Little shop of horrors…

These two images, seemingly disparate are linked in my mind.  Analyze that one.

I’ve been hiding out from the midday temperatures by revisiting my carnivorous plant obsession.  That and Henry and I have joined the YMCA.  Yes, like the song.  I think I’m going to like it as apposed to the fancy pants gym whose membership I just dropped. I popped in yesterday for my ‘orientation’ which essentially was a workout lite.  While nodding my head and half listening a senior who I’m guessing was in his late 70’s clambered onto the machine next to me.  His skinny legs were incased in the requisite ribbed white knee socks, there were violently colored golf shorts and a nondescript oversized t-shirt.  “This is my favorite machine, I highly recommend it.  It’s going to give me smaller buns.”  was addressed in my direction.  All that came out of my mouth was “I’ll keep that in mind.”   On that note I really do think it’s going to work for us.

rosetted Sundew or Drosera spatulata "Frazier Island"

Henry in I believe 2004

Transitory…

Like seemingly everything else the garden is currently in transition.  I’m hanging onto the few remaining sunflowers even though they are really done for the season while trying to get some winter vegetables into the ground along with Spring bulbs.  A few native Californian Iris which are slow growing chose to grace us this year with a few blooms.

Iris, a macro view

another macro point of view, Iris

It’s that time of year…

I’m still in theory waiting for Summer.  While in holding out mode a friend pointed out some Maple leaves that had turned, as in bright red.  I’m not ready for this, I want a few more tomatoes, cucumbers and the like and yet I found myself at The Seed Bank in Petaluma accumulating a variety of seeds to get in the ground this month.  I know the planting will drift right on into September as I still think August should mostly be about harvesting.  In the meantime there is always watering and weeding.

Seed porn for August and September

The Seed Bank is the West Coast home, literally an old bank building of Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds out of Mansfield, Missouri.  Their catalog is visually inspiring but there is something to being able to fondle  those little packets of promise.  I will be planting all of the above.

Baker Creek’s website is http://rareseeds.com/

I’ve got my eye on you…

Watermelon blossom

It’s already August and my mind is still back on our cool wet Spring weather.  This did not stop me from planting (no cold frame start) several Watermelon vines for the first time.  My expectations were minimal, perhaps just survival of the plants. It has not felt like there has been the necessary heat even though we are partially though Summer.  There are now signs of fruit which I meditate on daily.  The expectations have shifted.  Yes, I will be fertilizing with some additional compost and sliding a piece of plastic under the pencil eraser sized fruit to prevent slugs and mold.  Hopefully the extra attention will not scare off harvesting even just one Watermelon.

The first watermelon

Sunflower City

A field of sunflowers growing near Dixon, California

They’re  not for everyone but I find that an assortment of sunflowers in my garden is better than Prozac.  Visually just so damn happy.  Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus ) are also edible at most stages of growth but if you steam or saute those buds you’ll miss out on the flowers.  It’s a tough call.  Sunflowers have also been used to pull toxins from the soil.  In 1994 Chernobyl was the site of floating rafts of sunflowers, the roots dangling in the water to leach out radionuclides cesium 137 and strontium 90.  Like an ingredient list in the grocery store if you can’t pronounce it, don’t eat it.  It’s not good for you.  Thankfully most of us don’t have a nuclear disaster area in our back yard that needs phytoremediation .  Me?  I’m going to split the seeds with the birds.

Sunflower, Italian white

Sunflower, cappuccino

Creeping Fuchsia…

Fuchsia procumbens "Creeping Fuchsia"

I think of the Fuchsia as an old fashioned garden staple.  My Grandma who ran a dairy ranch and taught me how to bake and crocket had Fuchsia blooming in her garden around the house. Her veggie garden was in a portion of a plowed field. My “city” Granny  I read the National Inquirer with also catching the Phil Donohue Show unless she deemed the topic too racy for my 6th grade sensibilities.  She was also the purchaser of the forbidden platform shoes and a Fuchsia cultivator.

This particular varietal, a native of New Zealand is subtle. It would be easy to overlook, walk right on by this containered plant due to scale.  The bloom is about 1/2 an inch tall but powerfully hued down to the blue pollen. I’m waiting for the small red fruit that is supposed to be edible.  It’s the postmodern Fuchsia for me.

Pineapple Guava, two views…

Pineapple Guava blooms

My Pineapple Guava or Feijoa has been in the ground for close to three years now.  This is the first year that this evergreen bush has been lush with blooms.  As I’ve noted hummingbirds near it I’m hoping for pollination, the end result being fruit this Fall.  Honey bees are also supposed to be attracted to this plant so between the two there is hope.  What isn’t captured except a tiny bit  in the first image because I’m such a macro fiend is that the underside of the leaves are silvery, really very pretty.

Pineapple Guava bloom