Tag Archives: echinacea

Historic and overcast with sun.

Of course, every day is historic. Today grandson Brodie ate with a fork for the first time! And lest I forget, it’s the day of the Total Solar Eclipse 2017. My view was as at right.

Last week I was in Monterey, California, where the sky is also commonly white in the mornings. I’m guessing that today Soldier’s family couldn’t see the natural and rare wonder above the overcast there, either.

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But as is also typical, during my brief visit the sun would come out within a few hours of the start of day, and we enjoyed many lovely walks in the neighborhood, and outings a little farther afield.

 

 

 

 

 

Earthbound Farm in Carmel Valley has paths to wander through various gardens with a teepee, a fort, a store and café, berry patches…

It is the perfect place to examine snails, red peppers growing, tiny leaves or flowers. Below is a weed I’ve often wanted to get a good picture of – it helps to have a boy’s finger for comparing size:

Laddie especially loved the aromatherapy chamomile labyrinth. I think he might have walked that path for an hour if we had not moved on.

artichoke in bloom

In the Alphabet Garden we saw a plant, or at least a place where a plant had grown, for every letter, including Echinacea and Bean.

On our walks in the neighborhood we saw familiar flowers and plants that Liam and I have noticed many times now, as well as some new ones. I haven’t had time to research most of them, like this:

But I did learn Sea Lavender, what Liam described as having a rattle-like sound to the flower heads. Only the white parts are the true flowers, what I assume this bee is sipping at:

Flowers love to grow on California’s coast! Here are several more I don’t know – if any of my readers knows them, please share.

Below, a tall bush in Soldier and Joy’s back yard:

Awfully fancy, this one:
Joy and I drove down to the Monterey Bay Recreational Trail and walked with three boys, two bikes, a double stroller and a baby pack. We looked for a long time into the water next to the boat docks and I saw my first jellyfish and skate not in an aquarium, plus lots of hermit crabs scuttling in and out of rock crevices.  It was beautiful down there.

I have been to visit Monterey twice this summer, to offer a little adult company to Joy while Soldier is working on the east coast. So we chatted and talked and talked some more, which may have been the cause of the boys being even more rambunctious than usual. I was amazed at how when it involves three boys ages 5, 3, and 1, every activity, even something as soothing as Grandma reading to them, devolves into roughhousing.

I don’t have a good picture of that. Just imagine a tangle of six arms, six legs, giggling faces and tousled hair, all somehow hanging on to my lap, with an open storybook underneath it all. It was a multi-sensory experience that will go down in my history book as a sunny day.

The gadder’s garden.

As soon as I pulled out the extravagant sweet peas, the Blue Lake pole beans were happy to take over that planting box, sharing with basil. The other box is empty, and I don’t seem to have time even to think about what to do with it — so, I guess nothing until next month. But I picked enough basil to make a batch of pesto, and now am starting to enjoy the beans.

Flowers are everywhere, too. The white echinacea and the Delta Sunflowers in the front garden are my favorites. Those sunflowers are amazing – For years I’d been seeing them wave their bright blooms in the hot winds of California’s Central Valley, on zero summer water. Even last week I took some pictures as I was on my way home from the mountains, showing how they love to volunteer and reseed themselves in temperatures over 100°.

Landscape Lady suggested that I consider them for the way they bloom over the whole season, last fall when I was talking about sunflowers in the front, and she offered to share some of the plants that make babies year after year at her own place. She gave me five, and all five quickly revived from transplanting and started growing like the weeds that they are at heart.

They naturally look a lot nicer here where they get a little moisture to their roots.

I’ve been gadding about too much to be an attentive gardener — that’s where it pays off to have this relatively low-maintenance kind of space that produces so much beauty to welcome me home in a new way every time I return.

The heat makes me glad.

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Today was one of the hottest days of the summer, at least 97° in my garden at the peak. But after a week of my being indisposed and then out of town, there were piles of yard work that needed to be done. Piles to be made, of pine needles and trimmings of spent flowers, and wisteria vines. I was able to plan my day so as to work (or walk) outside until 11:00, and then again at 3:30 or 4:00. When the sun is slant, the heat is not so unendurable and long-lasting.

The Apple Blossom penstemon is at its peak right now, so it doesn’t need trimming – only admiring.gl-27-lemon-p1050606

 

 

Last month I gave the lemon tree another iron treatment and some extra food, so the new leaves are looking healthy. And the lemons are growing, too – yay!

Some things are a little out of sync with the seasons – a couple of the lavender plants are in full bloom, almost three months late. By next spring I expect they will be on track with the rest.

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Rudbeckia with toys

In the greenhouse, some greens and hollyhocks are coming along – and on the front right, those are the little lily plants that I managed to start from the black jewel-like seeds I collected at church.

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Strawberry Tree – Arbutus unedo – fruit with pine needles

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I pulled all the remaining leeks to make room for planting those greens, and lots of pea seeds. I hope later this week.

In the afternoon I chopped the roots and the upper tops off the leeks, standing at the patio table in the shade. It was still very warm, but since I was not exerting myself very much I could just bask in the balminess, and remember periods of my life when I lived in places with less coastal (brrrr!) influence.

I was a little worried when I noticed that about half of the leeks had started to form tall stalks. I wondered if they would be the woody and unusable parts that happen when flowers are forming.

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But I read online that if that is the case, there will not be layers of flesh. And if you do find a hard and tough core, they say you can just discard that part and use the remainder of the leek. These stalks had no signs of flower buds, and inside they looked normal. So I cleaned them and added them to the pile ready to chop and cook.

Today was probably the last hottest day. Tomorrow won’t likely get above 90°, and the next day the high will be in the 70’s. As I type, at 7:30 in the evening, it is still 80° outside. 🙂 This weather is too late to ripen the tomatoes, but comes at the perfect time to warm my soul.

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How gardens are made – or not.

In a way, my gardens have been too successful. I planted tomatoes where they didn’t have gl berries P1040889room to grow, and have had to drastically prune them back so that I could get in there to pick them as they ripen. No pretty picture to show you there.

The fennel grew so lovely – now I realize it was overgrown and woody before I picked it. I’m eating it anyway, and the edible parts are yummy. Next year will be my third growing fennel and it should be the charm.

Rudyard Kipling said,

“Gardens are not made by singing ‘Oh how beautiful,’ and sitting in the shade.”

That goes for harvesting, too! But the making I need to do today and next week concerns seeds…. Before my next trip to see grandchildren, I have a few weeks to get seeds planted in flats in the greenhouse, and to water them once or more daily until they are big enough to set out in the garden where they will get automatic watering from then on.P1050162

What seeds? I don’t even know yet. But perhaps these that I received from Prairie Moon. I saw a picture on a blog post, of unidentified coneflowers growing wild on the prairie, and researched to find out what variety it might be, and where to buy seeds. It turns out they are Echinacea pallida. The company sent me milkweed seeds also, as a gift, and I dug out my own milkweed I had collected a couple of years ago.P1050165 I’m not even sure that I can successfully plant them now to have plants to set out in the spring. Probably I should be reading up on that instead of writing and speculating!

My front yard is taking a lot of attention. In July we laid cardboard and mulch thickly all over the lawn (this is called “sheet mulching”) to kill it, and now that that has been done stonemasons are beginning work on a walkway and a wall. gl P1050150

Later we’ll landscape with some plants about which I am still deciding. I had two rosemary bushes in the front, one of which was about 25 years old. Landscape Lady said it looked like a Bristlecone Pine, and at first we were going to keep it around for its venerableness. But it wasn’t that worthy, and would scratch and poke me twice a year when I took the pruners to it, over the years shaping it into its crotchety self. I didn’t want to go through that one more time….so I took parting pictures.

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Now that I have great soil and many options for growing various things, I don’t know if I will ever have a chance of “keeping up” with my garden. But I plan to go on enjoying it, and reporting about it here. Perhaps even while sitting in the shade.

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bee on rosemary in its younger years