30 September 2012

cyclamen update

My Cyclamen plant seems to like the cooler temperatures we've been having. Its foliage looks darker and the stems are beginning to stand up straighter. Ah, well, maybe that's just my own perception- now when I view the last pictures I took of it really it looks about the same. But at least it's holding on okay!

29 September 2012

avocado tall

My Avocado plant seems to have just shot up taller and taller this summer. I was considering pinching out its top to encourage branching, but loathe to do so- it always seems such a shame to remove the freshest, new green leaves. But then discovered that it seems to be branching on its own- near the top of the plant there are quite a few new shoots coming in where older leaves join the main stem:
So I'm going to leave it be for a while longer and see how it does on its own.

28 September 2012

baby pear

I have moved this little Pear grown from a seed out of its pot
and into an SIP. We'll see how it does...

27 September 2012

brown mantis

Another crawly critter my kid recently caught. Brown preying mantis. It's currently living in the mesh-sided bug house, for just a few days so we can enjoy observing it. Been feeding it grasshoppers, crickets, moths and flies. Keeps the kiddo busy catching food for it! I lifted it out on a stick to take some pictures- it liked to hang upside down mostly but I rotated a few of the photos to view it rightside-up.
This last pic is my favorite:

leaf bug

My older daughter caught this insect in the yard. It's wings look just like a green leaf- down to the veins and blemish spots. It is pretty incredible. So of course I took lots of pictures, and then we let it go- in the pepper plants, where it blended in so well I could never find it again even though I've looked! Maybe he moved elsewhere...

21 September 2012

tiny blooms

Some of my herbs are blooming. The Oregano has tiny delicate pinkish-purple flowers.
I've been letting the Stevia plant grow bigger, not cutting any to dry because I want it to flower as well. I realized that since I bought this as a potted plant and it's an annual I won't have stevia next year unless I save seed or buy another plant in spring. Looks like it's almost ready, the buds are forming.

fire plant

I think of my Croton, with its red-and-gold veined leaves, as the "fire plant." It's actually three plants growing in one pot, and recently I took the largest one out and put in its own SIP. It likes frequent watering, so I thought might grow well over the resevoir. I've also pinched the growing tip to see if I can make it branch out more on the lower part of the stem.
For once the plant doesn't appear to have suffered shock from a transplant. It is still sprouting new growth at a steady rate.

I took pictures of it in three different places to see how the background color affected the color of the foliage, just for fun.

20 September 2012

bold beauties

I've been cutting flowers from the garden, a few small vases full of orange Tithonias. In one I added the best pink Cosmos - there's only a few- and in another some seed stalks from the pokeweed. Looks nice. Remembered a trick my mom used to do- put a penny in the vase and something about the copper keeps the stems straight longer. Either that or they just siphoned up the water because a few days later still standing up bright.

18 September 2012


The chrysalis that I failed to photograph the other day hatched out! I realized before it did that it wasn't a monarch after all; the monarch chrysalises have only a small ring of irridescent spots around the base and tip. This one had rows of shiny spots down the length of it, in tiny raised spikes. I took a picture of it empty.
It hatched at my friend's house so we didn't see the butterfly until its wings were half-open. It's a painted lady. Comparing pictures of the chrysalis confirmed that.
Unfortunately, not sure if this butterfly will every fly. By the next day it was still crawling on the deck, wings still partly cumpled. Placed carefully onto a plant but I don't know if it will survive, nor why the wings didn't fully extend. It emerged in open space, so nothing constricted the wings' expansion... maybe it fell and got injured before they were done?

17 September 2012

peppers and peppers

The most abundant edible in my garden right now is hot Peppers!
And I don't even eat them, ha ha. I picked all these on one day last week and gave them away.

16 September 2012


I was so afraid that my little Lilac seedling had seen its last. Several weeks ago I noticed all the foliage was gone; some critter ate all its leaves. I thought it was done for. But recently it has sprouted anew, so I'm hoping it survives through the rest of the year and grows more in spring!

little charlie

My little Creeping Charlie cutting seems a bit happier in its small SIP container. It doesn't look much different yet but if you get close you can see some tiny new leaves sprouting where stems join:
I'm glad it is growing new foliage; that's a sign of health and I hope this one fills out soon.

13 September 2012


We have found two very cool-looking critters in the garden this past week including this huge fat green caterpillar, with yellow accented spots, white hairs and yellow horns on each end. I think it's the caterpillar of the imperial moth (they can be green or brown). I've never seen the moth but this caterpillar sure is a handsome fellow!

The other one was a beautiful little chrysalis, I think of the monarch butterfly. I didn't get a picture of because we took it to a friend's house to show his kid and then left it there. But it is such a delicate little thing with a lovely blue-green hue and jeweled with gold spots that have a metallic shine. It really looks like a little piece of jewelry. I wish I had a pic to show you; none of the ones I find online quite do justice to what I saw.

mock strawberry update

My mock strawberry-turned-houseplant seems to have adjusted well to being indoors in a plastic SIP. It's even growing some new leaves.
I like the way it looks in the bathroom trailing over the windowsill, making a nice visual balance with the cyclamen on the other side.
But it's starting to get some leaf burn. This could be a number of causes- either it isn't getting enough light and is too cold (in which case I just have to move it back to the front-room window) or it's getting too much water (a possibility as it's a drought-tolerant plant) or it doesn't like tapwater and needs to have rainwater only. I think I'll try changing the watering habits first...
On the other hand, it has produced a few tiny yellow flowers and red fruits! I just learned that these plants are not only ornamental, they have a variety medicinal uses and you can make a jam from the little fruits. Who knew! the wonders the internet will teach you...

08 September 2012

root crops

The garden surprised me a little. It's been so neglected I wasn't expecting much of the Beets and Carrots but pulled all the red globes and half the orange roots and found quite a few decent ones!

07 September 2012


Chard is doing really well now that the weather has cooled off a bit. I'm trying out new dishes with it. This is a beans-and-greens dish my mom shared with me. First you cook the dry beans- I'm used to cooking beans with pork fat (trimmings off chops, slices of bacon, what have you) and a jalapeno or serrano pepper for flavor. So this was a bit different for me cooking with pepper and thyme for the flavoring. I did throw some bacon in there like usual, though.
The other half of the dish is prepared by sauteeing onions, garlic and chard and some chopped tomato.
Then you put it all together. I rather liked it, especially with some cheese shredded on top but the kids weren't a fan so I'm still trying out new recipes as I find them!

06 September 2012

new flowers

My youngest crepe myrtle tree bloomed this summer- and its flowers are a different color (one not common in the neighborhood either- most of the plants I see have red, dark purple or white flowers): pale lavender. Very pretty!
My little one thinks them very pretty too, and she's been picking all she can reach!