Monday, November 10, 2014

Leaves = Food for the Lawn

And it's free food. Just mince up the leaves with your lawn mower. All the little pieces will be gone by spring. I promise!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lavender Ready for Sachets

Lavender harvested during the summer is ready to be stuffed into dryer sachets. There is a little more to harvest this week.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Nov 2nd and Picking Tomatoes

Latest harvest since I've been gardening in West Boise. Our average last frost date is the first week in October.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Mortgage Lifter Heart-Shaped Tomato

So thankful we haven't had a hard frost yet. My tomatoes are finally ripening. This beauty weighed it at more than 2 lbs.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ladybug Sisters

Big sister larva and little sister larva on the underside of a geum (avens) leaf.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Tenants Have Moved In

One of my experimental insect hotels has residents. Likely, babies, but I don't know what kind of babies....yet.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Re-purposing Fence Pickets

Lettering with a Sharpie. I printed out each letter on my home printer, then pinned it in place and traced the outline with a ball-point pen. That left a slight indentation in the wood as a guideline to fill in the letters. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

This Bee is Loaded

Look at the pollen sacs on this guy. He's buffed up.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Problem Plant

I purchased a tiny pot of this plant at a nursery that specialized in herbs - about 8 years ago. Nurseries should not be allowed to sell this plant. It can be invasive. It hasn't been too bad for me, but has started edging out the black-eyed Susans, so it has to go. It won't be easy to eradicate. It spreads by seed and rhizome. What is it? Chameleon plant (Houttuynia cordata). Another complaint to add to the list: it has an odd smell. I did find the perfect transplant location for it, though :)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Flower Tour: Sea Holly

It kinda looks like fireworks. Sea holly is a perennial that likes to be neglected. You can easily grow it from seed. They are available in a range of blue-purple tones. Even the stems are colored.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Flower Tour: Hollyhock

Another one of those "once you plant them, you have them for life" kinda flowers.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Flower Tour: Orange Lilies

These are so orange-y, I could eat them up. They're cutting-garden flowers. I got the plants from a neighbor who was tearing out some landscaping.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Flower Tour: Deep Purple Clematis

The clematis is blooming. In front of it is mallow, which will bloom just after the clematis is finished.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Flower Tour: Perennial and Annual Mix

Agastache, guara and petunias in the pot, with lavender on the side.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Flower Tour: Clematis on the Arbor

This is a clematis planted last year, to replace one of the Blaze of Glory climbing roses that succumbed to rose cane blight. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Flower Tour: Thyme in Bloom

Creeping thyme is a perennial, with a constant display of flowers until frost. The plant stays semi-green throughout the winter, so I'm able to clip it for the kitchen in any season.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Flower Tour: False Mallow

There are many types of false mallows. I don't know what kind this is. I purchased a plant about 10 years ago. It is not a perennial, but it seeds freely and has spread to several areas of the yard. It's not invasive, however. Pulling the plants up is easy if you don't want them. But the flowers are delicate and pretty, and popular with bees.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Flower Tour: Pink Phlox

For the next week or so, I'll share photos of the flowers blooming in my yard. This is phlox, a perennial.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fairies Live in My Garden

The fairies are settling in at the base of the maple tree.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Tiny Sweat Bee

The sweat bee is an itty-bitty native bee. Some are quite colorful. This one was hanging around a mother wort plant.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fruit-Stripe Gum Flower

This sweet little "million bells" plant reminds me of Fruit-Stripe gum.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Caprese Salad Planter

Patio tomatoes and basil - half of what I need to make a caprese salad. Hopefully by the end of June?

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Fairies Live in My Garden

Accidental garden home. This lantern fell from its hook last year. Kenilworth ivy has moved in...I know fairies will, too.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lawn Mowing Service Damage

I wish I had been paying attention last year, when the guy who mowed my lawn added a single-wheel stand-up attachment to the new giant mower he purchased. It's a commercial mower and is not suitable for residential lawns. The wheel he stands on has killed the lawn in stripes and compacted the soil, especially along the fence and in areas where he turned. I fired him this week and will be working on repairing damaged areas, including some ruts. Arghh. And I am going to learn to mow my lawn, using a battery-operated mower. Details on that later. First step in repairing was to take a pitchfork and work it under the damaged areas and lift them up an inch or so. I will keep repeating this and avoid stepping on the areas for about a month. Just putting soil on top won't fix the problem of compaction. We have to be kind to our turf :)  He also bumped my trees with the new giant machine and that made me sad. Poor trees.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Strawberries Next Month

I don't grow enough for jam-making, only enough for eating immediately out of the garden.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Monday, May 12, 2014

Illegal Onions

Well, I did have an onion in this location last year, so somehow, it reproduced itself? BTW, these are "illegal." Only approved onions can be grown in Idaho gardens. It's really a law!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Hello Peas

Snow peas and snap peas are growing up. The purple netting helped protect the plants when they were small and tempting to birds.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Lipstick Pink Strawberry Flower

Lipstick Pink is the name of this ornamental strawberry plant. I use it as a groundcover. It does produce berries, just not as many as regular garden strawberry varieties.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Helicopter Season

Maple tree seeds are everywhere, thanks to two days of wind. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014


This salvia has been in a pot for about 5 years. Neglected each winter, it returns in the spring and blooms until frost.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Blueberries! Don't do it

Yes, we will have a few handfuls of blueberries soon...but that's all. Blueberries are very challenging to grow in our alkaline soil. You can add amendments and elemental sulfur over and over again, and the alkaline water will wash them away. Containers are the best option. I will be moving these plants to containers later this spring. And while blueberries are yummy, there are many other things we can grow in our soils to make up for their loss in the garden.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Heartache of Hops

The battle of the hops has begun. Yes, I know that hops are highly desired by craft brewers and even bathtub brewers. But in my yard...they're invasive weeds. They spread by seed and by root. I won't win. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tiny Daffodils

Miniature daffodils. Interesting that there are two blossoms on each stem.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Sad Holiday Cactus

My poor holiday cactus. Leaves are turning red. This can happen when the plant gets too much sun, and/or has a magnesium deficiency. I moved it to a less-sunny area and treated it with a foliar spray of epsom salt. I'll spray again in 2 weeks and assess the situation. I will likely re-pot the plant, too.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Digging Some New Garden Tools

 A Pampered Chef Advanced Director loaned me a set of their new garden tools to get them dirty...and I did! These are high-quality tools and they're selling them in different sets, or singly. I used the serrated planter, clippers and what I call the "weed digger" the most. I enjoyed them so much I purchased my own set. Below is how they looked after I used them for a few weeks and cleaned them up. All sparkly again. The only drawback for me was in the size of the clippers. It's not the product's fault. I have small hands and when they're open, I have a tough time getting my paw around them. I like the idea that the company is promoting home-grown food and healthy eating.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Glittery Potatoes

My kiddo planted potatoes over the weekend. She adds glitter to everything she plants. This year, the potatoes are Kennebecs.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Another Garage Survivor

It looked dead. But it suddenly came to life! I put a pot with two lantana plants in the garage before the big freeze last autumn. And then pretty much neglected it except for a couple of sips of water. It woke up this week, so I gave it a trim and moved it indoors for some special care until we have warm days AND nights. Left: what it looks like today. Right: what it looked like last summer. It joins the fuchsia as a "garage survivor." BTW, it is an unheated garage.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What This Country Needs...

Sign seen at Edwards Greenhouse and Nursery.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Grow Lights for Seedlings

Some folks have fancy grow-light systems for their seedlings. I usually just use the window, but it means the seedlings get quite leggy. This year, I'm trying a grow-light. I didn't have a stand for it, so I stacked some classics on each side. I'll add more classics to raise the lights as the plants grow. Some plants have their first true leaves, so I will re-pot them into a garden mix this week. They were started in sterile soil, and once the plants start to grow, they need nutrients from different soil, and a little bit of weak fertilizer.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Lettuce and Arugula

Threw some seeds in a pot a month ago, and soon there will be salad goodies. I grow greens like these in pots to keep slug damage under control.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

First Flowers of the Season

We call them "weeds," but dandelions do have value as companion plants in the garden. Really! Dandelions produce pollen early for ladybugs, lacewings and other beneficial predators. They also help control Colorado potato beetles. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

It's a Tie

Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes, sungold cherry tomatoes and spaghetti squash all broke through the soil today. These seeds were planted Sunday.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Which One Will Pop First?

The little pots with seeds are tucked away under a clear plastic hood to keep the environment moist and warm, in order for germination to happen. A note if you're using these little jiffy-pots for seed-starting. They have to be soaked first and keep a close eye on them. They tend to "wick away" moisture from the soil. 

Another tip: Use seed-starting soil and dampen it first. That way, you don't have to water after you plant the seeds and risk disturbing them. If you keep a lid on the seed-starting tray, you probably won't need to water until you remove the lid once the seedlings appear. 

These pots are often promoted as handy because you can "plant them right in the ground." However, once the seedlings have a few true leaves, they need to be re-potted into larger containers with regular potting soil, and then fertilized with a mild solution. But hey, someone gave me these pots so I'm using them.