Gods and Goddesses…


Marin’s newspaper, the Independent Journal recently had an article written by Master Gardener Marie Narlock on the topic of  the myths that we might be buying into regarding our gardens.  It’s a good read.  Click on the lawn image and you will be transported to the article.

Image shot by John Mutrux

Welcome 2012…

While I don’t think it’s an auspicious start that any of us can now be detained as a potential terrorist,  thankfully when it comes to the garden things are both more and less complicated.   At least it’s a context that’s familiar and generally not threatening.  This year I hope to reach the bottom of one of my compost piles, hunt down those deep crabgrass roots once and for all (yeah, right), grow a few more edibles, revive my broken and wonky drip system, and catch some rainwater if it ever rains.  That and more travel to view the efforts of others.    Whatever the state or size, may your garden reach its own perfect equilibrium of imperfection in the coming year.

What's in bloom January 1, 2011

Another day at the office…

These folks didn’t brown bag their nectar and pollen, they’re lunching out.   After reading through the material on The Great Sunflower Project’s site I’ve been paying closer attention to the population in my own yard.  http://www.greatsunflower.org/four-easy-steps-participate


Before preciousness…

This past week there was an article in the New York Times about the rooftop gardeners who were up there back when rents were in the hundreds not thousands of dollars in Manhattan.  That would be the 1970’s. There was not an inherent self righteousness that can happen to the best of us today in growing some edibles or greenery.  It was just gardening.   One such cultivator, an actress was cast in “Liquid Sky” a collegiate favorite film of mine.  Check out the slide show of the gardens, and the trailer for a now dated film.

from the New York TImes






Flakes, Bizarres and Piccotees…

Flakes and Bizarres has me squirming as it could possibly be descriptive of my sporadic dating life.  When one adds in Piccotees we are talking about Dianthus or carnation varietals.  This is a relief because I’m not quite ready to write that other blog entry.  Carnations have a bad reputation and I don’t mean the naughty, slightly wild good kind of bad reputation.  I’m in agreement when confronted with the my man has enough testosterone to send flowers to, note the white carnation head on that beer.

yes, you really can order this online

Santa Venetia Middle School memories also surfaced of the long stem red and white variety.  Valentine’s Day, a fundraiser for something, the popular kids could and did send the other popular kids a single carnation which naturally would be delivered during class.  While I had ingenuity to end up in the director’s office of Marin Ballet for tormenting my best friend’s twin sister I had not thought to coordinate with her on the sending of said long stem beauties to each other thus in a round about way raising our social status.   Note, my second best friend at the time was the school librarian.

And if that’s not enough Katy Perry when embarking on her World Tour 2011 said “no carnations” when it came to her requested pink dressing room decor.

The point of delving into all of the above is that I adore old fashioned varietals of Dianthus so named by the Greek botanist Theophrastus.  I like to visualize him strolling through a fragrant garden wrapped in  his toga,  Crocs on his feet.  They were made of leather in those days.  It felt like a forever wait to see my Chomley Farran bloom.  Really just over a year ago not realizing that I was at the rare plant table I picked up three of those plants, parted with $38.85 plus tax and went home to bide my time.

your man, my man Theophrastus

The Chomley Farran falls under the varietal Bizarre and according to Annie’s Annuals they were popular during the 1700’s – 1800’s.  More currently, perhaps something to do with the floral industry carnations have been assigned symbolic value.  A mixed hue carnation has associations with unrequited love.  They are a bi-color smoky lavender with streaks of hot pink with a faint spicy clove scent.  Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself.

Dianthus coryophyllus or Chomley Farran

I’m having fun with them as a cut flower.  Annie’s website currently says that this plant is not available but I do know that they have other varietals that I will soon be adding to my garden.

Hat’s off to you…

Yes, the hat is cute but not a tad over $300.00 cute.  A reminder to my dysfunctional perfectionist self that I should have mastered knitting already.  Really  this image is all about the eggplant.  It used to be, not so long ago that anything edible in one’s garden was treated as an eyesore, an embarrassment relegated to the side of the yard, behind the garage sort of like the relative one is a bit reluctant to introduce.  Thankfully times have changed.  We’ve had eggplants growing in the front yard and I’m not above multitasking i.e. grabbing a few off the vine while simultaneously hopping in the car, belting up and driving off.  One rode around with us for several days bringing yes the illegal eggplant calls while driving, amplification of singing along to the iPod and as I am the driver for  a 13 year old boy the inevitable penis humor.

The gardener and author Rosalind Creasy was ahead of her time in creating edible landscapes.  For inspiration check out her book.  There was also recently and article about her in the SF Chronicle.  It’s link is, http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/11/03/DDTM1FT85H.DTL

Be a drip…

replaced valves

In the midst of our heatwave Gardengirl attired in a sundress braved the elements and replaced two broken valves on my drip system.  What I learned is that for one thing I’m out of practice with the hand watering of an entire yard.  I’m also now versed in PVC piping and the accompanying purple primer and glue.  That stuff’ is not organic, could feel the brain cells dying off one by one as the fumes wafted up.   Impersonating someone who knew what they were doing and needed at the irrigation store was fun too.  As the years have gone by I’ve slowly turned into my father with the water conservation and the “Turn off the light if you’re not in the room.” thing.  That said I turned the system on in the middle of the day, twice.  I thank you and the plants thank you.