Sunday, March 30, 2008

Earth Hour 2008


Yesterday evening we participated in Earth Hour, an international event to increase awareness of global warming. Here in Seattle many of the government buildings took part. City Hall, the Municipal Tower, the Justice Center and the Central Library all turned off their lights. At our house, after dinner we hurried and got our dishes done, laid out work clothes for today and got lunches packed and ready. A few minutes before 8:00 p.m. we lit candles and put them in the fireplace. We shut off the radio, the computer and all the lights.  A whole entire 60 minutes of quiet reflection time is quite a luxury in our busy, complicated, modern lives. I was looking forward to some serious candle gazing time during which I could ponder several questions that had come up at work about how to deal with a herd of rhinoceros. I figured 20 minute of pondering rhinocerotes would put me well on my way to a nap.

I never even got close to that nap. You see, one of us is much better at sitting still and being quiet. The other one of us, well let's just say that the local Quaker Friends Meeting won't be inviting her back any time soon. I tried to be a good listener, really I did.  At one point I heard, "you know, this Earth Hour would be a great time for me to try again those meditation tapes M. sent me." The pillow stayed in my lap and I remembered to exhale. Earth Hour was not as quiet at our house as I had hoped it would be. Next year I'm throwing a party. The whole herd of rhinoceri is invited.


Lucky dog! She got to take a nap. Did anyone else out there take part in Earth Hour?

Friday, March 28, 2008

The sun is shining


It's been a long week. It's late. I'm tired. The dog is chasing the cat. And I refuse to do a post about SNOW. Despite the nasty weather this past week, on the patio the leopard's bane continues to glow and spread sunshine all around. It is NOT snowing in my world...

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Showing our METAL

Here's our March entry for CLICK the monthly theme based photo event over at Jugalbandi.


Life on the Edge--with Parsley

Thanks to everyone who voted in our poll!

We've been tagged!

We faved her over on Blotanical and what does she do? She tags us! Thanks Blue Fox!Okay, so we're fairly new to this whole blogging thing, new to Blotanical, and new to "tagging" but here goes. Here are 10 things people may or may not find interesting about us, the Weed Whackin' Wenches.

1. One of us grew up in the city and one of us grew up in the country. Interestingly enough, we grew up about an hour and a half away from each other.

2. The Country Wench, even though she lived in the country, never had a garden while growing up. The City Wench, even though she lived in the city, always had a garden while growing up.

3. One is scared of butterflies and the other is terrified of snakes. Both detest slugs! And both think snails are best on a plate with garlic butter sauce.

4. One lived in a co-op in college and the other one pledged a sorority. Each one (and all their friends) thought the two groups would never mesh, but here we are! :-)

5. One of us is stubborn. The other one is bullheaded. Am not! Are too! Am NOT! Are TOO!

6. One of the wenches has a passion for more unusual looking plants, such as hindu rope plants, purple shrimp plants and such. I think those plants are from outer space! 

The other wench's tastes are a bit more old fashioned, preferring flowers such as peonies, daisies, hyacinths and delphinium. Well I think those are old biddie plants!

7. One of us is a great baker. Hey what about that flaming chocolate shortbread that went flying out the kitchen window baking sheet and all? That was an unfortunate mishap. But perfection takes practice.

8. Both love to sing. One sang in multiple choirs but the other can't carry a tune in a bucket. Sorry honey.

9. Our house has more books than furniture. The Mayflower Moving team asked us if the public library was storing things at our house. They looked shocked and appalled when we said no, the books were all ours and yes, they were moving.

10. Curmudgeon used to be a coffee fiend. Wing Nut hardly ever touched the stuff. Curmudgeon turned Wing Nut into a coffee fiend. Then they moved to Seattle - coffee shop capital of the world. Oddly enough, Curmudgeon gave up coffee here. Now she wants Wing Nut to give up coffee too. NOOOOO!!  Don't touch my coffee pot!  I'm not done yet!

So there you are! Now you know a little bit more about the Weed Whackin' Wenches.  And remember - no tag backs please.  We've already contributed 20+ factoids!

Here's who we've chosen to tag. You can run but you can't hide!

Aunt Debbi over at Aunt Debbi's Garden because we know what happens to cabbages at her place and we're wondering about the other vegetables!

Brenda over at The Brenda Blog because we like her new polka dot blog design and loved seeing her pics of azaleas on her recent post.

Jean Ann over at Gardener to Farmer because she's new to Blotanical and this is part of the hazing, I mean welcoming process.

Nan over at Hayfield because she grows black pussy willow, has such handsome boys, and is from back home.

Viooltje over at Lady Greenthumb's Garden because Kristy & Krusty look like double trouble and we want to know more. Also we want to spread the tagging love around the world.

Have fun youse guys!


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter



Wishing you and yours a Happy Easter from Wing Nut, Curmudgeon and the furries.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Washington Park Arboretum

Established in 1934, the Washington Park Arboretum is the largest public garden in the northwest and the oldest gardens west of the Mississippi. Situated just east of downtown Seattle and south of the University of Washington, the 230 acre arboretum is a spectacular urban green space. The collection of rhododendrons range from dwarfs to tree forms. Here are a few of the ones we found in bloom today.






One of our favorite trees to visit at the WPA is prunus serrula, also known as birchbark cherry, paperbark cherry or Tibetan cherry. It is a native of western China It does flower a bit later in the spring. But the bark is what really wows.




Hey, I smell a squirrel!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pink odium

It's in the Code of Curmudgeonly Conduct--Thou shalt loathe pink! I realize my pink petulance may lose us the few blog readers we have, but what can I say.  I much prefer the lavenders, blues and purples, the yellows, oranges and reds, white, even the recent trends favoring chartreuse and black in the garden. I guess you could say I prefer all colors to pink. I would not willingly welcome a pink flowering plant to my garden solely for its pinkness. Yes, we do have bergenia in our garden. But I did not plant it--and it looks just horrid next to the forsythia--not to mention the dandelions!


So how do I survive spring you ask. It's not easy being me during spring. Let me show you. Come with me on a walk around our neighborhood this afternoon and you'll see just what I have to endure. This is not going to be a bucolic stroll in the country or even the suburbs. Ours is going to be an urban adventure. You're going to see concrete and cars and electrical poles and houses that sit very close together. This is the world of the weed whackin' wenches' urban potager and flower gardens. Let's pound the pavement people!

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This is the first thing I see as I head out down our street. Isn't the shape and form of the trees just beautiful, despite their pinkness?

P1010002Even among the hyacinths some pink ones sneak in.  If you close your eyes and just enjoy the fragrance, you can more easily ignore the fact that they're pink.

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GBBD Mar08 (17) This goes on for blocks and blocks and blocks! it's enough to drive a person right out of a grouchy, ill-tempered state of being.

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Here and there, a splash of white or red or a cascading wall of evergreen clematis will break up the pink monotony.

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But soon enough it's back to pink...

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...this tree produces huge quantities of plums.

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The scent of daphne odorosa keeps us energized as we work our way up the very steep hill that is the home stretch on our walk.

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Is there anything more perfect than this beautiful white magnolia bud? What? It's tinged with pink you say? A pink tinge doesn't really count as pink, does it? And this rhodie is more lavender than pink, so it doesn't count either. 

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Why am I standing under this tree and sighing? Well its branches reach out and over the sidewalk and they embrace the passer-by in a world of pink cotton candy and sweet fragrance. Oh no, please, don't tell the Committee in charge of Cranky Curmudgeonly Conduct, or the 4 Cs for short!

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Look! It's CHARTREUSE! How's that to shock our eyeballs out of their rose-tinted trance? This is euphorbia wulfenii. 



By now we've covered about 2 miles and we're back home. In front of our house the ornamental cherry  trees are taking their sweet time--sweet indeed! They can't possibly be considered pink, can they?


Tuesday, March 18, 2008

We can't decide! Please help us choose!

Which photo below do you like best?  We like them both but need to choose only ONE to submit to CLICK. What is CLICK? It is a monthly photo event hosted by Bee and Jai over at Jugalbandi. This event is for amateur photographers who like taking pictures of food. This month's theme is METAL. We've set up a poll over on our sidebar for you to vote.

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Café Cubano


Life on the Edge--with Parsley

Wing Nut has participated in this event in the past. Check out her Nov. (PASTA) and Dec. (NUTS) submissions.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day--March 2008

Welcome to our garden! You are just in time to enjoy the forsythia. We were worried we had pruned it a bit hard last year--our first attempt at serious pruning. It seems to have survived. The neighbors are happy that it is no longer attacking them through their open window!


The daffs on the hillside seem to have enjoyed being dug up and tossed around last summer when we finished clearing the hillside and finally made it to the stone wall.P1010041


In the shade garden you'll find hellebore mardi gras black. Does anyone else find it a bit odd to name a lenten rose "mardi gras". On the hillside garden euphorbia blackbird is enjoying the rain.

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Leopard's bane is brightening up the patio.

Hyacinth blue pearl welcomes the visitor who comes to the door and greets us as we step out into the world.


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Above and below--no clue! Please help us identify it. It grows low to the ground and likes to cascade over walls.



We hope you've enjoyed your visit. If you wander over to visit Carol of May Dreams Gardens, you'll find other gardens to visit on this March 15th Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Why don't we build a cloche...

... said Wing Nut to Curmudgeon one morning over coffee. "Now that the veggie patch is cleared, the soil is turned and amended, wouldn't it be great to be able to pick salad greens before any of our neighbors even start to think about planting?" Wing Nut had a point. Coffee cups were refilled, scones were grabbed and off to the computer we went. This is how EVERY project at our house begins. Research! Research! Research! 

And research led us to Geoff Hamilton, the British gardening guru and former presenter of BBC Gardener's World. Online we found a 2 minute video of Hamilton building a cloche.

After the research phase came

--a trip to Home Depot--can customer service get any less customer oriented???

--3 trips to 2 local hardware stores--should have just bought it at the first one!

--a new power drill--any excuse for a new power tool! Woo-Hoo!! (Wing Nut likes tools!)

--a few hours of labor--with minimal cursing and swearing (define "minimal"...)

Et voilà--a cloche in the potager!

 our cloche (11) 

Okay! okay! For those who prefer the step-by-step approach, we'll back up to the beginning.

our cloche

We decided to build our cloche to cover a 4'x8' area. For the frame we went with 1x3s instead of the 2x2s Hamilton had suggested--at Home Depot the 2x2 studs seemed very heavy, especially in an 8' length. For the corners we used galvanized steel corner brackets. Wing Nut used the new power drill to drill holes for the 1/2 inch dowel rods, which were cut into 6" lengths. We drilled 10 holes--one every 2' along the 8' sides of the frame. We glued the rods into the holes for greater stability. (Wing Nut was a little shaky with the very powerful new drill and the holes may have been just a wee bit off...)

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For the supports we used 1/2" plastic tubing which came in a 100 ft roll. We cut 5 lengths of 6' and slid the ends over the dowel rods.

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We used 3.5 ml plastic sheeting for the skin. How to hold it down was a bit of a conundrum. Hamilton  suggested using lath along the bottom and nailing the plastic all the way around. We decided to skip this step and instead used thumb tacks all the way around. To prop open the cloche, we use a piece of state-of-the-art technology -- a stick with a notch cut out at the top. Hey look! Something is already growing under the cloche! It looks suspiciously like Wing Nut - that crazy woman!

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Now Hamilton didn't mention anything about holding down the cloche during wind storms. However, given  that we're in the PNW and a Pineapple Express could still show up, we figured we'd better address this potential problem from the start. We left about a foot extra of plastic sheeting along one length of the frame and we weighted it down with large rocks. Last night we got to test whether the cloche would hold or fly away during a wind storm. It's still sitting in the potager!

A few days after completing our cloche project Yolanda of Bliss did a post about her gardening hero--none other than Geoff Hamilton!  Yolanda's post was a wonderful tribute and gave many who had never heard of him a chance to become acquainted.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Splish! Splash!

While sitting on the futon this morning, reading the March musings of Ann Lovejoy in The Garden in Bloom, I heard a commotion outside the window. I looked to the garden plot, which is partially covered with plastic to warm the soil. We had a bit of rain the other day, so a puddle formed in the corner, apparently forming a neighborhood bird bath!

Several robins, those signs of spring, appeared on the scene, flashing red breasts and bright eyes.

A sparrow came in for a quick drink before returning to the forsythia bush and his chirping companions.

One of the flickers joined the group and took a bath after the robins.

A starling dropped in for a dip in the water. I love the yellowness of its beak against its black feathers.

The birds left as quickly as they came - when a large roaming neighborhood cat appeared on the scene. Diva Dog barked and chased the cat. Good Dog!! :-)

We really do want to set up a birdbath for our feathered friends - it's a joy to see and hear them in our backyard. Wing Nut also loves learning about the different types of birds in the area and frequently pulls out the Audubon books to try and figure out what she just saw.