Odds & Ends

Swiss Folk Art

We just returned from the Swiss Alps, enjoying all of the snow in Europe this winter. One thing I always love about Switzerland is the beautiful architecture and their decorative folk art, evident on their buildings, furniture and objects everywhere. It is uniquely Swiss, and you can see it broadly throughout the Tyrolean region of the Alps. To me, both are…
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An Oak Spring

I am a huge reader and love biographies. I just finished a very interesting book on Bunny Mellon. Born into privilege, Bunny was an American style icon, art collector, self-trained talented landscape designer and Best-Dressed List regular. Bunny gained national acclaim for designing the White House Rose Garden after she was asked by her close…
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Herb Drying

There is nothing quite as good as the taste of fresh-picked herbs. However, when you don't have access to fresh herbs, dried herbs add a lot of flavor. Dried herbs are generally more concentrated than fresh and therefore you will probably use less in a recipe. I have an abundant of fresh organic herbs year-round…
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Christmas Wreaths

Wreaths have been used at Christmas for hundreds of years. It's circular shape represents eternity, as it has no beginning and no end. From a christian religious perspective the wreath represents an unending circle of life. The wreath above is on my front door.  I loved the grey, white and red plaid colors of the…
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Don’t give up on boxwood

My dear friend Mary shared several back issues of Country Life with me last week and I started going through them today. Country Life is a British weekly magazine (owned by Time Inc UK) with many of the subjects we love about English life - gardens, country homes, glass houses, garden and other art, and interiors.…
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RIP Ruth Bancroft

Ruth Bancroft, founder of The Ruth Bancroft Garden in Walnut Creek, California, passed away on Sunday at the age of 109 years of age. Ruth spent over 76 years of her lifetime tending the garden in her namesake - a well-known green treasure in Northern California. Following are words about her legacy, as shared by her family: "Mrs.…
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A Growing Hope

Thanks Ben Lendardt from the Garden Conservancy for forwarding me the CBS This Morning news clip about the wonderful benefits of gardening for our veterans. The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois is providing a wonderful program for veterans to work in this very special botanic garden, which helps them heal from the stress they have experienced and begin…
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First Frost and Autumn Planting

Autumn is here! Last weekend we had our first frost on the lawn and turned back the clocks to gain an hour of much needed sleep after a stressful couple of weeks of devastating Napa and Sonoma County fires. Lucky for us, our property was spared, but many of our friends and neighbors were not.…
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Honey Harvest

My gardener harvested my honey this year as I was traveling when we had an appointment to have the frames spun. The honey this year was harvested about a month later than last year. We harvested about 30 pints. As you can see from the photo below the 2017 harvest was much darker than the…
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Harvesting and Clean Up

I have been harvesting so much fruit and vegetables that I should open a store or buy a selling table at the farmer's market. After taking stock of my Spring and Summer planting, this is what I know for sure! Once again I planted way too many tomatoes. I have given away to friends and…
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Plants during an eclipse

My husband and I travelled to Sun Valley, Idaho this past week to see the total eclipse of the sun. This was a special moment to view the total eclipse because the "path of totality" (the 70 mile north-south zone within which you can experience a total eclipse) went from South Carolina to Oregon on…
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Natural Sunscreen

Carolyn and I just returned from The Garden Conservancy fellows tour in Sun Valley, Idaho. Sun Valley is a high desert and was hot and very dry while we were there. When we were touring the Sawtooth Botanical Garden, our guide informed us while we were standing in a grove of Aspen trees, that the…
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My Happy Place

As you have seen from my recent posts, I have been traveling. I drove up early yesterday morning to see my garden and have now spent two days weeding, harvesting, tying up tomatoes and green beans, ripping out radishes and watering. While I was gone, the Napa Valley has had a heat wave, and my…
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Flower Humor

My wonderful friend Jan always sends me funny emails about a variety of subjects. Today, she sent me the following very funny one about unique flowers that I just had to share. Enjoy! Hooker’s Lips (Psychotria Elata) Dancing Girls (Impatiens Bequaertii) Laughing Bumble Bee Orchid (Ophrys Bomyblifora) Swaddled Babies (Anguloa Uniflora) Parrot Flower (Impatiens Psittacina) Flying Duck Orchid (Caleana Major) Happy Alien (Calceolaria…
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Bee Update

I brought bees onto my property to pollinate the fruit and vegetables in my garden and increase the production of my variety of fruit trees. It has not been easy! As I mentioned in a previous post, one of my hives was taken over with yellow jackets and the bees in the other hive just…
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Grandma’s Favorite Poem

I found this poem yesterday, amongst my favorite Grandma's things and it immediately brought me back to how wonderful and important she was to me. I hope you'll enjoy this as much as I do. Friends Are Like Flowers Friends are like flowers You can't have too many! Some you don't see around all the…
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Trees talk to each other

Ever listen to TED Talks? Every time I happen on a great talk I am reminded that I should listen to TED Talks all the time. They are fabulous. Recently, I ran across "How Trees Talk to Each Other" by forest ecologist Suzanne Simard. This particular talk has had 2,291,628 views! I absolutely loved it and…
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The Trellis Experiment

I noticed a couple of years ago that my border garden was a little uni-dimensional and needed some variation in height. So I experimented with adding some trellises throughout the border and planting a variety of climbing roses last year. I'm happy to report that the results of that experiment are in - this addition has turned out beautifully!…
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Attracting Bees

I'm sure you've been reading about our declining bee population and have been as worried about our bees as I have been. Our honey bees, which pollinate nearly 95 kinds of fruits and nuts in the US, are declining at an alarming rate. One of the main reasons this is happening is pesticide exposure. The EPA allows…
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new Crop Cage

The raspberries I planted last year have really taken off this spring in their 8x4 raised bed. I may have made a mistake by putting three plants in a single box as those three plants have completely consumed the box - and then some. Time will tell... But one thing I know for sure: with the…
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