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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.

A Happy Mother’s Day

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I could not have wished for a more perfect weather day today. That it’s Mother’s Day and I have been blessed to talk to my kids has made it absolutely perfect.

Around the garden, the peas have been enjoying the warmer days.

We (actually Gerry) put up the netting for the sweet peas today.

The I put some grass clipping mulch around the beans today. They’re doing well and we’re looking forward to a wall of beans in the summer months.

The spaghetti squash is growing.

I put tomato cages inside of the Walls O’ Water because I had a problem with a few of them falling down nearly crushing my precious plants.

The hosta looks happy.

It won’t be long until the peony is blooming.

The wisteria smells, and looks, heavenly.

And I’m still smitten with my petunias.

I hope you’re having a wonderful Mother’s Day too!

Tomato Update and My New Favorite Petunia

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Well, they’re in the ground.

Two Red Delicious Cherry, two Pruden’s Purple, two Stupice, and one lone Brandywine. (Alas, I’m sad to report I lost one of the Brandywines. I had two more started in the greenhouse but after a certain mishap this afternoon I now have one left in the greenhouse.)

Three of them are tucked safely in under Walls O’ Water because there were only three in the package I purchased this morning. The rest are under glass cloches for the night–it’s a contest to see which ones turn out to be the happiest. I’m loving these Walls O’ Water though, and sorely tempted to purchase more tomorrow.

This afternoon I laid drip irrigation and covered the bed with this red plastic that I recently learned is especially good to use for tomato mulch.

Then, I dug seven holes and filled each one with a concoction of three baby aspirin (my “recipe” said to use one regular aspirin but I couldn’t find any in the house), bone meal, worm castings (thank you Worm Hotel!), and fish parts. We were never able to find the coveted fish heads, but got fish tails and other assorted parts from the meat counter person at Fred Meyer.

After filling each hole with water and waiting for it to drain, I gently settled the tomato plants into their new homes. Some of the plants still had remnants of the original newspaper pots I had planted seeds in. That was kind of cool to see.

I’ve come farther this year than ever before in my quest to grow tomatoes from seed. Now that they’re in the ground I’m almost holding my breath waiting to see if they’ll “take” and be happy. It’s true. A mother’s work and worry is never done. Even for a tomato plant mother.

On another note we spent a fun morning visiting a couple of local nurseries while was on my quest for the Walls O’ Water and I found the most unusual petunias I’ve ever seen!

The photography in no way does justice to this flower because at the time I was struggling with not allowing myself to go across the street and do bodily harm to the neighbor who had been using a power-tool of some sort for the past hour.

(Headache? Well yes, I certainly did have a headache by that time.)

Nevertheless, isn’t this the most unusual petunia you’ve ever seen! I bought three plants and can’t wait to see how they look in a month or so!

I also picked up a few flowers to put in my strawberry pot.

And Gerry bought a Himalayan Blue Poppy plant to replace the one he finally confessed to killing a couple of years ago.

All in all, it’s been a great day. Hoping for sunshine and warmer weather tomorrow though.

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.

Rain, Rain, Rain

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There is not much to report from Grandma’s Garden these days because incessant rain has kept me from doing a lot of what I had hoped to have done by now. No lettuce in the ground and no peas planted.

Nevertheless, there are signs of spring everywhere.

The daffodils, narcissus, and crocuses are blooming. Sadly, the daffs and narcissus appear to be bowing their heads to the rain.

The heather seems to be enjoying the spring showers.

Gerry braved the rain today to install three new raised beds and my new greenhouse. (I’m very excited about this new addition to our yard!

We took a trip to Reber Ranch today to check out the new chicks and chicken coops. I’m still wishing we could have a couple of chickens, but I guess that will have to wait until we retire in a couple of years.

If you’re looking for me next weekend–rain or shine–I’ll be out in the greenhouse!

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