Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Believe it or not when I am traveling and find myself in a town on a Saturday I will hunt out gardens and garage sales. Such was the case last weekend in Spokane, Washington. First it was the garage sales and then Manito Park gardens.
You must have read how successful I am at finding garden items at such events and I happen to have the transportation right along with me.

This is just a sampling of some smaller items I found. Who can turn down plants in pots when they are only a dollar. As I didn't bring plants with me this year I am happy to have these for the rest of the trip. Then the little wall hangings I am sure to find a place for on an outside wall. Most of the things are already packed away and there are many gardening things among them. I was a truly happy camper!

Our next stop was for a picnic lunch in the Manito gardens, under the shade of large trees, and then a visit to the Nishinomiya Japanese Garden, within Manito Gardens. The garden symbolizes the friendship between Spokane and her sister city, Nishinomiya.

Although small the garden contains many of the elements found in Japanese gardens. The pond is fed by a waterfall which appears from high up between the trees.

Koi swim lazily around the pond.

The Forseen Lantern, a gift from the mayor and residents of Nishinomiya.

Once called the Sunken Garden, but now known as the Duncan Garden, this formal garden is designed along classical European renaissance lines. There is a central water feature and on either side bilaterally symmetrical beds filled with bedding plants. The garden covers a total of 3 acres.

We next visited the Gaiser Conservatory. Tropical plantings and a cactus greenhouse make up the bulk of the plantings.

I love the way this silver ponyfoot was used to drape over the edges of the benches.

And their fine collection of cactus and euphorbias.

There is much to explore here but we were expected for dinner at our friend's log home in Coeur d'Alene. It was going to be a beautiful evening, with a view of the lake from their terrace overlooking the lake.

Lucky us.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


I'm taking a few weeks off hoping that the rest will be good for my back. It isn't unusual for me to leave the garden for long periods of time. Of course it will mean more work when I get home. Maybe the foxes will move in once again as they did several years ago. All the wildlife will be happy for my absence. Here is just a sampling of some of the things we have seen.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Of course you are wondering what on earth these items have to do with gardening.

Apart from the fact that three of them are green you might see little association. But their being green is mere coincidence. The green ball I did buy to make a hypertufa ball. It languished in the potting shed for many months and then found a new life. I hope it is a temporary one and that I will soon be able to use it to make that hypertufa ball.
Several months ago I had one of those unfortunate gardening accidents. I have had many and always caused by my carelessness. Most last a few days. Scrapes, scratches, trapped fingers when building walls. This one was to stay with me...I hope not for the rest of my life. I was pulling out the root of a crossvine when it gave way. I fell backwards barely unable to break my fall with one hand. The wrist survived but something else didn't. For two days I could hardly move. As the weeks went by things improved and then, on occasion, I started to feel a sharp pain in my hip when I planted my foot. Something was really wrong.
These items are the tools I am hoping will make it possible for me to garden again. I have been given a list of back exercises to strengthen the muscles that I have abused over years of bending, lifting, shoveling, wheelbarrowing and falling as I landscaped five gardens.
I wish I had started using these garden tools many years ago.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Last week I picked the last of my green beans, the last zucchini and all the ripe tomatoes. Now I will have to go to the market for my fresh produce. But what will the swallowtail caterpillars do when their food runs out.

 This is my first year to grow bronze fennel. I saw this plant in a garden last year. Three feet high, with gorgeous bronze wispy foliage. A must for my herb garden. Growing it proved difficult in my dry soil. They struggled to stay alive and then were attacked by aphids. I gave them extra care and they began to grow again. Not as I hoped but at least they were still alive. A few weeks ago I noticed swallowtail caterpillars. 21 in all.

They chomped away at the foot high plant. No road runner came by to pick them off. All 21 appeared to survive. The next day I went out to find the whole plant eaten down to the stems. Maybe the thicker stems were enough for them to complete their cycle. I do hope so.

I'll be planting bronze fennel again next year if only for the butterfly show.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


For years I struggled to find a suitable plant for the planter on my front gate. No sun, sheltered from rain and plenty of heat. That amounts to tough conditions. What else would do well in such a spot but a succulent and I found one which brought with it the added bonus of a draping habit.

The plant is Red dragon flower, Huernia schneideriana, a native of Masagascar, South Africa. This is one of my easy care plants as long as I keep it out of the sun. I can leave it untended for weeks on end and although it might become a little shrunken will quickly soak up a drink of water. As summer progresses its tresses become longer and longer. Side branches form which are easily potted up in preparation for new plantings next year.

This is a member of the Asclepiadaceae to which belong the Stapelias. For this reason you might expect the flowers to have a smell of rotting flesh and sometimes called carrion plants because the smell they emit attracts flies which pollinate the flowers.

Would a visitor passing through the gate bend to sniff one of the pretty blood-red flowers? I do hope not becasue rotting flesh is what they would smell. But you do have to get really close to get a whiff.

Friday, July 5, 2013


My success with zucchini, this year, is one for the record books. I finally have succeeded in thwarting the squash vine borer. At least for this year. It has resulted in an outstanding crop of zucchini.

I had to go looking for some new recipes. Zucchini patties have become one of our favorites.

Grated zucchini, parmesan, mozzarella, chopped onion, cilantro, flour and egg combine to make a delicious little savory patty.

This is a new one for me. Acorn squash 'carnival' should take on some pretty fall colors when it ripens. Let's hope the squash vine borer doesn't find it.

Butternut squash should be protected because its stems are solid. Let them try!

Cantaloupes are on the move. In fact they are making a take-over bid on the pathways. That's OK. They should keep the weeds at bay.

Thursday, July 4, 2013


Happy July 4th to our American gardeners. Here we must take advantage of the early morning for gardening projects. Even on July 4th.

We brought home some left over bricks from our son's house remodel. I had a brain wave! Why not pave the greenhouse floor. Would you like to do that? What a player.