Friday, August 31, 2012

Sloped garden plan...

Found this photo while searching the internet for sloped garden alternatives.  Ours is just barely sloped along the back fence and this would work just right.  Ray says it's a "can do" plan and this is what I'm hoping to have in place for spring planting next year.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Here's a green spider making itself at home on a rhubarb leaf in my garden.  This is the first time I have tried to grow rhubarb and, so far, it's healthy.  In this its first season, there are only a few stalks that are ready to harvest, just enough for one strawberry/rhubarb coffee cake.  Wouldn't you know, this spider decided to claim the very stalk, the very one that I intend to pick this very day.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Summer 2012

 Nearing the end of July.  The determinate, container tomato that I planted into the ground several months ago is at full maturity and bearing nicely.  I have had few problems with tomato worms on this variety.  In June, I purchased another kind of container-type tomato for a late planting, which I put into a container.  There are only two tiny tomatoes so far and the plant has just begun to take hold and flourish.  It is healthy so far; I'll want to know how it does as we move toward fall. 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Calendula officinalis...

Calendula officinalis.  These are the easiest, most delightful plants to grow.  I have had outstanding success growing Calendula from seed, as well as from transplants bought at the nursery.  I started collecting and drying the flowers as soon as my plants began to bloom.  Picking flowers encourages the plants to continue blooming instead of going to seed.  After picking the flowers, I allow them to dry completely, then separate the dried petals and place them in a nice jar, tucked away from bright lights to preserve their rich orange color.  My first batch of Calendula oil is currently in the making. The petals are steeping in an olive oil base; one part dried petals to two parts olive oil.  The warmth of the sun releases their colorful medicinal properties into the oil.  I will let this mixture steep for about two weeks.  My goal for this batch is to make a small supply of Calendula Salve for my medicine chest.

Dream on...

View of back area of property

Well here it is, a panoramic shot of the back area of our yard which I am thinking of tearing up to make into a potager/kitchen garden.  Or maybe a serenity garden? a place with an inviting backyard structure?  Am I crazy?  Our yard is already landscaped, practically maintenance-free; that's the beauty of this property.  Right now we have a very wide expanse of lawn; not water-wise to be sure, given the off and on drought that plagues Southern California.  In the very back against the fence, see the dirt area?  That's where I putter.  I have a plan to create an herb garden on the slope.  That should be enough, but I dream of more...  Why oh why did I make that Herb Roasted Chicken?  It was so good, moist and delicious; I used rosemary, sage, thyme and parsley fresh from the garden.  I grow herbs in containers, but I dream of a kitchen/herb garden with raised beds, separated by walking paths, surrounded by a country fence.  Going out into the garden to pick fresh herbs for cooking is a heavenly thing to do.  I imagine myself out there in the sunshine.  Where we live, there is a homeowners' association; no livestock, e.g., chicken coops, etc.  Otherwise, I'd also consider putting in a small chicken coop.  Well, OK!  I have never picked up a real live chicken, but imagine!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Bees swarming...

Reading up on bees swarming, this is that time of year.  We experienced a bee swarm just recently here at the Casita.  Overnight a big bowlful of buzzing bees had gathered and formed a tight huddle under the old wooden bench in the back garden.  This was not a good situation for Henry or me as we are constantly in that part of the garden, and so I called a good company that removes bees alive and intact.  The beekeeper and his wife came to see the swarm in the afternoon.  "A healthy bunch of honeybees" he said with a smile.  The bees remained huddled, a handful of strays buzzing around.  "Those girls are coming home to join the hive."  Now I have never thought of honeybees as "the girls" but the hive is 99% female after all.  We agreed, and I didn't mind if he took the bench as well, and so Mr. Beekeeper came back the next morning before dawn, as promised.  When I woke up at 7 a.m. they were all gone, the bees, the beekeeper, and the bench.  It's a good feeling, knowing that those honeybees are out there in a field or on a sunny hillside somewhere, free to build their hive without disturbance, and that there is a friendly beekeeper who watches over them.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sweet Valentine's Day; 2012

Surprise!  Pink roses because he knows I love them,
but does he know that I love him more?  Yes, it's true.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Lavendar Sprigs and Parsley

First tussy mussy of the season from Calico Quilter's Garden.
Simple sprigs of lavendar and flat-leaf parsley
are charming in a clear glass container.  Their fragrance is fresh and delightful.


For the universe is infinite
And all paths lead Home

~author unknown~

"In his domain over agriculture, Kokopelli's flute-playing chases away the winter
and brings about spring."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pre-spring planting...

It is about 11:30 a.m. when this picture was taken; note that garden is in the shade.  This part of the garden gets full sun around noon, then it's sunshine for most of the rest of the day.  Soil has not been prepped properly, but planted these anyway for the pleasure of simple gardening.  Curious to see how these plants will thrive as is.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Late winter plantings...

Pansies, violas, and especially Johnny Jump-ups, are some of my favorites.  These are what I plant as soon as they become available at the nursery, in the late winter/early spring. 

Calico Quilter's Garden 2012...

Red geraniums
(Photo by C.K. Paz; 1/18/2012)
Calico Quilter's Garden is my very own garden blog where I can post pictures from my garden and keep a gardener's diary.  This year I'm thinking of a cottage garden full of herbs and flowers, planned for the back half of the property.  There's much to be done but I will manage.