Gardening where the sidewalk ends

No Bee Shortage Here July 5, 2009

Filed under: my garden,perennials,Uncategorized — greenwalks @ 9:46 pm
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Does anyone know the latest on the dire predictions about honeybee colony collapse? I have not noticed any decrease in the number of bees this year, and in fact I almost feel like there are more. Are they rebounding, or am I just lucky to be near some healthy hives? My daughter counted 13 at a time on just one side of our lavender alley today. This is a honeybee, right??

Bee on lavender

I hope she’s not allergic to bee stings. We tend to put out the sidewalk chalk right next to where everyone is buzzing around. So far, no run-ins! I hope it continues. I figure they are much more interested in the lavender than they are in us.

Lavender and chalk

See some bees, then it’s time to draw some bees.

Chalk bees

Lavender has many uses and delights, but right now I love it most for how it’s nourishing our vital and threatened friends. Buzz on, little bees, buzz on!


Zucchini Races II October 9, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — greenwalks @ 2:24 pm
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Back in the hot, lazy days of summer, I wrote a totally off-topic post about zucchini races at a Seattle farmers’ market. For some reason, it got a lot of hits from people looking to run their own version of the event, and I regretted not having more actual how-to information in the post.

In the early fall, my daughter attended an Oktoberfest event in Seattle’s wacky Fremont neighborhood (formerly industrial, then arsty, now given over mostly to yuppification, sadly). Self-designated as “the Center of the Universe,” Fremont is home to many pieces of street art and public sculpture, and is definitely worth a walk through on any visit here, despite the gentrification.

The zucchini cars the kids made were simpler than the ones at the farmers’ market, but they operated on the same principle, just with fewer doodads for ornamentation. Here’s how to make one.


– 1 smallish zucchini, any color (must be fairly straight, so the “belly” doesn’t drag

– 4 wooden craft wheels (1 1/2″ diameter)

– 4 nails (1 1/2″ or thereabouts)

– 8 washers

– 8 plastic craft beads

– drink umbrellas, pipe cleaners, feathers, toothpick flags, self-stick eyes, etc for decoration

Load a bead, a washer, a wheel, another washer and another bead onto each nail and push all four into the zuke. Check for roll-ability. Decorate as desired or leave simple for aerodynamic sleekness. Race on a pinewood derby track, don’t make a big deal of who wins or doesn’t. That’s it!

Zuke car


Reply-o-rama September 25, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — greenwalks @ 11:25 pm
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One thing that I don’t seem to have got the hang of with this whole blogging thing is the replying-to-comments part. I already feel like I spend a ton of time (that I could instead be putting to use in the garden or on a million other things) on the writing, photos, and visits to other people’s sites. It’s astonishing to me how well some of you manage to keep up not only with your gardens and posts, but also with your comment replies.

I was feeling really guilty about it today, not to mention avoiding some other big projects and boring house tasks, so I decided to do a comment-reply marathon and not go to sleep until I finished. Well, it’s 11:20 pm and I’m finally done!

Reading through all of the comments I’ve received from visitors to Greenwalks really warmed my heart. Whether people stopped by once or have come back almost daily, I truly and deeply appreciate every (non-spam) word, whether it’s encouragement, a tip or hint, a story shared from your own experience, or something you saw and wanted to pass along. I made every effort to respond to each comment individually, but forgive me if I accidentally skipped a few. I was getting pretty tired towards the end!

My in-laws are coming for a visit tomorrow so I may not have time to put up anything until next week. Until then, happy fall gardening (and blogging) to you all, and thanks again to those who took the time to connect here.

Late summer color


Birthday September 8, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — greenwalks @ 2:53 pm
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Greenwalks celebrated its one-month birthday today. Thank you to anyone and everyone who has stopped by, left a comment, read a post, clicked on a link or offered support. All you other gardeners and bloggers out there are so inspiring! It’s so nice to be part of this online green community.

– Karen

Big Rock, Little Rocks


Neighbors’ Gardens August 13, 2008

Walking around my neighborhood in NE Seattle at a leisurely pace (set by my 5 yr. old) gives me time to absorb all the wonderful ways people have chosen to use their parking strips for gardening.

Today I met the lovely gal who put in this raised bed on her somewhat shaded north-side parking strip:

Tall peas

She said they got over 50 lbs. of snap peas from these two small rows, with only morning sun! She hasn’t had as good luck with beans, either pole or bush, and the slugs ate her lettuce, but they seem to stay away from her arugula and the blueberries are coming along nicely.

She’s got fruit trees and lots of other lovely stuff out there too, I’ll try to post photos of those another time.


Before August 9, 2008

I always judge landscape gardener sites by their before/after section. But now that I’m putting up my own here, I realize the error of my ways. What about the in between part, where the old ugly stuff is ripped out but the new things haven’t matured into a recognizably lovely pattern yet? What if there isn’t even a pattern to begin with? Uh oh.

We moved to a little Craftsman bungalow in Northeast Seattle three summers ago. The previous owner had a professional landscaper put in a very nice, low-water use garden around the house, and his only regret was that he’d let the pro talk him into using St. John’s Wort as a groundcover on the street. Once it’s in, it’s virtually impossible to remove. I asked around and was told by various garden experts that it might take a backhoe to get it out, and that the seeds and shoots left in the ground could regenerate for up to five years. A bit daunting, to say the least.

St. John's Wort - Pure Evil

St. John's Wort - Pure Evil

But, since there wasn’t another good place to put a veggie patch, and I had enjoyed having a small raised bed in the parking strip of our previous house, I enlisted my parents to help me with the dig-out aspect of the project and got to work. It took hours of back-breaking labor with shears, clippers, trowels, mattocks, and pick-axes to get the worst of it out, but it was also kind of fun. I viewed it as a challenge, to do what the experts said couldn’t be done, at least not without power tools.

Partway Cleared

Partway Cleared

We went inch by inch, foot by foot, yard by yard. I put up a sign on our retaining wall to apologize to neighbors for the mess, and promised that something better would eventually appear. They had quite a while to wait, as it turned out. In some senses, they’re probably still waiting!

In the next post, you can see what it looks like three years later. Not as much of an improvement as I would have hoped for, but still better than the awful groundcover. And the weeding is getting less onerous, now that some of the plants are filling in. Much more to do, but that’s gardening for you.