MySecretGarden

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

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Where am I?

I am in Italy, my friends....
I love it here, love it, love it, love it, love it, love it, love it ...........

Hugs,

Tatyana

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Indoor/Outdoor Pictures and This&That

September is vegetable time here. Below is the picture of vegetables from my garden on the kitchen counter. It was taken before we started to cook dinner. I find it very nice. I believe that the light from the window made this shot special.
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I brought the vegetables from outside where I also took their picture.
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Everything looks not bad too, but don't you think that the previous picture taken inside has some drama in it? The light coming from the window made the indoor picture special. It didn't need any editing.
In other cases, pictures taken outside are better than inside pictures. In my earlier post, I showed a picture of the daisy bouquet standing on the garden table.
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The warm light of the late afternoon made it special, don't you think so? Looking at that picture makes me feel good. It not only shows the pretty flowers but also evokes the feelings of warmth and pleasure coming from the soft August sun. I remember how I was thinking 'I'd better enjoy this moment now since autumn is so close'.
Look at the picture of the same bouquet taken inside. Nothing interesting!
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In the case of the vegetables, the picture taken inside beats the picture of the same subject taken outside. In the bouquet case, it's just the opposite. Aren't we glad that digital cameras allow us to play with photography and take as many pictures as we want?
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Peaches. They are not from my garden, but I find them very photogenic. Usually, they apply this term, photogenic, to people who appear physically attractive or striking in photographs. I think these peaches are very attractive. They attract me. I want to eat them all. At the same time, I like to look at them. We are thankful for photography that allows us to keep images long after the subjects on the photographs are gone.
Now, 'This & That' part of the post. I borrowed this name from one of my favorite garden bloggers, Grace Peterson (Gardening With Grace http://www.gracepete.com/)
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I can see what search words and phrases people use when they arrive at my blog. Very often, it is 'when to pick up tomatoes Black Krim' and 'my cucumbers have thorns'. I pick up Black Krim tomatoes before they start to soften. When they are hard to touch (but not brick-hard as green tomatoes) and when their color is red (as in the collage above) or green/red (as in the last year picture below):
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As for the cucumber prickles, they are normal. A light rub will take care of them.
Recently, I got embarassed when I saw that someone came to my blog looking for 'Card for would be husband'. Imagine a young and innocent girl looking for a romantic card. She clicks my post "Card For My Husband" and what does she see?
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This is not THE card, you need to click on the link below to see THAT card
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To make you feel that you didn't come here for nothing, I decided to end this post with some useful information. How about a way to protect plants from deer? After my roses, perennial phlox, strawberry and grape leaves were eaten by these gracious creatures early this summer, we bought and installed a 'Scarecrow'. It should be attached to a hose and pointed to the part of the garden you want to guard.
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It worked! I now have my plants blooming profusely and no deer touch them!
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Perennial phlox and rose 'Carefree Marvel'
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The device is pricy, but I liked it more than a spray. The spray works, but I keep forgetting to use it repeatedly. And, of course, it stinks! The 'Scarecrow' is fun to use, especially when someone in the family forgets about it and gets hit by the strong jet of cold water. I never knew my husband could jump so far! Ha-ha!
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Copyright 2010 TatyanaS

Friday, September 10, 2010

They Made It!

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Whom do you want to be in your next life?
A fat cat? He has the best view...
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Disclosure: The squirrel and the cat are not mine. Unfortunately, I don't have such gorgeous views as they have!
The dog is mine, and he is the puppy in my blog's header picture.
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Copyright 2010 TatyanaS

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Card for My Husband

I knew that English people were among the best gardeners. Now, I know that they also make great cards for gardeners.
For my husband's birthday, I wanted to find a card that would somehow reflect his participation in my gardening life. He takes care of our lawn, helps me to move plant containers, drives me to visit open gardens, carries new plants bought in nurseries, etc. Sometimes, he brings me Starbucks coffee when I am working in the garden. Although, I asked him not to do that because the last time he did it, I found the cup of my cold latte in a wheelbarrow several hours later. Absorbed with my gardening chores, I just forgot about it!
To express my appreciation for his gardening-related efforts, I gave him a plant for one of his birthdays. The Monkey Puzzle tree is his favorite in our garden, and I even heard him talking to it. You can not touch it since it has thick scale-like leaves which have sharp tips and edges.
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As the collage shows, the tree grew quite a bit in 5 years, but probably not as much since it was contained in a pot. It works well for us because we don't want it to grow huge.
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Monkey Puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) grows wild in Chile and Argentina. This tree was popular in Britain, in Victorian times. According to a legend, someone, observing a tree in a friend's garden, noticed that it would puzzle a monkey to climb it. Thus, the tree which was called Chile Pine and Joseph Bank's Pine, got its new name in 1850. Plant collector and naval surgeon Archibald Menzies introduced the tree to England in 1795. While dining with the governor of Chile, he tried the seeds of this tree as a dessert. He sowed some seeds in a frame on the ship's quarter deck and got five plants from them which successfully were delivered to Great Britain. By the way, the ship was the one of Captain George Vancouver.
It is an evergreen, and Wikipedia says that it can grow to 40 meters (120 feet) tall with a trunk diameter of 2 meters (6 feet). USDA hardiness zones are 7b - 10. We live in the 7b zone. It needs full sun or partial shade. Our tree has afternoon sun. The Monkey Puzzle tree needs cool and humid summers. It likes abundant rains, and it is exactly what we have here in the Pacific Northwest. Our summers are relatively cool, and if there are no rains for a while, we water the tree regularly, since it grows in a container. Why in the container? Because we plan to take it with us in case of moving. The tree can be propagated by seeds or tip cuttings. The cuttings should be taken from vertical shoots.
The Monkey Puzzle tree is the national tree of Chile. It was interesting for me to learn that it has seeds only when it is 30 or 40 years old! The seeds resembling big pine nuts are edible.
In the U.S., the Monkey Puzzle tree grows along the Atlantic coastal zone beginning in Virginia, and extending to Texas and along the Pacific coastal zone up to Washington state.
Good information can be found in Steve Nix' article http://forestry.about.com/od/silviculture/p/monkey_tree.htm
Now, I need to return to where I started, to a card and, to be exact, to a birthday card for my husband. You remember, I wanted the card to be related to gardening. Here's what I found:
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This is the back of the card:

Photo by Chris Cramer
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Do you think he will like the card? Or should I give him one of my own cards?
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Guess what card I gave him!

Copyright 2010 TatyanaS

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

August Bouquet. Loves me - Loves me not


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Among my August bouquets, this is the one that I like the most.
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Daisy is a beautiful flower. Simple as simple can be, and so elegant!
I love the emotions which daisies evoke. Happiness. This is the bouquet of happiness. It shouts 'Summer'! Yes, it was August when I took the picture, but the bouquet was reassuring:"It is still summer!" The flowers were telling me: "You had a miserable June; now, enjoy these hot but pleasant sunny days!"
I like the next picture of the same bouquet for the shade on the glass tabletop.
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Simple, naive, charming and happy. Have you ever seen unhappy daisies?

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The daisies are childish, aren't they? They are like a thread connecting us-adults with us-kids. If you never plucked a daisy's petals in days long ago, do it now! Loves me, loves me not. In Russia, we say the same: Loves, doesn't love (Liubit - ne liubit)! I plucked those petals and asked the question even before I had anyone in mind. It is the process itself, I think, that attracts children and the excitement to finish the count with the words "Loves"! And, if it happens to be "Not loves", then take another flower, and another. There will be another one saying "Loves"!
Since today is the 1st of September, this is the link to my last year' beginning-of-school post "September 1st and Dahlias" http://tanyasgarden.blogspot.com/2009/08/september-1st-and-dahlias.html.
 
2010 is not my dahlia year. The plants are short, and some of the rizoms got rotten in the soil (usually they overwinter OK in our climate).
I was not the only one who lost dahlias. Do you remember Mark from the "Dahlia Kingdom"? http://tanyasgarden.blogspot.com/2009/09/dahlia-kingdom.html
He lost a lot of his too.
But, this post is about daisies. What about them? They loved this year's weather!
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The last two pictures were taken near Homer, Alaska.
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Other August bouquets are here: http://www.azplantlady.com/2010/08/monthly-garden-bouquet-august.html . Noelle at 'Ramblings From a Desert Garden' hosts a Monthly Bouquet.
Copyright 2010 TatyanaS

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