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I am moving my gardening posts over to my main blog a Slice of Life Writing. I hope you’ll join me over there!

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Meconopsis – Blue Poppies

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Last weekend it was Blue Poppy Day at the Rhodendron Species Botanical Garden. The weather cooperated and Gerry and I spent a lovely afternoon walking through the garden. An array of rhodys of assorted colors and shapes are in bloom right now.

And many other pretty and unusual varieties of flowers were in bloom as well.

But it was the meconopsis we came to see. The Blue Poppies. There were even more spectacular than I had anticipated.

Alongside the meconopsis was this big boy. I asked Gerry to stand beside it to give a sense of how tall it was.

Cardiocrinum giganteum.

Giganteum indeed!

After we finished touring the botanical garden we strolled through Weyerhaeuser’s Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection.

It was a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

Oh, and we made a decision. We’re going to have to buy a second camera because I’ve adopted the very nice camera Gerry bought for himself a couple of years ago for my own. Dualing cameras. I can see it now.

Meanwhile, Back at the Worm Hotel . . .

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It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day here in the Pacific Northwest, and a perfect time to check in on the Worm Hotel.

We’re up to three stories now and those worms have been busy.

According to a woman at the Pacific Northwest Flower and Garden show, if I move the bottom bin (the one that’s been there the longest; the one where the “good stuff” is) up to the top position the dark-loving worms will make their way down to the lower stories thus emptying the top bin.

I’m sure that would have happened if I had waited long enough. As it was I was impatient and all of the guests hadn’t vacated their rooms before I started harvesting the “fruit” of their labor. No matter. I just picked the stragglers out and relocated them to a lower floor. I saw lots of baby worms in the mix too. That must be evidence that the worms have settled in and are comfortable enough to start raising a family!

Just look at this incredible vermicompost! What was once coffee grounds, vegetable peels, egg shells, and assorted other materials is now nutrient-rich fodder for my garden. The Worm Hotel takes up very little space, the guests are quiet, all in all it’s a pretty good situation, I’d say. I spent some time spreading this gift from my red wigglers over my garden after planting more lettuce, beets, and getting my squash in the ground.

Then, I pulled out the camera to check out what’s been happening in the yard.

The azalea is just coming into bloom.

I planted yellow tulip bulbs last fall to compliment the striking black ones I enjoyed last year. I like the combination.

The wisteria is just barely starting to flower. I can’t wait until it’s in full bloom!

It seems like the trees have donned their summer outfits. I think they look quite lovely, don’t you?

I picked up these yellow mums and black petunias at Lowes today. I’ll plant them in pots tomorrow. I think they’ll be a striking combination together.

Finally, I sat down with a cold glass of Chardonnay and my camera to try to capture some photos of my avian visitors. Maya, one of my Yorkies–who thinks she’s a bird dog–would have none of that and scared them all way.

For the past few weeks, starting slow, I’ve been putting the tomatoes outside during the day to begin hardening them off. I woke up at 3am this morning and realized I had forgotten to bring them inside before I went to bed last night. I left the girls sleeping on the bed (Gerry is away for the weekend or I may just have woken him up!) and headed outside to rescue my plants. It was a blessing in disguise because as I stood outside and listened to the frogs and the crickets and felt the brush of the cool night air on my bare arms I was blessed. As if it was all meant to be.

After a moment I brought the tomatoes inside–they were none the worse for the adventure–and now I’m debating about whether or not I should put them in the ground. I’ll do some reading about the best time to plant before I make any rash decisions though.

All in all, it was the kind of day I live for and this evening I feel blessed and content. Now I’m off to make dog food for the girls. Lord willing I’ll have enough time to get back outside and enjoy the remainder of the day on the patio.

I hope your day was as fulfilling to you as mine was to me.

When Grandpa is Away . . .

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. . . Grandma has to play!

In the dirt of course!

It’s finally a sunny Saturday here in the Pacific Northwest just in time for Easter. In recognition of this season of new birth my first radish sprouts are poking their heads up in the garden.

I just noticed that there appears to be a bit of a chew off of one of those leaves. Uh oh…time to start the slug war again.

It’s 100 degrees in my greenhouse this morning. After puttering away for a while out there I’m in need of a shower! But oh the humid heat felt good to this grandma’s bones.

I spent some time tending to the Four O’Clocks. They seem to be happy.

I divided the chocolate mint, oregano, and parsley plants I kept over the winter. Root bound? Oh my, yes they were!

Why yes! That is a zucchini blossom!

I brought the tomato plants out for some sun bathing.

I’m soaking more peas in preparation for the next round of planting tomorrow. Also soaking morning-glory seeds for tomorrow’s planting adventure.

It’s been a good morning. Now, I’m off for a shower and a pedicure. That’s the other thing Grandma likes to do when Grandpa is away.

Happy weekend, and a blessed Easter.

Glorious Spring!

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Oh what a beautiful day it was here in the Pacific Northwest! After some cloud cover this morning (during which time I enjoyed coffee and conversation with some writing friends) the clouds rolled away and the sun came out!

During the week, Gerry braved the less-than-perfect weather and assembled my newest raised beds. We had soil delivered yesterday and he spent the morning moving soil from our driveway to the backyard to fill the beds.

By the time I got home from coffee time with my friends, he had gone golfing and the raised beds were calling my name.

I spent the afternoon planting. Yes, I’m a happy and contented Grandma this afternoon! In the ground: beets, carrots, kale, lettuce, and radishes. Soaking in preparation for planting tomorrow: peas.

I was also blessed to be able to spend some time in my new greenhouse where I planted more Four O’Clocks and transplanted some Sedum I over-wintered into teacups I brought home from our last trip to the “Old Country”. These cups once belonged to my Mom. The photography does, in no way, do them justice. I’ll try again in a few weeks.

The sunshine inspired me to grab the camera and take some pictures of the miracles happening everywhere right now.

Crocuses remind me of Saskatchewan for some reason.

Confession: almost anything can remind me of Saskatchewan if I allow it to.

Nothing says “spring” like the cheerful yellow of a daffodil!

I can’t wait for the hyacinth to bloom! The perfume is heavenly!

A visitor stopped by to feast on the last of the suet.

I spray painted some containers with a flat black paint. They are now making their home in my greenhouse, storing heat to keep my plants warm.

Maya enjoyed basking in the warm sunshine.

And at the end of the day, when Gerry and I were aching from the unaccustomed effort our bodies endured today, we sat on the patio sipping a glass of wine considering how blessed we are.

It was a good day.

And So it Begins

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First of all, I want to make it clear that I consider myself a novice gardener. I lament the lost years when I didn’t garden at all, and the time lost when I could have been learning more about gardening. What’s that old saying? “Too soon old, too late smart.”

Anyway. At the risk of overusing clichés: better late than never, I say.

I talked Gerry into bringing in the handy-dandy green house he bought for me last spring.

I moved the terracotta pots I had next to my kitchen sink into it.

The large one in the middle is a celery plant. I learned a trick from Pinterest about growing celery from the celery you buy at the store. On January 1, with a fresh head of celery I bought to make turkey soup, I started this plant. It’s doing pretty good.

The other three pots are herbs I’m attempting to overwinter. They just had a haircut yesterday so they don’t look too good at the moment. Parsley, oregano, and chocolate mint. I’ve been harvesting herbs all winter.

Then I settled in and made some newspaper pots. I’ve been wanting to try this for a while. I’ll be making a lot more, but this is a good start.

Here’s a video I found with instructions on how to make them.

Nothing planted today–just planning and preparing.

But it feels good.

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Grandma’s Glog

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We’re cleaning up after a devastating ice storm here in the Pacific Northwest. It is almost hard to imagine warm, sunny days, with my hands dirty from digging in the garden, but that’s what I’m doing.

The seeds I ordered recently arrived in the mail yesterday, and my new worm compost bin arrived a few days ago. My thoughts are turning to spring and the plans I have for my garden this year. It will be a year of learning new things as we start up the worm composter and put in new raised beds. I’m planning to start most things from seed this year; that too will be a new experience for me.

This will be a place to chronicle the journey and to capture what I learn  in my 2012 gardening adventure.

My glog. My Gardening Blog.

I hope you’ll travel with me on the journey.

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