The tree leafs out before it blooms. The flower buds are a red color before opening to pure white flowers. Not one of my favorite flowering trees, but still pretty.

The Easter lily buds were closed on Sunday, when we left for Debbie & Rob’s. One was open when we got home and a second opened this morning. I have decided to try to produce some lily seed. I will just dust the white stigma with a yellow anther and wait for nature to do her thing.

Unfertilized Lily - no pollen on the white stigma

Fertilized Lily - see the yellow pollen on the stigma?

On a side note, the dogs cornered an opossum this morning. So nasty. I got them back inside and it wandered off. I found the hole under the fence where they come and go. Have to find something to block it now.

While gettig to the dogs, I fell in the clay mud. Landed on my knees in an old compost pile (from last season) so there was no damage done to me. Just muddy pants, shoes and socks; what a way to start the morning.


Easter lily four days after fertilizing.

I removed the anthers on all the lily blooms after taking this picture.  The pollen was doing a number on us, as well as Max and Wolf.  The two poor cats were sneezing constantly.  I was ready to buy some Benedryl for them!

ETA -- The ovaries on the Easter Lily are dried up and do not have any seeds.  Oh well, Debbie will love having it to add to her lovely lily bed.  She can really enjoy the blooms and fragrance next year.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Joyful Easter -- ETA New Pictures of the Mature Bloom!

Wakerobin, Trillium ovatum, is a joy in the spring.  In the forests, it grows in little colonies and is as much a harbenger of spring as the daffodills in our gardens

Virginal Trillium ovatum

Trillium ovatum
after being pollenized, see the blush?

In the wild, it it best not to pick Trillium flowers.  Picking Trillium flowers sets the plant back, the green bracts are the only source of chlorophyl for the roots.  By picking the flower, there is no food for the roots that year and it takes several years for the plant to make up the loss of food.
When the local Soil and Water Conservation District holds it's plant sale, I am always in the front of the line.  Love to pick up wild plants for a reasonable price; while supporting a great resource.

Fully blushed trillium

When we get our retirement house, I plan on using trillium like daffodils!  Think of it, white blooms followed by the lovely pink blush!

ETA:  about four weeks old, the trillium is truely a one-flower show!