Flowers for Mothers…

Image

Irises

It’s pretty fun being able to pick flowers right from my garden…

Iris

It’s also very convenient that my mom loves irises!

And as a side note: I have finally recovered from my vacation withdrawal and will be back to posting regularly starting tomorrow.

Tales from the Garden: April Showers, Forgotten Flowers

I am sure I’m not the only one guilty of planting a bulb and then six month later, when it pokes out from the ground, having absolutely no recollection of what it was. Take this little guy for instance. I bought a bag of bulbs from Costco last fall — 30 were crocuses and 15 were daffodils. The other 5 were a species I couldn’t have remembered if my life depended on it.

Top view of a fritillaria

I kept looking at the leaves thinking…hm…a lily of some kind? A few friends thought hibiscus. My husband swore they were alliums. Finally once the first flower bloomed, I showed a picture to another friend who does wedding bouquets as a side business and she figured it out.

Continue reading

Things That Make Me Happy: Spring is Coming!

Image

Spring Crocus

The first of many….

Last fall I planted 30 spring crocus bulbs and I’ve been impatiently waiting for them to bloom. Finally Friday afternoon I noticed I had one perfect bloom in my backyard. After years of thinking that I was born with a black thumb, bulbs are becoming my redemption. For a little effort, you get a whole lot of reward!

Crudités in Clay: An Unexpected Appetizer in an Urban Eden

Being married to my husband is like having a second job sometimes. Not the actual marriage part (that part is fun and games!) but the part where I am his go-to sous chef for off-site events. I’m definitely not complaining — I occasionally get paid and if I don’t, well, I always get to drink plenty of wine which is just as good in my book.

So, just like his pig roast extravaganza, I jumped at the chance to help him do a multi-coursed dinner to benefit the Portland Fruit Tree Project. You can read more about the project here, but the basic premise is to educate people about urban gardening and to help give those less fortunate access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

The 35-person dinner party was held at a house in SE Portland, known as Tabor Tilth. The woman who lives there grows so many different things in her front and back yards it’s actually overwhelming…and overflowing. She raises rabbits, grows corn, keeps bees, has more tomato plants than I could count, and even has a mullberry tree all on her 1/5 acre of residential property. She has a truly fascinating online video in which she describes her very thoughtful and meticulous system for planting and composting (she uses some very unique manure in her yard!).

To complement her creative urban gardening, my husband served dishes like “compost” beef (rubbed in coffee grounds and herbs) and a mullberry sorbet with lime salt. But my absolute favorite thing he came up with was these planters. Part centerpiece, part appetizer, each potted plant harbored hidden surprises.

Continue reading

Tales from the Garden: The Stowaway

A very cheerful marigold

My grandmother is a dedicated gardener. Even though she is in her 90s, she still takes great care of her rose garden and also grows flowers from seed every spring in her greenhouse.

Since I have finally proved that I can keep plants alive, I have been allowed to take home some of her starters. This spring she gave me tiny marigolds that have since grown to a surprising degree. Even though she said they were “tall” ones, I had no idea they got that big — they are past waist-high right now.

But while I was carefully watching their progress, I noticed there was one plant that looked different from all the rest. I was sure it wasn’t a weed as I could remember my grandmother saying she had planted a variety of seeds, but I wasn’t sure what exactly it was.

Until it bloomed:

Continue reading

Backyard Bliss: Losing my black thumb!

Image

Calla Lily in bloom

My husband and I were not blessed with green thumbs. We’ve managed to kill no less than three rosemary plants, a fact that used to make plant nursery workers flinch when we’d try to explain just how bad we were at gardening. But here we are — years later — with plants that are not just still alive (!) but actually flourishing.

It’s a beautiful thing!