Bright and sunny daffodils, along with bright and sunny skies, welcome the month of March here in Oregon . . .Pin It
Wow, we grow BIG tomatoes around here! I love garden-fresh tomatoes – my only problem is, I eat them as fast as they can ripen, so I end up having very few to make into sauce (even though we planted four large garden beds in tomatoes this year, totaling over 24 plants!)Pin It
I’ve been busy harvesting and then trying to find enough uses for our garden bounty around here! This week:
* I bought blackberries at the farmer’s market (we picked some, but it takes forever, and the ones at the market are so much bigger and juicier!) and put up blackberry jam using almost no sugar with Ball Low or No-Sugar Pectin.
* I dug carrots, onions, and potatoes and used this recipe to make an oven-roasted vegetable medley.
* In a desperate attempt to use up our prolific zucchini, I’ve made this chocolate zucchini bread with applesauce (which makes it at least a little healthy, right?) and these zucchini parmesan sticks. I can’t take credit for the photos – they’re from the recipe pages – mine weren’t near as pretty, but definitely delicious!
I think that one of the most stunning ways to landscape a walkway is to edge it on both sides with lavender – I still remember the front walk at a bed & breakfast on Lopez Island in the San Juans, where we stayed every year, and when we had our house built, I wanted a front walkway just like that. Because I had so much room to work with here, I added lavender borders in the rose garden and the walkway leading up to the vegetable garden, too.
And, as an added bonus, the bees in our hive seem to be particularly grateful for the lavender – the bushes fairly hum when you’re near them right now! I’m looking forward to the idea of getting lavender honey in the fall.
Every time I plant new lavender, I try out a different variety – I don’t make note of all of the names, but it’s amazing how different they look! Some have grey foliage, some grow more in a bushy mound, while others grow tall, straight stalks. I’ve got Spanish lavender planted on sunny berms, and even pink lavender:
Advance warning – I went a little crazy photographing all of the hydrangeas in my gardens today! To be fair, we have at least a dozen different varieties, and they’re all so drop-dead gorgeous that I can never choose a favorite . . . so this time, instead of trying to choose, I’ve included them all I love how many different ways there are to highlight the beauty of hydrangeas in photos, but in truth, nothing can match how transfixing they are to me when I stroll through the garden at dusk, just as the sun is setting.Pin It
This is what the view looks like right now when you stand under my snowbell trees and look up And the fragrance is amazing!
I love growing flowers, but just don’t have a knack for arranging them A friend of mine came over this weekend and we wandered through the yard with our clippers – I never remember to cut enough filler plants for greenery and background color! Here’s what she came up with – aren’t they beautiful?
Here’s my attempt with the leftovers:
I think that the key is not to worry too much whether different flowers “go together,” because sometimes the strangest color combinations look really good together! What’s most important to to have a variety of textures, colors, and a mixture of some “spotlight” blooms, combined with textural greenery and foliage. It’s more time-consuming than just cutting a bunch of the same flowers and tucking them into a vase, but I really like the resultsPin It
This honeysuckle vine grows over the entrance to my rose garden – it blooms only a few times a year, so I make sure to really appreciate it when it’s this beautiful!Pin It
I love to grow flowers, but I’m not very skilled at how to display them, especially when it comes to combining different varieties, or when they don’t all have long, straight stems. For example, I have this wonderful old-fashioned yellow rose bush, but the roses grow on short, weak stems, and tend to droop downwards. Here’s my latest attempt at finding a way to cut and display them to best effect:Pin It
I’m working on cultivating an ever-growing field of irises:
They’re wonderful flowers – drought-resistent, need very little care, and can grow in poor soil. The only major maintenance issue is that they need to be divided every few years – which is becoming a real task, given how many I have growing now!Pin It
The delphiniums are in bloom! I’ve tried to grow these gorgeous perennials for years, with minimal success – mostly, I think, because of slugs and possibly the other mice, voles, etc we have so many of in the garden who like to nibble on fresh new plant shoots.
However, this past year, I moved all of the delphinium plants into my new raised beds, and as you can see, they really like it here! I think that after the blooming season, I’ll move the lilies that are sharing the bed with them and plant a full bed’s worth – I’d like to get some in whites and light blues, to round out my blue to purple color spectrum.
I think that delphinium growing in the garden are beautiful, particularly in big groupings up against a fence or a wall. Unfortunately, I need to grow mine in beds, which doesn’t give the same effect, but I think they’re still worth growing. They don’t make the best cut flowers – I combine them with other varieties in a vase for best effect, and when they die, they really make a mess, shedding petals everywhere. That’s why I like them best growing in the yardPin It
I love putting in new herbs each spring – although I confess that they end up being a lot more ornamental than actually being used in my kitchen I do get a lot of use out of the basil, and sometimes the cilantro and parsley, but the rest often go forgotten. So, my goal this year is to use more fresh herbs in my cooking.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with herbs for ornamental purposes. The chives (above) are so beautiful when they bloom! And there’s nothing quite like the bright, fresh green and smell of mint leaves (below).
I’m reusing my wine boxes as herb boxes – I think I can get one more year out of them before they fall apart.
And, after thoroughly washing out the mason jars and putting in new drainage rock and potting soil, I’m giving the mason jar herbs another try, as well.Pin It
Mother Nature gave me a wonderful Mother’s Day gift today: blue sky, sunny weather, about 70 degrees and a light breeze. On days like today, there are few places more beautiful than Oregon! Here’s what I saw, wandering around my yard with my camera this afternoon:Pin It
I always pictured the drive up to my house being lined with flowering cherry trees, so that it was like walking through a tunnel of cherry blossoms . . . the years later, my baby trees have grown into exactly how I envisioned them!
To me, cherry blossom season is always a reminder to stop and smell the flowers – literally – because they bloom for only one week of out of the entire year, or two at most. It always makes me think about how fleeting most things in life are, and how important it is to take the time to enjoy them while we can. All it takes is a few days, a spring rainstorm, and a little wind, and I won’t get to marvel at these beauties for another year!Pin It
Autumn Joy sedum darkening from rose to mauve, the last of the Black-Eyed Susans, and big rosy-red rose hips . . . sure signs of fall in the Pacific Northwest, my favorite season!Pin It
To me, dahlias epitomize the beauty of late summer – just when everything else is reaching the end of its bloom, and the rest of the plants are looking bedraggled from all the hot days, here come dahlias!
Another reason I love these flowers is because of the huge variety of sizes, shapes, and colors they come in.
Because I was married in September, dahlias were featured prominently in my wedding bouquets. They are long-lasting when cut, and brighten up any room!Pin It
We’re so excited around here that our peach and plum trees actually bore fruit this year! In fact, not just fruit, but beautiful, unblemished, edible fruit :0
In fact, our plum tree has gone “plum crazy” (ha!) I have no idea what I’m going to do with all these plums . . .
The asian pears make a wonderful coffee cake that I will bake as soon as there are enough:
Since we’ve just rebuilt the fence around our veggie garden (blogged here), I’ve been looking for a decorative way to top each of the new fence posts. I wanted something artistic and fun, but it couldn’t be too expensive, because I had over 20 posts to top!
Last week at the Silverton Arts Festival, I found the perfect solution: rusty birds These cut-out shapes from naturally rusted metal are inexpensive but oh so cool. I bought a whole variety of shapes – nuthatches, robins, chickadees, wren, sparrows, cedar waxwings, etc. I also splurged on a couple of larger sizes to throw in the mix, including a meadowlark, a bluejay, and an owl.
We mounted them on sheets of flexible copper, to protect the cut ends of the fence posts from water and weather.
And, as the final touch, I bought a pileated woodpecker to grace the large post at the entry of the garden.
You can order these rusty birds online here. Check them out!