garden he;per

I'm happy to announce that I have at least one toad living under my deck. That's the sign I have a healthy garden. 

Their diet is insects.  In your garden the toad is quiet during the day.  In the evening it starts croaking.

I had toads at the farm and frogs as well in the pond.  I had lots of small garden snakes that eat insects as well.

When the forest I planted reached a certain height, I noticed ants building a hill. Eventually it was about 3 feet tall and full of activity.  I asked my friendly forester if I should do anything about it. He told me the anthills are the sign of a healthy forest.  Eventually there were about three or four big hills.  The ants would be active for a while, and then all of a sudden the ants would abandon the hill and move someplace else.  They help decompose the debris on the forest floor which enriches the forest soil.  I miss my florist. 


Food rip


[unedited]  On  a television cooking show they served seared tuna with a creamy mustard sauce. I thought this would be fun to try as I have never done this sauce before.


 It turns out it's very easy. You just add one tablespoon of whole grain mustard to 1/2 cup of heavy cream. Let it set up a few minutes until it thickens and it is ready to use.


 I was not all that impressed with this sauce served with the tuna but the next day I used the same  creamy mustard sauce on  roasted cauliflower and it was absolutely yummy. I'm delighted to have found something new and differerent


Idea for fiinding seedlings


I planted my peas and beans in my weed -free raised beds. When they emerge I'll be able to identify them and not accidentally pull them out.  I'm planting my squash in a crowded flower bed by the deck, and recognizing them when they emerge is going to be difficult.

I was looking for some way to protect them and make it easy for me to identify them until they get big enough to grow up on the deck.

I'm so proud of my solution. I took the removable bottom from my smallest tart pan and turned it upside down in the soil. Then I planted the squash seeds in the middle.

Tis is going to work so great.  Instantly I began  searching my brain for something similar to use around other plants that I'm may mistake for a weed.   Suddenly I thought of large canning-jar rims. They are the same shape as the tart pan and should stay in one spot if pressed into the soil.

A friend is coming Monday to help me find my perennial sweet peas and my short alliums.  I'm going to try this trick on them.


a win-win situation.


Recently when visiting a nursery, my friend mentioned to the clerk that I had once owned a nursery.  Not only had he visited it, he thought  it was amazing.  I was really touched, since it's been over 25 years since it closed.

Then a few days ago my husband dropped me at a nursery to pick up a few plants for baskets and he went to Starbucks.  A lady approached me and asked if she could take a picture of my cart [she wanted to find the same plants for her baskets].  The ironic thing was that I wasn't sure what I had.  I knew I was in the annuals section and I was pulling plants by feel and color.  I told her how I buy fewer plants and propagate them myself.

Then, while I was waiting for my husband, another lady approached me and asked if the plants I had would be safe from deer.  I told her no, but I shared with her a list of plants that are safe from deer.  Again we had a nice chat about gardening and I had another great day.

So I'm thinking I'm going to get out some old business cards and put my new number on them and stand around in nurseries.  And when people talk to me, I will offer to share plans with them for free.  A new way to make new friends.

Perennials multiply quite rapidly, and in the spring in the fall I need to trim them back.  The gardens in our community range from small to tiny, and most anyone that likes to garden plants only vegetables.  I have given plants to all my neighbors until they throw up their hands when they see me coming.  I hate to put perfectly good plants in the compost bin.  If I could find new gardening friends that would take my extra plants, it would be a win-win situation.


You can choose what you look at.


Our little senior neighborhood is adjacent to an  industrial area.     We have a six-foot fence between us.

Beh nd us is a U. S. postal facility where  they service the little postal vans that you see everywhere.   It's a very large building with no windows on the side that faces us.  The workers show up at work at eight o'clock, and they leave at five.  There are several bays with big doors.  Every so often they open and a little  postal van pops in and the door closes.  Some time later it pops out.  There are security cameras and lights on the building.  All in all, I feel very safe and think that they are a very good neighbor.

I had a friend for lunch and she said with great sympathy that it was too bad I had to look at that big building.  I pointed out that there were no windows and we had absolute privacy.  When the trees are in bloom I don't even see the building. In the winter I have a choice of looking at the windowless building or at the mountains.  I choose to look at the mountains.


It turns out I sorta shot myself in the foot


It was about 40 years ago that I saw my first small flowering clematis in California.  I immediately fell in love.  Up until that time I was only familiar with the large 3/4 inch flowers that are common in most gardens.  I've thought these large blooming vines were gaudy and were not in harmony with the rest of the garden.  They were real drama queens.

I immediately started to collect these small flowers through the mail and from collectors until I had a collection of about 50 plants. They bloomed from April to September and were on trellises, fences, arbors, on rose bushes, and even growing up trees.

When I moved here, I brought about 30 with me.  They were slow to recover from transplanting, but this will be their year to really put on a show.

It turns out I sorta shot myself in the foot because now I wish with my eye condition that I had the large gaudy flowers.  I cannot see small flowers on my large collection unless I bury my nose right in the vine.  Even after all these years you seldom see them for sale in nurseries.  I have Prince Charles and Duchess of Albany that are doing well here, but I lost Princess Diana.  Once established, they are as tough as nails and need no special care. There are varieties that are delicate and garden friendly, and there are varieties that are rampant and cover a small building.  There is a variety that will fit any need you have in your garden.  If you haven't tried one, try to find one.


I love to plan menus


It's been a while since I posted.  I. recently spent a good deal of time dictating a post about gardening with impaired vision.  It was a long, detailed post.  I had included not only specific plants and their growth habits, but also criteria to follow to when looking for plants if you have impaired vision. 

I had the draft to the point that it was ready for my husband to edit, and I somehow managed to lose the entire post.  I spent a good deal of time trying to retrieve it--to no avail.  I just couldn't get up the gumption to try to re-create it,  and have not even looked at my computer for days and days.  But I'm beginning to recover and have decided to go on to something else.

For  Eastern I had the fun of putting together a menu for dinner.  For me, putting together the menu is more fun than the actual cooking and serving if the dinner.  Nowadays by the time I get the meal cooked, Im too tired to enjoy it.

On Easter the main appetizer was  seared tuna with a sauce.  The main course was corned beef braised in beer and a cauliflower-and-parsnip mash served with steamed asparagus and a purple cabbage slaw.  For dessert I had homemade ice cream and huckleberry pie. 

When I was discussing with a friend how much I like to plan menus,.she said she did the same.  Also every year she planned her own birthday party.  Everything from the table settings to the menu.  And she has never had the party--just planned it.

I think that sounds like a great idea.  My birthday is coming up in a couple months.  I'm going to plan a fantastic party.  And not invite anybody.  I'll have all the fun of tweaking a menu and none of the work preparing it.  





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