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November 2009
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  • Lights, Camera, Action: Hollywood’s Fan Palms September 18, 2014
    Sprinklers let loose— Water is softly spraying a neighbor’s yard, and it sounds nice, even though it is only a plain green lawn that’s benefiting.  Well, not just a lawn— Out the window I see both a tall California Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera) and a more robust Phoenix Palm (Phoenix Cunninghamiana) standing together in the […] We love hearing from you! P […]
    Kathy Vilim
  • When the Gall Moves, it Probably isn’t a Gall September 12, 2014
    I was walking past the Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum) tree, one of two saplings I have planted on the southwest side of the pond. Bald-cypress are known for getting species-specific insects known as Cypress Twig Gall Midge (Taxodiomyia cupressiananassa). The smaller of my two trees has a few sprinkled throughout. Galls are housing created from […] We love […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Gardening for Wildlife at the Flower Farm September 11, 2014
    On September 28th last year (2012), my husband and I closed on our first home, a 1.5 acre property that backs out to a nature preserve and is surrounded by woods on all four sides. I wrote about our gardening efforts last year in an article I called “Wildlife Gardening in Rivendell,” because the property […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see […]
    Jesse Elwert
  • Jack-in-the-pulpit September 9, 2014
    Anticipation Anticipation makes my world go ’round. I find something, perhaps a plant, just beginning to emerge in the spring. I return to the infant plant often. Watching and waiting. Looking forward to its grand finale. This is the story of anticipation from beginning to disappointing end, of a Jack-in-the-pulpit, Arisaema triphyllum. The photograph above, […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • Little Lacewing Life Cycle September 8, 2014
    Lacewings are delicate insects that are considered to be beneficial to your garden.  I’ve observed them in my beautiful wildlife garden during the day and at night.  To the casual observer they appear to be clumsy fliers, but that may serve as a survival technique.  From what I’ve read, they have sensory organs at the […] We love hearing from you! Please cli […]
    Judy Burris
  • Cream of the Gardening Crop: Skimmers September 5, 2014
    I’ve a new dragonfly at my place.  I was excited when I saw the overall purple hue of this beauty.  I knew it was one I had never seen before and at first I struggled to identify it. Anyone can make up a  checklist of Dragonflies and Damselflies (order: Odonata) based on their location.  I […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beauti […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Vampires in the Canyon September 4, 2014
    Is there a vampire in the Canyon?  If you were hiking through the Santa Monica Mountains this month, you would most certainly run across patches of strange-looking, yellowish vine-like plants. What is this plant that is laid out across the chaparral bushes as if it were strangling them? Is it really hurting the bushes on […] We love hearing from you! Please […]
    Kathy Vilim
  • Duckweed For Wildlife September 3, 2014
    Duckweed is the smallest flowering plant in the US If you have a wildlife pond, I’m sure you’re familiar with Duckweed (Lemna minor) as it can quickly cover the surface of your pond. Duckweed is commonly found in ponds, lakes, marshes, and slow moving streams. In streams where the water moves more quickly, the Duckweed is […] We love hearing from you! Please […]
    Carole Sevilla Brown
  • Flowers With Wings over the Southwest September 2, 2014
    The cooler days of autumn herald the arrival of winged visitors to the skies the Southwest. Along with migratory birds are the beautiful butterflies. Many different species of butterflies! There are butterflies that migrate down into warmer valleys from cool mountain tops. Butterflies from northern climates, not just the monarchs, migrate southward, on their […]
    Jacqueline Soule

#GardenChat

Weekend Update

Another busy weekend in the indoor garden. A Saturday check of the plants revealed herb roots peeking out of the sage and basil pots, lavender sprouting (The envelope said 21 days for germination, it’s been one week.), and FRAGRANCE! The scent of Thai basil was lingering in the air as I entered and, for a moment, I forgot I was inside in November. Add to that the scent of Silver Fir Tree tomato foliage as I rotated the pots and I was reminded this truly is a garden, regardless of location.

silver-fir-tree-leaf-heirloom-tomato-seedling

Silvery foliage of heirloom tomatoes.

organic-Thai-basil-seedling

Thai basil seedling.

organic-creeping-thyme-seedling

Purple creeping thyme.

herb-sage-seedling-indoor-garden

Wrinkled foliage of common sage.

Saturday also brought the mailman to our door with books. The weather is quickly changing and a few new reads aren’t as much a luxury as a necessity when the snow flies. New to the bookshelf:

  • “Second Nature” by Michael Pollan. Chosen by the American  Horticultural Society as one of the 25 greatest books ever written, it is (to quote Frank Levering) “…Part autobiography, part gardening book, part intellectual odyssey…”. A quick flip through the book and I’m already convinced Mr. Pollan and I share a gardening spirit.
  • “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan. The entire book expands on seven simple words delivered at the very start, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” A revelation of how food was reduced to only selected nutrients and the effects it’s had on society.
  • “Food, Inc.” a guide by Participant media. The movie will change the way you look at food.  This book re-caps the movie’s messages as well as providing 13 original essays by experts illustrating the issues and providing challenges for the consumer to promote change.
  • “Restoring American gardens” by Denise wiles Adams. A hardcover encyclopedia of heirloom ornamental plants from 1640-1940. Full of vintage photos and glossy pictures as well as the history and culture of over 1,000 plants including trees, roses, annuals and perennials. Invaluable and beautiful.

pollan-schlosser-adams-books-organic-gardening

This weekend also blessed me with a gift from my hubby, a membership to Seed Saver’s Exchange. I’m thrilled to be a part of a network of grower’s all over the world dedicated to collecting, conserving and sharing heirloom seeds. Please consider joining a reputable seed saving organization or co-op or giving a membership as a gift. Help protect bio-diversity and our gardening heritage for our future and the future of our children.

seed-saver-exchange-membership-pamphlet

seed-savers-exchange-inside-membership-pamphlet

Finally, Sunday was jam-making day with fresh cranberries mixed with frozen strawberries saved from summer for Christmas Jam.(Recipe here.) Bright red and sweetly tart it’s perfect for toasted home-baked bread on snowy winter mornings. I like to tuck a few jars away for a delicious handmade gift. Now that I think about it, everything here would be a welcomed gift. They were for me!

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