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if it weren’t for my insistent friend ms. slotharium, i’d probably never get this post up. i know, i’ve been a really bad garden blogger lately, but i just haven’t been able to spend (i.e. distract myself) for a minute longer at the computer as this is the time of year to be outside in texas! surely you understand, so i won’t waste anymore time giving excuses. besides, it’s the bloom day before the garden bloggers meetup in asheville, so i really need to post something or else the powers that be might not let me participate.
here’s the prettiest blooming thing in the garden, bespeckled with the day’s constant drizzle. it sure makes me smile.
no time to post photos of each individual blooming plant right now, so here’s the larger view what the front yarden is looking like. a little wild, yes, but over the past couple of months it’s been host to dozens of metamorphosing butterflies, color shifting anoles and even a few molting snakes seeking refuge.
moving along towards the back yarden, here’s a little project mr. grwhryrpltd put together to support our enthusiastic grapevine.
speaking of bounty, we’ve been harvesting plums the past few mornings from the front garden. they’re so tasty. i’m going to attempt to make plum jam this evening.
oh right… we were heading to the back garden. here’s what it looks like with somewhat frequent rains (every 10 days or so).
i’ve limbed up the sunflower’s leaves as they grow to support the tomatoes, tomatillos and peppers growing underneath them. the upper leaves should provide a bit of shade to get the veg through the heat of the day as well. the patch of sunflowers in front of the raised bed was a little experiment to see how big they’d get under competition from bermuda and st. augustine grass. they doubled in height after the last rain.
did i mention we’ve been visited by critters lately? here’s a few of the highlights.
scare ya? ha! only a gardener would pull a (confirmed dead) snake out of sedges to see just how long it was – 10 wine bottle width’s worth. i wonder how many more might be sneaking around.
now, onto the critters for more gentle souls…
on the domestic critter front, the kitties have been, well, kitties. i’ve been playing nurse to puma for the past several weeks as she got into an altercation requiring surgery. while healing from that (with plastic cone collar on, of course) she went downhill fast due to another mysterious reason (stroke? aneurysm? tumor?), to the point we thought we were going to lose her. it’s a looong story, but she’s doing fine now and we’re so glad she’s still with us! dude and max did their best to avoid her, lest they catch what she had.
how’s that for an update? i could go on, but i’ve got some things to tend to before taking off for asheville. looking forward to catching up with the garden blogging community while there; and for those of you not going, oh how i wish you were! i probably won’t blog from there, but check out my twitter/instagram feed for pictorial updates enroute.
i’ve returned from the garden blogger’s annual meetup in seattle, refreshed from the cooler temperatures, views of tall coniferous trees and vast expanses of deep, dark water. it was a wonderful trip of garden touring and catching up with friends both old and new. over four days we visited an array of private and public gardens, retail plant nurseries, a sculpture park and a farmers’ market. knowing how long it can take me to go through all the photos (1028 on the camera, plus several on the phone – but that doesn’t even come close to those who shot over 2000 photos…), i thought i’d post a few to pique your interest until i can spend more time on a post for each tour stop.
pre-seattlefling day 0:
apld & gwa regional meetup, that graciously invited garden bloggers to attend:
seattlefling day 1:
seattlefling day 2:
seattlefling day 3:
gloriously rain kissed seattlefling day 4 on bainbridge island:
i hope that gives you a taste of what we saw during the seattlefling! more images and descriptions of my favorite stops to follow. thanks again to EVERYONE who organized, sponsored and participated this year! it was great to get to know you and spend some quality time together, enjoying the things we love.
i have a few friends that have recently jumped onto the blogging bandwagon, and i’d like to introduce you.
my dear friend maggie, one of my risd landscape architecture grad school co-horts, is finally (hallelujah!) blogging about her californian botanical and public design forays at slotharium. what’s a slotharium? what is a sloth but one of the cutest animals ever! what is an Agave stricta (mexican hedgehog agave) but one of the coolest cacti ever? with a penchant for romantic languages (botanical latin counts in our book) and all things well designed, you’ll be entertained and most likely come away with a fascinating tidbit to boot. head over to her west coast parterre and tell her i sent you.
my wonderfully talented friend jenny is blogging too! she is a printer, of the color-reduction wood type, and is a full-time, self-employed artist at JPOP studio. we are lucky enough to own two of her marvelous works about ecological migrations and disasters. she is a visual story teller that has a lot to say about the environment and how Homo sapiens think they’re helping things along… in a way that is both humorous and disturbing but always compelling. go visit her imaginative backyard in the finger lakes, and tell her i sent you.
ms. laura, another dear risd landscape architecture grad school friend, is venturing into the world of wheat- and dairy-free eating. not one to fear a baking challenge, she’s chronicling her recipe adventures on hey spelty! her posts have inspired me to try non-bleached flour alternatives (hello amaranth, sorghum, millet and quinoa), and so far it’s expanded my gourmet repertoire immensely. pull a chair up to her health-inducing counter in boston and tell her i sent you.
and last but not least, one of my longest-ever friends carolyn is now blogging about all things locally grown, prepared, and performed at manney.time. this gal has a wealth of experience in many realms, where intelligent and slightly sarcastic writing and beautifully detailed photography always stand out as highlights in my book. she’s passionate about what she does, dives in with her whole heart and isn’t afraid to admit when something’s got to change. swing on over to her place in nashville, and tell her i sent you.
i’ve been meaning to post a few pictures from our visit to ithaca, the second stop on july’s upstate ny visit, and our former hometown. we attended a wedding that was held at the ithaca farmers market, one of our favorite stomping grounds. it was refreshing to once again be amongst tall trees and cool water.
elsewhere in town i enjoyed soaking up the sites with good friends and neighbors. there was an art installation on the commons that caught my eye. this installation by jeremy holmes is entitled drawing in the trees.
i was able to check up on the yard that in five years we slowly turned into a garden… but was slightly overwhelmed at the sight of it, so didn’t bother looking too closely… for it’s no longer ours to tend.
instead, i enjoyed the garden of a dear friend. she’s not afraid of color. or of slowly ripping out every blade of grass from her lawn… i love that about her.
it was a wonderful visit. unfortunately, time ran out before we could see everyone we were hoping to see, and do everything we thought we’d have time to do… besides, a girl’s stomach can only handle so much caffeine. but how beautiful and refreshing it all was… xox to you all!
it was a bit chilly on my walk this morning, a whopping 40 degrees, so i decided to wade through the neglected hat and mitten bin to see what friends i could find to accompany me. after donning my favorite fair isle tam (hand knit by an everyday anthropologist) and the first mittens i ever knitted (that have seen better days…), i headed out the door. twenty minutes later, i was sufficiently warm but kept them on, because really – it’s a rare event when i can wear them.
inspired by the russet fall colors that are finally starting to show ’round these parts, i headed toward the garden to enjoy its spare colors.
then i remembered that a box containing thirty Narcissus tazetta ‘Italicus’ was recently delivered from the the bulb hunter. this weekend’s rains prevented me from planting them right away, but this was their morning to snuggle down into the soil.
frost is in the forecast for this evening and tomorrow morning, and the radio professor just mentioned a chance of snow (yeah right)… so snuggle in little bulbs, i can’t wait to see your pretty little faces.
i just found out that my dear friend lynn was recognized by horticulture magazine as one of the year’s top 20 favorite garden blogs! and for good reason too. with her keen eye and sharp mind, she captures beautiful moments wherever she goes – be it in her upstate ny garden, on travels near and far, or with her adventurous and furry companions.
so be sure to check out her blog, sin city to slaterville, and peruse the other 20 favorites as well (both linked above).
we’ve only known each other for a few years, but our shared obsession with plants quickly solidified our friendship. she even inspired me to start this blog… and how grateful i am that she did…
congratulations to you, ms. lynn, and your little beagle too!
last week i headed to the cool northern climes of wisconsin for a little r&r while my husband attended a conference. it was a great trip. lots of walking, garden oogling, connection with friends new and old, and family time in the north woods. here are the image highlights:
monona terrace is a frank lloyd wright designed community and convention center, with a nice rooftop public space. it was designed and built before LEED certification was in vogue, and with minor adjustments, was awarded a silver rating, the first convention center with such recognition.
of course, i found some time to geocache:
prior to our trip, i befriended linda and mark of each little world. they sent me a list of not-to-miss madison sites, then generously offered to give me a personal tour of their garden and others around town. i certainly couldn’t turn that offer down, and we spent a wonderful day together – proof that garden bloggers can be kind, endearing souls…
linda and mark took me to see the first unitarian society meeting house, also designed by frank lloyd wright, and designated as a national historic landmark. in 2008, an historically-sensitive and sustainable addition was built (designed by the kubala washatko architects), complete with green roof and stormwater management system. it has a gold LEED rating. see the previous two links for more info and images.
the light was high and harsh when we were there, and i couldn’t get a good angle to capture the green roof, but you get the idea.
our next stop was the allen centennial gardens on the campus of uw-madison. i actually came here when i was looking for undergraduate schools way back when, but i didn’t recall it looking so good… must be all the efforts that ed lyon, the garden’s director, and his dedicated crew is doing there. keep up the good work, the world needs more horticulturalists!
i admired many plant combinations at allen, and might even be able to try similar ones here in texas.
from allen we headed to the uw-madison arboretum, home to curtis prairie, the world’s first and oldest restored prairie. since acquiring the land in the 30′s, the arboretum has conducted extensive research on planting methods and management techniques such as prescribed fires and storm water management. we only had a bit of time to spend there, but i picked up a book (prairie plants of the uw-madison arboretum by cochrane, elliot & lipke) at one of the local area bookstores, hoping to glean some of its information for a project in texas.
wednesday morning i happily found the madison area/dane county farmers’ market, just down from the capitol. lots of vendors on both sides of the street leading from the capitol to the monona convention center. i bought a locally roasted coffee, a super sugary bear claw, nibbled on some cheese samples (come on now, this is wisconsin), and bought not one, but two pints of organic raspberries that melted in my mouth – the second one i gave to the conference-bound husband.
and then i headed northwest to reconnect with a dear friend in minneapolis…
in the evening we reminisced over a bottle of wine (or two), and in the morning hit the vintage and craft stores, just like we did back in high school (minus the wine part, of course). isn’t it nice to know that some things never change? good times…
then headed back to madison, and from there we headed to the north country to visit my relatives and their farm in the woods of butternut:
we traipsed through tracks of poplar, balsam, birch and red pine.
we were happily put to work on a new garden for my aunt. she had a basic idea worked out, and then the boys and i got to reconfiguring it. we used brick brought from her parent’s hometown of bessemer, and sandstone culled from under the porch of a restaurant just down the road. we dug a good base and filled it with a gravely sand (also found on the property) before setting the brick. good thing someone had a tractor lying around to assist us…
unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to finish, but it’s off to a good start. i can’t wait to see how it turns out!
now my aunt will have even more room for her pretty plant combinations, like the perfectly matched phlox and meadow rue combo that i absolutely fell in love with:
a great trip all around… the greenery, the cool weather, reconnecting with friends and family… i am grateful, and refreshed.
last week i got an unexpected package in the mail:
apricot jam, preserved to perfection by a dear friend just a few states away. purchasing an entire flat of apricots from a farmer she knows well at the market, this jar is a small token of a local craft well tended at many levels. upon receiving such a delectable gift, i called to inquire whether it was gluttonous of me to eat the entire jar teaspoon by teaspoon… to which she replied, no, but her neighbor’s husband is only allowed one teaspoon a week…! i will do my best to savor the remaining sweetness.
here’s to dear friends and sharing the harvest…
…love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go
you have made my life complete, and i love you so…
… love me tender, love me dear, tell me you are mine
i’ll be yours through all the years, till the end of time…
we’ll miss you zekers… hang in there v and b, we’re thinking of you…
hey ms. kate! look what’s blooming on your birthday:
if only some of your bees could carry some of its nectar back to you… here’s hoping you have a sweet one! xoxoxo!