Saturday, March 27, 2010

Happy Days

I find it nearly impossible to be miserable in spring. No matter how dark the evening hour, morning brings a new bloom.

These days the wildflowers are flouncing, the peas towering, and the bulbs blazing.

Pictured above is the California native Chinese Houses (Collinsia heteropylla). Named for its pagoda-like structure, this wildflower is found in oak woodlands.

Below are a couple hybrid sparaxis. Bulbs from the Cape of South Africa are generally used to a climate similar to ours (albeit not quite as dry) and lean soils. Here they're growing in decomposed granite, amongst California poppies.

When I first planned this garden I had pretty much one thing on my mind--lure birds. Over the years I've become more absorbed in the plants in and of themselves. And I've added plants purely to feed or please me.

But the birds still come and remind me not to stray too far from my original purpose. Below is a white-crowned sparrow, identifiable by the racer strip on his head.

White-crowned sparrow in ceonothus.

Friday, March 19, 2010


My son and I have been busy in the garden. We're sowing for summer, but we're also harvesting regularly from our fall/winter plantings.

We're--okay, mom is--enjoying salad, salad and more salad. Right now my salads consist of the following ingredients, all from our garden:
  • various lettuces
  • arugula, both the annual and spicier perennial
  • sorrel--just a few leaves cut into strips (chiffonade for you culinary types)
  • herbs: parsley, chevril, cilantro
  • carrots
  • tiny florets of raw broccoli. I'm usually not a fan of raw broccoli, but the fresh stuff is delish
  • pea pods, cut in 3rds (yes, I love those culinary scissors)
  • roasted beet
  • beet greens, in strips add a nice crunch
  • garnish of these edible flowers: arugula, rosemary, nasturtium & manzanita
  • I drop (cut) basil leaves into dressing of 1/2 olive oil, half balsamic vineagar
Speaking of basil: one of mine overwintered and is budding again! You've got to love perennial basil.

We sprouted yukon gold potatoes in the fall and they've topped the large storage bin we planted them in. We got our seed potatoes from Peaceful Valley Farm Supply.

My 3-year-old won't touch salad, but he does like the broccoli and tiny carrots steamed. He enjoys popping open pea pods. And, of course, he'll pick any- and everything.