Bloom Day- Welcome Back Topside, Persephone!

I love these flowers! Even if they weren't the first thing blooming, only thing blooming, right now, I would still love them.

Technically, as both my children are fond of pointing out, it isn’t spring until the equinox, but it sure feels like Spring. Like Hades has lost his grip on his lovely wife, and she has moved back in with Mom.

Only two things blooming in my zone 5 yard right now, Iris Reticulata, also known as dwarf iris, and crocus. I looked for squill, which I have mixed in the with lawn, but didn’t find any, so either it didn’t survive, or it will bloom later.

I wonder why the yellow crocus seem to bloom earlier than the purple?

Inside, we have blooms on the lemon tree, or it might be lime…I lost the tags, and I know I have one of each the same age, but can’t remember which is which. I’ll pollinate it with a watercolor brush, and hopefully when it bears fruit, I’ll remember to put a label on it.

Lemon or lime?


A year’s worth of garlic, part 2

I saved the largest bulb of my “harvest” to plant, and ordered some from eBay.  The kind I saved from what I planted last year is soft-neck, which is ordinary grocery store garlic, and in fact, this came from an ordinary grocery store. The kind I got on eBay is a hardneck variety, which is supposed to have a different flavor (there’s a question- how different can it be, and still be garlic?) and also it forms flower stocks and blossoms, which are called scapes.

We got some scapes in our CSA veggie box a few years ago and I had never seen them before- they’re really interesting. You could wear them as bracelets to ward off vampires- long green spirals. I sliced them for stir fry, and they had a bright, super-garlicky taste. Growing hard-neck garlic  means you get an earlier harvest, something to pick before the garlic is actually ready to dig. This helps with the year’s worth deal. Once the bulbs in the basket have either been eaten or started to sprout, there is something to pick that tastes like garlic.

Yes, I know I could just go to the grocery store.

Why bother growing my own? Honestly, carbon. How much diesel fuel is used to plow, plant and harvest garlic in California, or China?  how much energy to ship it here?

I am okay buying olive oil, because I can’t grow that here in zone 5, but I swear, garlic grows itself.

Before the fall equinox, I loosened some soil, broke the garlic heads into individual cloves and planted them. I put them in an area where the compost pile was, so there’s plenty of humus. I’ll cover with mulch, and wait until spring. I won’t water at all until next summer, and then it will still take less water than most people use on their lawns.

Grow garlic!!!!! Seriously!

No photo on this one- better artists than I can take beautiful pictures of bare soil.


worm's eye view of the blooms

In my never ending quest to eliminate lawn (well, I guess it will end someday, when there is no more lawn…) I have planted Siberian Squill in the back yard, next to the hillbilly goldfish pond. I bought  48 bulbs from McClure and Zimmerman, and stabbed into the lawn with my trowel, opened up slits, and placed the bulbs in.

 I’d like to believe it was by design, but I love the way the flowers in the bed by the pond look as if they have just spilled over the sides, and there are little blue flowers mixed in with the grass. They are supposed to spread over the years, and this is the space where the grass is worst- no shade at all, and I don’t water or fertilize. I spread some of my precious compost on the area last year, and I dig out the perennial mallow, but I have to say, the lawn is never my top priority.
Squill has pretty blue flowers, and there are variations- like blue with white stripes and white with blue stripes. Sigh. I just got my new McClure and Zimmerman catalogue, which means they’ve already got me thinking about a new order. I hope to let squill self-seed, and naturalize on its own. To get it to spread, I need to  let the foliage go yellow, which means don’t let the kid from up the street mow for a couple of weeks.

 The kid from up the street said to me today, “can you just give me the money?”

ahahahahah… No.