Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Avocado’

The mood here in the garden is one of happiness and hope this week…

A bonanza of citrus!

A bonanza of citrus!

Following a nearly 9-month job search; (which was sadly sidelined for 3.5 months to recuperate following the shattered ankle) this gardener is finally rejoining the world of the gainfully employed masses! The new job; an administrative position for a company here in Oakland, CA, starts Monday, May 12th. I am looking forward to getting into a steadier income stream so I can rebuild some savings, pick up the occasional addition to the patio garden, and save up for some much-needed upgrades for my bike.

Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom

Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom

Miss Gretchen should be quite happy to again have unfettered run of the house during the days while I am work. The one benefit of my unemployed stint was that she and I had plenty of time to bond with each other; a process and time which both she and I definitely needed. Miss G has been spending most of the sunshine filled days of the past week lounging out on the patio,  trying her best stealth cat impression by hiding under one of the patio chairs or tucked in behind a planter awaiting a mistake by the local fauna. I don’t have the heart to tell her that ALL of the critters KNOW that she is out there and keep their distance accordingly; which is for the best, I don’t want her hurting any of the local critters. Thankfully, she is not the super stealthy huntress that her genes would suggest; so either way, the critters are usually pretty safe regardless of where she is hiding.

Miss Gretchen Enjoying the Shade of a Patio Chair

Miss Gretchen Enjoying the Shade of a Patio Chair

Lazy days; it's good to be a cat!

Lazy days; it’s good to be a cat!

The mini heat wave we had here in the Bay Area last week were just the ticket to spur my Arkansas Traveler tomatoes first significant growth spurt! I will be thinning out the tomatoes this weekend and working on stringing together a trellis of twine for the plants to wrap themselves around and support the bounty of tomatoes in July and August!

My little seedlings will soon be reaching for support

My little seedlings will soon be reaching for support

Almost time for a second thinning of the seedlings

Almost time for a second thinning of the seedlings

Almost time for string trellis

Almost time for string trellis

My second Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom of the season tolerated the heat just dandy; however, it was the winds which followed the heat which proved to be too much for her. I went out to water the patio this morning and found that the wind gusts must have snapped her stalk!

All I can say is: Grrrrr!! Foiled Again!! Oh well; even though she only lasted about a week after flowering, it was great having such a beauty to look at while I fiddled with the patio.

My second Amaryllis flower

My second Amaryllis flower

Dueling Amaryllis

Dueling Amaryllis

Wind damage; an early end for Miss Amaryllis

OUCH!!  Wind damage; an early end for Miss Amaryllis

The Pacific Giant Blue Primrose have set out a flurry of their delicate blue/yellow flowers. There is apparently no weather which the primrose do not love and thrive in!

Pacific Giant Blue Primrose

Pacific Giant Blue Primrose

Elsewhere out on the patio; my little wandering fuchsia continues her steady crawl toward the edge of the patio table. I wonder if she knows where she is heading? I guess she will figure it out; of course, I will be there to lend a hand if need be.

My creeping fuschia

My creeping fuchsia continue to explore

My dainty little purple daisies continue to creep over the edge of the patio’s big round planter; having more than quadrupled in number over the past two-weeks. I wonder if they will follow the Snowflake’s (Bacopa) lead and self-seed themselves into a nearby planter? I suppose that time will tell…

Solitary Daisy Enjoys the Morning Haze

Solitary Daisy Enjoys the Morning Haze

Daisies continue to pour from the Calla Lily/Snowflake planter

Daisies continue to pour from the Calla Lily/Snowflake planter

Outside of the Garden; I made a somewhat radical change/upgrade to my beloved bicycle; Il Toro~Blu. I had the opportunity to pick up a new frameset for her; so yesterday I spent a few hours swapping out the heavy hi-tensile steel frame and forks for the new lightweight 55cm Specialized Langster aluminum frame and carbon fiber fork. The switch shed 8-lbs from the bike; leaving the new setup a rather svelte and lean 17.5 lbs.

Il Toro~Blu - then

Il Toro~Blu; then…

Il Toro~Nu

Il Toro~Nu; now…

I took her out for a 15-mile shakedown run this afternoon and I gotta say; climbing hills on the lighter frame was much, much easier than I remember the same hills being hauling the steel frame up them. Is there a real difference or just a psychosomatic response? I don’t know; however, the new set up definitely feels more nimble. All that is left to do is get the color scheme in order – the blend right now of blues, silvers, and blacks with slight touches of red is just a wee too busy for me. I suppose I could just paint the bike’s new frame and call it a day; or I could slowly replace parts over the coming months which follow a Silver & Black scheme and move the old blue themed parts back to the old frame as I go, which would be good as it means ending up with two bikes! Until then, Il Toro~Blu’s frameset will be a wall hanger – awaiting her rebirth.

Il Toro~Blu awaits rebirth

Il Toro~Blu awaits rebirth

Finally today; Mr. Hydrangea and his cohorts appear to be feeling a bit pinkish this season. I was hoping for blue/purple; however, pink is just fine as well.

Budding Hydrangea

Budding Hydrangea

Until Next Time…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!!

~ Noah

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

As April closes itself out; the day is gray with spots of rain and drizzle, a good day to survey the garden, tend to all the little garden chores which need to be done, and to plant some to‘maters out on the patio! As I look at the garden now; I see many promising signs that the coming month(s) will likely see bursts of vibrant color from one side of the patio to the other.

It is going to be a nice summer in the Gardens at Casa de Froio!

Ready for May?

Ready for May, left-side?

Yes; I think we are!

Yep; I think we are, right-side!

In the big round planter which includes the forever wandering Snowstorm Giant Snowflake (Bacopa Sutera cordata); Miss Calla Lily (Zantedeschia aethiopica) continues to fill the middle section with large clumps of her broad, arrow shaped, dark green leaves. She has not produced any flowers since I planted her two-years ago; yet, I remain hopeful that this year I have her watering and nitrogen level needs correct and that Mother Nature will be cooperative to the sunshine needs of fickle Miss Lily! As with most things in the garden; only the passage of time will tell that tale.

Miss Lily, lovely to see you again

Miss Lily, lovely to see you again.

Verticality; Achieved!

Verticality; Achieved!

Also in the big round planter with the Calla Lily and Giant Snowflake; my tiny purple Cut-Leaf Daisies (Brachyscome multifida) are spreading out further and further. I am sure that they are jealous of the amount of territory the Snowflakes have occupied and are looking for their share. One price of a long winter dormancy period is the inevitable loss of ground to those who persist year-round.

A cascade of daisies look for new territory

A cascade of daisies look for new territory

Daisy; Daisy; Daisy

Daisy; Daisy; Daisy

Over in the Big Yellow Planter box; an Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom (Hippeastrum Amaryllidaceae cultivar) stands ready to open her flowers and greet the world. This will be the second flowering for this particular bulb since I received them about two and a half years ago. The first flowering was amazing; I had never seen Amaryllis flowers, or at least I never noticed them; however, the giant beauty captivated me and now they are probably the flowers which I most look forward to each season.

Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom; second bloom of the season!

Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom; second bloom of the season!

One Amaryllis flower gets her lean on!!

One Amaryllis flower gets her lean on!!

Slowly she turns; step by step...

Slowly she turns; step by step…

Next to the Amaryllis in the crowded and soon to be uber-colorful Big Yellow Planter box are the Big Leaf Hydrangea v. Cityline ‘Venice’ (Hydrangea macrophylla). This hardy variety of Hydrangea have grown and grown and grown since waking from their winter dormancy. I would estimate that the large grouping has more than doubled in size from where it was last season; sitting atop each of the grouping leaf-masses are the start of what will be their glorious blue/purple flower globes. I can’t wait!!

Almost.....

Almost…..

The remarkably prolific Polyanthus Primrose v. Pacific Giant Blue and Supernova Purple Bicolor (Primula x. polyantha cultivars) continue to provide the most amazing and vivid blue/yellow and pastel purple/yellow flowers; adding an often much-needed color splash when the rest of the garden’s flowers have spent themselves. For I believe under $5.00 for a six-pack of instant color at the local nursery; the Primrose plants have exceeded my expectations and continue to impress me. For two-years now; regardless of what the weather conditions have been: be it super hot, frigid cold, howling winds, or any combination thereof, the Primrose care not and have continuously pushed flowers out year after year.

Ms. Pink and her dazzling sister smile toward the sun

Supernova Purple Bicolor

A new primrose joins the party!

A new primrose joins the party!

Giant Blue

Pacific Giant Blue

Absolutely stunning color depth on the Pacific Blue

Absolutely stunning color depth on the Pacific Blue

Finally today; as I mentioned last week, today was moving day for my Arkansas Traveler Heirloom Tomato seedlings. This 100-year old heirloom tomato variety produces an indeterminate, regular-leaf, 6-foot tall plant, which should yield more than enough 8-oz. round rose-pink tomatoes to keep me in fresh tomatoes from July through end of August.

The tomatoes new home; they should get plenty of sun here!

The tomatoes new home; they should get plenty of sun here!

The seedling Arkansas Traveler tomatoes new home

All snug in their new home; grow well babies!

From what I have read; the Arkansas Traveler tomatoes are considered to be one of the best tasting tomato varieties, with a well-balanced sweet/tart flavor and are tough enough to cope with most adverse conditions; such as high heat, humidity, or drought – important here in California – they are also resistant to cracking and disease, another bonus!

Grow Little Fellow, Grow!!

Grow Little Fellow, Grow!!

Thinking happy thoughts for my tomatoes; I will do my best to make sure you all grow up to strong and healthy, enjoy your new home my little seedlings!

Planter #1

Planter #1

Planter #2

Planter #2

Until next time…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!

~ Noah

 

Read Full Post »

My Arkansas Traveler heirloom tomato seedlings have been growing nicely and should be ready to make the transplant venture out to the patio next weekend! My luck with growing tomatoes here has been bad at best; only successfully growing two small Isis cherry tomatoes last year, this year I have planned well ahead and hope to have a great crop of garden fresh tommy’s throughout the growing season.

Arkansas Traveler Heirloom Tomato Seedlings

Arkansas Traveler Heirloom Tomato Seedlings

I have two planters ready to accept the seedlings; I moved everything around so they would be in the sunniest spot on the patio; and rigged together a bamboo tripod for the little seedlings to grow into without spending any money on single purposes cages.

Tray #1

Tray #1

Tray #2

The package of seeds came into my possession last November; as part of a birthday gift (a book on apartment gardening), and were stored in my refrigerator’s vegetable box for six-months until I started my seed trays on April 4th. I have long heard about storing seeds in the refrigerator; however, I had never tried it as I didn’t want something to go wrong and lose my seeds. Thankfully; I was watching an episode of the Victory Garden around the time I received the package, Michael Weishan had a segment on obtaining and storing seeds from your home garden; including tomato seeds, in which they mentioned that the fridge was a good place to store your seeds until the right planting season. If there is any garden advice I feel that you can trust, it is that of the Victory Garden and I am happy to report that the tip was spot on as each and every seed germinated and is growing quite well!

My seedlings all showing true tomato leaves; a good sign for transplanting!

I also have another Amaryllis v. Apple Blossom bulb which is just about to open its flower. This one is growing outside in the big yellow planter box and is the same bulb which provided my first Amaryllis flower back in 2012. This years flower appears to be significantly smaller in size than the 2012 bloom; however, I am willing to bet the flower will be just as big in the beauty department!

It's a Forest in Here!!

It’s a Forest in Here!!

A New Amaryllis

A New Amaryllis

Amaryllis' flowers pushing through!

Amaryllis’ flowers pushing through!

Elsewhere out on the patio; the Ornamental Ginger and the Hydrangea plants continue to dominate the big yellow planter in the southeast corner of my patio.

It sure is getting crowded in the big yellow planter box though!! With the Ornamental Ginger; Hydrangea; and the Creeping Rosemary pushing out at all corners; which is EXACTLY what I wanted for the view from my bedroom window! I can’t wait until the hydrangea are in full bloom and if I can ever coax a flower out of the ginger, the view should be spectacular!

The patio's southeast corner is filling out nicely!

The patio’s southeast corner is filling out nicely!

Though; it is definitely starting to look like both the hydrangea and ginger will need to be divided and replanted next year. I don’t want to risk impacting the Amaryllis bulbs ability to get sun or having the roots of both affecting the rosemary, ornamental strawberry (fragaria x. lipstick), and my happy little plant with the lovely little blue flowers!

The Ornamental Ginger plants continue to reach for the fence tops!

The Ornamental Ginger plants continue to reach for the fence tops!

Big Boy Avocado has really thrived since moving out onto the patio. The tree is now just over 4-years old and stands at 5′ – 6″ – which is nearly as tall as me! Not at all bad for a freebie which I grew from the seed pit of an organic avocado I picked up at Trader Joe’s!

Big Boy Avocado!

Big Boy Avocado!

Finally today; a trip indoors for a visit with the houseplants! The Dracena and Schefflera are battling each other to see who outgrows the house first! What exactly does one do when this happens?? I can cut the Schefflera down; however, the Dracena is all top growth and I don’t see where it could be pruned without destroying the plant?

The Dracena continue to head for the ceiling!

The Dracena continue to head for the ceiling!

The Schefflera is not far behind my Dracena!

The Schefflera is not far behind my Dracena!

Until Next Time….

 

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!

 

~ Noah

Read Full Post »

The title pretty much sums up my gardening mantra as of late! A couple of days of torrential downpours; then a couple of days of sunny and warm weather; only to retreat back under grey skies heavy with much-needed rainfall in our drought threatened State.

The garden; as always, takes the changes in stride.

The gardener; is learning to get used to it.

The Calla Lily have finally pushed through Snowflakes foliage

The Calla Lily have finally pushed through Snowflakes foliage

Read Full Post »

Two of my three Amaryllis bulbs; v. (Hippeastrum) ‘Apple Blossom’, have decided that the patio’s climate has reached  the ‘just right‘ conditions they were looking for and are now making a break for the sunshine in the form of blossom stalks shooting skyward! The last time they blossomed; back in May 2012, the flowers were absolutely the biggest, most beautiful, pair of conjoined beauties that I have personally ever grown. Needless to say; with the bulbs emerging blossom stalks, I am really looking forward to watching them unfurl themselves and take their place on my patio’s center stage.

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) 'Apple Blossom' rises

Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) ‘Apple Blossom’ bloom stalk rises

The Amaryllis is so far my only sojourn into the wild, wild world of flowering bulbs of any type and I gotta say; if you are going to join the bulb-crowd, the Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) hybrid is a dandy to start with. The 2012 blooms; easily in excess of 20cm in diameter, taught me a rather tragic lesson about this specimen – its Achilles’s heel – a weak stalk (notice the scape is already about to fail in this shot) which collapsed under the flowers weight far too early in their flower bloom. This year I will be ready; this year I will be staking the flowers with bamboo supports early to provide the extra strength needed to ensure that the flowers last longer than the last.

Amaryllis #2 sends a bloom scape forth

Amaryllis #2 – Also sends her bloom scape forth toward the sun

I remember how dazzling the last flowers were; with their soft pink and white petals sparkling under the filtered sunlight of the patio. How their beautiful fragrance bathed the patio with Spring incarnate.

Soon; my little friends, soon!!

Rise, Amaryllis, Rise!!

Rise, Amaryllis, Rise!!

Elsewhere in the garden; the ever interesting Euphorbia v. helioscopia continue with their reproduction dance unabated. I have enjoyed watching them produce their signature spheres of tiny flowers, seeds, and fruit, subtly whiling away the days subtly transforming their packets and hopefully laying seeds for future generations to come.

Euphorbia

Euphorbia v. helioscopia – tiny flowers hide tinier seeds

Euphoric Euphorbia

Euphoric Euphorbia – Dance little ones; dance!

More tiny Rock Daisies (Brachyscome multifida) have begun to set more and more flowers within the planter they share with the Giant Snowflake. The little daisies signature purple/periwinkle blue flowers add a very welcome contrast to the sea of white Snowflake (Sutera cordata, Bacopa) flowers flowing endlessly from their planter, across the 3-tier plant stand, and down onto the patio floor. Small in stature; the Rock Daisies flowers are no bigger than 1-cm to 2-cm in diameter; however, they definitely make a big impact nestled amongst the plethora of white snowflake flowers. I was thrilled that these little beauties decided to start setting flowers; they were a much missed old friend in my garden.

Rock Daisy;  Brachyscome multifida

Rock Daisy; Brachyscome multifida, enjoys a morning watering

A flash of purple and yellow beams from the field of deep green

A flash of purple and yellow beams from the field of deep green

Having been relocated indoors (As Mr. Squirrel definitely has strawberries on his menu); my strawberry plants (Fragaria “June-Bearing”) are doing great and have already started to set fruit! Looks like I will be enjoying fresh berries with my cereal in the coming weeks! These are the first plants that I have grown from runners that the ‘mother-plant‘ produced over the last year. The mother plant’s berry production had dwindled down to just a few mediocre berries; so it was either buy new plants or trying to raise the runners into adult plants. I had read a lot of very mixed reviews on whether one should keep or clip strawberry runners; most reviews leaned toward clipping them and buying new plants when production slowed. I guess I just have a natural tendency to go against the grain and decided that I would see what happens when runners are nurtured; would they become hearty plants and produce berries or would they be a waste of time and send me in search of new plants? I believe I now have my answer to that question!

Seven Strawberries in the Making! Mmmm!

Seven Strawberries in the Making! Mmmm!

My strawberry pot; possibly soon to runneth over?

My other strawberry planting; new flowers promise tasty berries!

The weather has been EPIC the last couple of weeks here in Oakland, CA. The weather in my Lake Merritt neighborhood has been sunny and warm; in stark contrast to the torrential rains which soaked the area to close out February. The sun has lured me out to the patio much more in recent weeks to tend to the garden’s fertilization, pruning, soil amending, and watering needs for the arrival of spring. Now; the patio is repaying my efforts as a place to just sit and enjoy the new flowers that appear each day.

A Happy Patio Garden Space

A Happy Patio Garden Space

Since the chore out on the patio are done, the sun is out, and the weather warm; I finished up with my last indoor planting, I decided to give tomatoes another try and set up two-six packs of Arkansas Travelers to sprout before I hit the road to put some miles in with a bike ride around town.

Tomato Arkansas Travelers - A Hillbilly Favorite

Tomato Arkansas Travelers – A Hillbilly Favorite

Finally today; I leave you with this parting shot from today’s bike ride; a panoramic view of Lake Merritt; with a throng of runners crossing the Lake Merritt Channel Bridge for today’s 2014 Oakland Marathon. Yep; I must say, I really like my neighborhood!

My neighborhood; it's good to be in Oakland!

Where I call home; Oakland, CA (Lake Merritt w/ Adam’s Point in the background)

Until next time…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

Read Full Post »

Looks like my patio garden didn’t quite feel like waiting until March 20th to get on with the annual Spring bloom. Our somewhat erratic weather patterns from late-February to present; with two to three-weeks of decent rains followed closely by a near heat wave this last week, has set off the signal for my patio’s plants to get to flowering.

Daisy; but not a Duke

The first of my tiny purple daisies opened this week!

The usually outstanding pink Primrose have been; by a long mile, out shined by her blue cousins this week with this dazzler of flower.

Hello Spring!

Hello Spring!

Of course; the Pink Primrose didn’t want to totally lose the spotlight and produced this attractive bouquet.

Primrose; showing off

Primrose; showing off

I also took advantage of this week’s great weather to again re-organize some of the plants out on the patio; add new soil to a few older plants; fertilize everyone for the spring; and give the patio surface a good sweeping.

The front of the patio; just outside the sliding glass door

The front of the patio; just outside the sliding glass door

The back of the patio; just outside my bedroom window

The back of the patio; just outside my bedroom window

Pennisetum and Aloe Vera

Pennisetum and Aloe Vera

I have a couple of plants to re-pot as they have either outgrown their current pot or they are just in the wrong planter and need to be relocated.

Not sure what this volunteer is; Mr. Squirrel missed a nut...

Not sure what this volunteer is; Mr. Squirrel missed a nut…

The other garden plant up for re-potting is a flowering ginger which will not even pop out of its current container due to a mass of roots which have formed a root sheet from the drainage holes in its current container.

Poor root bound ginger

My poor root bound ginger

Other than the usual job searching and finding random tasks through TaskRabbit.com, garden chores and getting out and enjoying the weather on my bicycle have been keep my mind pointing forward. I am trying not to dwell too much on the worsening job market and my sad financial picture as I am doing everything I can do reverse course – – – – it will all work out, right?

It is almost June, yes?

It is almost June, yes?

More next week; hopefully not about a location change, but it is getting possible. How does one move a 3-year old patio garden anyway?

Until then…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

Read Full Post »

And boy; have I been turning a lot lately!!

The euphorbia continue their manic seed production stage

The Euphorbia continue their manic seed production stage

I have been…

Turning worries I cannot change into hope that good times lie ahead;

Turning any missed chances into just another opportunity to explore later; and,

Turning down the roads which I normally might not ventured to turn down before…

As the Hydrangea rise; I follow their lead

As the Hydrangea rise; I follow their lead

Soon; this spot will be ablaze in blue and purple hydrangea

Soon; this spot will be ablaze in blue and purple hydrangea

Professionally; my boat continues to ebb and flow with the great ocean that is submitting resumes and cover letters; following up on the sporadic interview opportunity; and ensuring that no matter what, I remain positive that I will be landing something soon. I am also doing my darndest to remain a step ahead my creditors, my landlord, and running out of funds. I am getting pretty adept at the juggling act while still keeping my eye out for a safe cove to bring myself ashore –  preferably a port near me that is awash with jobs for those who really want to contribute. So; bloodied but unbowed, I press ahead toward the bend ahead where I can get back to rebuilding my empire!

Optimism; my ever-present road dog! 

I think I can; I think I can; I think I can! I know I can!

An Amaryllis takes a tentative peek around

An Amaryllis takes a tentative peek around

Thankfully, the relentless resume & cover letter submissions have started to garner attention! Within the last 7-days, I had two really good interviews; of which, I should know the outcomes by end of this week. One in my line of work (Office Manager for a tech co. in San Francisco); the other, an alternate route (retail / customer service). Both jobs or either one would be welcome right now; a full-time job is an old friend I miss dearly. I genuinely miss the office atmosphere; I miss people; I miss the mental stimulation; and yes, I even miss the stress!! I can see light at the end of my tunnel, and that light will bring back the work/life balance I have missed. Working will be great and allow me to re-focus any non-working time to pursuing those things which bring me personal happiness; road cycling and of course, my muse: the garden.

The Primrose Bloom Continues Unabated

The Primrose Bloom Continues Unabated

Raindrops keep falling on my Primrose

Raindrops keep falling on my Primrose

And down onto the only snowflakes I am likely to see this season

And down onto the only snowflakes I am likely to see this season

The garden is happy and ready to welcome a new season; apropos for my story as well, I am definitely also ready to enjoy a new season, maybe new chapter would be a better ending to this part of the story of a gardener making his little corner of Oakland, CA, a nicer place to be.

Until Next Time…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »