Tag Archives: house yard

A year gone by, surely you jest!

The summer Solstice energies always help things get growing...sometimes too fast...bolting radishes!

The summer Solstice energies always help things get growing…sometimes too fast…bolting radishes and arugula!  Garden is awake!

I don’t even try to mentally grasp at the reality of a whole year gone by since last posting. It does feel like there are several timelines moving simultaneously, and depending on what I am doing there is rarely a sense of linear time, except for specific moments “in time”. This is the true reality, non-linear time that is, so a year feels like a month or two, sometimes, and at times a week feels like two months ago.

Many wonderful happenings and blessings in life have manifested over the last year, and there is not a lot of time left for keeping garden updates. I surely have mentioned that it is enough work just taking care of the garden after a job! The entry of a companion into my life has broadened my horizons once again, and his generosity in embracing me into his very active life has provided new opportunities to travel, as well as a busier schedule than I was used to. When he sustained a skiing accident in mid-February, my life-roles expanded further into helping him heal from pelvis and hip fractures. Fortunately he is very ambulatory these days, but healing will continue for up to a year, all said and done. Complete recovery, but a slow journey. This spring it was all I could do to bring my focus to engage the CG and get it up and running. February became May before I knew it.

Rereading last year’s entry regarding spring weather in 2013, which I don’t remember one iota, it doesn’t seem so different from this year. We’ve had a long stretch of mild, dry weather in May and June, now being balanced with a touch of late June rain. As usual, the tomatoes are still cloaked in their finest red jackets, probably till July 4, or when the new deer fencing goes up.

We had one of the most severe winters I can recall in my 35-year tenure here, and it was interesting to see plants survived two cold events. The first event occurred the first week of December, 2013, when the southern Willamette Valley received about 1 foot of snow in a couple of days, accompanied by sub-freezing temperatures that lasted for nearly a week. I had the pleasure of stepping into a foot of snow with only my Chacos on, arriving home at 2:00 am from a week-long vacation in Mexico. This was the event that probably killed off many old hedges around town and all my Spanish lavender (the English type held up fine).

Then came the huge snow load of February 7th, when it snowed upwards of 15” in 48 hours; yes, record-setting for that rate! However, it wasn’t overly cold during that session, but the lavenders were completely covered. The snow probably insulated the seed pods, which did sprout a plethora of seedlings in front of the CG, almost like a little carpet. These will eventually be planted out again to replenish the Spanish type (Lavandula stoechas). The old L. stoechas and L. viride in front had to be removed, and were replaced mostly with the hardier L. angustifolia.

If Quan Yin is just over 3 feet tall...

If Quan Yin is just over 3 feet tall…

The bambi/es made their presence known early on this year, before the CG was even put in, dessimating my roses twice, so there are absolutely no flowers, and inhaling two of our newly-acquired tomato seedlings for the CG. Roses I am not so attached to, but….

A bumper crop of Lakemont seedless white grapes after a hard winter.  Was it modified pruning, or signs of plant maturity?

A bumper crop of Lakemont seedless white grapes after a hard winter. Was it modified pruning, or signs of plant maturity?

The odd weather affected flowering of the pear and columnar apples in the house yard, so there is absolutely no fruit this year. On the flip side, I have never seen so many grape clusters on a still-young grapevine, and I have done cluster thinning for the sake of the plant. And, for the first time, my Siberian kiwi is fruiting.  Now 5 or 6 years old, there appear to be a couple dozen small fruit. They aren’t lying about kiwis needing to be at least 5 years old before they start maturing, but I was starting to hold my breath because there were only a few blossoms last year that did not yield fruit. This is like a bumper crop!

Here’s to a bountiful year!

Success!  After 5 to 6 years, and a hard winter, several dozen Siberian kiwi fruit have manifested.

Success! After 5 to 6 years, and a hard winter, several dozen Siberian kiwi fruit have manifested.


Fall Glory

It is amazing how one can stay so busy caring for a garden that is essentially moving towards a long nap.  Maybe it is my sense of  “clean management” that spurs me on to remove the decaying matter, though not so much in the house yard.  Actually for the CG it comes down to removing the dying, so that a blanket of leaves can be put down, to be turned over in spring, and to help insulate the remaining veggies.  Slugs will probably love it, as there are quite a few lurking in the lovely lettuce, but that’s just something we’ll have to deal with as necessary.

A lovely spurt of unseasonably warm weather delighted us gardeners a week ago, also prompting all the weeds to put forth new energy, and teasing a couple of strawberry plants into producing a few berries.  Of course, the bees were very happy with it, too.  Pineapple sages and Japanese anemones are still actively blooming, much delighting the hummingbirds.

Fall splendor; a little sun, a little fog....

This week heralds the onset of a few colder nights, between rainstorms, but no frost.  It won’t be as easy to see our pollinator friends and hummingbirds now, with shorter days, colder mornings, and barely light by the time I get home from work.

Still trying to ripen picked green tomatoes, but after last month’s rain, it’s not so easy, as many want to rot before turning any tint of orange.  Drying them down if they show any color is turning out to be a better option.

Our October bounty was exceptional, now that the tomatoes and squash were all pulled in:

  • Basil: 0.75
  • Cucumbers: 8.5
  • Kale: 1
  • Lettuce: 3
  • Melons (combined): 8.5
  • Acorn squash: 22.5
  • Delicata squash: 8.75
  • Spaghetti squash: 119
  • Swiss chard: 2.5
  • Summer squash: 10
  • Tomatoes: 44.5

Month’s total: 229 pounds (rounded)
Season total: 629 pounds

And this season’s total bests last year’s total at this same time by about 61 pounds, and it surpasses our final 2009 tally by 37 pounds!  Hooray for all the superb contributions from the plants, devas, pollinators, and human caretakers!

First blush

February held our area in a uniquely extended pattern of lovely, mild weather, which encouraged many trees and perennials to start blooming 2 to 3 weeks earlier “than average”.  Fruit trees, rosemary, pussy willows, maples, and, alas, allergies are all ahead of schedule!

We love the beautiful first signs and color blushes of plants awakening with quickened life energy, no matter when they show up!

The signs of late winter.......when the euphorbia blushes.

Colors of spring showing up

The new mason bee nest is now charged with some straws with eggs; perched a few feet above.....

the dwarf peach in full bloom.....

One gets itchy fingers for planting when the temperatures rise to 60° on a weekend! But, not everything can handle the near-freezing night temps yet, so patience!  Instead, it has been time to prune roses, clean up dead plant stalks where they give way to easy tugs, pull up umpteen weeds that have had too much of a good thing, set up the mason bee nest, and take walks.


While fall enters its zenith and fall colors are ubiquitous, whether static, or as falling gems of gold and burgundy, a killing frost has yet to manifest, allowing cleome, sages, zinnia, and nasturtiums to show off for a longer spell.


Fall flowers still dancing: cleome, pineapple sage, lavender, Japanese anemone

The nasturtium flowers at the front of the community bed are in full throttle, and their mild spiciness is being enjoyed in salads (akin to very mild arugula).


Nasturtiums deciding to show off

The first leeks have been picked, with a verdict of “very tasty” even if not mature, and harvested tomatoes keep ripening enough to keep our salads colorful, while still giving some away.

Garden cleanup and winter preparation continue at a leisurely pace, along with playing “musical plants” to make way for new arrivals.  After a fatiguing day at work last week I relished the task of transplanting my ‘Puget Gold’ apricot from a pot to its permanent ground residence inside the house yard.  That felt more productive than the entire workday!