More Fun in the Garden

As promised, I’m here to give you some more info about what I’ve done in the garden this year. I’m really focusing on it and hoping that everything is productive and healthy.

We had family planting day a few weeks ago, when I asked the entire family to help me plant some edibles I had purchased. I won’t lie, there was some resistance, mostly in the form of “do we HAVE to?” and “are we done planting yet?” The answers were yes and no, respectively.

In reassessing the garden this year, I decided to rip out a whole area that had been planted with various bushes and such and really wasn’t doing us much good. It was kind of taking up a lot of space for virtually no return. So I had a small path installed, a little area for sitting, and decided I was going to plant it myself, little by little, with edibles and flowers. So we got started on that during family planting day.

family planting 1

RD Husband does not mess around with his sun protection.

I started close to the path/seating area with a bunch of herbs. I got RD husband and the 9 year old to work on planting those. I bought English thyme, Italian oregano, a bunch of basil, flat leafed and curly parsley, Berggarten sage, French tarragon, cilantro, and a mint variety called “Mojito.” It’s like the UN up in my herb garden.

In front of the herbs, really close to the patio area, I transplanted a bunch of bulbs that I had haphazardly stuck in the garden over some years. You know what works pretty well? I buy some hyacinths or daffodils in the spring at Trader Joe’s, because I love, love, love the smell of hyacinths and daffodils are just so pretty. I have them in the house for a week or two, as long as they last, and then once they are pretty much dead I plant them in the garden. And they keep coming up every year! So it feels to me like the floral bouquet that keeps on giving. I’ve accumulated enough over the years that now I have a little early spring bulb area right in front of the herbs, and once they are all completely done for the season, I’m anticipating the herbs will spread a little and kind of cover the bare ground they’ve left behind.

family planting 2

Around the herbs, I planted a bunch of perennials mixed with a few annuals. I try not to plant too many annuals because I really don’t want to have to plant them again next year, and I want them to fill out and grow in so I have something of a cottage garden effect, with plants packed tightly together.

family planting 3

Gotta get that dog butt in the background. He helped, too. Mostly by grabbing empty plastic pots and tearing around the yard with them.

family planting 4

We planted some edibles in pots, too, since my idea is that I’ll have a bunch of pots around this new path area, with more plants tucked into the ground. Once we had them planted, the 6 year old made sure to water them well.

family planting 5

You have to get really close to make sure the water is going in properly.

So here’s what I have for now, with many plans to plant more things and mess around and generally trial and error it until I have what I want.



I Been Gardening

I haven’t been blogging, but I’ve been gardening like a madwoman!

It’s been a while since I’ve really focused on my garden, but this year I got inspired and decided to go a little nutsy. We’ve been ripping things out, putting things in, and in general just mixing things up all over the place.

I’m going to update you on it all in a few posts over the next days, so I don’t have to write the longest garden post ever or bore you to tears with a slew of deets from the backyard.

I’m going all in on the edibles this year. Of course, I attended Tomatomania and got my tomatoes in the ground.

tomato garden

Look at that sad little one up front. That’s Snow White. I don’t know why she’s being so shy. It’s been kind of chilly here so I’m guessing she’s just waiting for the sun and heat. Don’t fail me, Snow White!

Here’s what I bought:

Snow White: A white cherry tomato.

Boxcar Willie: An heirloom slicer that’s good for salads or sauce.

Lemon Cherry: Large yields of yellow cherry tomatoes.

Casady’s Folly: An heirloom plum tomato with orange and red stripes. Looks amazing:


Siberian Tiger: How can you not buy the tomato called Siberian Tiger? A striped Russian salad-type tomato.

Aiko Japanese Tomato: I honestly cannot find any info on this tomato online, and at this point I can’t even remember why I bought it. I think it’s a plum tomato. Mystery of the season!

Crnkovic Yugoslavian: I had to buy this one because my maternal grandmother’s family is from Slovenia. A dark-pink slicer.

Pork Chop: A green and yellow striped beefsteak tomato.

Blush: A 2″ long cherry tomato that’s yellow with a pinkish “blush” on the blossom end when ripe. Supposedly, it has a tropical pineappley flavor. Can’t wait!

Gardener’s Delight: A German heirloom red cherry.

Isis Candy: Kind of self-explanatory. A red and yellow cherry tomato that tastes like CANDY!

Bloody Butcher: A deep red tomato that produces early, so hopefully we’ll get some of these relatively soon.

Haley’s Purple Comet: A purple cherry tomato. Yum!


So yeah, that’s 13 plants. I got some reinvigorated soil in the garden, so I’m hoping that I’ll have a good harvest. Nothing better than walking out to the garden and picking some cherry tomatoes and eating them right off the vine.


I’ve planted a few tomatoes in pots and I’m curious to see how they do compared to the ones in the ground. I’ll keep you posted!

Next up: the rest of the veggies I planted in the yard!

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I was out in the garden yesterday, mesmerized by the bees buzzing through the lavender. We have a bunch of plants in our front yard, and every year they get bigger and fuller, and always there are more bees.

I’m hoping our little corner of the world is helping to combat colony collapse disorder. The bees seem to be alive and well in our garden! If only I had a hive, I could get some amazing lavender honey…

Each plant has about 10 – 12 bees flying around in it whenever I check. I particularly like to watch them around sunset, when the light is beautiful and the bees are plentiful.

The bees are just amazing to me. That they can sit on a flower like that, and eventually honey appears… it’s miraculous.


And even the lavender itself is a wonder. So many tiny blossoms, and so fragrant.

I hope you’re having a lovely, lavender day!


My favorite kind of post to write is one whose title is a cliché. Don’t you agree?

As far as I understand, it’s spring! We’ve been having some bipolar weather around here in L.A.; last week it was really cold (well, for April in the Southland, 60º is cold) and then on Friday it was like the deluge, with thunder and lightning and everything. And today, it’s 85º. Woot!

It’s time to start admiring the garden again. When I actually take time out to go look at actual living plants in the real world, I’m always wonderstruck. It’s probably a sign that I don’t spend enough time outdoors, but I also love being fascinated by simple things. It makes it easy to entertain yourself.

While I was in the garden yesterday, I noticed a pattern of plants defying the odds. I found some plants in unusual places, and I thought, “how on earth did you grow there? Against all odds?” (Cue Phil Collins song.) Plants seem so delicate and vulnerable, and since you can’t actually see them growing, they appear static. And then all of a sudden, the ivy has completely disassembled my wooden fence. How can it do that? How can this little plant take apart a well-constructed barrier?

Here are a few of the “how in the world…” moments I experienced yesterday.

This is an empty pot. At least, last time I looked at it, it was empty. Over the season, some leaves apparently fell in it. And then, a succulent fell in it? This succulent is flourishing in about 1/4″ of decomposing leaves. When I saw it, I couldn’t even believe it. This guy really wanted to grow here!

I like to use this half whiskey barrel to plant vegetables. When I put it in the garden, I kind of had to set it almost on top of this alstroemeria. No worries. It grew to the side, and just to annoy me, decided to grow up and through the barrel. See it inside? How did it do that? There is a bottom to this container; I guess it just somehow found an opening and then grew up through a good 12″ of soil. Good on ya, flower.

This is our front yard. It’s at the entrance to the play space, where we’ve installed artificial grass. Not to be thwarted, though, the ground cover in the garden beds has decided to move on in. You can see where the whitish-silver plant is growing onto the turf. It just grew right over that pesky fake grass. There’s no soil underneath, either, at least for a good 4″; they take out the soil and put decomposed granite underneath the fake grass for drainage or something. The photo should show all artificial turf; that’s how much the ground cover has encroached. I think it looks kind of nice, though, so I don’t begrudge it its space.

See that calla lily? Yeah, I’ve never planted a calla lily. There’s never been a calla lily in my garden. I literally just noticed it yesterday. How did you get there, lily friend? Maybe the bulb was buried and couldn’t quite get up the energy to blossom in past years. But we’ve been here for 7 years now, so that’s a pretty long hibernation. Anyway, welcome, calla!

What’s growing in your garden these days?

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