May 31, 2012


We already have fruit on our tomato plants!

Sun Gold Cherry Tomatoes

I'm pretty sure this is a yellow currant tomato plant. 

I was hoping some of the tomatoes could be coaxed to grown down out of the deck planters. Time will tell. 

(Like the web? We have a ton of spiders this year. They're all quite cool looking so no one has been evicted.)

Zinnia! The purple ones are grown from the seeds I saved from last year's Zinnias. 

First nasturtium blossom. 

Tried to put all the flowers on the deck in view of my office window. (Hate to give up the veggie space but I did make a few exceptions.)

A rapidly growing vine is growing down out of the containers in the "play" area. Hopefully it will soon cover up the post that may or may not be exactly level.

Now for the front yard.

This area is 100% shaded and 95% tree root. Every year I add more dirt and more mulch but don't have much luck.

We do finally have a couple of enormous hostas (after a decade's work) and I'm starting to figure out what else might possibly grow here. The latest attempt is coleus. For once I would like something in a color other than green in our shaded gardens!

Across the way we have hydrangeas I've been attempting for years. I finally did some reading and realized I'd been pruning them back incorrectly, inhibiting them from growing properly the next Spring. This year I followed the rules, we had a really warm winter, I added a bunch of soil amendments and voila:

And one last angle of the deck & planters:

It looks less crowded, but mostly because I moved a bunch of plants to the yard, and assorted junk to our storage closet.

May 17, 2012

May 13, 2012


I fought the ivy--

and the ivy won.

The latest place I broke out on a poison ivy rash? Belly button. The only place not protected by this stylish getup.

May 3, 2012

Ladies' night

Two days ago I released about 50 lady bugs. The rest are going with me to preschool to show the kids. This year I got some nice healthy ones and followed the directions on the container (release them at night) and a ton of them actually stuck around.

 We have a very long soaker hose on a timer that goes between 3 raised beds. In past year's it's just dripped on the paths, making huge mud holes. This year I wised up, bought some PVC pipe, sawed it up, fed the hose through, and yada yada yada I'm the smartest woman alive.

 Get a room!

Scared? He's there to keep away the beavers, squirrels, etc. Gives me the creeps every time I look at him. 

May 2, 2012

Secret garden

Last week I took a business trip to Chicago. I arrived at O'Hare at 7 am. That's when my plane landed. I hadn't even gone to sleep the night before for fear I would oversleep. My first meeting wasn't until noon, and I knew it was too early to get into the hotel. I went in search of a nap zone. I saw an add for the O'Hare urban garden and set off in search. I found this gem between terminals 2 & 3 on the second floor. 

Apparently no one knows about it, because I slept up there for 3 hours in some super comfy chairs. The only other people who came up to hang out were pilots.

 Love this picture because it kind of seemed the pilot might be sneaking a bite here and there.

 Watching planes land and jalapenos grow.

It reminded me so much of the Epcot exhibit I loved as a kid.

Each  plant was labeled and also indicated which airport restaurant served the produce. After seeing this I just craved fresh veggies; I ate more vegetables in 24 hours than I have all month.

Next time I fly through O'Hare I'm scheduling a nice, long layover and showing up with a bowl, fork and some salad dressing.

May 1, 2012

Self portraits

Three weeks ago I went to my kid's preschool, talked about how plants grow, and then we planted grass seed in cups. Today I went back and we decorated them and cut the hair. Rather than carefully sculpting most kids preferred to go for the buzz cut, or rather just cut and cut until we finally told them no more.

(One of those cups is mine but I'm not telling you which one as I'm not convinced it's even close to being one of the better ones.)

There's nothing quite like picking up grass clippings off a preschool floor after they've been accidentally coated in glue and stepped on by 9 kids. Sorry, Mr. Janitor!

Red clover, red clover...

Last winter I planted several cover crops. I waited too late in the season though, and the clover didn't have a chance to bloom. The annual rye grass looked awesome all winter, but never did die because it never got cold. I had a great patch of green all winter, but now can't get rid of the stuff no matter how hard I try.

Here is one little seed of red clover that fell into the crack in my raised bed and prevailed. 

Beautiful! It was hard to capture on my iPhone camera, but it's a very deep red. Looks like a raspberry from afar. I was considering ditching the idea of cover crops for this year but now I'm reconsidering.