MySecretGarden

U.S.A., Washington State. USDA zone 8a. Sunset climate zone 5

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Sky, Mood and No Boat

The Garden Witch woke up before 4 o'clock in the morning. This was the best part of the day. Peace and quiet. She made coffee, took the dog for a short walk around the house. By 6:30 when it was time to wake up the kids, e-mails were checked and answered, several blog posts read, school pants ironed, lunch bags packed and breakfast prepared. After 7:20 when everyone else left, important calls were made, the house was picked up, dishwasher unloaded and laundry started. It was time to go clean the garden. For several hours, she pulled and dug, weeded and dumped, moved and raked. Something felt wrong. She sat on the bench. Tired and irritated. The grey sky didn't help. It pressed down, bore heavily and compressed the air around her to a minimum, just enough to breathe, crushed the space, flattened the atmospfere, forced down, jamming her brains, mashing, squashing, squeezing and squishing them.



She looked at her hands. When was the last time she had a manicure? Ma-ni-cu-re... Sounds almost like ma-nu-re... She touched her hair. What was the name of her hairdresser?... She looked at her clothes. Dirty gloves, garden clogs, sweatshirt and sweatpants with dog hair and dry leaves stuck to them. There was no need to employ a scarecrow.

Forgive me, my garden! She jumped up off the bench, threw the gloves on the ground and almost ran to the house. Let's go somewhere one day, anywhere, she almost begged No- Matter -What-Always-Happy One . There was no need to beg. Let's go right now, he said! Shower - fast! Nice clothes -on, make up - on, quick look at the mirror - o-la-la, mama! They jumped into the car and off they went!

Driving on an almost empty road trimmed by golden dry leaves makes her feel better.


It was foggy at the beginning.


The road wound along the water. Water made all the difference. The day can not be bad for her if she sees water.


Soon, the fog disappeared.

She liked to look at the houses with their views of the water...


Do people realize how lucky they are to live where they live and see what they see?

This house above was for sale for $750,000. It has a little guest house on the back.
Why don't I reach for my wallet, get the money and move in to this miniature castle right now, she thought?

Nah... Maybe it's good that they didn't live on the water. She wouldn't be able to garden then. She would just sit and watch the water. And the sky. And the waves. And the ducks. And the boats. And the seals' heads poking here and there out of the water.


They made several stops.

They had lunch, and these were the views from the restaurant window.

Without even looking at No-Matter-What-Always-Happy One's face, she knew what he was thinking about. A boat... A little white boat... No, there is no space for a boat in the garage. Where then will she keep her shovels, rakes, garden forks and the old wooden chest to put her plants in the winter?


Forget about boats. The food was good.
She had a huckleberry salad, fresh Puget Sound mussels and a huckleberry dessert. Delicious! He had Caesar salad and salmon. Of course. Ah, so predictable! She was glad he wasn't a gardener. Then, there would be the same flowers in the garden as those he'd planted the very first year. Daisy, daisy, daisy.... Or roses, roses, roses... No there wouldn't be any roses. Roses are tough. They need to be pruned and sprayed. Vinca. Yes, vinca minor. He would plant vinca. It's easy, spreads itself and blooms with gorgeous blue flowers. Yes, it's good that he is not a gardener. He is a good helper, yes. He is such a good helper, he deserves to have a boat. But then, who will help her while he is boating? No, no boat. It's time to drive back !

They drove back home.


Several stops were made to see farms, leaves, berries and more water.



She came back to her garden. It survived, didn't it?


Well, it worked well. The sky was clear, shovels and rakes were happily ruling in the garage, and no boat was on the horizon. Life is good! .... At least til the next big cloud blocks the sun for a week...


Copyright 2009 TatyanaS

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Images For You



I want to share with you some autumn images that I love. Looking at them makes me feel better when it's grey and wet outside.



Entrance To Fall


Autumn Bouquet

Mums In A Yellow Pot

Sphynx
***Copyright TatyanaS

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The End of the Line (my entry)

This is my entry for November’s “The End of the Line”
Picture This Photo Contest at GardeningGoneWild (
http://www.gardeninggonewild.com/?p=9088#more-9088)

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This picture was originally posted here: October Blushes

The tree is Pacific Madrone.

The Pacific Madrone (Arbutus menziesii), is a species of arbutus found on the west coast of North America, from British Columbia (chiefly Vancouver Island) to California (mainly in the Puget Sound, Oregon Coast Range and California Coast Ranges but also scattered on the west slope of the Sierra Nevada mountains). It becomes rare south of Santa Barbara County, with isolated stands south to Palomar Mountain, San Diego County and northern Baja California, Mexico. It is also known as the Madroño, Madroña, Bearberry, or Strawberry Tree. In British Columbia it is simply referred to as Arbutus. (From Wikipedia)

Madrone is a broadleaf evergreen tree with rich orange-red bark that peels away on the mature wood, leaving a greenish, silvery appearance that has a satin sheen and smoothness.

It is common to see madrones of about 10-25 meters (33-82.5 feet) in height, but in the right conditions the trees reach up to 30 m (99 feet). In best conditions madrones can also reach a thickness of 5-8 feet at its trunk, much like an oak tree.
Look at this smooth trunk of a young tree. It's cool to the touch!

Trunks can be twisted. This one reminds me of a snake:

The leaves are thick, oval, 7-15 cm (2.8-6 inches) long and 4-8 cm (1.6-3.2 inches) broad, and arranged spirally; they are glossy dark green above and a lighter, more grayish green beneath, with an entire margin. The leaves brown during the fall season and detach from the branches.

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My other candidates for The End of the Line contest were the following
"fruits and nuts":
Lonely pear

Rosa rugosa last hip

Red berry

I chose the first picture as my entry for The End of the Line contest for its drama.

*
Description of Pacific Madrone - Wikipedia.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

November Die-Hards. GBBD

There are definitely some die-hards in November gardens. On the picture below is my Terrace Garden. Yellow, purple and white dahlias are not quitting yet. My Russian Sage finished blooming but pale purple stems add color to the garden too.


All dahlias showed an outstanding performance that lasted almost four months.


Hydrangea is another proven bloomer. Two pictures below are of the flowers from the same bush. It was a treat to see a range of color on this Endless Summer plant. I think it thanked me for amending the soil around it with good compost. Several previous years, when the soil wasn't improved, the flowers were pale blue.



The plant below grows in the pot and gives an absolutely different color.



I find the next picture pretty interesting. Summer meets autumn. Daisies and green Pacysandra say "Summer", but Japanese maple and Sedum Autumn Joy are certainly in disagreement with them.


Clematis Dr. Ruppel gave me several last blooms which are bright but lack white trim that is visible on the spent flower.


Garden mums are cheerful and bright, but I noticed that their flowers are not as full as they used to be. Is it a result of constant pinching? I am sure the blooms would be larger and fuller (but not as abundant) if I didn't pinch the plants twice each summer.


At last, but not least, the bloom of Aralia japonica. Unlike the rest of the plants, it started to bloom only in November. This is just the beginning. I know that more beautiful cream puffs are coming.


Fuchsias, campanula and even several pinks, not shown here, are also blooming.
It's an interesting time around here. The last perennial blooms are beautiful, but trees with their crazily bright autumn foliage are wonderful as well. Just look at this:

This is one of the yards in our neighborhood

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Copyright 2009 TatyanaS

Monday, November 9, 2009

Vegetable Garden: Post-Seasonal Notes

Picture May 2009

There are two locations for vegetables in my garden:
1. Little kitchen garden behind the garage:

Picture May 2009

2. Perennial/vegetable bed, so called Terrace Garden:

Picture June 2009

Terrace Garden. Picture June 2009

Main types of vegetables, how they performed last season and what I should remember for the next year (if I remember to look at this post in spring, ha-ha!):

Potatoes. The biggest potatoes were harvested from the plants which grew near the bean tower and the row of peas. Is it because leguminous plants have a special relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria Rhizobium? I had potatoes planted in different locations. It wasn't a planned planting. All planted potatoes were store-bought sprouted potatoes which we didn't eat in time. I put some on the raised bed, some between other vegetables, and just for fun, some in a big black nursery plastic container and a burlap sack. The worst performance - sack potatoes (probably, because I didn't add a lot of soil to encourage vine's growth). Good fingerling potatoes came from a raised bed.
A couple of giants can be seen on the picture below. They grew near the row of peas.

Fingerling Potatoes

Warning for myself: watch where you plant potatoes! This year I had quite a scare when I realized that I put some of them too close to tomatoes. This is a no-no combination.
Tomatoes. 22 plants.
Tomato harvest was very good! Extra tomatoes were given to the teachers in our boys' school, neighbors and friends. Some tomatoes were cut, placed in plastic bags and frozen for winter preparation of an egg dish ( Better Than Growing Vegetables ).

Sun gold was a champion. The plant grew in full sun, although half-blocked by the hops. In diameter, the plant was more than 12 feet (4 meters):


Measuring a Sun gold plant. Picture October 2009

Early Girl: This girl is never early in my garden. Taste is OK.

Black Krim (Black Krim. My Picture Of The Day): favorite this year.

Black Krim

The trick is to eat it before it gets soft and mushy. Its dark color makes it very difficult to guess when it's just right for eating, but the flavor is good.
Other types of tomatoes with the same issue - Black Zebra (picture below) and Green Zebra. I don't think I'll plant them again. They look funny and help to make a colorful tomato display, but we were not excited about their taste.

Black Zebra

Grushovka (picture below). Russian heirloom. Nice pear (or heart) shape, pink. Grusha means a pear in Russian, but I would say its shape reminds me more of a heart than a pear.

Grushovka

Grew in container. I wasn't crazy about its taste. I might try to plant it in a sunnier spot and open soil.

Grushovka

Paul Robson. Russian heirloom. It reminds me of Black Krim a lot. Not bad.
As often happens, one of the best performers was an unknown type. I got several plants from a school parent. She grew them in her greenhouse, but didn't know the name. Just tomatoes, she said. Well, those Just Tomatoes happened to be heavy producers. Here is the picture:

Unknown tomato

Spitz . Grew in a container. Interesting shape, not bad taste, very few fruit. Might try to grow it in soil next time.
Taxi. A lot of fruit, taste is OK.
Stupice (picture below) Small fruit, but sweet! Might try again next year in soil.

Stupice

Beef (picture below). Good as always. Not as big as I had in Missouri with its hot hot summers, but reliable flavorful tomato.

Beef

Legend was a heavy producer.

Reminder: Buy new sturdy supports for tomatoes! Wire supports and metal stakes weren't able to hold heavily loaded plants. Tons of tomatoes were eaten by slugs.

Picture May 2009

Beans. Pat myself on the shoulder for planting in different times. It allowed us to eat them for three months.
Dill. I love dill. Did good spreading the seeds all over the vegetable and perennial garden. Boys like to eat it straight from the beds, and it looks good among flowers.


Cucumbers were not as abundant as in some previous years. Should I change locations?
Pumpkins. The biggest one, 64 pounds, we had in 2006. Then, they consistently went down in size and weight. I might try to throw several seeds on the side of our compost pile next year. Big or not, they make good decoration for Halloween.
Zucchini squash. Good when cooked on the grill.
Next year: Plant less zucchini or plant the same number but learn how to bake squash bread.
White cabbage. Good. Love it not only for the taste, but its look too. What beautiful shape and color! My boys love a salad which I make using cabbage, tomatoes and onions, plus some salt and olive oil or other oil. They call it Russian salad, although my husband calls it Russian slaw. It's easy to make and it's very healthy.


Lettuce. Plant earlier!

Next year:
- Plant more parsley, beets!
- Continue to inter plant vegetables with Nasturtiums , French Marigolds and Calendula.
Picture July 2009

All in all, it was a good season.
This is one of the meals made from our own ingredients: sockeye salmon caught in July in Alaska, potatoes and green beans:



P.S. I started this post a while ago. Then, I got carried away by all the lovely autumn colors and postponed this vegetable garden post. A recent comment prompted me to finish it, at last. That comment also helped me to realize that some of the fellow bloggers are more interested in my garden than in my travel and other non-garden posts.

I am not a great vegetable gardener, I don't do everything scientifically, but somehow I manage to feed our family with fresh homegrown veggies and share with other people too. Thank you for your past and future comments and please don't hesitate to jerk me back to the earth if I start flying too high and too long in the dreamy clouds of my trips.

P.S.P.S. When my husband read this post, he said he would rename it "Vegetable Garden: Menopause". How rude!

Copyright TatyanaS

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