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

The tasty weed…

Post 4th of July weekend I went over to Peggy and Dave’s house, spent some time in their garden and shot a few images.  They bought their San Rafael home in the 1960’s and have been outside making their yard thrive ever since. Purslane often ends up pulled and tossed as a weed.  A better option for Purslane, or Portulaca oleracea is to eat it.  It’s one of the varietals intentionally found in their garden.  As a salad green, in soups or a stir fry Purslane is one of the best sources for Omega 3 fatty acids, E, C, beta carotene and is even high in protein.  Endorsed, well at least eaten as a vegetable by Native Americans prior to Colonial discovery.  All that and a pretty plant too.

Purslane

Watch for falling fruit…

Detail of the Cannonball tree bloom

This is one wild looking tree!  The Cannonball tree or Couroupita guianensis is native to South America.  The flowers spring from stems that cover the trunk.

Cannonball tree bloom

The blooms contain no nectar so mainly attract bees, in particular Carpenter for the pollen.  The fruit aka the “cannonball”  often splits when it hits the ground emitting an unpleasant stench but one that does not deter it being eaten by animals.

Cannonball tree

Cannonball tree fruit

Microfono…

Beehive Ginger

Beehive Ginger

I’m taking the edge off of being being outdoors enveloped in a thick wet fog thanks to the Carmel coastline by starting to edit a few of my Big Island (Hawaii) images. No complaints as I have a friend’s wedding to ease my return to reality late Thursday evening. Microfono is the Spanish name, most visually fitting for Beehive ginger or Zingiber spectabile.  In February it was too early to see any blooms.   Happily I can’t say the same for June.

Garden Girl Farm

Black Hollyhock

I’ve been immersed recently shooting images for Garden Girl Farm, an urban farm located in Pt. Richmond with an expansive view of the Chevron facility and the other day a well attired woman walking on the freeway.  Cassie, the farmer behind Garden Girl Farm has chickens, turkeys, rabbits and assorted produce.  A recent trek to the local market found the butcher hard at work trying to get her phone number.  She mentioned that she was married and noted to herself that he was probably too young, the braces on his teeth being the giveaway.  She however took his phone number as she wants assistance butchering her current crop of bunnies.

I planted my Victorianesque Black Hollyhocks late this year so they need more time in the ground before I see any action.  Garden Girl’s however are prolific.

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

Beekeeper…

honeybee on papaver

Are you a bee keeper or a bee haver?  This was the query posed by beekeeper Diana Sylvestre at Annie’s Annuals yesterday.  If one wishes and opts for being a bee haver the prospect of keeping bees sounded far less high maintenance than I would have suspected.  Diana is certainly a beekeeper but it’s not all about the honey for her.  She maintains rooftop hives in Oakland as well as hives in Glen Ellen all around her day job.   Naturally there were a number of questions regarding colony collapse and mites. I just read about a study conducted in India which suggests that a factor in colony collapse might  be environmental “electropollution”  which translates to the cell phones we all cannot live without despite having done so for years.  She also mentioned, which got a laugh that once she was asked to confirm that the variable hues of honey was due to bee poop. Probably just the thought would horrify a bee. Bees are fascinating, ordered and very clean creatures.  If only my life were that organized!   I’m presently working on getting set up for my girls (the pullets) but who knows?  Maybe next Spring there could be a couple of hives on my roof.

As a side note, Annie’s Annuals plant signage which always contains the perfect amount of information has a new addition.  When you walk through the nursery look for the little bee stickers.  They mean you have found an addition to your garden that will most likely be very attractive to honeybees and native bee species.