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Happy Holidays from the Garden

As the year 2013 winds itself down; I reflect on what was an interesting year and one which I am going to remember for many reasons. I close the year with a few lingering uncertainties; yet, I plan to begin the New Year with a positive outlook, walking (finally) on two feet, and in general good spirits. I look forward to a great year to come.

Feliz Navidad!

Feliz Navidad!

Of all the happenings this year; it is the broken ankle that I think will live with me the longest amount of time. Not just the scar; which will serve as a reminder that I am not immune to injury, but just how humbling an injury like mine can be. I have always been a confident; sometimes to a fault, person and all to often ‘caution to wind’ was a recurring mantra; however, I am learning that ones journey through life should indeed be fun and free-spirited, yet the paths should be tread carefully and with more than the moment at mind.

Ouch! However, getting much better.

Ouch! However, getting much better.

I always look for silver linings in everything and from the ankle injury came the realization (or reminder) that I have a very strong and resilient personality when I set my mind firmly on a specific goal or task. This was definitely the case with my rehabilitating the ankle to regain as close as I will likely get to full range of motion following surgery on October 5, 2013. It was not without A LOT of hard work; including, exercise, maintaining a proper diet, following my doctor’s advice, and a non-stop regime of at home physical therapy and indoor cycle training as soon as I was cleared by my physician.

With hard work; rewards often follow. My reward: Getting the bike back on the road on December 15, 2013 and already putting about 70-miles behind me!

Il Toro~Blu again stretches her legs and runs!

Il Toro~Blu again stretches her legs and runs!

Dec. 23td Ride; I Am Back on the Road!

Dec. 23td Ride; I Am Back on the Road!

The garden continues her slow transitioning into a dormant land of hopes for next year’s garden. A few stubborn holdouts refuse the call to sleep and dot the patio with glints of bright color here and there. Mainly, my primrose plants continue their blooms unabated by weather and cold temperatures. The primrose must be being kept warm and happy by the lone Dragon still in residency on the patio!

Winter Primrose

Winter Primrose

Blue Primrose provide lovely dots of needed color

Blue Primrose provide lovely dots of needed color

A hardy Dragon lurks the Patio

A hardy Dragon lurks the Patio

Interestingly enough; I also have one lone strawberry that is trying her best to ripen! As far as a harvest, it might not be much to write home about; however, a tasty treat would be welcome if I can get it before Mr. Squirrel does!

Almost!

Almost!

Shutting the door on another year; I am thankful for many things: My wonderful family of course, the few good friends I am blessed with, my general good health, and of course, my sweet cat; Miss Gretchen. She has definitely made my apartment feel like home and rekindled some very needed energy that was lacking in the home.

Miss Gretchen stalks her outdoor lair!

Miss Gretchen stalks her outdoor lair!

Until next time….

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

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Whether or not Leather Tuscadero would approve; I dare not comment. Either way, this week my patio garden made the decision that a study in pink was called for and promptly added such to the week’s blossoming agenda. The beautiful display came as somewhat of a surprise considering my lackluster at best garden maintenance lately thanks my current ankle ouchie. Thankfully; true to her form, Mother Nature appears to forgive my trespass and reached deep into her color bag to proclaim that my patio garden’s Summer Season Huzzah! shall commence forthwith, starting with a screaming pink cavalcade of flowers! Nope, I am definitely not complaining.

First up, let’s see what’s up outdoors: The standout display of vibrant pink happening outdoors comes from the resilient resident primrose. Closing out the Summer season with a lovely display which has easily surpassed the snapdragon’s reigning title as the main focal points of color. Of the primrose in bloom, there are none screaming; ‘look at me!’, with a louder voice than this beautiful grouping.

Hot Pink Primula

Hot Pink Primrose

Primrose Flower Tower Begins

Primrose Flower Tower Begins

Not the type to be left out of a good party, my contingent of resident dragons (snapdragon, that is) have sent forth their Ambassador of Color; and have officially joined this week’s pink bloom challenge with this group of garden candy.

Even the Snapdragon are in on the Pink theme

The Snapdragon Join the Pink Theme

Next, we head indoors: The focal point indoors is my window planter which contains two variety of primula and some cineraria v. multiflora. The star of the planter is definitely the primula v. Embrace Mix, which are in the middle of throwing out a truly beautiful display of their signature delicate flowers in two-tone pinks.

Primula: Shades of Pink

Primula: Shades of Pink

I just love how different the shades of the same color occur on the same stem. Especially evident with Miss Primula today. The top most flower is a deep matte pink smiling up to the mid-day sunshine, being flanked on all sides by a contingent of four pale pink companions beaming brightly into the indoor space.

Primula's Pals

Primulas Pink Pals

Onward and back outside: The onion harvest has taken place and while not a bumper crop by any means, I am pleased with the results! The one onion which sprouted prior to my using it for some culinary creation and ended up randomly planted out on the patio has magically transformed herself into three shallot sized, extremely aromatic, wholly organic onions! I am currently letting their outer skins dry out on the patio before I will bring them indoors and put them into the dinner rotation. If they taste half as good as they smell, planting a small batch of onions will definitely become a part of my annual gardening, stay tuned for how they turned out in a future blog post.

Pre-Harvest Peek

Pre-Harvest Peek

Not the biggest, yet very aromatic

Not the biggest, yet very aromatic

Elsewhere in the garden, a small-scale study in white has commenced between a faction of the snapdragon community and the snowflakes. The burst is definitely no match for the aforementioned pink flower extravaganza; however, to me they too are just as marvelous in their dignified simplicity.

All in all, a happy day in the garden was had today!

The White Dragons Intermingles Amongst the Snowflakes

The White Dragons Intermingled Amongst the Snowflakes

Snowflakes Fall toward the Patio Floor

Snowflakes Fall toward the Patio Floor

That is about all the news that is fit to print from this little corner of the gardening universe, so until next time…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

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…A Beautiful Day for New Growth, Oh, Won’t It Be Nice? Won’t It Be Nice? Won’t You Keep Growing, New Flowers!!!

Peace Lily flower about to unfurl

Peace Lily flower about to unfurl

As the homage to Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood suggests; my patio garden is exploding in new flower growth. My little strawberry plants are finally setting their first fruits and my experimental onion has set her first flower.

Amazon Sunset; Parrot's Beak

Amazon Sunset; Parrot’s Beak

Anthurium's New Bract

Anthurium’s New Bract

Mr. Onion's first flower

Mr. Onion’s first flower

First Strawberry!!

First Strawberry!!

Of course, it is not all new growth which keeps my garden being the place I retreat to and enjoy a nice rest after a long bike ride. Many of my garden’s long-time favorites are also keeping busy trying to keep up with the upstart flower buds! My little daisies are putting on a magnificent show and continue to add a wonderful contrast to the stark whiteness of the snowflake’s delicate flowers. My newest addition; Dahlia v. Mystic Haze, continues to flower profusely, showering my yard in her deep crimson blossoms and attracting hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies.

My Dainty Daisy’s

Daisy's Part II

Daisy’s Part II

Miss Dahlia's Newest Flower

Miss Dahlia’s Newest Flower

Finally today; I leave you with a short tale, as told by Miss. Snapdragon and her Sister, and a cute garden critter caught making his daily visit to the garden!

Orange and Yellow Dragons!

Orange and Yellow Dragons!

Compete with Pink Dragons!

Compete with Pink Dragons for Attention!

While Hoping to Avoid Mr. Squirrel's Digging Attention!

All the While Hoping to Avoid Mr. Squirrel’s Digging Attention!

Until next time…

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

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Mmmm! Pollen's Good!

Mmmm! Pollen’s Good!

After yesterday’s bike ride (training for Long Beach Marathon’s Bike Race); I was exhausted and sought out the refuge of my patio garden, a cold beer, and minimal movement! After just relaxing and soaking in some sun, it was then that I noticed that one of the snapdragon blooms was moving in an odd way. There was definitely not enough wind which could be causing this movement – and then I got my answer… this little bee came crawling out of the flower!!

Surprise!! I'm a bee

Surprise!! I’m a bee

Pollen, Pollen, Pollen, want more Pollen

Pollen, Pollen, Pollen, want more Pollen

Oops, color good = but no pollen on the Coleus :(

Oops, color good = but no pollen on the Coleus šŸ˜¦

I believe that I should give thanks to my happy little visitors and their dutiful pollination efforts! To say that my garden is a happy mass of flowering wonderland would be a slight understatement. The bees have been busy, I have been busy with pruning and fertilizing, and Mother Nature has been extremely cooperative with her recent super-sunny weather. The ‘Perfect Non-Storm‘ as it were…

The view from my relaxed perch yesterday

The view from my relaxed perch yesterday

I cleaned up the patio table display on Saturday

I cleaned up the patio table display on Saturday

Elsewhere in the garden… well, I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Helen Mount's continue to grace my patio

Helen Mount’s continue to grace my patio

A Pretty Vibrant Scarlet Snapdragon

A Pretty Vibrant Scarlet Snapdragon

And, her equally vibrant yellow counterpart!

And, her equally vibrant yellow counterpart!

Croton v. Super California

Croton v. Super California

Finally today; I will leave you with my little super-trooper Fuchsia… she’s almost ready to open those blooms I think!

Open, open, open

Open, open, open

Until Next Time….

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!!

~ Noah

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Croton v. Super California

Croton v. Super California

Today, I thought that I would highlight some of my patio plants which get little (or no) press here on my little blog. One of those that I don’t believe I have ever mentioned is my Croton v. Super California. It is a plant much more to home in Florida than here in Northern California; however, along with my Anthurium (also one that typically doesn’t always fare too well here in Northern California), she has been enjoying the confines of my patio without a problem.

The Croton is a mix of wildly vivid colors; which my camera unfortunately does little justice to represent! From bright reds, to dark greens, and just about every shade of yellow in between, the Croton is quickly becoming a great focal point in a fairly benign portion of my patio garden.

My sidewalk cutting fuschia

My sidewalk cutting fuchsia’s first blooms!

Next is my little fuchsia. She has been trying to gain a foothold for about a year now; withering and coming back, only to wither again. I think this time she has found the right place in the yard to give growth another try! She was grown from a very crudely obtained cutting when I happened upon her mother tree one day while having lunch with a colleague. I rooted her in water and then planted her and she was doing fine for a while; however, ended up withering to near dead looking. I put her outdoors and let nature take her course. Well, she has finally regrown to the point of setting these blossoms; time will tell where she goes from there.

An orchid bloom stalk curls out like a snake's head

An orchid bloom stalk curls out like a snake’s head

One of my orchids has finally decided to send up a tentative bloom stalk!! She is still tiny and I am not wholly certain of the type/variety. I believe she is a Cattleya; however, I have no idea of the variety nor of the bloom color. From the looks of the above bloom stalk I am thinking the flowers will be white; yet, who knows with Orchids! Stay tuned friends!

That is about all that is new from this side of the garden; so I will leave you today with some of my favorites from the week!

Cut flower arrangement from my garden

Cut flower arrangement from my garden

The sole calla lily continues to darken

The sole calla lily continues to darken

Dahlia v. Mystic Haze

Dahlia v. Mystic Haze

Amazon Sunset, Parrot's Beak (more like claw!!)

Amazon Sunset, Parrot’s Beak (more like claw!!)

Happy Gardening Friends!

Happy Gardening Friends!

~ Noah

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Vespinea Dolichovespula

Vespinea Dolichovespula

I am not sure how much my garden visitor helped with the flower pollination tasks; however, he or she is a magnificent insect and the subject of what is now close to the top of the list of photos I am most proud of that I have captured in my garden.

The visitor; Vespinea Dolichovespula, better know as your friendly neighborhood Yellow Jacket and colloquially known as the Wasp, surely must have helped a little bit with pollen movement by feeding on my flowers/foliage and accumulating pollen on his or her body during and transferring it throughout the available buffet selections.

I love the wasp’s mid-flight body posture which reminds me of someone looking in through a store window to glimpse their offerings before shopping. Mr. or Miss Wasp is definitely acclimated to Oakland’s rather casual culture, I can hear him/her saying: “Nope; I’m good, just browsing the salad bar right now, thanks.

The hydrangea have a new friend

The hydrangea have a new friend

Either way, the garden is happy and I am blessed with beautiful flowers and foliage in every nook and cranny of the patio. The plants are relishing the beautiful weather here in Oakland, CA, which this week started with a couple of days of light rain which were immediately followed by our current balmy summer temperatures. I also added a new addition; A beautiful Dahlia v. Mystic Haze, which I picked up at my local CVS of all places. She is my first Dahlia, but appears to be acclimatizing well.

Dahlia v. Mystic Haze

The Calla Lily I added to the patio garden last season from a starter plant from my local nursery has finally thrown out her initial flower; however, not where I expected nor in the color I expected. The prime suspect for the change of color is Mr. Hydrangea; as this Calla is distinctly not the white variety I planted last year. I am assuming that the hydrangea must be having an effect on the planter’s soil acidity.

First Calla Lily of the Season

First Calla Lily of the Season

Garden_June28 010

Hello Lily, welcome to the garden!

Sneaky Lily; hiding amongst the Ginger

Sneaky Lily; hiding amongst the Ginger

I am still surrounded by amazing Snapdragon blooms bursting out everywhere and the stunning flowers of the Amazon Sunset, Parrot’s Beak. The garden has definitely been thirsty though; requiring between 15 and 20-gallons of H2O each day while our local temperatures are above 80 degrees. We are currently seeing the temperatures rise into the 100’s, which will make life difficult for potted plants without lots of water! I love this weather and even more than the weather, IĀ absolutely love the fact that my apartment complex pays for the water!

That is about all of the news that’s fit to report from this side of the gardening world; so today friends, I close with these parting shots.

Enjoy!

Snappy the Red Dragon!

Snappy the Red Dragon!

Amazon Sunset, Parrot's Beak

Amazon Sunset, Parrot’s Beak

HAPPY GARDENING FRIENDS!

~ Noah

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Lithodora Diffusa shadow the road ahead

Lithodora Diffusa v. Heavenly Blue cast his shadow on the road ahead

The inevitable tightening of the belt string has begun in earnest; I have balanced the household budget between the must pay (rent, utilities, credit cards, etc.), the should pay (cell phone), and the probably a good idea to buy (food!) items and it will be tight but I should be just dandy until I can land another position. Most of last week was spent on the aforementioned budget and plugging away at finding a likely candidate for Noah’s Career v. 3.2.Ā 

On Fire!! Amazon Sunset, Parrot's Beak

On Fire!! Amazon Sunset, Parrot’s Beak

I have been filling what precious little time is left doing what having a day job usually puts a serious damper upon; namely, pedaling my bicycle where ever it is that I feel like going or just hitting the local driving range and getting a $5.00/bucket of range balls and working on my golf game. I continue to eagerly await the happy voice mail orĀ  email from a Human Resources professional near me real soon with my orders to come in from the cold.

Happy Hydrangea - a sign of good things to come!

Happy Hydrangea – a sign of good things to come!

I will continue to apply for those positions which I am qualified, adding to the six lucky companies who last week were graced the opportunity to hire me!

Patience Kwai Chang, Patience – I must continue to remind myself that it has only been one-week!!

What is it they say? When the going gets tough, the tough purchase a Dahlia? Meet Mrs. Dahlia v. Mystic Haze, apropos to my state of mind over the last week. Ha ha!

Welcome Dahlia v. Mystic Haze

Welcome Dahlia v. Mystic Haze

My latest addition is definitely a bright beauty in a dark-ish week

My latest addition is definitely a bright beauty in a dark(ish) week

Elsewhere around the garden; the hydrangea are exploding into their full spring bloom. The Helen Mount viola have also made a remarkable comeback from the brink of death from dehydration!

Helen Mount Voila

Helen Mount Voila

A viola here, a viola there, viola, viola, everywhere!

A viola here, a viola there, viola, viola, everywhere!

I will leave you today with the following shot; I thought that the flower stalk of the coleus set against the pink flower of the Ornamental Strawberry (fragaria x. lipstick) was interesting and I wanted to share. Until next week friends.

Happy Gardening Everyone!!

Happy Gardening Everyone!!

~ Noah

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