The Natural Garden Coach

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hurrah, January Blooms!

African Violet
YES!! I have blooms for this Garden Bloggers Bloom Day! I was anticipating not a bloom in sight until I remembered my African violet. I got this freebie a few months ago at the Garden Writers Symposium. The Optimara folks had a huge display of all colors, some a bit gaudy for my taste. I gravitated to this one because it reminded me of the first African violet I tried to grow. I think I got it from my then-next door neighbor and friend Brenda, who had a whole lot of them at one time (back in the 70's when houseplants ruled, ha!). This has been a nice steady bloomer since I brought it home. And I haven't even fertilized it yet.

Little Women
And here's another surprise. I got this Little Women rose at the same symposium from the Storybook folks. It was pretty teeny at the time so I put it in a pot instead of the ground. Plus, I wanted to keep it near me on the deck so I could enjoy its perfume. When the cold weather arrived I decided to try it indoors in the hope that it would bloom. Well, here you go. The guest bedroom smells lovely. I believe I will keep it in a pot since it's not supposed to get that big - only 24-30 inches high by 12-24 inches wide.

And can I be allowed just one aside? Remember all the baby greens I harvested last week? (See my last post.) Well, I just saw the goldfinches eating my chard and lettuce!! Is that the thanks I get for giving them nyjer and sunflower seed?! Geez. :-)

OK, one more aside - there is still snow and ice on our roof from our winter storm of last Sunday. This is the longest I've ever seen it hang around in the South!

Now, stay snug and warm and be sure to visit Carol's blog to see what else is in bloom around the world today.

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2010. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Goin' Local


My washed baby greens: Cherry Belle radish, Scarlet Charlotte ruby chard and Nero Toscana kale
This time of year you'd think there wouldn't be much happening in the garden. Ah, but in my little patch of earth I've got some fun food percolating. Yesterday, in advance of a winter storm, I decided to thin out my greens and enjoy them myself. I picked radish, chard and kale greens. Some of the radish greens had true little radishes (why have I never grown these before??). The radish greens and kale went into a saute with some purchased Swiss chard, onions, garlic and red pepper flakes for a pizza topping (with goat cheese, yum). The baby chard was saved for a later salad.
My washed baby lettuces
I also thinned out my lettuces, which became my lunch along with the baby radishes, some lemon juice from Louisiana lemons and some of my brother's California olive oil. It's sometimes difficult for people to eat as local as they'd like but I've found that if you try to go with what's in season, it's a little easier. And of course, a local farmers' market allows for more options (what would I do without my favorite farmers' market, the Ruston Farmers' Market?). 
Fresh, local eggs
My friend Kathy gave me a dozen beautiful eggs from her chickens on Friday. Am I lucky or what? I see some greens and eggs in my future. This fall Kathy also passed on to me her copy of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. This book is imminently more readable than some of Michael Pollan's books on the same subject - how and why to eat local. Barbara Kingsolver makes it real and I loved her sense of humor. Give it a whirl if this subject is something you're interested in.
Ice on baby lettuce
And this is why I wanted to get some greens yesterday! Fingers crossed for the lettuce but I hear kale gets sweeter with a little snow and ice.

Baby Nero Toscana kale
Stay warm everyone!

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2010. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Waiting and Watching

Bountiful Blue blueberry
Happy New Year everyone! Do you make any resolutions for the coming year of what you want to do in your garden? I rarely make resolutions and I certainly don't make any for my garden. I figure I don't need the added stress of not keeping a resolution! What do you do this time of year in your garden? Are you in it or just thinking about it? This time of year I'm usually just waiting and watching, wondering what will be starting to come up next and wondering how the garden will change.

How do you like this blueberry? Such beautiful leaves. This is my first try at blueberries and judging by these leaves, I don't really care if I don't get any fruit. The leaves on this Bountiful Blue are gorgeous.

Time to rake!
Just before the holiday festivities I meant to do a post on all the lovely fall colors. I had forgotten how the oak leaves wait until December to really glow. But time slipped away from me and I never blogged about it. The day we got home from holiday travels ALL the leaves had dropped at once and now we've got some serious raking to do!

Drumstick allium leaves
Today, this first day of the new year, I decided to look for the new. There are a few new leaves pushing up, including these drumstick alliums. When I ordered them this fall, the good folks at Old House Gardens emailed to make sure I wanted drumstick alliums. They're really not supposed to do well south of Zone 7 and I'm in Zone 8a. So I'm sure they were wondering if I knew what I was doing. Well, maybe I don't, but these guys do want to grow!

Dandelion blooms
Looks like the weeds want to grow too (my Greek grandmother-in-law probably wouldn't consider this a weed!).

Baby kale - Nero Toscano variety
I have some young greens coming up as well. Can't wait for the kale to grow up.

Lettuce
Last winter and this, I've used a seed tape of mixed lettuces to get a crop. I really like it as there's less waste. And lots of beautiful lettuces as well.

Flowering quince
Surprise, surprise, the quince has opened its first bud on this New Year's day.

Red Cascade miniature climbing rose on trellis
The Red Cascade climber has also surprised me with a few blooms.

Sweet pea
Finally, my sweet peas are coming up! This year I'm trying bird netting tacked to the ground and the fence. I hope this works.

Savannah holly
The Savannah hollies look pretty good this year and are full of berries. The mockingbirds won't eat them until later on in winter, giving me more time to enjoy them myself.

Titmouse
Of course, one of my favorite "watching" activities this time of year is bird watching. The white-throated sparrows and juncos have returned. And the goldfinches are here early (only they didn't want to appear on cue for me). Could the indigo buntings and rose-breasted grosbeaks be far behind? Guess I'll just have to wait and watch.

This post was written by Jean McWeeney for my blog Dig, Grow, Compost, Blog. Copyright 2010. Please contact me for permission to copy, reproduce, scrape, etc.