Monday, March 30, 2009


These hungry bright red predators are thriving in my garden. Some are dark red. Some are orange. Some have spots. Some do not. I took a bunch of photos of ladybugs this weekend. They were everywhere. I didn't even see the aphids until the ladybugs arrived. Some of the aphids may be visible in these images if you click on the image to enlarge. The gal in the image below is going hunting so be vewy, vewy qwuiet. I believe all the tomatoes (3 different varieties) have blossoms. I have high hopes for my salsa garden. Those ladies can stick around as long as they like. Once their babies have emerged, I'll try to remember to take their baby pictures and post them here.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


Three years ago, I had a wall of San Diego Bougainvillea. San Diego and Scarlett O'Hara varieties are essentially the same. My biggest, grandest plant (true Scarlett) was planted in the corner of the property along the wall. Sadly, a freeze last year killed (I thought) my plants. I waited until July and saw no green and no growth. It was time to move on. The loppers came out and I hacked away at the dead remains with hopes of finding some kind of life. No luck. I dug the dead stumps out and pitched them over the wall except for one stump that would not let go of the clay soil.
Amazingly, that one stump started to sprout at the end of summer. I was delighted to have a survivor; and sick that I had dug up all the others. At the end of last summer, the dude noticed what he thought was a weed in the corner of the property along the wall. Scarlett had returned to Tara! I dug her up and am now trying to nurse her back to health. The other stubborn plant is now changing its bracts to hot pink.

Kind of appropriate for Easter.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Espalier (Es-pal-YAY)

Previously, I posted that the correct pronunciation for espalier was (Es-pal-yer). No, no, no you boneheaded American. Today, I asked someone fluent in French (someone from France for Pete's sake) how to properly pronounce the word "espalier". She confirmed my original belief that the correct way is es-pal-YAY. That made my weekly Basque lunch all the better knowing I got one right. By the way, all the espalier trees are doing well but will not hold fruit this season. The little babies just aren't stronge enough yet to hold the fruit.
Tomorrow, it's back out to the garden to get back to work. It's hot and the ladybugs are feasting. Hope to have photos posted tomorrow.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Few Words

Citrus blossoms are starting to fill the air. Other blossoms are joining in.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Peas Porridge Hot....

The 1st planting of peas is thriving and the 2nd planting is following closely behind. I remember growing peas with my dad when is was a little girl. They would climb up the chain link fence in our backyard. We would pick them, shell them, and eat them before they could even make it into the kitchen. I hope this variety will be just as satisfying. At the very least, it will bring back some fond memories.

Monday, March 23, 2009


The weather is so great with cool air and clean skies. Even the weeds look good. In a short time, the sky will fade to grey-brown and the weeds will too. I hope the salsa garden will be worth enduring the heat of summer.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


Yippee! Radishes were pulled this evening to add to the salad for the dinner table. Along with BBQed Honey Mustard Chicken and a baked potato, everything was delicious. The radishes are called Sparkler. Zowy. They're peppery. So far, so good on the garden front. Today, was wonderful. It rained and was nice and cool. There's now a dusting of snow in the mountains. Wonderful.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Blue Tuesday

This petunia is called Blue Daddy. Pretty awesome - huh? These are planted in the holes of the cinder blocks forming the raised bed for my onions. Enjoy this clever video with the song provided by Elmer Fudd.

Monday, March 16, 2009

If You Ain't Irish...

Not everyone is Irish. Not everyone wants to be Irish...not even on St. Patrick's Day. Why not grab an orange or two off the tree and carve out your own form of protest. Get it? Protest? Protestant? Garden humor doesn't have to be dirty.

Saturday, March 14, 2009


Late this afternoon I planted an Annabel French Hybrid Lilac in a desperate flowerbed in my front yard. The lilac was bareroot and grown by a local wholesale nursery in Visalia. After chiseling out the hard clay dirt along with the weeds, the rest went fairly smooth. Of course, the soil needed to be amended. No wonder I have a bum back.

Along with the lilac I planted a new type of petunia called The Wave. I've planted purple and blue. Scattered in with that is some Sweet Alyssum. We'll see how it goes. At the very least, the weeds are gone. At the very best, everything will flourish.

Thursday, March 12, 2009


The wildflowers are going buzzerk in the foothills. Wonderful. They really look great. Everything about this time of year is fairly pleasant. One problem...summer is on the way. These wildflowers will soon be stickers and fuel for wildfires when the heat of hell arrives.

Until then, I'll enjoy what so many others are wishing for.
Happy Friday the 13th!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Genocide in the Veggie Patch

I can't stand to thin plants. It's an emotional event. Which sprout must die? Which sprout will produce and be eaten later? There really needs to be some kind of therapy at the garden center. I thinned my beets and radishes. Poor babies. Plucked from the earth before they could realize their full potential. Now they lay quietly in the compost heap.

Sunday, March 8, 2009


And the lilac is wonderful. It really is a mark of Spring. What a wonderful scent.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Onion Breath

The onions are plugging right along. Today, all the onions are up - red, brown, green, leeks! Who doesn't like onions? If someone out there is repelled by these wonderful bulbs, turn them in to the local authorities under suspicion of vampirism (word?). My 1st plans once these lovelies have been harvested is to make onion soup or perhaps grill some on the BBQ for dinner. The leeks will definitely be used to make a big batch of Basque soup. Some of these guys will be used to blend with the rest of my garden to make salsa. Dang, I could eat it plain. I chose Serrano peppers to use with my onions and tomatoes. Hope they work out great.
The weather is cooperating to allow for some nice gardening days. Tomorrow, I will try to take photos of the lilac blooming on the edge of the pergola. Don't know what smell I prefer - onions or lilacs.

Friday, March 6, 2009


My O'Henry peach is in full bloom. The deep pink color of the blossoms will look fantastic when the tree gets a few years older. I don't expect much fruit from the trees this year. They're too immature to hold fruit. Most of the petals are falling away as the trees abort the colorful confetti from the slender branches. Fine. I would love some fruit; but I have this season charted to bend the branches (espalier) into position. So far, so good.
Tomorrow, I will try to go to the local farmers' market to shop for heirloom tomato plants. A woman brings in wonderful plants along with a reference binder to help shopping gardeners. Maybe she will have eggplants too. The raised bed is ready for these plants. Report and photo to follow.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

You're the Berries!

Little Pinkies have been planted in the holes of the cinder blocks used to form the raised vegetable beds. I've also planted two baskets that hang from the pergola. This is a new variety the owner of the garden shop named. She has asked me to report back to her and let her know how they grow, produce, and taste (most important). The berries should grow well here in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. They will be white to pink in color. Not my 1st choice; but I'm willing to try something new. I believe my biggest challenge will be to keep the birds out. Maybe my cats can help out with bird patrol.

I love fresh berries; but I hope to produce enough berries to make a batch of jam. Dang. Don't you love toast and jam? How British. I may see if I can snag a few more bareroot berries next weekend to supply me with more than enough. Bareroot season is about at its end.

Enjoy this rockin' music video from 1931.