Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Happy Admin Professionals' Day

For the first time in at least a dozen years, I did not spend Administrative Professionals' Day in an office. I did not receive flowers or go out for a nice lunch (good bosses).  Nor was I entirely ignored or neglected either (bad bosses).

Today I worked outside moving tables, unloading carts and racks of annuals and perennials, tidying up the vegetable starts and herbs, and helping lots of customers find the plants they wanted. You see, I now work in a nursery & garden store. I gave up the whole office gig to try my hand at something else. This job is a wonderful opportunity to do something very different and to learn more about a subject that really interests me. Plus I get to interact with people who love plants and gardening. Every day I discover something new, memorize a few more botanical names, and learn tips and tricks from more experienced gardeners. I find my brain acting like a big sponge, just soaking up lots of info. At the end of the day, I am very tired, but it's the good kind of tired that comes from a day of working hard and actually doing something. I feel great!

Well... for the most part I feel great. I've been a little accident-prone lately and have some nasty bumps and bruises. It's amazing the size of a bruise you can get on your derriere when a rack full of gallon containers of lavender pins your feet, bowls you over, and pushes you onto the macadam. It's a good thing I'm a tough cookie. Hmmm.... maybe I should try out for roller derby after all!  But I digress...

So, to avoid a photo-less post, here's one of my absolute favorite plants. It seems apropos, no?   Enjoy!



Thank you to Rainy Side Gardens for the terrific photos of the 'Black & Blue' Salvia guarantica.

-- Wing Nut, the recovering Admin Professional


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day -- April 2008

Welcome to the April edition of Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day at WWW. April is the month of irises here.  These are right outside our living room windows. No idea what their name is. They were planted by a previous gardener.




But how in the world did that large clump of red tulips get in amongst the irises?


The flower that most often haunted my daydreams during dreary desolate winter days is about to crash this party. The freesia!


In the shade garden the hellebore 'mardi gras black' is still dancing and heuchera 'snow angel' is blushing pink.



Polemonium 'purple rain' is all decked in blue-violet.



And we may YET get trilliums to bloom in our garden--this is our 3rd try.


The belle of the ball of the shade garden is the bleeding heart.




On the hillside tulips extend the yellow season that began with the daffodils. 


What is this among the tulips? A mutant hyacinth? Look at that stem of deepest purple!


Very soon the hillside yellows will be joined by the blue-violet of the spanish bluebells.


Also at the bottom of the hill is the lilac. It is going to be spectacular this year--another one of our pruning experiments from last year. It is FULL of buds.


The bottom of the hill is completely naturalized with bulbs. But further up the hill heuchera 'peach flambe' holds court.


What's that? You want to peek under our cloche? Well, I don't know... we've had some unwelcome visitors trying to steal our salad greens. I think it's best if we leave the salad greens be for now.  We'll do a separate post about what's under the cloche. When? Soon. Now SHOO!  Get on over to May Dreams Gardens and visit all the other GBBD posts.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A visitor in our potager

Look what we found on our patio at 7 a.m. on Saturday  morning. White Socks was about to burst through the window and Diva Dog was none too happy either.


Hey it's trying to get under the cloche. That's OUR salad you thief!


Guess it decided it was too much work.


A none too graceful up-and-over.


We dedicate this last photo to Aunt Debbi. Hey Aunt Debbi, we think it's a boy.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Snow in July? Strawberries in February?

A campaign is underway to get Switzerland's two largest food distributors, Coop and Migros to decrease their importation of fruits and veggies out of season. The title of the campaign, Ras la fraise, is a play on the expression "ras le bol" which means to be fed up with something, to have had enough. The campaign was started by San of the food blog Dans la cuisine des frangines.

The manifesto is online and can be signed by non-Swiss citizens. Why a campaign in the first place? Because fruits and veggies out of season don't taste as good and may have a reduced nutritional profile, because they increase pollution, because their production often involves unethical work practices, because out of season produce separates us from nature's seasonal cycle.


Sunday, April 6, 2008

Who am I?

I'm an evergreen shrub. I stand about 6' tall and 6' wide. I haven't bloomed in several years. Last summer I was cut back on one side and this year I'm producing "flowers" on that side. My gardeners are clueless and lousy pruners. Please help identify me so they can get a clue.



I am prunus laurocerasus

also known as 'Otto Luyken' English Laurel

PS: We are NOT lousy pruners. We only pruned half on purpose figuring that if we did it wrong at least we only hurt half the plant. THANKS for helping us identify Otto!


Saturday, April 5, 2008

Inquiring tummies want to know

By popular demand here is our recipe for the rhubarb strawberry compote with lavender mentioned in the previous post. 

6 stalks rhubarb

1 apple

1 pint strawberries

1/2 cup water or fruit juice (orange or boysenberry)

2tsp honey or sugar (or more to taste)

2 sprigs lavender

1-2Tbsp cognac (optional)

Wash the rhubarb and chop into 1/2 inch pieces.

Wash and hull the strawberries. Cut larger ones in half.

Peel, core and chop the apple.

Place the rhubarb, apple and strawberries in a pot with the water or fruit juice, sugar, cognac and lavender. Simmer gently 20-30 minutes or until fruit is desired consistency.

-We like our rhubarb on the tart side and use water and minimal sugar. You may want to use fruit juice and increase the honey/sugar to produce a less mouth puckering dessert.

Below is a picture of our rhubarb taken last week when we were getting wind, rain, snow and hail. The fuzzy plant is bronze fennel.


Thursday, April 3, 2008



The rhubarb is coming on strong. Tonight we had a rhubarb strawberry lavender compote for dessert.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Garden Bloggers' Muse Day--April 2008



Beautiful lily, dwelling by still rivers,
Or solitary mere,
Or where the sluggish meadow-brook delivers
Its waters to the weir!

Thou laughest at the mill, the whir and worry
Of spindle and of loom,
And the great wheel that toils amid the hurry
And rushing of the flame.

Born in the purple, born to joy and pleasance,
Thou dost not toil nor spin,
But makest glad and radiant with thy presence
The meadow and the lin.

The wind blows, and uplifts thy drooping banner,
And round thee throng and run
The rushes, the green yeomen of thy manor,
The outlaws of the sun.

The burnished dragon-fly is thine attendant,
And tilts against the field,
And down the listed sunbeam rides resplendent
With steel-blue mail and shield.

Thou art the Iris, fair among the fairest,
Who, armed with golden rod
And winged with the celestial azure, bearest
The message of some God.

Thou art the Muse, who far from crowded cities
Hauntest the sylvan streams,
Playing on pipes of reed the artless ditties
That come to us as dreams.

O flower-de-luce, bloom on, and let the river
Linger to kiss thy feet!
O flower of song, bloom on, and make forever
The world more fair and sweet.

Flower-de-Luce, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

For more GBMD posts visit Sweet Home and Garden Chicago.