Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Thanksgiving Cactus and a Christmas Tree

Happy Holidays! A lot of bloggers have been sharing their Christmas decorations, and I'll join in the fun momentarily. First, I thought you might find these Thanksgiving Cactus photos interesting. I don't have a fancy camera - I have a three-year old Casio Exilim - and while sometimes I get great photos, I have a terrible time replicating them. I never use a flash outside; photographing indoor plants is not so simple...
Here is the cactus bloom indoors without and with (soft) flash:

I wasn't real crazy about either of those shots, so I took the plant outside and got this:
This one is definitely my favorite.

Changing gears, here is our Christmas tree, a Frasier fir:
I love this zany topper. We're not matchy type people, and our tree is quite eclectic. You can also see one of my favorite ornaments here - the dog (which looks just like Otis in the photo above) in a golf cart!
We have many ornaments made by friends and family. My Aunt Janet made this penguin years ago:
We also have many ornaments from our travels. Here is a hat we brought back from Mexico this summer:
Another handmade ornament, by my cousin Julie. This one has always cracked me up - why is this lamb on a skateboard?! Ha.
As you may be able to guess from my name, I have A LOT of gingerbread man stuff! A whole set of dishes, tons of ornaments... Here's one of my favorites that my mom gave me:
One of our two "Our First Married Christmas" ornaments. My mother-in-law gave us this one and I love it!
Homage to Scott's alma mater (and his love of dogs!):
I have just as many kitty ornaments as gingerbread ornaments. Only one of our pets has their name on an ornament, though!
Our other kitty, Gracie, sleeps/hides under the Christmas tree every year. It is so cute!
Anyway, I hope you're all having a great week, and Happy Holidays/Merry Christmas! (Remember to recycle your real trees!)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Garden Bloggers Bloom Day - December 2009

When I told my husband I was going to do my Bloom Day post, he responded "we have stuff blooming?!" Well, it's certainly not a record number of blooms, but our warm climate allows us these beauties in December:
Here is one of the three Camellias that is blooming:

The Mexican Bush Sage was mostly killed by the recent snow, but a few bloom stalks were shielded by the eaves of the house and remain:

The second of the three Camellias, with a very slow-moving bee (?):
I have these pansies in a brick planter that is built onto the front of the house:
A sole black eyed susan is holding on:
I couldn't believe the snow didn't destroy the iris bud that became this flower... It's a tough iris! Blooming for the third time this year!
Last of today's Camellias:
Here are two miniature roses I grow in a pot together:

Last but not least, inside there is a Thanksgiving Cactus beginning to bloom (Thanks to Randy for the ID. I thought it was a Christmas Cactus!):

Visit Carol at May Dreams Garden for more December blooms from around the world.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The difference a day makes

The vegetable garden on Friday:
The vegetable garden Saturday morning:
The vegetable garden Saturday evening:
The vegetable garden on Sunday:
Unlike the veggies, the birds loved the snow, and were out in full force. Here is a chickadee:
And a tufted titmouse:
I also saw an American cardinal, a redheaded woodpecker, 50 or so robins, some sparrows, and an unidentified dark grey bird. That made me feel a lot better about the veggies!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Hello (winter) Goodbye (veggies)

We're going to have our first hard freeze tonight. Time to say goodbye to (most of) the vegetable garden...
I took these pictures this morning before work. The tomatoes don't know what's coming - they're still blooming...
I picked the veggies that weren't terribly small or totally unripe...
I also took a few minutes to use my senses to observe and try to memorize the sights, textures, and scents of warm weather gardening. I rubbed the leaves of the pineapple sage between my fingers and took in the delicate pineapple scent...
I noticed a new rose bloom...
And I fingered the velvety soft flowers of the Mexican Bush Sage.
We brought a lot of plants inside. I had good intentions of cleaning up and de-bugging these plants before bringing them in, but didn't get around to it. Oh well, the kitties will surely take care of the bugs. (Garden blogger Persephone has some good tips for bringing your plants in, if you're more organized/less last minute than I am!)
Speaking of the kitties, do you see Gracie behind two of the "new" pots? She thinks she's hidden!
Have a great weekend and stay warm!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Smorgasbord of November Garden Photos

The fish are alive!! It's been two weeks!
Here is a fuzzy picture of the shubunkin ("Alex") and one of the two comets:
Here are both comets. They are quite sociable. I love having a fish pond!
My summer veggie garden is definitely living on borrowed time, as it is forecasted to freeze soon, but I haven't been able to bring myself to pull it up. Especially when the eggplants, bell peppers, and serranos (below) are producing like mad!
I get about a handful of beans a week. Just enough to throw in a stir-fry. These purple queen beans aren't as productive as normal "green beans," but it may just be the time of year.
Every fall, I wonder if it will be our last year with the approximately 5o-year-old Bradford Pears. They are magnificent in fall!
The small gingko turns such a pretty, distinct golden yellow:
Most of the beautyberry berries have been eaten by birds. They seem to eat one whole cluster at a time rather than munching on all of them a little at a time.
The black krim tomato plants look awful, but keep producing tasty tomatoes (albeit slowly):
Here are about a fifth of our tomato plants. They were all top-pruned at least once and still grew to be eight feet tall/long.
Fuzzy picture of a bell pepper that ended up in an omelet last weekend... I have about 50 bell peppers nearing maturity, which is why a freeze scares me so.
This eggplant ended up in a stir-fry last weekend. The eggplants have many flowers and lots of healthy new growth. Don't they know it's time to wind down??
Here are some of the eggplants. Hard to believe I started these from seed back in February!
These bell pepper plants are huge and healthy:
The dogwood we planted for Earth Day has pretty fall leaves:
Last but definitely not least, look at this DARLING plant tag Persephone in Bloom made me!! She actually made me three, and how cool is this - they are made out of recycled soda cans! Thanks Persephone!
Happy Thanksgiving! I'm very thankful that you read my blog.