20 December 2011

pear future

These little things are pear seeds!
They even look kinda pear-shaped, don't they? I took them out of the core of a few organic pears ate last week. Most of the seeds inside there were flat but the few nice plump ones I saved. Thinking if I could experiment and grow a little apple tree from seed, why not a pear?

19 December 2011

odd timing

I have noticed signs of spring. Fat buds on the trees, and robins in their branches. A neighbor's forsythia down the street trying to bloom, yellow clumps on the ends of its bare branches. And in a public spot where daffodils always bloom, I saw bunches of fat shoots coming up through the mulch. Curious, pulled aside some of the dead-leaf litter around my daylily corner and yep, mine were trying to grow too.
But the coldest part of winter is still around the corner. Did the freak october snowstorm and then this mild, warm weather convince some growing things that it was spring already? if the real cold comes, will these plants go back into their dormancy and sleep, or will they suffer. I can only wait and see.

16 December 2011

corn stripes

My other Dracanea, the Corn Plant, also seems to be thriving since its repotting.
You can see that some of the newer leaves have bright paler green stripes down their centers, whereas the older leaves below the stripes are faded. I don't know if this is because of the age of the leaf, or because less light reaches the lower foliage?
But I do know it's happy again because new young leaves are growing.

14 December 2011

dragon tree

I'm happy to note that the plants involved in my little pot-switcheroo some weeks ago are all doing fine now.
This Dracanea has quite recovered; it dropped a few more lower leaves but is growing some lush new ones atop and overall looks very healthy.
These photos really do not do the plant justice. I love the red edging of the leaves, but can't quite get it on camera.

13 December 2011

rose hips

I have some rose hips, ha ha! I've always admired these small, wild roses that are planted in public spaces, and in a few yards around my neighborhood. This one untrimmed rose that overhangs a sidewalk has pink flowers and such pretty bold green leaves with red edges. The other day I noticed it had tiny red and orange hips, looked like little berries. So I picked some and put them in my pocket.
In another yard on a different street I'd noticed a more modern, large rosebush with some nice, fat hips on it. I had been toying with the idea of snipping some, or asking the people in the house if they'd mind. But I was too shy. What if they wanted to propagate their own roses? what if they thought I was weird, a total stranger knocking on the door asking to cut something off the rose bush? I should have done it, though. Just a few days ago walked by that yard and the entire bush was gone. They had cut it down to the ground. So I know they didn't want their hips, they didn't even want the rose plant.

I don't know when I'll try to grow these. They're in the fridge for now.

12 December 2011


I have some new plants! A little gift for myself. The first is a Croton, also called Jacob's-coat because of its many colors. I thought these were tough plants but after bringing it home read more about it and they're actually quite sensitive to watering (great, another plant that can't use my tapwater).
Hopefully I can take good care of it and keep its leaves brilliant.
It's keeping company with my Phalo right now.
The other is just an ordinary little Poinsettia, but how bright and lovely! I have high ambitions for this plant; I want to follow Thalassa Cruso's directions for letting it go dormant, regrowing in spring and forcing the red "bloom" again next year. It will be a challenge!

10 December 2011

baby crassulas

the little cluster of baby Jades getting so crowded how could they grow
so I gently pulled them apart and replaced spread out (in the same little pot). The parent leaf had some roots so I stuck that back in the soil of another jade pot, just to see what happens.

09 December 2011

dreary mums

The yellow pot of mums is succumbing to the cold and hard frosts. But honestly, I like its appearance better this way. I've never been fond of yellow flowers, and the neon-yellow brilliance of mums seems unreal to me. I like pink better. I didn't know these would get a pinkish hue as they fade to brown.

08 December 2011

young leaf

This is my favorite of the Avocado plants. I took a picture from each side, I'm that fond of its appearance.
It's even growing some new leaves right now!
The other two plants, not doing so well. They're alive, but don't look as nice. The largest, first one I grew still has its awkward shape. And the smaller, third plant is starting to loose its leaves, not happy. Well, perhaps. It has new foliage coming too, but so small I couldn't get a close-up in focus.

07 December 2011

orchid stem

I cut the dying flower stem almost completely off my moth Orchid. It was turning yellow and I was afraid of rot infecting the rest of the plant. This time, instead of dusting the cut end with cinnamon I smeared it with a crayon, having read that wax should be applied to cuts when you prune plants, to keep out bacteria.
The young leaf is definitely getting bigger! I'm not sure how long the plant will rest before flowering again... if it ever does...

06 December 2011


I still have a weedy bed of overgrown Beets out there in the garden. It's the only bed I haven't cleared yet. Must get to it soon.
I made one final attempt to eat a few.
Simmered them a long time until tender, but the taste was still off. Not terribly bitter, not inedible, but not sweet either. Definitely going to compost them all. Blah.

05 December 2011


I've never seen my Garlics grow so much in fall, they've really liked this warmer weather and their deep bed of leaves. Hoping for some fantastic garlics come next summer!

04 December 2011


My Rhubarb all remains well-tucked in for winter with its leaf blanket. The two end plants have disappeared; I hope only with the usual demise of foliage for the end-of-year. But the middle plant, which was the youngest of them all, still has nice big leaves with some fat red stems that almost tempt me to cut and eat them! I think it also got the most coffee-grounds mulch, wonder if that had something to do with its vigor.

03 December 2011


It's turned out to be a nice, long warm fall (after that freak snowstorm in october!). I've long since cut down all the swiss Chard and composted the bug-eaten leaves (had been giving bunches of it to a friend every few weeks, since I wasn't eating it myself) but of course some of the stumps I failed to pull out of the ground are insisting on growing new leaves.

02 December 2011


The pink Cosmos are starting to die, the smaller second-generation plants that seeded of themselves this fall. I've really enjoyed their colors; here's a few photos of them.

01 December 2011


my mother-in-law bought me this pot of chrysanthemums when she was here visiting. I never put it in the ground, it's been brightening the spot outside our door on the porch. The color is so vivid. Never had mums before, although I see them all over the place in the fall, lots of people have them in their yards.

30 November 2011

special honeys II

Even though I first posted about my new foray into tasting "special" and local honeys on my book blog, I'm going to continue it here because it seems to fit more with the gardening stuff.

On our final trip to the amish farm stand a few weeks ago before they close for winter, I picked out one more jar of monofloral honey: Starthistle. It has an amber color, and a sweet taste but with a very warm, mellow, creamy flavor. I don't know how to describe it at all, but I like it very much. It's my favorite of all the honeys so far.

We also brought home from that trip a batch of mix for making fried green tomatoes and I picked all the final Tomatoes off my plants (which have since been cut down and composted). It was pretty good. I didn't eat mine with honey- it makes the baby puke- but dipped my green tomatoes in ranch dressing. A. tried honey on his and said it was delicious with the Starthistle honey. Next year's end-of-tomatoes I'll give it a try myself.

My daughter was surprised the other day when I brought out all the special honeys for her to put on biscuits. She read all the labels and said "which one is the normal honey we get?" I said clover. She said "but we don't have any! You mean we only have speical honeys right now?"

That's right. And even though I can't eat them, I dip my finger in for just a taste every now and then.

21 November 2011


I don't think the Pepper plants will make it through the winter.
They've got some kind of bugs, little white flies. And aphids, though I think those are gone.
I have tried spraying the plants with dishsoap-water until they're dripping. I've set them outside to get chilled- thinking the cold might kill the bugs. I've picked off every damaged leaf and cleaned the rest, by wiping every single leaf with baby wipes and paper towels dampened with water. Every time the bugs come back. They've started to spread to my Avocado plants and I don't want to loose those, so I'm giving up.

I've moved the Peppers outside. If they survive the cold of a few nights, and the bugs don't, I might bring them back in for one last try. But I'm not counting on it.

Oh, and the string of red jalapenos I tried to dry? Just got moldy, threw them out. Of course, you can't cure in cold weather. Maybe if I get more in the summer I'll try again.

20 November 2011


This my Thyme tree was outside on the brick and it grew a lot more lush and green. I've brought it inside for the winter now but realize it's just not as happy inside, so it will be an outdoor plant in the summers...

04 November 2011

late cosmos

My pink Cosmos self-seeded; there are a few small plants growing in the strip by the driveway. The plants are only about as high as my knee and the flowers half the size of their parents', but I'm hoping more will grow of their own accord in spring and maybe I can start saving my own seed of them since I like the pinks...

30 October 2011

end post

It's sunny outside, in a thin cold way with drips of ice. Pretty much the end of this year's pathetic garden.
I still have beets to pull up and throw on the compost, weeds to attack and if I find time -unlikely- crabgrass to uproot. And the lawn needs fall mowing and there's leaves to rake and stash in the shed for next year's composting. Other than that, all done until february when I start seeds again indoors. I'm sure it will warm up some more and the herbs and stuff keep going outdoors, but I'm not planting anything new so it's just cleanup time now.

Thus posting here will be infrequent for the next few months, unless I have something to note about the indoor plants or the weather.

29 October 2011


I never saw it snow so early before; the end of october! Last night dubious of the prediction but just to be safe I tucked my Garlic and Strawberry beds under a blanket of dry leaves
and emptied my last bag of last years' leaves from the shed around the Rhubarb.
I even made things look silly by upending buckets over a few herbs; I want them to get well-established before they face true winter weather so hoping for more warm days after this freak storm.
And glad I did; today among the freezing rain we did get several hours of fat white flakes drifting down. It will all be melted by tomorrow, though. I hope this doesn't foretell a long, cold winter.

23 October 2011

more herbs

The Parsley has been doing wonderfully; I've picked a bit for cooking. Used it in some spanish rice and a chicken fajita recipe recently. Today cut this huge bunch to hang for drying.
Also a handful of Thyme
but I didn't cut anymore sage, or the rosemary. I'm going to let these hang-dry for a week or two, then finish the job in the oven like before.

20 October 2011


My Garlics are already growing! I don't remember any coming up so quick; but perhaps I planted them earlier this time than last.

19 October 2011

jades galore

My amazingly-propogating crassula leaf has sprouted not four, but five tiny plants.
I don't know if this is abnormal at all, but all the other times I've grown jade from a leaf stuck in the soil, only one or two came up, like this other plantlet in a nearby pot.
And just since I'm doing photos of crassula, the one I chopped its top off is now growing quite a few new branches on top.
At some point I'm going to have to cull them out; keep just the plants whose appearance I like best and give away (or compost?) the others. Because I really don't see a need (or space, if they grow up to small-shrub size) to have ten crassulas, which is what I've got now, even if they're all still fairly small.

18 October 2011

red red

I was surprised that my little Jalapeno plant not only is still alive indoors in a pot, but producing more peppers than ever! Just a few days ago I cut off all these bright red babies
and strung them up to dry. Simply threaded my biggest needle, and poked it through them.
I'm so taken by the vivid color I took quite a few pictures.
 To dry/cure well, they're supposed to hang in a place of warm, moving air. The best I can do in our cool, rainy autumn is to hang them in my sunniest south-facing window. I just don't know what else to do with them (until next year when I try canning again)- I had been picking them and keeping in the fridge but they were all turning nasty, not getting eaten fast enough. Hopefully this will keep them until we get around to using them.
There are still more peppers ripening on the plant.

As a side note, I've found clumps of aphids on all three plants, most of them on the biggest, Bell Pepper plant. Sprayed them with soapy water, and a few days when I poked a few clusters and found bugs still moving (more had hatched? or I didn't get them good enough the first time?) I sprayed again, until the leaves were dripping with soapy water. The little Jalapeno plant also had leaves getting bites taken out of them but I found a stink bug and drowned him, so I think that damage has halted.