Whatever you may call it…

Happy Thanksgiving, Turkey Day, Indigenous People’s Day however you may like to refer to it may the day be filled with warmth, good company, painless travel and cheer.

And, much as I’m attached to words,

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

John F. Kennedy

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


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.

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


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.

Tina Amidon’s mosaic installation…

detail of artist Tina Amidon's installation

I first saw Tina Amidon’s installation on Mother’s Day at Annie’s Annuals but somehow it seems fitting for Memorial Day.  I usually feel torn and slightly guilty about what to do on this holiday.  As a child the requirement was to get up early, pick flowers from the garden, assemble them into assorted bouquets and then head for the cemetery.  There was no getting out of it.  Lunch out at a restaurant was the round about reward.  One experience when wandering through the depths of the oldest section of the cemetery that’s at end of 5th Avenue in San Rafael by myself was to pick a pretty bunch of poison oak to present to my mother who was highly allergic.  As an adult I don’t hold myself or Henry to this family ritual but it’s always in the back of my mind.

detail of artist Tina Amidon's installation

I only shot detail of “The Allegorical Reliquary Mosaic Chapel Fountain” so in the artist’s own words,  “My first freestanding but portable room sized installation.  The inspiration for the piece came from a combination of the weeping walls in Zion National Park and the graceful and elegant roofless ruins of ancient Irish chapels.  Made of mosaic and stucco on polymer-fortified concrete, fiberglass mesh, polystyrene foam armature, stainless steel reservoirs and submersible pumps.”

She spent ten years collecting the bits and pieces that make up the flowing imagery.  I was startled to see one plate that I recognized as also having at my house, a relic from a great aunt.  It’s an inspiring glimpse into one possibility for the stuff we collect.

Tina’s website is http://tidalzonearts.com

detail from Tina Amidon's mosaic installation

They practically grow themselves…

They practically grow themselves, ignore them and they will thrive, poor dry soil is best.  This has all been stated about Nasturtiums.  I mean you sometimes see them growing by the side of the road!  For whatever reason to date I have managed to kill them off.  I can’t put my finger on exactly why but it looks like the tide has turned.  As “companion plants” because I would hate for the veggies to be lonely I planted Marigolds and for the hell of it threw in one Nasturtium figuring it would soon be deceased.  It actually appears to be thriving.  This is exciting as not only is the entire plant edible with the leaves having a mild peppery flavor but they ward away whiteflies, aphids and other pests.  I’m hoping keeping my Nasturtium alive continues to be a new trend.