Greenwalks

Gardening where the sidewalk ends

Bloglull December 29, 2010

Filed under: berries,blogging,flora,summer,veggies — greenwalks @ 3:04 pm
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My garden blog buddy Jordan of Metropolitan Gardens (check out his incredible blog if you haven’t already) said the other day that he noticed Greenwalks has been “in a bit of a lull” lately. That was a rather kind way, I thought, to point out the obvious, which is that I had basically abandoned it, and indeed all of garden blogland, since the end of last spring.

Why did I stop? Many reasons:  life challenges, lack of time, feeling like I had nothing novel or of interest to say or show, the usual. Did I miss it? Yep. Did I feel bad for just trailing off without explanation? Kind of. But here’s the weird thing – after two years (okay, not quite) of frequent posts and obsessive tagging, a ghost trail of Greenwalks still exists out there in Web land and the clicks didn’t completely stop. I did miss the comments and the nice exchanges with fellow bloggers, though, and maybe there will be a time when I am able to come back to this world more regularly, since it has been so fun to be a part of.

In the meantime, Greenwalks will probably stay in its unofficial lull. I hope to be back eventually, but for now will leave you with the last images I uploaded to my Flickr account at the end of summer – a bit of warmth on a day where snowflakes are floating down from the Seattle skies.

Cheers and Happy New Year to all, and may your gardens grow well this coming year!

Northgate Community Center Planters

Well-composed planters outside the Northgate Community Center. Lots of kids zipping around the next-door playground, but the pottery and flowers are intact. Miraculous!

Blueberry trio

Sum total of our blueberry harvest this year. I moved the bushes to a sunnier spot, so maybe next year we’ll get a few more?!?!

Green bean first harvest

The green beans are reliable performers in our small veggie garden. We enjoyed these within about 10 minutes of picking them!

Late summer harvest

Our harvests will never tip the scales, but it’s nice to have a little something fresh every day from the garden. The end of the snap peas (planted super late, but then a bumper crop since the summer was cool), some cherry tomatoes, basil (rescued from the jr. gardener, who usually eats every leaf before I can snip any!) and chives for three-onion risotto.

Favorite sunflower

Last but not least, my favorite volunteer Mexican sunflower of the summer. I haven’t planted these for years, they just keep coming up in my parking strip veggie patch! Every year, the colors are slightly different. I wonder what colors will show their faces this coming year?

 

Confused crabapple August 14, 2010

Filed under: flora,oddities,trees — greenwalks @ 8:44 pm
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What the huh?

Confused crabapple

(Photo taken on August 13, 2010)

My spindly parking strip ornamental crabapple trees, which I keep threatening to remove but somehow never do, just did the strangest thing. Perhaps distracted by the recent and unusual-for-August spate of cool, wet weather, they put out a new bunch of leaves and, even odder, some more blossoms.

As far as I know, they have never done this before, and both trees are at it.

Has anyone else experienced this? Am I wrong to find it bizarre?? I’m not complaining – they look a little less terrible this way. Just puzzled.

 

Molasses July 10, 2010

Filed under: bugs,flora,summer — greenwalks @ 10:19 am
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That’s the speed of my blogging, blog reading, and gardening this summer. Or slower. More like a wet bee, one of which I found on some lavender I cut and brought inside in the rain last week. Luckily, I have not been stung too frequently in my life, so it wasn’t a big deal to let the bee crawl on my finger so I could take it outside to transfer it to a flower (Campanula persificolia) for some drying-out time.

Soggy bee

It didn’t sting me, and when I went back later to check, it had gone, so I hope it was able to fly away.

The rains have gone, the sun is here, the garden is taking care of itself by necessity and if I can water every couple of days, usually as the sun is setting after 9:30pm, that’s life in the big city.

How is your garden growing so far? Do you have time to actually enjoy it? I hope you do!

 

Skywatch Friday – August 7, 2009 August 6, 2009

Filed under: sky,Skywatch Friday — greenwalks @ 9:36 pm
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This has absolutely nothing to do with gardening – I just liked the way the kites seemed to be flying so companionably together. It was taken last week on one of the hottest days ever recorded in Seattle, around sunset at Golden Gardens beach, which was packed with folks in search of the slightest cool breeze.

Kite chase at Golden Gardens

Today is 7/8/09 by the UK/European (and other? just not US) reckoning. If you happen to read this before noonish, you can try to remind yourself to note the time at 12:34:56 (7.8.09) for some mild numeric amusement. If you want to take a photo at that moment and post it on your blog, VegPlotting, one of my UK garden blog cronies, is curious about what people are up to at that exact moment in time, worldwide. You can leave her a comment here and she’ll link to your post.

To see more Skywatch Friday posts, click here. Happy Friday, all!

 

What to do with a Tiny Berry Haul August 5, 2009

Filed under: berries — greenwalks @ 5:09 pm
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Whoops, forgot to protect the new blueberry bushes from birds and other critters, they took almost everything when I was out of town for a few days. Ditto the raspberries and we only have a few alpine strawberries per bush anyway at this time of year. When we went out to see what was there for dessert the other night, we came away with a pretty pathetic crop, especially for three hungry people!

Ridiculously paltry berry haul

Yes, there were a few blackberries from the rogue vine that got missed during my spring clean-out of a rather wild area of the garden. I’ll probably regret letting it stay, but I can’t resist fresh blackberries right out my back door.

Hey mom, what do you think we should do with these berries, since we don’t have very many?

Berry deep thoughts

I KNOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Berry sudden epiphany

Add a sprig of mint, an Italian crumble cookie from grandma, and a whole lotta ice cream (chocolate fig and honey pomegranate, in this case).

What to do with a tiny berry haul

Eat on the porch while watching and listening to the only whisper of rain in months:

A breath of rain

If you eat dessert and then go all wacky afterwards in the rain, is it a sugar fit or a rain dance? Both, in this case.

Rain dance

Happy mid-summer, all. Here, we are finally out of the worst of our heat, for the moment anyway! Feels so nice not to be HOT all the time anymore.

 

Too Hot to Blog August 1, 2009

Filed under: fauna,weather — greenwalks @ 8:14 pm
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My brain has shut (mostly) down in this extreme heat wave we’ve been having in the Pacific Northwest. Weather whining has reached a fever pitch, and although it has cooled off from record-setting 103 degrees on Wednesday to a comparatively reasonable but still unpleasant high-80s today, I have just not had the energy to take photos, upload them, think of something to write, or otherwise contribute anything of even miniscule interest to blogland.

We also had relatives in town for a visit, which was fun but since it was their first trip up here, they felt like they had to see and do everything and it was hard to contemplate walking around town showing them the sights in the wilting heat and horrendously bad-quality air (not typically an asthma sufferer, I was coughing and wheezing every time I opened a window or stepped outside). We ended up letting them do some stuff on their own, and spent more time than I care to admit in their air-conditioned hotel room and indoor pool, just to revive a bit and feel like humans for a few hours.

It is also the time of the dreaded (by me) Seafair, Seattle’s annual bonanza of beer-fueled water activities, featuring gas-guzzling hydroplane races and the loudest planes in the sky, the Blue Angels. The combination of the heat and the noise have meant that I’m not spending really any time in the poor old garden. Plants are wilting along with me, so I’ve been out with the sprinkler and hose in the dark at times, just trying to keep most of everyone from expiring until the rains return. Which they seem like they never will.

All of this complaining has made me think about the poor unfortunates who don’t have any access to fans or AC or even a cool sip of water – yes, the elderly and those who work outside have my sympathy, but I’m talking about the furry wildllife, who must really not be used to these temps either. Hugh at Rock Paper Lizard had a really lovely post related to this recently, complete with super cute animal pics – read it here if you have a minute. We have noticed a squirrel who seems to be moving rather slowly at the moment – hope it’s not sick, and will recover when the weather cools. S/he hangs out on top of the fence near our dining room, and seems to stay there for long periods. I took this photo the other day with my daughter’s stuffed animal shark in the foreground, I thought the two “S” animals looked pretty funny together.

Shark & squirrel

Are you a stoic when the mercury hits the extremes? Or do you take your hot weather, as I do, with a glass of WHINE?

 

Soft-Focus Salad & SAGBUTT Sunday July 16, 2009

Filed under: bloggers' gathering,edibles — greenwalks @ 8:34 pm
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Hi friends – sorry to be blog-lagging (blagging?) lately, just not enough time in the day. I went to San Francisco for a friend’s wedding and took about 80 hundred photos of street gardens there, it’s going to have to be an ongoing series.

Here is a parking-strip salad stuff pic from before I left. I think the lettuce is mostly bolted now and the peas are on their last legs/vines, but it has been a great year for my usual few garden produce varieties this year. The new stuff, not so much – if I have time, I will write about my crop failures and maybe get some of your thoughts on how/what/if to do better next year.

Summer salad from the garden

If there’s anyone who has Sunday afternoon free this week (7/19) and wants to join the Seattle garden blog crew at what should be a new benchmark for fun gatherings, please feel free to leave a comment here or email me at greenwalksblog@yahoo.com – Daniel Mount and his partner Michael are hosting a harvest picnic at their place, which Daniel describes as a small (7 acre) farm nestled in Carnation Marsh , 150 acres of Audobon Society bird (and bear) sanctuary” which includes “a 160 ft x 60 ft vegetable patch.”  Wow. I’m assuming the bears will have other things to do than talk about why we blog and which blogs we enjoy reading, as we will be doing while munching delicious salads and finger-foods under the cherry tree.

 

Alien Seed Pods June 23, 2009

Yet another reason to love the species tulips that came up first and lasted longest in the parking strip this spring:

Species tulip seed pods

I just read recently that the trick to getting tulips to repeat is to plant them in an area where they receive little or no water during their dormant season. If they’re where it will get wet, it’s better to dig them up and store them until fall, so they don’t rot. I might have to go to the trouble, which I never have before, for these ones. They’re just too cool to treat as an annual like I usually do with tulips.

It’s weird to be thinking about bulbs now that the Summer Solstice has passed, but I’m trying to be good about letting my bulb foliage hang around as long as it needs to, so I’m grateful this bunch is at least not too ugly to look at amid all the surrounding greenery.

Do summer’s beauties make you forget about your little spring friends who are done for the year? Or do you miss them and think of them, even a little bit, sometimes? (I do.)

 

Street Tomatoes September 18, 2008

Tomato growers in Seattle have been rejoicing as the cool, wet summer finally turned sunny in September. We have now had quite a few weeks of warm, daily sun to help all those slow-ripening fruits and veggies along.

Out for a walk the other day, I was totally blown away by this parking strip tomato patch. Not too many plants, but boy are they producing!

Street tomato patch

The gardener has opted for stakes and twine over cages. Not sure which method is more labor-intensive, but stakes are probably cheaper. Watering method seems to be a soaker hose, and the soil is fairly average-looking but has probably been amended at least somewhat, to produce such healthy-looking plants. These Romas were really looking tasty.

Lurking Romas

These smaller, globe-shaped ones were the furthest along in terms of ripeness.

Almost there

I hope the rain holds off for a little longer so all those big fat juicy ones get ripe.

Need more sun

This street garden is also less than a block away from an elementary school, so I’m impressed that the tomatoes haven’t been pilfered to be used as missiles!

 

Goodbye to Summer Sun(flowers) September 17, 2008

While the rest of the country has been either pummeled by hurricanes or inundated with extreme heat, we in the Seattle area have been enjoying one of the loveliest, driest, warmest Septembers in memory. I think it has yet to rain a single drop this month, which may not be so great in the long run but, after our weirdly rainy and cool summer, is a welcome relief at the moment.

In theory, this should have kept my (volunteer) sunflowers going long into the fall. In reality, a hungry squirrel climbed them all and broke their necks, resulting in my street garden looking even more like a crazy person’s than usual.

My garden looks crazy

Okay, so the flowering/bent over leeks, empty snap pea teepee and general look of obvious neglect didn’t really help either, so I can’t really blame it all on the squirrel. I’ll just go ahead and admit that I didn’t do much in the way of garden maintenance this summer!

I finally decided it was just getting too embarrassing, though, so yesterday I went out and pulled up all the sunflowers, as well as the leeks (the latter make nice dried flowers).

In progress

(The green weed container at the top of that photo is an old pickle bucket my mom bequeathed to me – she used to get them from McDonald’s for free! No idea why they used to give them away – they don’t anymore. So it’s kind of like a treasured family heirloom. It’s sturdy as heck and doesn’t rot or rust if you leave it out in the rain.)

There were a couple of seed heads that hadn’t been completely devoured yet, although one had been partially consumed.

Decapitated sunflower heads

The entire time I was working, I could hear the squirrel up in the neighbor’s plum tree, probably doing the usual one-bite-and-drop-then-on-to-the-next routine. It was chattering and I imagined its little rodent brain wheels turning as it thought “what is that moronic woman doing with MY #%*&! LUNCH?!?” I left the decapitated flower heads out, so they’ll probably be finished by tomorrow.

Now there’s not much left in my veggie patch besides some very sad, yellow basil (I was out of town during a 90 degree hot spell, right after they were planted, so no amount of watering when I returned could bring them back to health), a few other herbs and the crazy fennel that refuses to bulb. Gotta get my winter veggie starts in before they get eaten by a snail!

Mostly cleared

The rains are supposed to begin this weekend, and Seattle will return to its normal, semi-gloomy self. We’ll all put on our Gore-tex jackets and hide indoors with our library books until next… July?! Until then, I’ll be dreaming of next year’s sunflowers.

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