Hail and farewell

I was working out front when one of the neighbors walked by and told me my flowers were beautiful. It felt really nice to have someone say that. It’s been a while since I’ve had a good garden year and the nasturtiums are particularly exuberant this year. Unfortunately, the nasturtiums are about to go. In very short order.

We’re going from mid-70’s (low 20’s C) to mid-90’s (low 30’s C) in the space of two days. Most things will be OK. It’s no a long hot spell, just a couple of days, but it will be enough to crisp the nasturtiums. I’m sorry to be losing them so early in the season, with their lily pad leaves floating above the planting beds and their hot colors in cool spring.


At least if I have to pull them out early I get to skip the stage where the plants start to get covered with aphids and the flowers are mostly dead.

My Wild Weekend (not)

Somebody asked when I got to work this morning if I did anything wild over the weekend. As for me a wild weekend is going to a plant sale, I just laughed. Then, I thought about it, and yeah, I sort of did have a wild weekend, if you count smuggling alcohol in to my mom. Her caregiver disapproves of alcohol and frowns on it if she has a glass. My sister told me she’d mentioned that she’d like a glass. Mom has been feeling out of control and anxious lately and thought a glass of wine might help her unwind a little. So I decided to pick up a bottle and take it with lunch on Sunday. I was all prepared to talk her into it. Turned out there was no coercion necessary. Preparation in the form of a corkscrew would have been a little more useful. I ended up pushing the cork in with a screwdriver. Such sophistication.


My sister texted me Sunday afternoon to tell me about something she saw on television. That’s not a usual thing. We might talk about things we watch in person, but nothing else. But this was pretty weird. She was watching a show and graffiti in the background was my name plus my husband’s name. It wouldn’t be so strange, except that my first name is pretty unusual. I’ve run into people with my name two or three times, but never seen it anywhere else. To see it in conjunction with my husband’s name kind of freaked me out.


What little time I spent in the yard this weekend I mostly spent admiring the flowers. Most of the spring flowers are at peak bloom right now.


I’d be happier if I saw more bees. Between the drought and the decision by most cities not to water the landscape, the bee population is greatly reduced. Good intentions with unintended consequences. My front yard is covered with flowers right now. This weekend I went out there and there were two bees. Two. I don’t think anyone is going to be able to convince me that the problem is not not enough water, but too many humans.

Butterfly weed


The monarch larvae have stripped this plant of all but a few flowers and a couple of seed pods. The aphids have moved in. I’d never seen aphids in any other color but green until I started growing butterfly weed. Normally I just wipe the aphids off using my gloved hands, but I could see that there are a couple of aphid predators on this plant so I left it alone. I’m going to cut the stem back later. Between now and then I’ll keep an eye on this group of aphids and if it gets too big I’ll manually reduce it.

Atrium coming together


My atrium is finally starting to look like something I did on purpose, instead of the new plant holding spot that I usually use it for. Since it’s on a spray irrigation system I often put new plants in there so I know that they won’t die of thirst before I get them in the ground. I generally keep most plants in pots in there because if a plant is successful there, they just go crazy and try to take over the whole space.

I used to have a group of bamboo palms where the dracaena is, but it was really messy, always dropping leaves and it got bugs. It also got too tall and there was no good way to remove just one stalk. Finally, when we had some guys over to remove a tree that was interfering with our foundation I had them take the bamboo palm, too. I’m glad I did, too. The dracaena is much easier to care for. It drops way fewer leaves and when it gets too tall I lop it off and it sprouts a new stalk and we start all over.

The stromanthe triostar to the left of the dracaena I recently moved to the atrium from the patio and it’s much happier. I don’t know why I didn’t think of moving it before. It has always had burnt leaves on the patio. There’s a clue that it needs less sun and higher humidity. I’m not totally happy with the composition yet. I need to move things around a bit to get the color balance right, but the atrium is a lot better than it was. Nothing dead or dying at present. Whoever said “Plant what grows” had it right. If a plant isn’t happy where it is, put it somewhere else or plant something different. Another advantage of having stuff in pots. Changing your mind about where something goes is so much easier.

Natural History Professor

My husband and I are huge nerds and are shortly going to start playing Dungeons and Dragons with a friend of ours. We used to have a group that played once a week, but they all got married or moved or had kids. You know, life and stuff. The friend that got us playing in the first place wants to start up again and he came over to pick up some stuff we used to use while playing.

I was working in the yard when they came over. I try to start early before it gets hot. I was wondering when our friend would show up when he did just that. He also brought his three year old daughter and five year old son. He immediately wanted to introduce them to our tortoise and from there we went on a tour of the yard. I pointed out baby lizards and butterflies. I showed them cocoons and caterpillars. They had questions about everything. They were even good with my cat. I told them she was friendly, but didn’t like to be held and to walk up to her instead of run so she wouldn’t think they were chasing her and they actually did. They got to pet the cat instead of scare her upstairs under the bed for the duration of their visit.

I enjoyed playing natural history professor and showing them all of the things that I love about my garden. And we also got to get rid of a bunch of stuff that we hadn’t used in years.

4/16/16 Weekend activities

Had a friend that we hadn’t seen in a couple of years over this weekend. He brought his not-quite-5 year old with him. Picked up with our friend where we left off. Like no time at all had passed. The son took a little while to warm up, but I play one of the same games on my iPod that he does, that got his attention. Found out that our friend is trying to get a board game group going and he thought of us as possible members. Not too surprising as we used to play D&D with him and some others. We went to lunch and caught up. Showed the tortoise to the kid. He wasn’t very interested. Oh well, no accounting for taste.


Sunday is ‘Cooking with Mom’ day. This week was Loaded Mexican Pizza day. Mixed reviews on this one. We didn’t use jalapenos, as Mom doesn’t like hot foods, and it was pretty bland. The crust was also tough because we didn’t have a pizza stone. I draw the line at hauling breakables back and forth. We’ve decided to add desserts to the menu. We’re kind of running out of appetizers that she wants to eat.

I wanted to bring Mom a bouquet of flowers from the yard. I’d like to do it for Mother’s day, but I don’t think the majority of the blooms will last that long. Unfortunately, I totally forgot about it. Maybe next week. Maybe.

I haven’t been keeping up with my 365 Days of Decluttering, so before I left the house this morning I picked several things to get rid of. A sweater that I don’t like, a pair of shoes that don’t fit, some reading glasses with only one lens. I kept hoping to find the other lens so I could use the glasses again, but it’s been months. Out they go! Let’s see if I can do it again tomorrow morning.