Saturday, December 29, 2007

Postcards from Idaho

In honor of the upcoming New Year, I thought I would send a couple of 'virtual postcards' from our beautiful state! The photos below were taken on Harris Ridge, about 20 minutes from our home, where my husband and I spent an afternoon Elk hunting this week. The land is owned by a cattle rancher friend of ours and it is a beautiful place....seemingly on top of the world!

There were 30+ plus Elk in this herd, including cows, calves, spikes and one big bull. (The two small dark spots on the left are 2 deer....who were watching with interest.) We hiked about half a mile in nearly a foot of fresh snow, and the scenery was spectacular....providing some great photo opportunities. The hunt was successful and we are grateful to God for the provision of meat to fill the freezer for yet another year. Just as our vegetable garden makes an important contribution to our diet in the summer, this wonderful low-fat grass-fed meat rounds out our healthy diet all through the year!

This tiny log cabin sat just off the road, not far from where we parked our vehicle. I tried to imagine myself living here, in years gone by. I venture to say there are no modern conveniences in this humble abode. ;-)


Wishing you all a Happy New Year..... and your very best garden in 2008!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Winter Wonderland

Not much time for blogging lately, as I am cleaning/organizing and getting ready for Christmas company, but I wanted to share this photo of the mountains, dressed in yesterday's makes them look so fresh and clean!

"Kindness is like snow - it beautifies everything it covers."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Good Advice

I received an exclusive email offer today from one of my favorite catalogs, Charley's Greenhouse & Garden, and they were offering T-shirts for sale with these messages....

Love the bright red color of this one!

....Great advice, no?


This was a day brightener for me. Just wanted to share it with any of my garden blogger friends who might be having a case of the winter blues! :-)

Monday, November 19, 2007

First Snowfall

It was raining when we went to bed last night, but sometime during the night it turned to snow....

This late bloom on my yellow English rose 'Graham Thomas' was heavy with wet snow, and resting on the post of the picket fence.


"The first fall of snow is not only an event, it is a magical event. You go to bed in one kind of world and wake up in another quite different, and if this is not enchantment then where is it to be found?" ~J. B. Priestley

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Calendula 'Pink Surprise'

I have chosen a special Calendula as the subject for this week's 'Keepers' post. I grow several varieties, but a favorite for the past few years has been 'Pink Surprise.'

Of course, it is not really a true pink, but more of what I would describe as a blushed apricot. The center petals usually show more yellow, which makes for a very nice, soft effect. There can be quite a variation of tones from plant to plant, which adds an interesting element of surprise.

Calendula's are like sunshine in the garden! They bloom both early and late, and are prolific self-sowers. I bought one packet of 'Pink Surprise' seed 3 years ago and have been rewarded ever since with more seed than I could ever use! It has been one of my hottest items for seed trading on the Garden Web Seed Exchange forum.

A couple of twin blooms, wearing a bit of morning dew!
(Click to enlarge)


"Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine to the soul." ~Luther Burbank

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Petunia 'Dolce Flambe'

Although the frost has finished off most of the annuals, there are a few more noteworthy ones I wanted to mention in my series on the 'Keepers' in my garden. These include those I've enjoyed for many years and those more recently discovered, that I will likely grow again because of their individual merits. Today's post is dedicated to a new favorite petunia....'Dolce Flambe'.

This new variety, by an Italian breeder, is so lovely in it's subtle blending of colors...a pale rose infused with lemon and splashed with white. One catalog described the overall effect as "that of a ripe peach." I started these from seed, as I do most of my flowers.

I noticed that the blooms start out a darker rose (such as the ones on the right in the above photo) and then fade to a softer color. This difference also added to the overall color interest of the plant. The light, creamy yellow companion flower here is 'Dolce Limoncello,' by the same breeder. Though I liked the combination, I think 'Dolce Flambe' would look good on it's own, as well.

Though most blooms had just a white edging, some looked like the flowers pictured above. Cool, aren't they? The blooms are about 3 inches across and the plant height is 8-10 inches tall, blooming from early to late summer. Overall, a winner in my book..... I will definitely grow these again for their interesting and lovely shades of pastel color!


Thursday, November 1, 2007


When I looked out the window yesterday morning, I was greeted with the lovely sight of sparkling frost everywhere, so I quickly got myself dressed and headed out the try and capture some of the beauty, before it disappeared!

Calendula 'Radio'

Scabiosa - Pincushion flower

'Simplicity' Rose

Backside of Yellow Calendula

California Poppy

Zinnia 'Bonita'

Cosmos 'Sensation'

Mountain Ash

Last year our first killing frost was on October 9th, which was a bit earlier than our typical mid-October date here in our zone 6b. This year it came on October 30th, a full 3 weeks later than last year....we almost made it to November.


"Autumn waves goodbye
....while Winter waits in the wings, practicing her lines."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Autumn Beauty

Today I need to post just a few more autumn scenes. These were taken a few days was a gray cloudy day, but the trees along the river were ablaze with color!

In a previous post, I shared some pictures of our mountain view, as seen from our house. In the fall the colors really come alive! These first three photos were taken about a half mile upriver from our house, along one of the prettiest stretches of the Clearwater River.

A close up of the trees reflecting in the water. The green of the pines makes the perfect backdrop! The fall colored trees are mostly wild cherry, which turn a beautiful combination of yellow, peach and red, and sometimes look as though they are ablaze!

This photo was taken from a lower angle, with the dried golden grasses of the river bank in the foreground.

This road ascends up a fairly steep hill enroute to our house, and looks westward toward the familiar shape of the mountain in the distance. Each time I leave home, I love turning the be greeted by this view!


I am ever grateful for the beautiful surroundings God has placed us in...the place that we call 'Home'!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Majestic Mount Rainer

I am interrupting my current series of blog posts in order to share few photos of beautiful Mount Rainer, taken last weekend.

We decided to take the "scenic route" route home from the Seattle area, where we were visiting our daughter and family. We drove over Chinook Pass and were rewarded with some beautiful fall scenes at the lookout point.

The majestic snow covered mountain, zoomed in a bit.

The fall foliage, looking down into the canyon. The trees in the background were in the bright sun, while the underbrush in the foreground was in the shade, which made it a bit harder to capture the many lovely colors, but was quite beautiful!

A closer look at the lovely fall colors.....God's handiwork!


Happy Autumn to all of my gardening friends!

Will return soon with more posts on the "Keepers" in my garden... stay tuned. :-)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Nasturtium - 'Vesuvius'

I am currently doing a series of posts on flowers that I consider "Keepers" in my garden. Nasturtiums are one of my favorite annuals for growing in containers. This was my first year to grow this beauty, named 'Vesuvius".

The lovely salmon-pink flowers are surrounded by dark blue-green foliage that complements the flowers to perfection. (The varigated foliage you see to the right is another potted nasturtium, Alaska.) Vesuvius is an heirloom selection, included in Burpee's 1923 catalog. It grows to a height of about 12 inches.

Each year I like try new nasturtiums....but this will definitely be one that I grow again, for it's lovely combination of flower and foliage!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Gentian Blue Larkspur

Among the new flowers I grew this year,
Gentian Blue Larkspur, Delphinium chinensis is definitely a "Keeper!"

I have long been a fan of Larkspur, but this one has the most wonderful blue color! The flowers may be a bit larger than regular Larkspur, and more individually spaced, but the overall plant height is shorter....only to about 12 inches. Mine were grown from winter-sown seed.

Shown here with low growing orange Cosmos, which turned out to be a nice combination. The flowers look a lighter blue here, due to stronger light. In this photo you can also better see the 'spurs' (which give the flower the second part of it's name) and some flower buds on the right. The foliage is delicate and fern-like. Overall, a beautiful plant, which will have a home in my garden next year.... and beyond!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Queeny Purple Hollyhocks

Over the next few weeks, I hope to do several posts on some of the flowers I consider to be "Keepers" in my garden.... some new to me this year that I liked well enough to grow again, as well as some favorites I have grown for years.

This was my first year to grow Hollyhock 'Queeny Purple', a dwarf plant growing to only 2 - 3 ft. I planted mine in a large pot, from winter sown seed purchased from Parks. They had a long blooming season, which started well ahead of the regular Hollyhocks. Although I usually prefer the single old fashioned Hollyhocks, I found this one to be quite charming!

'Queeny' stopped blooming in the heat of late summer and set seed, but gave me another flush of blooms, on the same stalks, when the nights began to cool. This photo shows a single fall looks a bit more pinky-purple than the earlier blooms. The flowers in the background are 'Apricot Profusion' Zinnias, which I grew around the edges of the same container, with the 3 hollyhock plants in the center. I liked this combination, as the zinnias are still giving me color, now that the Hollyhocks are no longer blooming.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

More Butterflies

Today I am posting a few more butterfly photos, taken at various times over the summer.

From my limited research, I think this may be a Mylitta Crescent. Anyone know for sure? I caught it here on my Zinnia 'Profusion Apricot'. The flowers of this zinnia start out a solid Apricot color and as they get older they fade to shades of yellow with apricot spots, which gives them a really cool effect!

I'm not sure about this one, but think it could be a dark Wood Nymph? It is sitting on a Heliopsis flower and is kind of in the shadows, but has a prominent spot on the upper wing.

The Cabbage White butterfly, lighting here on Verbena Bonariensis.

This looks to be the same species as the first photo (Mylitta Crescent), stopping for a moment on a Calendula 'Radio' flower.

A Zebra Swallowtail on purple Pincushion Flower. It looks to be in mid-flight, but the flower it is sitting on is actually covered by it's wings. I've seen several Tiger Swallowtails this summer and have posted about them here and here, but this was the first of only two Zebra's I've seen.

The same Zebra Swallowtail as in the above photo. Although his wings are a bit out of focus here, I liked the close-up of his legs clinging onto the larkspur flowers.


This post is for my garden friend Catherine, who has requested "more pictures!"

(In return, I'd like to see you retrieve your lost password and leave me a comment!)

Fair enough? :-)

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Another Surprise

I did a recent blog entry called Garden Surprises where I documented some of the mutant plants in my garden. Today I discovered one more.

I was collecting seed from this Calendula 'Radio' plant this morning and came across this flower which had several smaller flowers growing out from the base of the main flower. Except for a few petals left on a tiny little flower you can see on the right, the smaller flowers are already in the seed stage. I was wishing I could have seen it while the smaller flowers were in still in bloom!

I got my wish a few minutes later when I saw this same mutation on another plant nearby. This one had three small side flowers growing out from the base of the central flower and they were each still wearing their petals!


Friday, September 7, 2007

Garden Surprises

A few surprises show up in the garden from time to evidenced in the photos below.

A tomato with a big "shnoze"! :-) I noticed this one back when it was green and made a mental note to get a picture of it, but kept forgetting. It got riper and riper and is now actually over-ripe, as you can see by the age spots. But it does give him a bit more more character, no?

This is half' a sunnie! I have noticed that the flower heads on my multi-branching sunflowers get smaller and smaller after the larger heads at the top start to dry up and they sometimes get a little misshapen, with their centers off-center, petals uneven, etc. But this is the first time I have seen one like this. I think it is kind of cute. This was on my 'Velvet Queen' plant.

Here is what I call a 'Siamese Cucumber'. This variety is called Long White, an heirloom type. It wasn't very good eating as the fruits were rather bitter.

This is a sunflower from my garden last summer. It looks pretty normal here, doesn't it? But if you look very closely on the left side you can see a second set of petals in the back, curving out and away from the front flower petals.

This is the back of the same sunflower. These two flower heads were growing directly out of the back of the larger sunflower head in the previous photo.

A side view of the 'conjoined' Sunflower. I also had one of these show up in this year's garden, from volunteer seed, so wonder if it could be a genetic trait that was passed on to another generation of seed. Some food for thought!


"Everything that is new or uncommon raises a pleasure in the imagination, because it fills the soul with an agreeable surprise, gratifies its curiosity, and gives it an idea of which it was not before possessed." ~Joseph Addison

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Greek Picnic Salad

The photo below shows some of my garden harvest that will soon become one of our favorite summer salads. . .

. . . Greek Picnic Salad!



6 Ripe TOMATOES, chopped
2 GREEN BELL PEPPERS, seeded and diced
1 RED ONION, diced
2-3 CUCUMBERS. seeded and diced
1/2 cup chopped FRESH PARSLEY
1 can RIPE OLIVES, sliced in half lengthwise
1/4 pound FETA CHEESE, crumbled

Place in the work-bowl of a food processor or in a blender:

2 Tablespoons LEMON JUICE
2 Tablespoons WINE VINEGAR
1 1/2 Teaspoons DIJON MUSTARD
1/8 teaspoon BLACK PEPPER
2 cloves GARLIC, minced

Process until well blended and toss with salad ingredients. Marinate for at least 30 minutes.


Nothing tastes more like summer than tomatoes, cukes and peppers from the garden, and this salad showcases them all to perfection!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Tiger Swallowtail on White Phlox

I was able to capture this photo a couple of weeks ago when this butterfly landed on the white phlox in my front flower garden.

More often than not, the butterflies in my garden "flutter by" so quickly it is difficult to get any decent photos. But this one was obviously enjoying the phlox and stayed for nearly a full minute, while I quickly snapped several photos.

Here you can better see the colors and markings of the beautiful Tiger Swallowtail..... no "raggedy wings" here, like the one I photographed earlier in the summer.


"We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty."
~Maya Angelou