Monday, January 29, 2018

Plants! Sort of.

Well, there's no garden, guys.  After the broken foot last year I had a string of weird injuries and illnesses, and I've basically become a couch pillow.  No gardening. No bike. No nothing. Lots of depression, though. I'm good at that.

So, I've been drawing.  I got into coloring books and coloring calendars about a year and a half ago, which has since blossomed into an abiding love for sketching, drawing, coloring, and colored pencils themselves.  Every day at work, I shut myself up in my office on my lunch hour, pop in my earbuds, and color my wall calendar or do something original (or original-ish). I may not have any garden pictures for you, but I have drawings of gardens and plants instead:

a colored pencil interpretation of Cezanne's "Small Forest", 1890

A cyclamen I drew from an actual plant...all except for that
wonky leaf at the bottom, which I tried to draw
from memory.  Oops.  I just finished this last night.

Unfinished as of yet; trying to do a version of the picture below, which I took in Seattle along the waterfront.  The cobbestones look like zombie flesh. 

reference photo, Seattle, June 2016

a free printable I downloaded from the internet to work on one day when I
didn't have my calendars or sketchbook with me at work. I
LOVE the way the blue flower pot came out. 

working on the leaves in my new coloring calendar
(this one, by Joanna Basford)

another page from the internet, with color reference photo
(oriental poppy) 

  More soon; and maybe more stuff about actual, you know, gardening, if that ever gets back off the ground.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Scenes From a Bedroom Window

I'm having kind of a love/fuck-off relationship with the house I live in these days.  And my broken foot.  I can't really garden right now, but I can make you look at pictures of my houseplants.  

This little Sansevieria (Santeria, or Santa
Pizzeria, according to my roommate) got a new
pot the other day, since the old one wouldn't
hold enough water for it anymore. My friend
Nan would like you to know that she gave me
the Jade plant cutting on the left.  :) 

This Hoya used to live on my nightstand, but it was
drying out in the ceiling fan breeze, so I moved it here.
It's been very happy since. 

A biiiiiig Asparagus Fern in the corner of the window (it's
three feet across), next to a plate of small succulents. 

This little fern was eaten by cats a couple
of months ago, so I moved it here so I could keep a
closer eye on it.  It's coming back nicely so far. 

The whole window, as it is right now.  L-R:  Red Chinese Evergreen, Japanese Painted Fern, String-of-Pearls
Senecio,  Hoya, Ponytail Palm, Pothos, Jade plants and "Spikes" Sansevieria, Asparagus Fern 

I love that this window is the first thing I see in the morning.  I love how it looks when it's raining outside. And I kind of love when I find sneaky cats up there: 

This is Owen, my roommate's cat.  Aka Owen the One-Eyed Wonder
Kitty, or simply, What the Hell, Owen? (Both his eyes work fine; he
has a malformed nictating membrane that keeps him from opening
his right eye all the way). 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Armchair Gardening

How many people read this blog, anyway? Like two? Well, if either of you has been wondering why I stopped posting, here it is: 

On May 14th, I broke two bones in my right foot (for my fellow nerds: extra-articular calcaneus fracture; it's cuboid neighbor basically got its top sheared off), and hyperextended the ligament that wraps around the outside of my ankle.  As much as I'd like to be able to say it's a cool cycling injury - because I was out on a ride when it happened - it actually happened while I was off the bike posing for a group picture.  And yes, I finished the ride after it happened, because I didn't know it was broken.  I thought, "Well, you stepped in a hole, dork.  But the motion of the pedals should limber up that sore foot, right?  And I'll just ice it when I get home."  But by the time we got to downtown Austin I couldn't put my foot down at stoplights and had to switch feet; by the time we got back to the shop I couldn't walk anymore.  I drove home, slowly and carefully, and in a lot of pain, and then my roommate took me to the ER.

For the past four weeks, and likely the next four as well, I'm stuck in a big, velcro space-boot, wheeling around on a little blue knee-scooter.  That part is pretty cool.  The crutches I started out with were destroying my hands; the scooter is fast, comfy, versatile, and has a dinky little basket on the front which has been a life-saver at work.  The scooter feels something like being on a bike and a skateboard at the same time, which has been a bit confusing to my reflexes (do I bunny-hop over this extension cord on the floor, or ollie it?)

This means no gardening for me, aside from sitting in a chair or on the couch, thinking about gardening.  Thankfully, it's been raining about once a week for the past month; but with warmer and drier weather setting in, I'm thinking about that sprinkler I never got around to buying a few months ago.  Sure, I could wrap a trash bag around my leg and water by hand - but I can't really stand up that long.  Popping down the street to the nursery isn't as easy as it was: I have to pack the scooter in the car, take off the boot to drive, put it back on when I get there, unpack the scooter, then traverse the parking lot and store without bumping into anyone and without being able to carry much in my basket...all the while knowing that if any one were to harrass or attack me while I'm out on my own, I couldn't defend myself or run away.  Not that I'm exactly Van Damme on my best day, but still - knowledge of your own vulnerability is, well, it's pretty much the human condition anyway, isn't it?  So, whatever.  Shut up, brain.


Even if I haven't been doing much lately, I hate to leave you without any pictures.  Most of these were taken during the last storm, so, just know that in these pictures, I'm wearing a trash bag on my right leg:

First flower cluster on my first Plumbago

I love the way this Oak looks in the rain

This ball moss, all decked out in dead leaves and raindrops

My friend Star brought me a basket of
Petunias when I broke my foot   <3

I can't get over how cool the bark is on this Lace Bark
Elm in the front yard.  I love this tree. 

Raindrops on roses leaves is one of my favorite things.
This Caladium was in my bag of "White Christmas"
Caladiums, but I think it's a different kind.

I bought this gal in May, shown here on a trail near my house which I only
discovered two days before the ride during which I broke my foot...which
was only my 5th ride on it.  I cannot wait to get rolling again.   

See you both next time.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Admiral, There Be Caladiums Here!

So it turns out that the admittedly-adorable, young, female squirrel who's been digging in my front garden may not have been actually removing my Caladium bulbs.  I saw two emerge from the ground the other day, and since then, I've found three more.  Little Girl Squirrel continues to dig little, round holes in my beds - I think she might be burying food, and not performing unsolicited plant-removal services.  


I planted 18 "White Christmas"Caladiums in February.  So far I've got five above-ground, and I'm interested to see how many more of them appear.  There are a couple of large (2-3') areas of the front beds which I was hoping would be carpeted by soft, white, floppy leaves by now; but then, I've never actually grown Caladiums before.  The newly-emerged plants could be the only ones I get (the others could very well have drowned or rotted as a result of the recent rains); or they could be earlier than their neighbors - time will tell.


Bless her heart, I surprised Little Girl Squirrel the other day, at work in the garden.  She bounded away, and ran face-first into the fencing around the beds, fell on the ground, and then hopped over the fence to freedom.  Silly thing. I probably scared her more by laughing out loud than by simply appearing nearby. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Plant List: Backyard/Patio

Because I'm trying to keep up with my plants, and because I have a blog and you get to look at whatever I write, my backyard/patio now contains:

Planted in the ground: 

Rosemary, unknown variety, bought as a "Christmas Tree" topiary, January 2017,  and pruned into a "ball" (lump, wad, what have you)

Container Garden, Patio: 

Blue Plumbago (Plumbago auriculata)
Jasmine, pink-flowered (Jasminum polyanthum) - this was moved from the front yard
Fernleaf Lavender (Lavandula pinnata)
Serrano pepper (Capsicum annuum)
"Yellow Pear" Cherry Tomatoes (2)
"Patio" tomato
Columbine, "Harlequin Mix" (Aquilegia vulgaris) - from the box that was in the front yard
Onion Chives (Allium schoenpprasum)
Lavandula dentata - a bright green variety I can't remember the name of, and there was no tag :c
Thai Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
Lime Mint (Mentha spp.) - I think.  It smells like Lime Mint, but it wasn't labeled.

* If you haven't tried Yellow Pear tomatoes, you must.  They've got a mellow, warm flavor, perfect for adding to savory things.  They're awesome in Greek salads, and on bruschetta. My favorite way to eat them, though, is right off the plant, warm from the sun, while working in the garden.

A pink columbine, part of the "Harlequin Mix" that moved from the
Earthbox planter into their own separate containers last weekend.

Monday, April 3, 2017

A Storm, and Some New Plants

It rained Sunday morning. The way the news fussed about it, you'd think it was
going to rain frogs and kill everyone in the state. It was pretty epic, but it was also
really nice to wake up and enjoy my coffee to the sounds of a thunderstorm.

My front garden is under water!  Note the big, empty spot in the center
there where a kind squirrel has been good enough to relieve me of all of
the  Caladiums that I planted there in February.

Flooded yard.  Apparently people all over the Austin area got just
pounded by this storm - there was a lot of straight-line wind damage,
and even reports of a funnel cloud in west Austin. 
All I got was a lot of water. 

Like, a LOT.  Bye-bye, mulch.

After the storm cleared, it was a GORGEOUS day, which I
used for a quick trip to It's About Thyme to shop for pretty
things to pot up for the patio. There's a blue Plumbago here, with
a Pink Jasmine, and a Fernleaf Lavender.

Veggies and herbs on this side, along with the columbines in the EarthBox
 from the front yard.  Yellow Pear tomatoes, a "Patio Tomato", Serrano pepper,
onion chives,  a dentata lavender, Lime Mint - and you can't tell in this picture,
but the  potted rosemary from the front yard is now planted in the ground,
just off  the corner of the slab.

Daisy assisted, and then we both sat on the patio and rested for a while.
She watched the birds. 

Monday, March 27, 2017

You Can't Go Home Again

Things do change over time, don't they?  The Zilker Garden Festival was a bit of a disappointment.  Kind of a huge one, actually.  I remember an enormous wonderland of plants, garden lectures, product demos, local experts to chat with - with some food and music and arts-n-crafts thrown in for spice.  Yesterday at the festival, there were maybe six nursery booths, the rest was normal festival-vendor fare: clothing, jewelry, random housewares and pottery...pretty much anything but garden-related things.  Disappointed but undaunted, I set off (with the friends I had dragged along with me, promising the wall-to-wall plant-shopping extravaganza I remembered) into the botanical gardens, hoping for a serene stroll to remedy the disappointment and frustration I was feeling, only to find that most of it had been taken over by the childrens' activities areas.  So much for that, then.  Oh, well. 

It'll be a couple more weeks until the botanical gardens are in full bloom, but I did find these cute little guys bopping around happily in the breeze:

Anemone coronaria
another anemone about to open

this one blew out of the frame as I took this picture...
revealing a forgotten shovel.  Whoops!

A big double daffodil

And a single one, with an anemone behind it
making it look like a two-colored flower

All the little violets! They're so cute.

This is not a flower.  But it's still pretty cool. 
It was as big as my hand!

Meanwhile, I still have a LOT to do in the garden.  The festival kind of derailed some plans I had for the weekend, but I'll catch up this week.  If I can get my butt in gear the next few days (I'm extremely, unbelievably tired today for some reason) I should have an actual update on how it's going for you.  Here's hoping.

Dog tax:
Shelly resting her face against my foot.  Silly old bear.