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This morning I grabbed my camera and headed out to garden after spying this lovely little bee on one of my black eyed Susan’s. Needless to say it was gone when I returned, but I still got some shots of some of the beauty in my garden! Shall we take a look?

I have Mexican Hats in my garden! No, not the sombrero type, but a lovely native perennial. Most of these that I have seen are red. This lovely little flower looks like this:

Red Mexican Hat

Red Mexican Hat

As it develops the stamens open all the way up its cone.

The cone up close

The cone up close

Today I realized that another variety has shown up in my garden. This one is a lovely yellow.

Yellow Mexican Hat

Yellow Mexican Hat

Here is the cone on this one close up.

Yellow cone up close

Yellow cone up close

As I wandered around, I noticed that my transplanted daylilies have begun to flower. They are not only graceful, but colorful with the contrasting rusts and yellows.

Graceful

Graceful

Wandering into my vegetable garden, I have some lovely volunteers of hollyhocks.

In the pink

In the pink

I have had the pink ones for a while, but where did this one come from?

Inside a black hollyhock

Inside a black hollyhock

My echinacea has returned as well showing me an amazing array of colors.

A burst of color in the echinacea

A burst of color in the echinacea

And the lovely Rose of Sharon has returned in all its glory!

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon

Well, I hope that you enjoyed this stroll through some of my lovely blooms! Have a great Saturday and thank you for stopping by!

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There is nothing lovelier that to see the beautiful sunny face of a Black Eyed Susan!

The Black Eyed Susan

The Black Eyed Susan

This is one of those plants that is perfect for the Sierra Foothills as it is deer resistant! And, it attracts a variety of butterflies! They are an amazing plant and flower continually throughout the summer. So let’s take a look at this pretty flower as it develops!

The plant starts low to the ground with fuzzy green leaves. Stalks grow rapidly and at the top the flower blossom starts to form.

The beginnings of a bud

The beginnings of a bud

The blossom petals start to form.

Blossom petals forming

Blossom petals forming

Then they begin to unfold.

They start to unfold

They start to unfold

And the dark center emerges.

The center emerges

The center emerges

There are so many! Take a look at this lovely pair!

A lovely pair!

A lovely pair!

The petals start to unfurl!

The center shines

The center shines

These flowers are a true work of art!

A true work of art!

A true work of art!

The pollen emerges on the flowers hoping to entice those pollinating butterflies!

Up close and personal

Up close and personal

Once they go to seed, I will spread them in the garden to add more next year! These are perennials! Marcy – do you want some seeds?

I hope that you enjoyed these developing sunny faces! Now have a wonderful Sunday, and thanks for the visit!

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In a garden there is the rule of the 3 P’s. The first P is plant. The second is place, and the third is perception. A weed is a “plant,” that is in a “place,” where our “perception” tells us they should not be, particularly in our garden beds. But if you stop and take the time to really look at some of these unwanted plants you will find a world of beauty! Shall we take a look at some of the “weeds” in my backyard? Let’s go!

In no particular order…

Purple Striped Weedicus

Purple Striped Weedicus

A buttercup

A buttercup

A lovely pair

A lovely pair

A dandelion

A dandelion

Another dandelion

Another dandelion

Fairies in the garden

Fairies in the garden

More fairies!

More fairies!

Lavender Weedicus

Lavender Weedicus

Light Blue Weedicus

Light Blue Weedicus

Teeny, tiny blurry baby blues

Teeny, tiny blurry baby blues

White Weedicus

White Weedicus

Yellow Weedicus

Yellow Weedicus

The largest weed is the dandelion. The rest are about 1/4 to 1/16th of the size of the dandelion! Amazing isn’t it, what you can find in the yard if you look close enough? What’s in your garden?

Have a great Saturday! And, thanks for stopping by!

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This weekend I spent quite a bit of time in my garden. I was cleaning up potted plants, my hanging baskets and did some relocation of plants. I planted walnuts, added a new tree and did some spring time clean up. All the while in my garden I was adoring the life around me that I am privileged to share. Now that I have cleaned up, I need to walk in the garden. Would you like to join me?

There is so much to see…hmmm…where do I start? How about we just wander, and I will throw in a note here and there? Sound good? Let’s get going.

Solar flares

Solar flares

Star struck

Star struck

A visitor on the rosemary

A visitor on the rosemary

Tomorrow's plums

Tomorrow’s plums

It always amazes me when I find life in the miniature world. Today was no exception. My only regret was that I did not have my macro lens with me!

Welcome to my parlor said the spider to the earwig

Welcome to my parlor said the spider to the earwig

Another on the peach tree

Another on the peach tree

The definition of anticipation is found in this next photo!

Almonds are forming

Almonds are forming

Cherry blossoms

Cherry blossoms

Find the mosquito!

Find the mosquito!

One last shot as we head back to the house…

Lovely forsythia

Lovely forsythia

I hope that your day has been full of adventure! Thanks for stopping by!

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The day started bright and early. I got my post out on the Super Moon, and I started Chipotle Ribs going in the crockpot. My friend Jorge arrived right on time: 8 a.m. One photo of the garden before we start so you have an idea of the area and get a feeling for the layout of it.

Vege garden before we start

We were starting with 4 bags of steer manure and 8 bags of peat moss. We had quite a bit of newspaper, and the leaf layer leaves came from the lower part of our yard. The compost has been brewing for quite a few years and is really good soil.  My layers will be as follows:

**Newspaper
**Peat moss
**Leaves
**Peat moss
**Steer Manure
**Peat moss
**Compost

We started out by loosening the ground around the raspberries, pulling a few weeds and removing some plants for later transplanting.

Breaking ground

We decided to use the rototiller to break the ground up before we start the layers.

Rototilling the bed

As Jorge was rototilling, I followed with the rake to sort out some of the weed clumps. I removed these while Jorge finished with the rototilling.

Rototilling is done and we are good to go

Before we start the ground gets leveled.

Leveling the ground

We start with the newspapers, and overlap the sheets. The newspaper will act as weed block.  We started at the back of the garden.

Starting the layers

Once the paper was down, we hosed it so that it was soaking wet.  Next we added about a one inch layer of peat moss.  This was followed by a layer of old leaves that I took from a non-weedy area of our garden.  We followed this with another layer of peat moss, followed by steer manure, and more peat moss.

6 layers are down

Here we are finishing up the area by topping it with compost.

Final layer of compost

Once we got into a rhythm, we moved along at a pretty good clip. There is quite a bit more area as we cleared more than I ever have before.  And, I did not calculate the are as well as I thought that I had, and we had to stop for they day.

Stopping here…

We had a lovely lunch made by my husband, and figured out what I needed to get for next weekend. Here is another view from above.

View from above

It might have looked like Jorge was doing all the work, but I did stop every now and then to take photos of our progress so that I could share this experience with you!

Next week when we finish up, if I have the energy, and I must say that I am pooped today and ache in places I didn’t know could ache like it does, we will start planting! Wahoo! Stay tuned!

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My friend Kathy told me about a thing called lasagne gardening.  She seems to have great success with this method and because of this, and the fact that my plants are just about ready to be planted I thought I would give it a go.

Here is what I have learned about this type of garden:

The garden bed is in layers.  After the first layer of newspaper, the next layer will be peat moss.  Every other layer that you choose to do is peat moss.  So, in essence, you are creating a lasagne in the garden with layers of food for the plants!  And the peat moss that you use can be considered the noodles!

Lasagne garden layers – Drawing from DesperateGardener com

What Kathy told me is so cool about this kind of garden is that there are very few weeds and whatever weeds you do get pull up really easily.  Also, that once you get your layers down, you can plant right away.  Sounds to good to be true?  Well, we shall find out.

The plan for tomorrow is to rake up what leaves I have remaining in the yard from the last fall season.  I have a bunch of newspaper courtesy of a pal from work, and Kathy has additional for me.   I will be buying 3 bags of peat moss and two bags of manure.  The rest I have here.

My plan for my layers:  Newspaper, followed by peat moss.  Next layer will be the raked up leaves followed by peat moss.  The next layer will be the manure followed by, yes, peat moss.  Then this layer will be topped with the compost that I have been accumulating for the last 5 years.   My layers, with the exception of the newspaper, which kills the weeds and relieves me of having to rototill, will all be about 1″ thick.  Once this is all together, the garden will be ready to plant.  I will hold off one more week to plant everything around Mother’s Day.  This also gives me time to acclimate the plants from the greenhouse to the natural temperatures outside.

I also read about this type of gardening from a book Kathy loaned me called “Lasagne Gardening,” written by Patricia Lanza.  One of the things that struck me from what I read in this book is that with this type of gardening, plants can be planted closer together than what is recommended on the seed packets.  OK, so I am going to give this a go, and the best part is you get to come along with me on this trip! So stay tuned for updates!

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Did you know that horseradish is not in the radish family but actually in the family of cabbage and broccoli? It belongs to the family “Brassicaceae.” It is a native plant to Europe and Western Asia. It is a root plant that can achieve a height of about five feet!

Horseradish - Photo from the Botanic Garden in Utrecht, Netherlands

The root itself has little aroma, but when the root is grated or cut, that grate or cut damages the cells in the root causing the release of an oil in the plant that causes an irritation to the nose, eyes and the mouth. This is what we would also call the heat in the vegetable. Consider a hot mustard…same thing.

It is a perennial plant in zones 2 – 9, and can be grown outside of these areas as an annual. It is the main root that is harvested in the fall and the secondary roots, also removed from the ground, can then be replanted, and will remain in a dormant state until the following spring. It can also be an invasive plant by sending the offshoots of the root to the area surrounding it.

The root - Photo by Anna - Vienna, Austria

How did this vegetable get its name? Well as is usual on the internet there are all kinds of stories. One tells a story of a sick horse that they thought was not going to make it, so its owners let it eat whatever it wanted. It went to a weed that they thought was poisonous, and the horse miraculously survived! So they tried the plant themselves and found it delicious. The problem with this story is the horse ate the greens not the root. Another story is that the word is derived from the German word for the plant, which is “meerrettich.” It is believed that English speakers could not properly pronounce the “meer” part of the word. They would say “mare” which then they turned to horse. Another story indicates that the plant is a radish, and it was given this name to mean that the vegetable was “as strong as a horse.” So which is the right story? Who knows, so pick the one you like best!

The horseradish that we using in the kitchen is actually a combination of the root plus a bit of vinegar and cream. The most popular meat that this is served with is beef. But it can be used as a spread on a sandwich. And there is actually a cheddar made using horseradish that is wonderful on a roast beef sandwich. It is also added to the ever popular Bloody Mary beverage.  Try grating a bit of this root into your mashed potatoes for a bit of a zing!

It has medicinal properties as well. In years gone by it was used to help cure the common cold. It has also been used as a diuretic. It is also being used in the studies of cancer. It has been known to kill certain bacterial strains.

So next time you are at a dinner table where horseradish is being served, you can impart a bit of interesting facts about this incredible root!

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