Friday, April 24, 2015

stepping into spring this week...

It's kinda been a really neat week.  In-between normal life duties I've been running into the most interesting people.  Take the shop I stopped into on Monday.  The salesclerk and I just started chatting and wouldn't you know that she is setting up a local garden walk.  I gave her some information about permaculture and she was so excited that she wants to do a workshop about it at her event.   When visiting the nursery I struck up a conversation with a nice woman as I was loading the beans into the car.  She asked if we could use a log cabin doll house that she was going to donate to Goodwill.  I said YES and then we continued to talk about the nature school she works at and how she keeps bees.   Then there was my kind neighbor who has gotten me into essential oils.  There are many uses for these plant derived oils and after soccer practice this week she gave me a large reference book so that I can learn more about how to use the oils.  And then there was the nice couple who walked by when I was outside gardening and let my bean play with their dogs.  They gave me some tips for keeping chickens as they have a few and told me where to get our permit and how to set things up. 

There have been a few more things but I think you catch my drift!  It was like everywhere I turned people were talking about what they were doing to get back to nature.  Making more conscious choices in their everyday lives to do better.  Pretty cool eh?

My favorite part about stepping into the spring garden is seeing growth.  When I can divide a plant or create a new bed that's when the magic sets in.  I'm still cleaning up beds, laying compost, and tearing out grass to widen different areas.  Our peas and lettuce are coming up and I finished laying all the brick for my back garden border.  This week I have been planting shrubs in different beds for more interest as I wait "patiently" to plant veggies, flower seeds and dahlia tubers.  

Shrubs that have gone in....

Calycanthus Floridus...Allspice
~known for its large waterlily like blooms~
via-Fine Gardening  

Clethra Alnifolia, North American native “Sweet Pepperbush"
~attracts bees and butterflies~

Itea Virginica "Little Henry-Sweetspire"
~small shrub for mixed borders ~
via-Fine Gardening

Ninebark "Amber Jubilee"
~chosen for its striking foliage~

I hope that whatever the're enjoying the beauty that comes with it.  Have a great weekend folks!   

Friday, April 17, 2015

doing things different...Permaculture

Hi everyone!  How are you all?  I really should be sleeping as I have not had a good nights rest in several nights due to some sick little beans but I am so excited about spring!  Flowers are blooming, compost and veggies are going in and we are officially back in the garden!!!  

I recently took a class at McDonald Farm with my gardening pal Sue about permaculture.  To say that we were inspired was an understatement.  With California's severe drought and the environment shifting, permaculture is changing the way we think about growing food and our relationship with the environment.

PERMACULTURE....Permaculture is the conscious design and maintenance of agriculturally productive systems which have the diversity, stability, and resilience of natural ecosystems. It is the harmonious integration of the landscape with people providing their food, energy, shelter and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way.

Here we are standing in front of a garden that was created to handle excess runoff water from the farm.  The water used for cleaning farm equipment and washing crops would just spill out into the field causing major erosion issues.

Now the water has been routed into a little creek where it feeds a natural forest garden full of fruit trees and edible perennials.  Nothing is wasted.

Below is a diagram of a small garden formed around a fruit tree that can be used for a residential garden.  A fruit tree planted with several layers of plants that not only help pollinate the tree but create a perennial garden full of low maintenance edibles.

Currently the folks here at the farm are working on creating gardens such as these at local shelters and schools.


*Provides fresh local food to the community
*Demonstrates a commitment to food security and ecological restoration
*reduces or eliminates lawn maintenance costs
*Creates a community park
*Serves as an outdoor classroom or educational resource
*Connects people to food and nature
*Inspires the growth of individual edible forest gardens

It was an unbelievable day at the farm to begin to think about what is possible and what is already taking place around the world.  A movement is happening!  

Won't you join in? 

Happy gardening my friends I will be around soon to check in with you all!  

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


When I was a little kid I would spend hours drawing houses and gardens.  Nothing has changed when it comes to this.  If I'm on a walk, I am constantly looking at peoples' yards and thinking about what plants I would add to their space to enhance it.  That is until one of the beans runs off and I am on the chase!  I'm currently working on a few design projects for people that have been keeping me busy at night.  This one is in the works right now....


I look for inspiration everywhere.  Colors and textures in interior spaces.....

Magazines when sitting in waiting rooms...

Simple things like messy easter eggs....

And music, there must be music!  Benny Goodman has been playing while I work....

All and all it has been a pretty busy start to spring.
Just wanted to check in and wish you all a creative week with bits of inspiration along the way!   
Happy Making, Baking, and Growing!