"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Farm Fresh Eggs From A Very Good Friend

Our good friend Jason is so kind to share his farm fresh eggs with us.  I love the blue colors and the chickens are so pretty.  Thank you Jason (and your Mother) for these wonderful eggs.

The hard working little hens!

"Home Sweet Home"

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Calendula Flower Cake, Pot Marigolds and Easter Ideas

Today I decided to make this pretty Calendula Flower Cake. The recipe is from Cooking with Herbs by Emelie Tolley and Chris Mead copyright 1989.

I have an abundance of Calendula flowers blooming right now (you may know these as Pot Marigolds) mostly orange flowers with a few yellow coming in too.

Such a pretty cake for Easter Dessert...

The wind began to blow, petals flying everywhere...

I added Lemon Zest to the batter, this is not in the original recipe but I have lots of lemons right now.  The cake turned out nice. You frost it with a Boiled White Icing; I know this as 7-Minute Icing.  Make sure your cake is completely cooled before you begin  frosting.  Press finely grated coconut into the frosting before it sets, and then top with the Calendula petals.

 Make sure you only use organic, pesticide free flowers.

Rinse well and pull the petals from the flower heads

Then drain well before placing on cake.  Do this ahead of time so they are sure to be dry.

I used raw sugar and a reduced fat coconut, but real butter and whole milk.  Beautiful farm fresh aqua colored eggs are from a good friend

Original Recipe, on page 17 of  Cooking with Herbs by Emelie Tolley and Chris Mead
If you find you are pressed for time, you could use a purchased cake mix and frosting and then add your own flower petals.

I think it would also be nice to use an Angel Food Cake and decorate it with whipped cream, the coconut and the flowers.  Or maybe make cupcakes and place the flower petals on each. 

"The Earth Laughs in Flowers"
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Friday, March 26, 2010

The Herb Garden, Coffee, Chocolate and Waiting for the Orioles to Arrive

By mid morning I was ready to start work on the herb garden, but oh so many books to browse through!  First up was coffee with a piece of Trader Joe's Mocha Crunch Chocolate, which delayed my start for about an hour. 

Around 11:30 I was ready to begin. Newly purchased seeds and plants.  German Thyme, English Thyme, Variegated Sage and Purple Sage, more French Lavender and two new Chamomile plants. 

Already in the garden are Variegated Thyme, Lemon Thyme, Chives, Marjoram, Greek Oregano, Mexican Oregano, Catnip and Parsley.  On either side of the compost bags are two Rosemary plants; the one on the top right that you can barely see is about 25 years old. 

Nutmeg scented geranium in lower center front of photo. Nice to use in sugars and jellies.

Lots of yellow Iris for a border and a couple of climbing roses to the right in back of the bird bath.  I still need to find a nice arbor for these two plants, which will go across the pathway toward the house. 

English Lavender.  I have many Lavender plants in my gardens, Mexican, English and French.  All do very well here in So. California. 

Then...I heard a familiar chatter in the tree, hmmmm could it be...already

A moment taken to place tangerines on the Sweetgum tree (liquidambar styraciflua) for the arrival of the Orioles.  They will weave their pouches in this tree for nesting. 

I finished the plantings just in time. Here is a male popping out from the lavender and just about to leap up in the tree.  They're back!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Count Only Sunny Days, Sun Plaques

Today I would like to share with you my collection of Sun Plaques.  I have found some of them on my trips to Baja California; at estate sales and some were gifts from family and friends. 

Some I have painted using a cement mold piece and others I have re-painted from my sale finds. I place these outside my home wherever I think I need a touch of sunlight to brighten up the spot.  I added a couple Moons for good measure.

"Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon."
-William Shakespeare

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

New Tomato Cage

Sunday was a perfect day as usual and we built this structure for for my Heirloom tomatoes.  It turned out perfect and will hold 8 plants.  I got the idea from a friend of mine who made one from pvc pipe, that proved to be a bit more expensive than this one so we went with 1x2x10 lumber and used wood screws to assemble.

The spring onions are still producing.   I started these from seed in January and they really have done very well this year. 

This year I selected all heirloom varieties:  Yellow Stuffer, it's shaped like a bell pepper and is hollow inside.  I planted this one last year and it did really well; fun to stuff with rice salad for a nice lunch. 

Copia, a cross between Green Zebra and Marvel Stripe, 1 pound fruit, a repeat from last year. 

Green Zebra, my favorite green/yellow tomato and a repeat from last year. 

Brandywine, love this one, another repeat from last year. 

Old German, Martino's Roma and Mama Rosas, all new for me this year. 
I still need to plant these cherry tomatoes,  Yellow Pear, Green Grape, Golden Egg and Sweet 100.  Not sure if the Sweet 100 is an heirloom, but is a wonderful cherry tomato.  You only need one red if you purchase this one!
I am sure I will add more tomato plants in April.  I just need to wait for the lettuces and winter veggies to finish producing so I can use those raised beds.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

This Way to the Garden

Lots of goodies this morning in the garden.  Join me as I stroll through with coffee cup in hand.

A beautiful day in Southern California, temperatures in the high eighties.


 Madarense Geranium is just beginning to flower.  These re-seed freely each year.

Clivia in bloom 
Swiss Chard and Peas ready now.  Newly planted lettuces, kale, spinach, spring onions, shallots, more peas and beets.

"Spring had come once more...in a succession of sweet, fresh, chilly days, with pink sunsets, and miracles of resurrection and growth."

-L. M. Montgomery

Monday, March 15, 2010

Pink Carpeting of Bougainvillea

This is a photo of our Bougainvillea from last fall, before my attack with the pruning shears.  It grows at the end of what we call our Mexican patio.  It has grown back some, but will take a little while before we have this nice arch to walk under again. 

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Siesta Time

I have had this old clay Mexican man for over 30 years! I bought it on a shopping trip we took to Ensenada then proceeded to load it in our new truck. A few minutes later, a big scratch in the bed of the truck; worth every scratch!

“The man who has planted a garden feels that he has done something for the good of the world.” -Vita Sackville-West

Saturday, March 13, 2010

From Trash To Treasure

An old wicker chair that I normally would have tossed is now a focal point in my garden. I had seen one like this at Buena Creek Gardens, one of my favorite nurseries. I painted mine a beautiful periwinkle purple and placed a dove planter in the center of the worn seat. She seems happy here with her “nest of plants.” The clay frog covered with sea shells was also found at Buena Creek Gardens.

Don’t be afraid to try something new in your garden; add found objects from estate sales to brighten and surprise your visitors. Create a place for your eyes to rest upon while strolling along a pathway. Over time you will create a magical place.

"The only limit to your garden is at the boundaries of your imagination."
-Thomas D. Church

Saint Francis in the Schefflera

Another great find at the same estate sale.  This statue of St. Francis is perfect for this location off the Mexican patio.  The old clay pot is from Oaxaca Mexico.  This setting is right beneath the wood arch hanging on the wall.

"Ye gentle birds, the world's fair ornament, and heaven's glory"
-Edmund Spenser

Estate Sale Find Arch For Mexican Patio Wall

I found this wonderful wood and iron arch at an estate sale a few weeks ago.  I think it works perfectly on the wall at our little Mexican patio; just off the master bedroom it is sunny until noon.  The planted succulents seem to like their new location.

"Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you"
Maori Proverb

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Angel in the Abutilon

Kristin's Pink Abutilon.  Planted last fall 2009.  Loves this spot with the Angel Statue.  I wanted to keep this area with varigated plants but this Abutilon seems to thrive here so she will stay put.

"He who sees things grow from the beginning will have the best view of them"

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bromiliads Blooming

Here we have Queens Tears (billbergia nutans).  A beautiful delicate flower. 

I placed this in the Fairy Garden.  It spreads each year and makes a nice, high, ground cover for this bed.