Kia hora te manno
Kia whakapapa paumamu te moana
Kia tere te Karohirohi

May the calm be widespread
May the sea glisten like the greenstone
And may the glimmer of summer dance across your pathways

Sunday, May 31, 2009

I'm almost back up to speed

Really truly, I have been trying to catch up. Coming down with this crud the day we returned from our vacation, has knocked me for a loop, and it has been a slow journey getting back to finding the energy to pull weeds, read all your blogs and even to catching up on household chores (which can wait anyway).
Earlier in the week I would take my little step stool out into the garden to sit on, as I pulled a few weeds, I managed to spend about an hour pulling weeds before having to rest, but now I can play around much longer. I cannot stand to stay in bed when the sun is shining and there are things to do out in the garden, so I promised my honey not to overdo it, and spent many happy hours in my garden this past week, doing a little work then resting and talking to the bunnies and birds as they came by.Some of the critters are becoming semi-tame and come quite close to where I sit, as they realize I won't harm them.

My dear friend, and partner in crime, I call her this because you know what trouble two women can get into together, when they go shopping at a garden center, was doing a cleanup around her garden, and decided I should have four of these cute bird houses. I had been wanting something to place on top of the fence posts around one of my flower gardens, so alternated them with small pots of hen & chicks.

I like the way the bird house is nestled in the fern.

Christmas came early to our house. I have mentioned before that my friend's husband owns a landscaping business, well, it so happened my friend was over at our house and received a call from her husband to stay here, as he was bringing a surprise. The surprise turned out to be a truckload of granite pieces of all colors, sizes and shapes, you know, the stuff left over from making kitchen counter tops, or floor tiles. Both Lorie and I looked at each other and grinned, oh! the possibilities, what are we going to use the granite for?

At first I thought about using some of the pieces as stepping stones in the garden, but decided they would be very slick to walk on when wet, so have started placing them around the Iris garden on the outside of my vegetable garden. I am sure I will come up with more ideas on how to utilize this lovely granite.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Our Netherlands trip ~ part two

After spending the first day of our trip to the Netherlands in Amsterdam, we traveled by car with a new friend, to Winterswijk, which is about a two hour drive from Amsterdam.
On Saturdays, in Winterswijk, there is a market in the town square, and I was sure they would be selling flowers and plants, so off I went to investigate.

A corner of the town square.
Every where you look in the towns and cities of the Netherlands you will see people getting around on bicycles, and it was no exception here in Winterswijk. The lady you see wheeling her bicycle from the market, had her purchases in the basket of the bicycle.

The market located in this quaint square, was a crush of people, buying everything you can imagine. There was fish, meat, fruits & vegetables, clothing, shoes, even underwear, garden art, and so much more.

The variety of flowers was endless.

Look at these beauties.

Buckets and buckets of flowers.

More buckets of flowers.

There were also vendors selling many fabulous, healthy looking plants for the gardens of the town and surrounding countryside. All this beauty left me wondering how my garden back home was doing without my TLC.

I just has to throw in a few pictures of the food stalls.

The bread and pastries left me drooling,
as did the cheese and snacks on the snack stall.

Before I left the market to walk back to the hotel, I did buy a delicious light and crispy battered apple ring.

On my walk to and from the market, I took particular notice of the homes and gardens lining my route. They were, for the most part, very well maintained, and reminded me of the gardens back in New Zealand, where I grew up.

This street, with the houses quite close together, was as neat as a pin. There were low brick walls surrounding the tiny little front gardens, and each garden showed the personality of the gardener who lived in the house.

I liked the look of this low maintenance garden with all the different shades of green and variety of leaf shapes.

For more on my trip to the Netherlands, you can check it out on Keewee's Corner

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I have my day ~ part one

We went to the Netherlands not just to be tourists, but so Mr C. could shoot in the European Steel Challenge held in Winterswijk. I also ended up shooting in the match even though when we left the States, it was not in my plans, but that is a story for another time, and will be on my other blog, Keewee's corner.
When we returned from Winterswijk after the pistol match, we had just one day to look around Amsterdam, before returning home. My honey was not feeling well at all, but made the effort to walk with me to the flower market, which was on the top of my list of places I wanted to see. I did not really poke around all the flower stalls, as I wanted to, out of consideration for my sick sweetheart. There is always next year if we manage to make it back there.

The flower market is located along one side of Singel canal. This is the only floating flower market in the world, and one of the most fragrant places of interest of Amsterdam - in all seasons. The flower stalls stand on the houseboats. You will find there all sorts of tulips, narcissus and other bulbs and flowers.

Looking at the back of the flowers stalls on the canal.
I might add that the water in the canals was very dirty.

I did not take the time to count how many flower stalls there were as I was in awe of all the merchandise on display.

I have never seen such large bulbs and corms for sale, but of course I live on a small Island with just a couple of places to buy my seeds, plants and bulbs, and have not seen anything quite as awe inspiring as what I saw in this market.

Aren't these Amaryllis flowers gorgeous? and they were huge. Look behind the flowers and you can see just a few of the thousands of packets of seeds for sale. Warning if you are on vacation in a foreign country and plan on bringing seeds back, do not buy any of seeds unless there is a customs cleared sticker on the back of the packets. I bought many packets of seeds, and had them confiscated by customs when I returned to USA. My fault entirely as I did not do my homework concerning imports of seeds, before I left on my vacation. I am just happy I declared the seeds or I would probably be still in jail cooling my heels. *grin*

The variety of bulbs and corms for sale, was overwhelming.

For you cacti lovers, these are just a few of many on display.

I do not have any calla growing in my garden, but plan on planting some, bought locally of course *chuckle*

This is the first of a few posts I have for your enjoyment, they will be a little slow in being posted as I am still feeling poorly. Hopefully with a few days rest, I will be back up to speed.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

What a wonderful adventure.

We arrived back on Whidbey Island yesterday evening, very tired but happy that we had such a wonderful experience in the Netherlands.

I have so much to tell you about our trip it is going to be difficult to know where to start, which be soon, as I have to download and edit many, many, pictures. Also I am not feeling very well, as I think I am coming down with a cold. Mr C. is still in bed resting, after an extremely uncomfortable journey home. It appears he has a very bad cold instead of the allergies, we thought had caught up with him the day before returning to USA.

The day before we left the Netherlands, my honey did walk with me to the flower market even though he felt unwell. (what a wonderful guy) I bought many packets of flower seeds, and the woman in the market stall, assured me they were packaged for taking back into the USA, but when we arrived back here, I found out at customs, they were not, and they were confiscated. I almost broke down and cried right there, in front of the customs officer.
I have since found out I can buy this particular brand of seeds here in the States, and I also learned ‘ do not take the word of everyone, especially those who are only interested in getting your money into their cash drawer, instead do your own research” So I have learned a valuable lesson.

I will try to get a post with pictures, up as soon as possible. Keep checking in.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Here we are in Amsterdam

Hi folks, If I don't make a whole lot of sense, it is because I am running on no sleep for close on 27 hours, coffee, apple strudel and pot. *chuckle* I suppose I had better explain myself.
We arrived at our hotel very early this morning, and bless them, they had our room ready for us. We checked into our room and lay down for a very short nap, which was not much for me as I do not sleep during daylight hours, then we went strolling the streets. It is quite something to walk around and smell mariuhana (sp) coming from some of the coffee shops. Mr C. says I am not supposed to take a deep breath as I walk by, I said "really, why not?*laughing.*
We took an hour long canal boat tour which was fantastic, and I clicked happily along with my camera, so I should have many pictures for show and tell. On the way back to the hotel we bought some of the best home made icecream I have ever tasted. good thing my jeans were a little large on me before we started out on this adventure.
That is all for now, we really need to get some rest.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Please don't forget me while I am gone.

This past week has been so busy trying to get all "my ducks in a row" ready to leave for Amsterdam on Wednesday. We will arrive in Amsterdam too early in the morning to check into The Golden Tulip, our hotel, so we will leave our luggage in their holding area, then go and look around until check in time. MrC and I will be spending the first day and night here before getting a ride to Winterswijk, where MrC. will be shooting in the European steel Challenge.

We will be staying in another in the chain of Golden Tulips in Winterswijk. Looks nice doesn't it?
The indoor range is within walking distance of the hotel, which will be very convenient for us. As MrC. is shooting his match on Saturday, so we will stroll to the range on Friday to check out all the proceedings, and of course do a little sight seeing there and back.
I am also a competitive pistol shooter, but am leaving this event to "the big boys" Quite frankly this event is way more pressure than I want to deal with, instead I
just want to be a tourist, and enjoy taking many, many pictures, especially of the gardens.

I have been doing some Internet research on places to eat which will not strain our meager budget. I have found a chain of vending machines for food, and will NOT be using those YUK! I hate vending machine food. I think our best bet is to buy our food at one of the local outdoor markets or supermarkets, and perhaps eat at a nice restaurant now and again, if it is not too expensive.
If anyone has been to Holland and has some good information, please let me know. You will find my email address on the sidebar.

Our excitement rate is up another notch or two, now it is almost time to leave on this adventure of a lifetime.I am going to miss reading Blotanical. Hmmmm! perhaps I am kidding myself, I think I am going to be too busy to miss anything from home while we are gone.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Yard art at it's best.

When I walk around my gardens I take in the overall view, a splash of color here, great textures and shapes of leaves branches and flowers over there, the height and grace of grass moving in a breeze in the distance, but then the artist in me, sends me on a tour to take a closer look, to get down and really look into and at the plants.

Hosta leaves are a never ending delight to the eye, showing off their colors and shapes. You would swear someone had taken a brush loaded with green and embellished the leaves.

A newly planted succulent, with stunning lime green leaves edged in red, glows brightly, as it decorates an old stump.

An iris in bud, is a thing of beauty indeed. From the shape and form of the buds to the different shades of green and purple.

Mother hen without her chicks, is full and luscious, inviting me to come and look deep into her, to recognize how the edges of her leaves are saw toothed and tipped with this brilliant color.

Total eye candy, need I say more?

Columbine in their intricate beauty, call for closer inspection.I love the way the one little flower is surrounded by buds on their long stems, forming an intricate and interesting arrangement.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

"Hoboaties"on the way

As I was downloading pictures for this post on "what is growing in my vegetable garden", my honey came into the room, so I told him I was having trouble coming up with a catchy title for the post. He proceeded to tell me a little story from his childhood. You are going to have to read to the end to find out about "Hoboaties'

The first of the Cherry tomatoes in it's water filled plant protector cage, and take a look at those pretty yellow flowers. I have never had tomatoes flowering this early before, thanks to the warmth provided by the protectors.

Sugar snap peas are starting to climb up the twine on the vertical frames.

Here is what I wrote in a post on August 10th 2008 The garden center just received their first shipment of vegetable starts for fall/winter harvesting. As MrC and I are going to be out of town from Wednesday to Sunday, I decided I had better get the first of these vegetables into the ground, then when we return I can buy some more to plant for a second harvest.
Not ever having grown leeks before, I did not know what to expect.
Well I did not get to harvest the Leeks as I thought I would, so I left them in the ground to do their thing, and here is what they look like today. Looks as though I will get to harvest leeks this season.

Last year my attempt at growing cucumbers was a dismal failure. I am happy to report that all the seeds I have planted have come up and are looking very healthy. Keep your fingers crossed for my success this year.

Last years corn was a dismal failure too. I planted it too late, and the season was way too short anyway and I also did not feed it near enough. This year I am on top of the corn planting, in fact a little too exuberant.*grin* I got the corn into the ground on time, and waited, and waited for it to pop out of the ground, I finally assumed the birds had eaten it all, so replanted the corn patch. Now I have plenty of corn. The first corn planted, decided now the weather has warmed up, to sprout and so did the second batch. I will let it grow a little taller then cull out the weakest plants. Keewee needs to have a little more patience. *chuckle*

My honey does not like cabbage so I had been hesitant in growing too many until I came across this variety. These are a mini cabbage mix. A collection of red, green, round and pointed varieties which mature at different times, for an ongoing supply of crisp sweet softball sized heads. Just perfect for one person.

Brussels sprouts are also new to my garden. I chose to grow the variety Rubine a lovely purple/red color sprout. I think the leaves of the plants are an attractive addition to the garden.

I sure am excited over the two blueberry bushes I planted. They are both producing quite a few flowers, so I may have a few berries this season. If I only manage to pick a hand full or two of berries this first year for our morning cereal, then that will be great.

I have both green and yellow bell peppers growing.

There are two varieties of pole beans here, Blue lake and Scarlet runner. The beans on the other end of the row are not coming up as fast. There are just two beans about 1 inch up out of the ground, and I was thinking perhaps the birds got to them so I should plant more. "No Keewee, remember, patience is a virtue" *chuckle*

Yes these are Hoboaties, well at least that is what they were called by my honey, when he was a little guy, and did not yet know how to say strawberries.We are looking forward to the days of strawberry covered ice cream, strawberry pie and ice cream, strawberry jam, strawberries on cereal, and whatever other strawberry recipes I can come up with.

There are many more veggies in the garden, but this is enough to show you for now.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I have spent much of my Mother's day playing in my garden. The weather is warm so what better way to spend the day.

This is the area I tackled today. We had some old Junipers and a Pine tree removed from along here. Right close to the bottom of the step is a stump which we cannot remove as the roots have grown beneath the steps and if we were to pull the stump out, the steps would probably be damaged, and we do not want to replace the steps at this time. Instead I have decided to plant around the stump.

After dragging the two large logs out of the way, and dumping in a couple of wheelbarrow loads of amended topsoil, I planted some succulents a friend gave me and some I had in a pot in and around the stump. I am hoping, as the stump weathers and the succulents grow larger, this will become a somewhat attractive little garden.

Behind the stump I placed two columbines, one a pretty pink and the other purple, and on the right a Thrift with showy white flowers.

To the right of the Thrift, is a trellis with fragrant sweet peas planted in front.

Have you ever had a feeling someone is watching you? this was the case as I was busily planting around the stump. I looked behind and there sat this cute little guy watching me. I bet he was trying to think of a way to go over, or get under the chicken wire I have around the garden, so he can feast on my new plants.

Planted on May 10th 2009

I have a fondness for Snapdragons which were found in both my Grandmother's and Mother's gardens. My brothers and I would pick the flowers from the stems and squeeze them so the 'mouths of the Dragons' would open up. I am sure any kids who have been around these flowers, have played with them in the same way.

I could hardly believe my eyes when I went to put the new plants around the stump behind the carport. This where I had dug/ripped out the roses which were always a pain in the "you know where" when I attempted to weed this small strip garden. Those tough roses are continuing to thumb their noses at me, so to speak, and have put up new shoots where I thought I had dug/ ripped them all up from. Sighhh!

Perhaps in the future these will also be removed from this garden. The rose on the right is a particularly tough customer, as it has chosen to sprout under the eaves of the carport where is does not receive any rain, only water from my irrigation system in the summer months. We will see how long it lasts *grin*