Wednesday, April 27, 2016


My mulch bin seems to be a perfect spot to grow potatoes...even if it's not on purpose! It will be interesting to see if I get a crop this fall. I'll just keep adding my kitchen scraps to the top layer and leave the potato plant alone to do its thing. I'm guessing that this plant grew from an "over the hill" old potato that I added to the kitchen scraps during the winter. 


 Yes, it really is early this year. My "Secret's Out" rose or any of the hybrid tea roses has ever bloomed this early! 

 This is a "Salt & Pepper" iris. 
 Apple Blossom Weigela  
 Clematis and Goldchild ivy makes a smart combination
Clematis montana bursting forth on the garden entrance arbor. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016


This is a first for me...after living in the Rogue Valley for 45 years...I have a rose blooming in April. Yeah, no biggie if you live in California but's unheard of. And this isn't a greenhouse trick...this is my regular Julia Child yellow tree rose that lives outside all the time.
  And the clematis that usually bloom in May are bursting out as well. We've already had all time record-breaking warmth this month... up to 91 degrees in the valley. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016


I'm never one to pass up some bit of garden whimsy when I find it...
I've been looking for a planter head but most are just way over my budget for such things. This one was only $9.99 at TJ Maxx. This time of year they get in some good and weird garden stuff. 
However, I realized after the fact that it was lacking in enough planter space because the back of it was 2" lower than the front. My trusty riding mechanic and under gardener came to the rescue with an aluminum backing plate which he bolted and siliconed on to the clay. That allowed me to plant a bit of Cape Blanco sedum which will eventually overgrow "Mr. Leafy" and look like curly hair.    

Sunday, April 10, 2016


 This is my newest birdbath feature...made from an old "strawberry jar," a 12" clay pot and a glazed 16" saucer. I wanted a birdbath in the same area as my big bird feeder. But I didn't want to spend any money, so I came up with this using existing stuff I had. I've never had much luck with a strawberry jar except that I've been able to plant a few succulents and have them survive. So I used it as the base since it is about 24" tall. Then I found a clay pot to sit in the top hole and support the large saucer. The birds seem to like it and I finally have a good use for the jar. It proves that you can never have too many saucers!

Saturday, April 9, 2016


 I've had this chore "on my list" for some time. After 5 years here, I figured it was time to do a good clean out of my kitchen drawers. It's amazing how much stuff I've collected over the years! 
 After a while, it gets to the point where I can't find what I need amid all the other stuff. Very annoying and bad for the nerves! 
So a vacuuming and a wiping out of the drawer was the first step. Then sorting all the stuff and reorganizing it to fit the drawer divider so I can see what I have. The remainder is in a box for the Goodwill. I'm doing a lot less baking these days so I don't really need 4 thermometers, 3 biscuit cutters, 4 sets of measuring spoons or 12 different sized graters! So somebody just slap my hand if I reach for another "ECD*" as Jack calls 'em at the kitchen store...        *extremely clever device.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016


 A new tree at Angel Crest Manor....a Centurion Crabapple, grown by Monrovia in Azusa, CA.
 First you have to dig a hole. Our soil is called "gumbo" if you're from the Midwest, "adobe" if you come from California...but in the Rogue Valley, it's called "expanding clay." It is so sticky that you have to use a putty knife to scrape it off of the shovel.
 Once you have a nice deep hole, you can add some packing peanuts to help with drainage. Yes, it really works!
 Then you add a lot of rotted, homemade mulch consisting of kitchen scraps and ground up leaves.
 And you fill and top off the new bed with some "Happy Frog" soil conditioner (old rotted redwood log deck).
 And don't forget to stake and tie the trunk so that the rootball will be stable when the wind blows the top of the tree.
And then you can pose with the tree, looking old, tired and scruffy in your old garden sweats. 

Monday, April 4, 2016


 All I can say is WOW! The Dutch sure know how to grow spring bulbs! These are in full bloom at Keukenhof...the mecca for tulip lovers.