Monday, January 31, 2011

First green is gold

boysenberry first leaf
Thornless boysenberry leaf

Robert Frost
Nature's first green is gold
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.
The first leaf this season, on the boysenberry. I was struck by the gold in the green, almost vibrating.When I revisit the Robert Frost poem, I always forget it ends with sadness, my interpretation of his piece.
Would you think it sadness? Is it possible to have loss without sadness?
I don't know. I do know first green is often gold, especially out in the chaparral after a good rain and especially after a fresh burn.  Funny, there I see the gold as a promise, one of hope.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cilantro blooming

cilantro 2
Even though it is winter, some of my cilantro has bolted. Funny, what a word. My cilantro hasn't yet galloped away though it has matured.  I love bolted cilantro, so pretty and photogenic. Statuesque and fragile, they sport frilly leaves and dainty flowers, all parts still exuding that familiar fragrance. Though I love cilantro and would easily decimate my population, I deliberately leave a few plants. I like how they provide visual variety, the skyscraper height to contrast with the regular guys down below. The other hope has something to do with collecting seeds, though that has yet to happen. One day.

Family Apiaceae, Coriandrum sativum

Thursday, January 27, 2011

First blackberries of 2011

first blackberries 2011
Not the greatest photo, I know, but they had flavor, surprisingly sweet for so early in the year. Outliers, probably from the time in November when we had hotter than summer temperatures. As for the next set of berries? Probably in a few months. There's not even a new leaf in sight.   

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Links for you from Arugula Too

bicolor mallow
The connection between gardening and food is so primal, it's not surprising I gravitate towards posts on food and brew. Beer made at home is part of the new frontier at Casa de Turling. For dessert, it's all about who cares what is it as long as the main ingredient is chocolate, which is how I see this post on double chocolate mousse cake.  Drool. Across the Atlantic, we have this how to on carrageen pudding, not something on my radar before but I'm willing to think about it.

I think we are all in the middle of gearing up for the upcoming gardening year, at least I am. I came across a tutorial on how to clean pruners, something I have yet to do, ever, so I thought it was a good idea to earmark this post.  I have yet to save chili seeds so I'm posting this for my next season, certainly not this year.  For butterfly lovers, I found these beautiful plans for a butterfly garden. If you might be a bit late on tomato seeds like me, good news. One of my favorite commercial sites selling heirloom tomato seeds, Tomato Fest, finished their heirloom tomato seed sale but I see on their site that some of their seeds will still be at sale price for a bit longer. 

Gallivanting around the hillsides studying natural history is on one those long wish lists I have buried somewhere.  I do it the lazy way, wandering around the web instead. Mycology 101 is the topic du jour, with a lesson on birds nest fungus over at Curbstone Valley. I found the post on how to make your own nature journal at Appalachian Feet to be quite inspiring. Instead of blogging, maybe I will end up wandering around the hillsides with my very own homemade diary.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

First boysenberry bloom

first boysenberry
An outlier. I predict the rest will flower muuuuuch later. For reference, last year, I noted the first bloom was in March, around the vernal equinox. I suspect the wild weather we've been having in November and December, especially the hot weather, may have influenced this outlier.

In November, I cut back last year's vines to the roots and rearranged the new canes by detangling them and placing them up on the trellis.  Last week,  I fertilized the canes with aged cow manure, the bag does says organic. This week, the canes were mulched with compost from my garden. I see last year's leaves still hanging on, tenacious, so I think it'll be awhile before we see new growth for this year.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Weeds, slugs and all: we are ready for spring

I don't know about you but I'm just about done with the cold and the mud and the epic rainstorms. I've got toadflax blooming in my garden. Along with my bazillion slugs, I'm ready for spring.

toadflax (2)
Family Plantaginaceae
Linaria sp.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Da leeks

Two months later, and my, how the leeks have grown. Below, you see the leeky darlings from November 2010. Yes, some plants do survive the attack of the bazillion slugs sharing space in my garden plot.
PS I bought the leeks as seedlings from Hayground Organic Gardening, who sell high quality starters at the local Santa Monica Farmers Market. I plan to write more about Hayground in the near future.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Notable posts

12-11-10 234
Bicolor mallow

The following posts caught my eye in the last month or so. First off, Appalachian Feet hosts a blog carnival, featuring posts on how to grow plants, either ornamentals or for food. I've got a link, the one about sweet peas.

It's okay to cut back on brush, says Town Mouse Country Mouse, something I had to do with my bicolor mallow, after a reminder from the city. Sad because it was the only thing blooming in my garden and the migrating hummingbirds knew it.

Highlighting two veggies I've never heard of but may consider in the future. Both come with bonus recipes.
Achocha/Caigua at Appalachian Feet
Queensland Blue Pumpkin at Down on the Allotment

Are you local to southern California? We've got news of a presentation on essential veggie seed saving in Venice, California at the Learning Garden.

Finally, know that I am quite partial to sweet doggie stories even though this is a garden blog so here is the story of Buddy on a blog designated veggies only. Happy birthday, Buddy, who must be a very special dog.
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