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

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Brave Souls

I took a walk though the garden and snapped some pictures. It will be near freezing again tonight but these brave souls are still sharing their beauty. 
Calendula peeking through the iron Welcome sign.
Tree Mallow, Lavatera maritima

Perfume Delight Rose, 4 weeks after I pruned it.
I have a few Iris that have bloomed, but it is still early.
Hollyhock doing well even after the bugs attacked it. The new growth looks good so far.
I have no idea why these Cosmos came up this early!
Dill is thriving in the cold temperatures.

Rose campion lychnis coronaria, I am so happy that this has reseeded in many areas around the back patio.
Violets in the Fairy Garden

A few Bromiliads are in bloom

A fairy fushia protected under the large leaves of a Maderense Geranium.
Fan Aloe just beginning to bloom.
Everything is blooming most recklessly; if it were voices instead of colors, there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night. 
~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters of Rainer Maria Rilke

Saturday, February 19, 2011

I Wield the Flail of the Lashing Hail...

The day started out with heavy rains and now hail is coming down. We usually have a day or two with hail in February and March, I am hoping it will just be this one shower because my plants will all be dotted with bruises that will end with damage to the leaves. Last year even the small leaves of the jades were damaged.

This is the East wall that had the mud slide late last year. 

The front succulent beds are flooded. I may need to move these plants if we continue to get rains like we have been this winter. They will not be able take this much water. Too bad, because they were thriving here last summer. Can you see the hail?

Hail on the back patio, even the Monk's offering cup had hail in it.

I love this poem by Shelley and even though the hails have come, I am grateful for the clouds.

The Cloud
I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.
I sift the snow on the mountains below,
And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night 'tis my pillow white,
While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skyey bowers,
Lightning, my pilot, sits;
In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
It struggles and howls at fits;
Over earth and ocean, with gentle motion,
This pilot is guiding me,
Lured by the love of the genii that move
In the depths of the purple sea;
Over the rills, and the crags, and the hills,
Over the lakes and the plains,
Wherever he dream, under mountain or stream,
The Spirit he loves remains;
And I all the while bask in Heaven's blue smile,
Whilst he is dissolving in rains.
The sanguine Sunrise, with his meteor eyes,
And his burning plumes outspread,
Leaps on the back of my sailing rack,
When the morning star shines dead;
As on the jag of a mountain crag,
Which an earthquake rocks and swings,
An eagle alit one moment may sit
In the light of its golden wings.
And when Sunset may breathe, from the lit sea beneath,
Its ardors of rest and of love,
And the crimson pall of eve may fall
From the depth of Heaven above,
With wings folded I rest, on mine aery nest,
As still as a brooding dove.
That orbed maiden with white fire laden,
Whom mortals call the Moon,
Glides glimmering o'er my fleece-like floor,
By the midnight breezes strewn;
And wherever the beat of her unseen feet,
Which only the angels hear,
May have broken the woof of my tent's thin roof,
The stars peep behind her and peer;
And I laugh to see them whirl and flee,
Like a swarm of golden bees,
When I widen the rent in my wind-built tent,
Till the calm rivers, lakes, and seas,
Like strips of the sky fallen through me on high,
Are each paved with the moon and these.
I bind the Sun's throne with a burning zone,
And the Moon's with a girdle of pearl;
The volcanoes are dim, and the stars reel and swim
When the whirlwinds my banner unfurl.
From cape to cape, with a bridge-like shape,
Over a torrent sea,
Sunbeam-proof, I hang like a roof,--
The mountains its columns be.
The triumphal arch through which I march
With hurricane, fire, and snow,
When the Powers of the air are chained to my chair,
Is the million-colored bow;
The sphere-fire above its soft colors wove,
While the moist Earth was laughing below.
I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.
- Percy Bysshe Shelley (1822)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Rainy Day and the Snow Moon is Rising

Okay, maybe it isn't the Snow Moon!  It is raining today and I only ventured out to see how much water was accumulating in the front flower bed where this birdbath sits. The moon will be full tomorrow so this will have to do for now.  I will spend the day inside drooling over seed catalogs and sipping tea.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Juicy Navel Oranges, Radicchio, Swiss Chard, Watercress, Spicy Arugula

"Leaves are turning brilliant colors
The entire landscape is new
Like Mother Nature is practicing
With her water colors just for you"
-Marilyn Lott
The veggie gardens really doing well, even with the colder nights we have had recently.  I was concerned last week that we would get hit with a frost but fortunately the temperatures never went below 34.  Yesterday I took a few more pictures of the beds to keep my journal up to date.  Also picked bunches of goodies to eat this week. 
This is the first year that I planted Radicchio Palla Rossa Ashalim and I am very happy with the results. Thank you Botanical Interests for so many wonderful organic seeds!

Also the first year I planted Watercress.  I am sure that this will only grow in our winter months, but we will see how long it lasts when the heat of the summer months arrives.  I love to add this to my salads, it has a nice peppery bite; very good in omelets, too.
The Kale I planted this year was a dwarf blue from Ferry Morse seeds. Not much of it came up which is a disappointment since I don't have a lot of space to allow for a failed crop. I will head to the nursery today and buy some more seeds, probably will plant Botanical Interests Italian Nero Toscana Kale which did very well for me last winter. 
All the lettuce are doing very well. I pick once a week now and have re-seeded some of the bare spots in the beds.  I used a Mesclun blend from Botanical Interests that includes Black Seeded Simpson, Buttercrunch, Green Salad Bowl, Lolla Rossa, Red Oak leaf and Rouge d'Hilver.  Also from Botanical Interest a Spicy Blend that includes Grand Rapids, Red Salad Bowl, Red Sails, Mizuna, Green Endive, Royal Oak leaf, and Arugula.  I plant a lot of Arugula, it is one of my favorites; I use it in omelets and it is delicious with pasta and beans.
The beets slowed down a bit when the weather turned warm a few weeks ago.  I have pulled a few but they are really taking a lot longer than last years crop.  Lots and lots of Swiss Chard, I could pick this daily but generally only get to it once a week. The varieties I have are Fordhook Giant, Ruby Red Rhubarb and Bright Lights.  We eat a lot of Swiss Chard!
I still have until the end of March to grow my winter veggies before I will need to use the space for my summer vegetables.
Still picking lots of Spring Onions. I continue to plant the onion sets each week, adding 6-12 bulb to the bare spots in the beds. They can be tucked in between plants just about anywhere you see an empty spot.

We're picking Navel Oranges daily now, really sweet and juicy. 
Grapefruit are coming along, but will need a few more months.  Last year they were very small so I am hoping the heavy rains we had this year will help to give us large, juicy fruit; they look good so far.