Monday, June 27, 2011

Virtual Garden Tour: Side of Calm

frida and i in the garden
That's the sound for this part of your Virtual Garden Tour. After the Side of Chaos and the raucous front? We need a little ohm.

pathway to the gate looking out

This part of the garden has been transformed greatly over the past several years. What used to be hot and dry, has become shade and part shade, and a calm transition from one area to another.

pathway through the side of calm

The addition of the bench made it not just a place to pass through, but a place to be in and contemplate. To be still. To be.

The best thing we ever did here was to throw in the towel on the attempt of growing grass as a pathway, and to put in the cedar chip mulch. It has a little bounce to it. And it smells really good.

looking out from the side of calm

This area is home to plenty of garden art, or I like to call it A.R.T.—the capitalization makes it the real deal. I like to think it helps to break up the thick foliage and green.

in context
garden A.R.T.
th lady stands among the euphorbia

Scrambling in the tree is our hummingbird feeder. It's also known as honeysuckle.

honeysuckle in the tree
hummingbird feeder

Look up and you'll discover the tree (Clerodendrum c. trichotomum “harlequin glorybowers”) is full of glass crystals, chimes and bells. It's also full of little white lights at night, or hanging candles.

look up. the tree is full of things.

A photo from last year:
Lights hanging in the garden

The sunlight through this area is so delicate and dramatic (I know, that seems like a weird combination, doesn't it? But it's true.) in the early morning and late day. I think about this when planting, and love plants that have see-through qualities, or the ability to glow when lit (purple feather grass is delightful). I couldn't pass up this begonia at the garden center this year. It was only $5, and it is honkin' huge. I can't stop taking photos of it.

lighting makes the begonia glow
side of calm, early morning
i can't stop taking photos of this begonia.

No really, it's huge, see? Here I am with it for reference.
context for the size of that begonia!

As is with many things in our garden, volunteers exist here too, including these alliums. I let them stay, and love them dancing among the lady's mantle.

alium in the lady's mantle
helloooooo alium

We begin to get a glimpse of the back hangout from here, and a side pathway takes us to a new, serene little sitting area in the shade.

view towards the back
early morning sunshine filters through this calm space

With creepers growing among the stones. And fragrant pennyroyal right where you put your feet when you sit down in the chair. Who doesn't love pennyroyal scented feet?

pathway in calm
pennyroyal at your feet

Wink likes the path, too.

wink likes the walkway too

I have some new toys from IKEA: solar fiber optic lights. Hello to my inner 6-year-old. They're tucked into a few places back here, and here it is in the lady's mantle. I can't stop staring at it. And touching it.

fiber optic light in the lady's mantle
fiber optic lights speak to the little girl in me

Next and final stop on our Virtual Garden Tour? The back hangout!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Virtual Garden Tour: Edibles!

from the front arbor, looking towards the edibles
Greetings and welcome back to the Virtual Garden Tour! Yesterday I had a question on the post asking if we ever tuck any edibles into our garden. Yes we do! And they're tucked in mainly where it is the hottest and gets the most sun, and where we can easily get to from the door to tend to them. It's right in the front of our yard.

from the edibles looking towards the corner

Today we're going to take a look into what we're growing to eat, and I have to tell you, we're not doing quite as many edibles this year as we have in the past. But we are extending the season, with early kale and greens, and I'll seed mid summer for fall carrots and parsnips. In addition to what you'll see here, we also have a few giant black tubs on our driveway full of herbs and soon, bush beans. But let's take a look around...(remember you can click through to the flickr photo and see the notes I've left on the photos with more plant details).

the tomatoes are in

For us, the edibles are in the front yard for good reason: sun! These two raised beds are full of greens, chives, chard, strawberries and after this last weekend, tomatoes. I'm giving a go to the grafted tomatoes this year, and will let you know how they fare. Throughout the season I'll probably be seeding carrots in these beds, and I'm sure we'll tuck in a few other goodies we can't pass up. Like lemon cucumbers.

kale and lettuce
I've grown to really love kale.

chard, chives, kale
I need to harvest that chard and eat it up. Isn't it pretty?

peas, peppers, lilies, fennel, nasturtium
In early spring, this bed is full of tulips. But for now, the sugar snap peas are growing like gangbusters up those front trellises. Later they'll be replaced with pole beans. And oh, that fennel.

um, the fennel is a bit large and in charge
This bronze fennel will grow twice this size during the summer, and die to the ground in the winter. I love its texture, scent and flavor. If you need any fennel seed, you know who to call.

front bed

The barrel is home to basil and parsley and anchors this front bed (and provides the perfect hose guide for summer watering). You can see across the front to the bench in the corner, flanked on either side with barrels and columnar apples. Usually I tuck in some pineapple sage to add scent, color and blooms for the hummingbirds all summer long.

Columnar apples are producing

peas and a poppy, soon to be squash and cucumbers

The far side is one long planting bed, and it's currently home to another monster stand of sugar snap peas. They're about to begin producing like crazy. Once they're done, we'll grow pole beans here, and at their feet we have squash, cucumbers, and I even saw some corn seedling tucked in there recently. We're rotating the tomatoes out of this spot this year so as to give the soil a break.

peas? we have peas! and beyond that, an entire bed of arugula

I told you we had peas. From here you can get a glimpse of the back hangout, pergola and the never ending bed of arugula.

Writing this I realize I need to get some patty pan squash in (one of my favorites to grill during the summer), and some more peppers if we can make it all fit. Make it all fit. Ha!

Tomorrow, we'll return to the side of the house, out of the Side of Chaos and into the Side of Calm. This will be our path....

Path horizontal

Thursday, June 23, 2011

This is not a post about pie

galette: blueberry and nectarine
I know, my fellow pie lovers, it has been a long time since I have waxed poetic about a good pie. And it's getting to be pie time, what with all of the fruit coming into season.

Alas, I haven't made a pie in quite some time, and I think I might make a few galettes this summer instead. Instead of writing about them, though, I'm sending you over to Josh and Brent's blog to read, because I really, truly love the way they wrote about how to make a galette. It's the beauty of the simplicity, how to do it by hand and with minimal measurement, and it made me laugh. You'll like it:

Virtual Garden Tour: Side of Chaos

the side of chaos sidewalk view
Welcome back to the Virtual Garden Tour. Yes, I eluded yesterday to today's post. Chaos! Actually, it's not as chaotic as I think that front corner was. But you can be the judge. I've added some plant details in the flickr files, so if you click on the photos, it should take you through to flickr and you can see my notes on the photos there.

newly planted front side of chaos area

Since we're a corner house, we have a nice big side yard, and part of this side yard has been co-opted as our backyard. Just not this part. This is my fun place to grow showstoppers.

whoa. now that's a crazy side of chaos view

now that's an arbor to walk under

The arbor is a secondary entrance to our front porch, as many visitors, and the mailman, park on the side and walk in from this way. Before this section of garden was here, I noticed the mailman would trek across our lawn when delivering the mail. Instead of working against it, we worked with it, and made this a formalized path.

looking in from the side arbor

This side formerly was edged in spirea, but last fall, they were removed due to size and sprawl. It's funny how "vigorous growers" sounds good at first, but in the long haul, become oversized.

at the side looking towards the front

could it get any crazier?

Several years ago I began to increase the contrast in dark leaved plants in this bed, so as to frame the flowers and lime green foliage of the plants in the foreground. Plus, having a green colored house means it's easy for the garden and house to all meld together.

now that's a lot going on
ooh la la: the impact of it all
from the pathway
bam! smokebush
side of chaos mid spring

Obviously, I'm having a problem with the vigorous bishop's weed, and it is sprawling and taking over the sunny beds. I curse that plant and wish I had never planted it. But here it does play a pretty background to a crazy freaky allium.

alium in the weed from hell

The pineapple broom is in full bloom right now, and its yellow flower is so tasty delicious smelling. Yes, it really does smell like pineapple.
Path horizontal
looking towards the garden gate
pineapple broom

This section of pathway is new, finally replacing the tired attempt at grass paths, and creating a shape and form to hold together the chaos of the plants in this area.

tiny orbs of glass on the wire fence

Little details, like blown glass bits woven into the simple chicken wire fence.

from the sidewalk looking back

A preview of the area this will lead us to, the Side of Calm.

an orphan rose

path into the side of chaos
Tomorrow, we'll venture into the garden gate and into the calm woodland....

one of the gnomes greeting you at the gate