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Posts Tagged ‘jade plant’

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

 

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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

 

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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

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New Blue Primrose Flowers

New Blue Primrose Flowers

One of the benefits of living in Northern California; specifically here in the San Francisco Bay Area (USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 10a), is that we pretty much are able to enjoy a 365-day gardening season. Some plants definitely do go dormant as the temperatures hit the regional low temperatures in the mid-to-low 40-degree range; yet, even at those temperatures there are a few plants in my garden which continue to thrive as long as the drop in temperature is not sustained for more than a day or two. Case in point are my primrose which are all currently back in full blossom and filled with flowers.

January 27, 2014 flowers

Primrose Flowering Continues: January 27, 2014

Pink Primrose Budding Blooms

Pink Primrose Budding Blooms

Happy Primrose!

Happy Primrose!

The ornamental ginger also continue to reach for the skies; even needing to be guided back into place w/ some improvised string trellising!

Ornamental Ginger Reaching High

Ornamental Ginger Reaching High

An Offshoot of Ginger Thrives Amongst the Snowflakes

An Offshoot of Ginger Thrives Amongst the Snowflakes

Snow or Not; We Do Have Snowflakes!

Snow or Not; I Still Get Plenty of Snowflakes!

Outside of gardening; I am still doggedly pursuing any job opening which I feel I am qualified for and hope to land something soon. The well publicized cuts to Federal Unemployment Benefit Extensions have ended my benefits after just 6-months which has left me with less than 30-days of funds to my name until paying rent, utilities, and buying food become sketchy at best.

How do I feel about this? Honestly, I think it’s a huge cop-out of our government to cut benefits to those of us who have worked all of our lives and are now faced with possible homelessness, definite credit deterioration, and the sad fact of actually not being able to buy food. My benefits lasted just 6-months; which definitely helped, however I am trying to find work in one of the most competitive job markets in the United States. I have averaged sending out between 15 and 20 resumes/cover letters per week since losing my job and have to date only had two telephone interviews – I have not been sitting around milking the system. I am saddened that our government can spend umpteen billion on some imaginary ‘war on terrorism’ while letting hundreds of thousands of Americans suffer. This is not the Country that I believe my forefathers would recognize and certainly not the one that my family fought for.

I am really trying hard to keep the faith; however, I for the first time in a long time see it all falling apart for me and for the first time, I am afraid for the future. All that I can do now is continue to hope that I will find a job, that my landlord will be understanding of late rent payments, and that this will all end soon.

Garden_Jan27 006
Until next time…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!

~ Noah

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Since breaking my ankle last month, I must say that gardening has been at best, a chore and at worst, an impossibility. Gardening for the past 5-weeks has really been limited to watering the plants every couple of days. My inability to properly maintain the patio garden has invariably resulted in new blooms being few and far between and an abundance of sad scraggly looking plants, which definitely do not scream to me; “Oh! This would make some great garden blog post fodder!”

A blue primrose peeks out from the shadows

A blue primrose peeks out from the shadows

However, every now and again, the garden tosses a bright point of beauty into the drab landscape. Natures gentle reminder that even though things may look bad right now, that good things often lurk just below the surface, you just have to look for them and they will appear. I like that my garden and I are on the same page! This is definitely the position that I have been taking on the ankle situation, sure, the ankle both looks and feels like crap; however, I know this is temporary and that  good things are really just around the corner.

A snapdragon seemed apropos for a snapped ankle post!

A snapdragon seemed apropos for a snapped ankle post!

I still have a little ways to go on the ankle front as the broken bone unfortunately did not set correctly. My doctor scheduled surgery to fix the problem for Monday, October 21, 2013. The doctors have advised that my ankle will eventually heal; however, it will likely never be back to 100% due to the severity of  the break. The operation; a left ankle open reduction and internal fixation, will be to remove the damaged bone and replace it with a metal plate, which should get the ankle for the most part back in working order. My doctor advised that it would be about 6-months before I can get back to near where I was before the accident. Which is not bad, I will miss the winter months on the bicycle and emerge in April with the last of rains to begin building the strength back to what it was! Yay!

Sunny Days

Sunny Days Ahead

The upside to the injury is that I have been able to enjoy the epic weather we have been having here in Oakland the last couple of weeks. Although I haven’t been able to do a lot of routine garden work, pruning, re-potting, and preparing the garden for coming winter, just getting out into the garden has been a blessing which has helped this temporarily shut-in gardener immensely!

Mrs. Jade Looking Good

Mrs. Jade Looking Good

Not too much has been changing in the garden; the onion plant is still going strong, my anthurium is sending up another flower, and a couple of other old garden friends also begin to send new foliage and flowers skyward.

Onion Flower

Onion Flower

Onions getting Bigger!

Onions getting Bigger!

Anthurium's New Flower

Anthurium’s New Flower

Wiggling Its Way Through the Stems

Wiggling Its Way Through the Stems

Primula making a comeback

Primula making a comeback

Hydrangea's interesting foliage

Hydrangea’s interesting foliage

Until next time …

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS

~Naoh

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…in the dirt; even if that dirt is separated from the actual earth by a collection of random containers strewn about a patio in Oakland, CA!!!

The Ornamental Strawberry (Fragaria x. Lipstick) rebounds

The Ornamental Strawberry (Fragaria x. Lipstick) rebounds

This week brought the realization that I just might have let my bike riding (training for my first ever bike race!!) completely sway my attention from my garden for a day or two, too long and the cost of such inattentiveness was the death of nearly all of my annuals. I found them parched, withering, and dying out! I tried my best to revive them; alas, the damage was done. The Pansies, Violas, and most of the Primrose, are goners! Which was; simply a Bummer! I guess that I will look at this lapse in attention as both a reminder and an opportunity to find some new garden color!

The Jade Family are Enjoying the Morning

The Jade Family Enjoying the Morning

The garden is currently in one her transitional periods; with Snapdragon shoots rising higher and higher from their planters and at their tips are numerous buds which tell me that soon there will be an explosion of pastel dragons taking over the patio! The three bulbs I was given by my ex-wife last year have all sprung to life and are sending up a lot of new shoots which I hope mean that their flower spikes will soon follow (One of the bulbs is a large Amaryllis; however, I am not sure about the other two as they have yet to produce a flower). My herbs have also sprung to life and I am blessed with enough fresh Rosemary and Thyme for months of baking fresh focaccia bread!

Snapdragon shooting upwards toward the Sun

Snapdragon shooting upwards toward the Sun

Some Dragons have arrived early

Some Dragons have arrived early

Elsewhere in the garden; the hydrangea and ginger are thriving in their shady domain of the large yellow planter. The hydrangea has begun forming her first buds of the season, the ginger; meh, she will do whatever it is that she wants I suppose, and intertwined amongst them, creeping rosemary creeps about!

The first hydrangea buds of my season

The first hydrangea buds of my season

Hydrangea, Ginger, Rosemary, oh my!

Hydrangea, Ginger, Rosemary, oh my!

On the other side of the garden; Mr. Big Boy Avocado, the last of the three avo-seedlingss which I attempted to grow as a project to occupy my free time the last time I was unemployed; and which were the original impetus for this blog, continues to thrive in his new home outside on the patio. He is finally growing noticeably taller as well and is now standing at just over 3-feet tall and currently leafing out quite nicely. Will Big Boy Avocado ever bear edible fruit? Definitely not on his own; I would need to get another avocado tree to ensure the process of cross-pollination has even a remote chance; however, as there could be more  avocado trees nearby, dumb luck might take a stab at pollination resulting in fruiting – doubtful, but it could happen. I will know in about four years if he will be ornamental only or a producer.

Big Boy Avocado enjoying the outdoor life!

Big Boy Avocado enjoying the outdoor life!

Well friends, that is about all there is to tell from this side of the garden-verse. Happy Earth Day Everyone, I hope that your gardens are thriving and bringing you joy!

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!

~ Noah

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It is not always the biggest flowers that I enjoy the most

It is not always the biggest flowers that I enjoy the most

I gotta tell you, I am really starting to enjoy the weekends much more than I have for quite some time! Sunday’s have historically been a day for getting the chores done (laundry, grocery getting, house cleaning, etc.); however, since I purchased my bicycle in January, Saturday’s and Sunday’s have become a day for getting out, getting some exercise, and just having fun without worrying about parking, gas, or traffic.

Cineraria in incredibly VIVID purple!

Cineraria in incredibly VIVID purple!

Since getting the bike; I have been trying to ride somewhere in the 15 – 20 mile range during the weekends. I have come to terms with the reality that 20+ years of driving had taken its toll on my stamina, leg strength, and overall cardiovascular system; by the time I get home after a long ride, I am usually far too tired to think about doing chores!  This is not a terrible thing as I now find that I spend even more time out on the patio just enjoying the garden from a comfy garden chair (to rest my weary old bones upon). The chores which formerly dominated my weekend are easily pawned off on an unsuspecting work week, ensuring that my weekends are again valued as a precious resource –  not to be squandered on the tedious, but to enjoy at a full throttle pace in pursuit of fun!

Il Toro Blu - my 2012 SE Draft - Froio's Custom Edition

‘Il Toro Blu’ – 2012 SE Draft – Froio’s Custom Edition

My bicycle has followed the same theme as my garden; replace and refresh until I find something  I like – with the garden; it was January’s Winter Patio Refresh ; taking what I had learned from 2-years of gardening here in Oakland and turning that into what is now the garden I envisioned when I moved in and realized that the patio was screaming to be reborn. The patio was a dirty, unkempt, and generally dingy concrete slab, devoid of anything interesting which I quickly set about addressing.

From the barren wasteland that you see outside the window in this early blog image (Mr. Big Boy Avocado and an avocado that didn’t quite make it)

My plant collection, January 2011

My plant collection, January 2011

To what I enjoy today (Mr. Big Boy Avocado still very much a part of the landscape)

Flowers, Flowers, Everywhere

Flowers, Flowers, Everywhere

So too my bicycle has undergone a metamorphosis; from the plain stock version that arrived in January. I quickly set about upgrading this, changing out that, and before I knew it; the only parts remaining from the factory are the frame, forks, front brake caliper, and chain. Starting with the pedals, I have replaced everything on the bike at least once, some twice (handlebars, cranks, & grips).

Jan. 16, 2013 - Factory Fresh

Jan. 16, 2013 – Factory Fresh

Now; after much searching for just the right part to accomplish an image that was never clear in my mind until it unfolded before me, my bike is a track monster which I have dubbed; ‘Il Toro Blu’; Italian for the Blue Bull, after the 2nd set of new handlebars (Cannondale C3 Bullhorn Aero Bars) and the bikes theme color (blue).

Il Toro Blue (the Blue Bull) - March 24, 2012

Il Toro Blue (the Blue Bull) – March 24, 2013

Note to self: find another frameset to put all of the parts that I replaced onto

While writing this post earlier today I realized something about myself; I am not sure if it is a good thing, a bad thing, or just an ‘it is what it is‘ thing. Either way; I think I know why I have often butted heads with those in my life that want me to conform to their ideals, I am a stubborn, bull-headed, learn-it-by-myself, or don’t learn it kind of guy.

The hydrangea readies itself for summertime blooms

The hydrangea readies itself for summertime blooms

The way I look at it, I know what I want in life (same as with gardens and bicycles), I generally know a way to get there, and once locked in, I won’t compromise that methodology in pursuit of something that doesn’t ring true with me. I am sorry if my methods don’t always make sense to those around me, my methods and directions always make perfect sense to at least one person, myself.

Ms. Jade's new planter mates are settling in nicely

Ms. Jade’s new planter mates are settling in nicely

This stubbornness has definitely caused a lot of familial stress and relationship stress.

  • Is it my fault for not bending like the young willow?
  • Is it the other party’s fault  for not realizing that I am who I am and leaving well enough alone?

I don’t know the answer to either question; however, I do know that I miss my family. I also know that I won’t be the one with the olive branch extended this time around, I didn’t do anything wrong this time. I guess I will just continue to till my own soil and beat my own path my own way. Overall; the good has outweighed the bad – What bad there has been, I have dealt with myself and have come out the other side a-okay.

I will leave the answers to such questions on the table for now, that deck will have to wait for another day to be dealt out.

For today, it is late, and I shall just leave with these parting shots – enjoy…

Last year's Amaryllis bulb has awoken

Last year’s Amaryllis bulb has awoken

Looking up through the Euphorbia

Looking up through the Euphorbia

Pastel Blue Cineraria

Pastel Blue Cineraria

Until next time….

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!

~ Noah

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