Thursday, February 27, 2014


 Meet Forsythia x intermedia 'Spring Glory.' This shrub is a favorite of country landscapers because the deer usually ignore it and it blooms so early. It gives us hope that spring is coming. I've put this one in a tall pot to keep it up so maybe the jackrabbits will not bother it since they mainly feed at ground level. After it blooms, I'll plant it in the ground and hope for the best. 
The rest of the year it is a ho-hum rangey background bush. It should get up to 8' tall and just as wide. This is from my favorite plant grower, Monrovia. It is an Oregon grown plant and can take extreme temps of -30 degrees, so it's what we gardeners call a "no fuss, no muss" kind of plant.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014


 My trusty mulch bin has been working away quietly since Fall (along with the red worms) to produce garden gold for use this spring. Here you can see the kitchen scraps (banana peels, green waste, egg shells and coffee grounds) combined with layers of maple leaves and grass clippings at the top of the bin. 
A few months later and I open the lower door on the bin to reveal dark, rich stuff at the bottom of the bin.  
 I dig it out and screen it to get out the twigs, peach pits and those stupid sticky fruit labels...don't get me started on those things...
The screen also helps to break up the egg shells into small pieces.
 I avoid putting in rose prunings and tomato vines (too many pathogens or viruses with those plants) along with meat scraps or bones (they might attract vermin). I also make sure to layer dry mulch with the wet or green kitchen scraps and I add a quart of "worm tea" that I buy at the grower's market. The tea has red worm eggs that hatch and fill the bin with garbage eating wonders! So I get worm "castings" (poop) mixed in with all the good stuff.    
So here is the finished result...fantastic, sweet smelling (yes!) and crumbly garden gold to recharge my raised beds and pot up new plants (I add in some high quality potting soil for potting). If I were a plant, I'd be saying "yum!"

Friday, February 14, 2014


"She never saw a gravel truck she didn't like!" That's what Mr. A says about me and it just might be true. 
Today started off before 8 a.m. with coffee, cinnamon buns, valentine cards and a big ass 10 yard dump of gravel. Ah, nothin' says lovin' like 10 yards of three-quarter minus! I gifted our gravel truck driver, Frank, with a cinnamon bun for his exceptional work at "spreading" the gravel with his finessing the dumping process. 
Since the onset of winter our country driveway has turned into a mud bog. The gravel virtually disappeared into the expanding clay soil as about 100 suv's drove down our driveway to look at the house for rent across from us. We had put down 10 yards 3 years ago but it was clear we needed a "refresher." 
Yesterday whilst I was checking out at Trader Joe's, the clerk asked me if I had plans for Valentine's Day. I told him I was getting 10 yards of 3/4 minus gravel. The lady behind me started to chuckle. and then she told me this story...
"I work as a volunteer at the Crater Rock Museum," she said, " and we have groups of school kids in to learn about rocks. So I ask them if they know what the State Rock of Oregon is...(the thunder egg, by the way). One little fellow raised his hand tentatively and said that he thought the state rock was called something like three-quarter minus!"
Good times!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014


I was surprised to realize that my custom built potting bench was over 15 years old. For this gardener, a potting bench is a top basic piece of equipment. My under-gardener built this one all those years ago and it has served me well. So I thought a fresh coat of paint after all these years couldn't hurt. And now it looks like new! I've kept it covered with a tarp in the winter and just this year I splurged on a large vinyl 6' bench cover that fits it perfectly. Can't wait to get started in the garden this spring! (Snow predicted this weekend).