Tuesday, December 29, 2009

AZ Christmas Sightings

We were in Arizona for Christmas and passed by this guy almost daily. Roses, blooming rosemary, bees, blue sky and almost no rain... we definitely knew we were not in Washington. Nice to see you in person, you family members who might be lurking here at Petunia's Garden!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Wishes...

O little tree! O little tree!
One day you'll be a Christmas tree...

May your hopes and dreams come true!

Merry Christmas

from all of us at Petunia's Garden

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December = Brrrr!

It has been a cold December, but at least also rather dry. Now, it is a little warmer.... and snowing!

This photo is the little bubbler in the small garden pond today. It is still bubbling under the ice dome covering. As long it keeps a little area of water unfrozen, the birds are happy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rain Delay

The leaves have been beautiful this year. We had enough on the ground that we thought it was time to collect them and tuck them in for some garden composting.

Finally, we thought Saturday was the day. We put the catchers on the lawn mover and gave it a shot. Unfortunately, they were too wet from the week of rain. The last couple days won't help, either. We'll try again.

Meanwhile, we got in a little garden clean up on Saturday, until we decided it was time to go inside and warm up. I didn't clean up too much, though. There are some birds that like to scavenge around in the garden. There's still plenty of treasures for them to find.

Here is our post about composting in place last year.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Welcome November

It would have been a fine day for a little garden tending. It was only to the bench that I made it, though. A little viewing of the fall colors everywhere. No trimming or mulching. At least I'm on the better side of some little bug. How much I appreciate the views from the windows looking out now!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Oh Deer!

There is evidence we've had some deer sized guests. I decided against posting the FIRST evidence I found (on the ground).

Now they are just getting careless! There are hoof prints at the bottom of the photo, a partially eaten apple to the right, and oh, yes, the broken birdbath/planter! We're heard a doe & a buck have been sighted.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

SAGBUTT Tour October

Aerie-el arranged for quite the SAGBUTT tour today. Now just how far outside of Seattle did we go??

The nursery cafe was closed today, but it must be the center of activity in season! I could see spending a summer afternoon sitting at the outdoor tables (it is a bring your own coffee & pie kind of place).

... And after the world tour, we reached the Lake Wilderness Arboretum, in Maple Valley, Washington. A beautiful and dry day, too!

More of the unexpected...Clerodendrum trichotomum, Peanut Butter Tree. Rubbing the leaves reveals a peanut butter aroma, and check out the jelly colors to go along with it.

I liked the lacy design of this deciduous fir tree (as I understood). Perhaps the others will share the correct name. Our patient volunteer tour guide quickly adapted to our classic SAGBUTT touring style. Always ready to wonder off to any plant or blogger photo opportunity that calls.

But, of course, regrouping for some garden harvest sharing! Here, nicely set in in the Arboretum nursery area (and also the home of the world class fence/shed in the first two photos).

Tasty garden treats from Aeriel-el, Wingnut & Curmudgeon!

More of the covered potting area in the nursery. What a handy area!
I'll add the links of others who are likely to have captured more of the actual plant collections.
Thanks, Aeriel-el & SAGBUTTees, for a nice day out!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Post Frost

While I was traveling, DH harvested these pumpkins. There are still some on what's left of the frosted vines. DH didn't want these to get frost bitten while I was off getting poison ivy bitten! In the greenhouse, the twigs of basil-past will be traded out for some lettuce plantings.

The garden, as it was last night.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Happy October

This is a reminder of the beautiful weather we had last week. This week has been different!

Here's Emily harvesting her catnip.

This came from some mixed sunflower seeds. It is the first time I've had one like this. Under all that fluff is a full sunflower seedhead! I didn't expect that.

I'll be away from the keyboard for some days. I'm looking forward to catching up with you then. And you know you'll be seeing Petunia's Pumpkins soon!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Forest Garden

Today: Rattlesnake Ridge, DH & Visitor.
It is a very nice hike through the forest. As it gets closer to the top, the trail does become more steep (or else we were more tired!). And a little geocache hunting. No, they didn't have to move anything. They are just looking from all angles!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Guest Sunflower

During our visit to Seattle yesterday, we saw that many downtown residents are quite the balcony gardeners. However, for this building in Belltown, this sunflower had the show to himself, at least as far as I could see from street level.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Welcome New Geocacher

We have a visitor this week. On her first day, she was introduced by DH to some local geocaches. Other than this one being a big bug, it seems to have been a successful first day out!

I was fascinated with this slug munching clover along the trail. Guess he reminds me of seeing goats and sheep standing on their hind feet to reach the (apparently) more tasty treats overhead.

I'll have some photos from the SAGBUTT arboretum tour later. There was lots of tree inspiration going!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bloom Day September

It is Garden Bloggers Bloom Day, hosted by Carol at May Dreams Gardens. You can find links to many more blooms from her site. Nicotiana and calendula make a nice accidental combination, above.

Here is one of the very, very tall sunflowers growing in the pumpkin patch.

Cosmos, also in the pumpkin patch. You can see a little of a pumpkin in the background.

This is Tip Top Alaska Nasturtium. Notice the varigated foliage. These are compact plants that can be in a variety of colors. I only ended up with this orange one this year.

Black-eyed Susans / Rudbeckia and Echinacea are still the happiest garden residents.

These are some of my flavorites. I really like this time of year (especially when we still have some of these very nice days around) and these bloomers help keep it quite bright.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Sept 20th SAGBUTT - See You There!

The Seattle Area Garden Bloggers United To Talk is planning a trip to Seattle's Washington Park Arboretum this Sunday, Sept. 20th. We're meeting for the standard 11 am guided walk which starts from the Graham Visitors Center, 2300 Arboretum Drive East, in Seattle. The tour may last 60 to 90 minutes. Then, we'll probably find a spot to chat about all things gardening & blogging.

Here's the link for the the tour information. There is also a tour at 1pm.

Thanks to the Gardeness over at Garden Muse for scoping out the options and organizing this visit! Click on the SAGBUTT label, below, to see more posts about our gatherings.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


There are 4 or 5 of these large, quite orange pumpkins in the pumpkin patch. I think they are a jack-o-lantern type. The small sugar pumpkins are still green. Yes, powdery mildew has arrived.

Rouge Vif d'Etampes still working on their full color.
Looking forward to pumpkin pie!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Lemon Sunflower

So many of my sunflowers are red or partial red. This one in the pumpkin patch stands out for its yellowness. Several of them are over 6 feet (including this one), but none have large flowers this year. May just be the variety. Many are multi-branched, though. This is one from a sunflower seed mixture I purchased from a local grower.

The flowers in the pumpkin patch are the tallest, probably because they are not crowded. They were planted a little late. This is the first in the pumpkin patch to bloom, whereas the self-seeded ones have been blooming since early July.

Click on the label below, Sunflowers, to see other pics.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Squirrelling Habits

The foggy morning yesterday helped confirm we are working our way into fall. After not seeing any squirrels during those hot/dry days we had, we've been hearing them everyday now. In the garden, things have changed from watching the new growth, to managing the harvest. Like the squirrel, we'll want to have some tasty treats come January.

Tomatoes: In the last week, the tomato harvests have become more than we can eat each day. Cherry tomatoes may not be the usual cooking sort, but we've been enjoying them in pasta dishes. So, I washed these and put them in the freezer. This morning, I moved the frozen tomatoes into airtight (vacuum sealed) bags. I love the colors. Maybe I can see a Christmas card design in the next round of the tomato harvest...!

Potatoes: Two of the potato plants had died back so we dug up our first potatoes. The other plants are still mostly green so I guess we should wait a while longer before harvesting those. We'll have some of this harvest for dinner tonight. My friend gave me the starts so I don't know what type these are.

Beans: The green beans have been the hardest for me to stay up on the harvesting. Actually, the happy grower this year has been the purple climbing beans. After my big pick last weekend, I had many more that were the right size for picking. Yesterday, I picked, blanched and froze several bags full. There should be a few more rounds to go, but there are few blossoms now so there will be a final harvest one day.

Carrots: I also harvested two nice size, tasty carrots last night. While I did thin, I could have done more. Some may be too close to grow to their full potential. I'll be looking at them closely today to see if there are some selective harvesting I can do to reduce some crowding.

Pumpkins: Some of the pumpkins are turning orange already! It is usually a rush to get them there by the end of Oct. The early orange ones are a different variety than I've grown before, and probably more of a jack-o-lantern variety. I also have others that are still yellow and green.

There are signs of powdery mildew in places. This time of year, our weather becomes just right for PM. In the past, I've tried to delay the progression of PM by spraying with a baking soda mixture or cutting leaves. I may let it take its natural course this year and see how it goes with the pumpkins.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Alternative Views

DH & I had a little (geocaching) hike on a recent evening. I gave up trying to photograph the evening sunlight filtering through the trees or the colors in the forest.

But, I liked this rather accidental shot. It was something else that caught my attention. Whatever it was, I'm glad it did.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bean Adventures

I couldn't put it off any longer. The beans further up the bean structure had to be picked. Can't say I put as much thought into it as I should have. Do you think the benefits of growing vegetables might decrease with each extra foot you have to climb to pick them?

It was a good idea to use a S-hook to hang the basket on the trellis and to free up both hands. Not such a good idea was deciding to take photos while I was up there. (But the camera was just there in the basket, as it usually is when I go to the garden.)

How about standing on the top of the wobbly, old 2-foot stepladder? It was easier to carry than the larger one! Oh, yes, in garden flipflops! This time with socks (sorry) since the feet were still complaining about picking blackberries in flipflops on Saturday.

And stretching for that last bean, several times? Maybe not a good idea. It's still there, below...

Fortunately, there are no injuries to report. And the dinner in process that includes the purple pepper, a pattypan squash, garlic, tomatoes & the beans might bump that quality decision making ability back up there!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blackberry Days

The blackberries are on full force now. I should try jam or something else, but I like to make blackberry sauce to serve with ice cream or angel food cake, etc. I've sometimes made blackberry cobblers, too. I did see a blackberry barbecue sauce recipe I'd like to try.

As shown in the photos from this 2007 post, I love using an old ricer/fruit press to separate the seeds from the fruit (after blending in my old blender). The seeds stick nicely to the wooden roller.

I'm not a huge blackberry fan. This year the flavor seems better than some years. The thorns are awful! But, I love fresh food and being able to do something with the fruit growing locally (in this case, in my yard). Takes the edge off of the work to keep the blackberries from taking over the whole property, too.

What do you do with blackberries?

Friday, August 21, 2009

What is it??

Now updated with the answer, below.
This striking plant is growing in our fence line. Can anyone explain it to me? At first, I thought it might be a rogue tomato, but now I'm wondering if it more like a pepper. It is near a neighbor's former garden. Do you think this is something native, or something escaped from the garden? You can see the leaf just above the wire on the right side of the photo.

See the upside down T? That is the stem of this plant. Any ideas ? !

UPDATE: Thanks to Greenmantle (all the way from the UK), I have an answer - Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara). It isn't as poisonous as some of the nightshade family, but still poisonous. It isn't on the local noxious weed list (just a weed of concern). See this link for the scoop from King County, Washington.

I think I'll leave it on my "to monitor" list, at least for another season. While many varieties are welcome in the fence row (a mini hedgerow), rampant, bully vines are not welcome! We will see...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

SAGBUTT on Tiger Mountain

Yesterday, the Seattle area garden bloggers were invited to Molly's garden on Tiger Mountain to taste tomatoes. And, as it goes with SAGBUTT meetings, to talk and eat!

This is just a portion of the vegetable garden. You'll have to check out the Weed Wackin' Wenches post to see more of the pumpkins. Molly already has greens planted for fall under the white fleece. Note: The fleece is being held in place with Japanese clothes pins made to use with bamboo poles (& perfect for hoop cloches). Molly has an extra cool garden and has several strategies for helping keep the plants a little protected.

In person, we met the parent to the black pussy willow cuttings Molly brought to our first SAGBUTT meeting! It's the left half of the photo, above. I think there is a lilac neighbor on the right.

Some of the tasty & colorful tomatoes being sampled. There were many varieties, but even just these three were quite different from one another. The Italian Ice was an intriguing sight. It had a mild flavor, and a sturdy wall structure that reminded several of us of peppers.

Just a little view of the fine Northwest landscape for those of you in other parts of the world.

Thanks, Molly, for hosting the group and the fine tour, food and beverage! You have created such a nice spot there! It was so much fun hearing about your gardening & other adventures. I could have stayed on this porch for a week (although the wild life stories might have changed that - see also the Weed Wackin' photo essay).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Bloom Day August

It's the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day gathering over at May Dreams Gardens. I'm bringing some flowers (& a few friends) I haven't posted yet this summer. Above, fragrant nicotiana with calandula and blue borage in the background. Nicotiana came home with me from the July SAGBUTT gathering!

Above, this fee found the blooming basil in the greenhouse. The door is always open right now, but he had the place to himself. I've been deadheading the basil like crazy until the August heat hit and I let it go. The aroma in the greenhouse is fantastic after pinching back the basil.

Above, I've never seen bees with pollen baskets as full as they are once the broccoli starts blooming. See that yellow bump on the bee's leg? That's the pollen basket. I leave a few broccoli plants in the garden to bloom because the bees seem to like it so much.

This is blooming oregano, above. It is covered with this type of bee/critter. Do you know what it is?

I have my first feverfew plant this year. It is a very happy plant. I just read, though, that bees hate the smell of it! And they will stay away from other plants near it. I'll have to go check the surrounds plants to see how far that ban goes.