Vegetable Garden 2016 #5

Garden 6-30-2016

Last update was early in June. The weather since then was somewhat cool with some of the nights down into the 40’s mid-month. But it has started to warm up with long days and the garden is starting to really take off.

Let’s update for June 23rd – The peas and strawberries were wonderful this year. We harvested a pint of strawberries every week mid-June. We also got about 7 meals off the sugar snap peas. We took them out on June 26th.

We purchased a few more plants at Fred Meyers on June 13th – an eggplant and a green bell pepper. A second crop of Bodacious corn was directly seeded. We tried starting some more bush beans with absolutely no luck. It was too cold. So purchased some new seeds and planted Nickles bush bean, a tri-color set of bush beans and Musica broad (romano) beans.

Our first batch of radishes did terrible so we pulled them out last weekend and replanted Easter Egg radishes on 6/27. We also directly seeded carrots, beets and lettuce on 6/22 to see what we get. And we are giving the Marengo yellow romanos one last chance. We will see if they are too old or not.

The tomatoes and cucumbers are getting big. We have a few tomatoes on several plants. Let’s hope for a hot July.

Garden 6-23-16
The end of the peas

Garden 6-23-16
Eggplant and Pepper planted on 6/13

Garden 6-23-16

Garden 6-23-16

Garden 6-23-16 Garden 6-23-16

June 30th – My how they have grown
Garden 6-30-2016
French Breakfast radish did great

Garden 6-30-2016

Garden 6-30-2016

Garden 6-30-2016 Garden 6-30-2016

G also has been a bench with a fiberglass top. This is for his succulents so they can get sunshine but no summer rain. It has been moved out where the peas were.

Garden 6-23-16

Garden 6-30-2016

Reecer Creek – Table Mountain Fire

Meadows of Douglas's onion - Allium Douglasii

It has been about six years since we visited Table Mountain. The last time we visited the region was in 2010. In 2012, lightening struck the area and started a fire that burned form June until the wet cold of winter finally snuffed out the flames. It was time again for a visit.

Saturday’s forecast was for warm sunny day in Central Washington. It had been a dark cool rainy June week in the Seattle area and we were ready for some sun. We left by 8am for the 2 hour drive. The road to Table Mountain starts just west of Ellenburg. We turned off at Cle Elum and drove through Swauk Meadows to the eastern foothills of the Cascades before heading back west up Reecer Creek.

The narrow paved road start climbing immediately with views down over the Ellensburg valley and the Manastash Ridge. We noticed right off that the flowers were already past. Our last trip in 2010 was on July 4th and here on June 25th, many of the plants were already drying up.

The road climbs 4000 ft in just 15 miles so as we drove another mile we went back in time to earlier in Spring and started to see more flowers. We found wonderful large patches of pink onion blossoms and the fields were red white and blue with scarlet gilia, yarrow and lupine, delphinium.

We continued climbing up the road and came to the burnt blackened forest. It was sad and beautiful. The views at Lion Rock were beautiful.

We headed back to Seattle stopping for a burger in Ellensburg and a couple of beers at Dru Bru at Snoqualmie Pass. Fun day.

Reecer Creek Road - Ellensburg, WA

Allium acuminatum - Tapertip Onion

Castilleja miniata - Scarlet Indian Paintbrush

Reecer Creek WA

20160625-Reecer_TableMountain2016 054

Douglas's onion - Allium Douglasii

Elmer's Paintbrush (Castilleja elmeri)

Red White and Blue for the season

Scarlet Gilia - Ipomopsis aggregata Yarrow - Achillea millefolium Forget Me Nots

Botanizing in a field of buckwheat

Buckwheat - Eriogonum douglasii

Burnt Forest nearing the top of Table Mountain

View west from top of Lion Rock

The Stewart Range and the Enchantments

Looking north from Lion Rock

Vegetable Garden 2016 #4

Vegetable Garden 2016

Things are coming along great. Memorial Day has come and past and the temperatures have sure increased. It was 90 degrees on Sunday June 5th. The tomatoes and other warm temperature vegetables were planted in their pots on June 1st and they are loving it. We also planted a Gypsy pepper that I purchased from PCC and some zucchini plants. There are a couple of patty pan squashes still waiting to go in the grown in the back

The corn was planted out on June 3rd and more Monte Cristos pole beans were planted out. We gave the first bed some fertilizer and mulch since it was growing a little slow. The lettuce has perked up.

Harvest wise, we have had two meals of sugar snap peas and should have more coming on. We harvested one pint of strawberries from the pots in the greenhouse and should have another one tonight. We have one or two remaining lettuces to harvest. Not bad for beginning of June.

Vegetable Garden 2016
Tomatoes getting hardening off on May 28th

Vegetable Garden 2016

Vegetable Garden 2016

Vegetable Garden 2016

Vegetable Garden 2016

Vegetable Garden 2016

Vegetable Garden 2016

May Flowers

Phlomis fruticosa and Veronica austriaca "Crater Lake Blue"
Reminds me of the colors of Provence

Memorial day is always the key spring bloom in the garden. G’s hard work is really showing. He has been working on our old ‘salvia’ bed and planting a lot of his collection of plants that he has purchased over the year and adding some structure. It is looking outstanding along with some of the regulars in the garden.

Our front bed

Our front bed

Digiplexis with Physocarpus opulifolius Amber Jubilee
I love this combo

Allium christophii

Phlomis chrysophylla
All the pholmis are in bloom

Pholmis tuberosa

Phlomis italica

Phlomis fruticosa

Echeveria 'Imbricata'
Hummingbirds love this. Every night we watch them feed before sundown


Cornus kousa var. chinensis

Peony "Festiva Maxima"

Gladiolus illyricus

Musa basjoo
One stock survived the freeze.

Vegetable Garden 2016 #3

Vegetable Garden 2016 Monte Cristo Beans
Monte Cristo pole green beans

Plants are growing albeit a bit slow. It is interesting this year – some thing are doing really well and others are slow or not growing. G has been starting the beans indoors and has had poor germination. They need 65 degrees to germinate so he has tried several different things to start them. But the bush beans, Gold Marie Romano beans have rotted in the soil. Time to start a new batch. But the Monte Cristo which are our replacements for Blue Lake are going gangbusters. G is starting some more bush beans and a couple of old varieties of romanos. We are not certain if the older beans will germinate but we will try.

Our in the bed, the Champion radishes are coming along, the Chantenay carrots have been thinned, and the Flat of Egypt beets are sprouted. G had to plant a second set of Sugar Ann peas for the same issue as the beans – they never germinated in the bed. Meanwhile the peas in the pots are blooming like crazy and we should have a crop soon.

We have harvested most of the Outrageous lettuce and the Nevada and Redina lettuce starts are planted and starting to grow. Bodacious corn seed was started about a week ago and is doing well.

We purchased starts of Gypsy Peppers, patty pan squash, cucumber and a bunch of herbs. The herbs are in their pot on the deck and the warm vegetables are waiting to go in the ground either this week or next when it is a little warmer. The tomato pots have been set up in the driveway and are waiting the plants. G may plant them this weekend (Memorial Day) or wait another week.

It has still been dropping into the upper 40s and highs are usually in the 60s. The past week has been mostly overcast with light rain.

Vegetable Garden 2016  Radishes

Vegetable Garden 2016 Snap Peas

Vegetable Garden 2016 - Snap Peas

Vegetable Garden 2016 - Tomatoes

Vegetable Garden 2016 #2

Vegetable Garden 2016
Peas, lettuce and strawberries

Two weeks has past and a little more action in the garden. The tomato starts are growing. They are still pretty little especially the Stupice but they should start growing faster in the bigger pots.

We have started seeds both in the beds and in pots. The radishes are up and looking good. Carrots, beets and a second crop of peas are just poking their heads up. This was all seeded on April 28th . And in the greenhouse, the beans have been planted. The runner beans were the first up. The Monte Cristo pole have just started to leaf. Waiting for signs of life in the bush and Goldmarie romano beans.

The first batch of peas are just starting to bloom and most of the Outrageous lettuce has been harvested. It got a big thumb up for both taste and growth.

Today we got our delivery of soil 7 yards of Fertile Mulch and 3 yards of raised bed mix. We will be using this to fill our remaining raised beds and tomato pots. George also has a lot of work ahead hauling it from the front to the backyard – one wheelbarrel at a time!

Vegetable Garden 2016

Vegetable Garden 2016
Nevada Lettuce

Vegetable Garden 2016

Vegetable Garden 2016
Pea Blossom

Vegetable Garden 2016
Monte Cristo Pole Beans

Garden 2016
10 Yards of soil being dropped off

Garden 2016
And now to haul it to the back yard

Vegetable Garden 2016 #1


We took a year off and did not plant a vegetable garden last year. We were gone for three weeks to Madagascar during August and knew it would be a lot of work for our house sitter. But the vegetable garden is back.

First off, G had to build new raised beds. The old ones were rotted and soil was falling out. He decided to build 3 new ones and a bit larger. We had 4 4’x5′ beds previously. The new beds are 4’x 8′. We had a little bit of a challenge getting the wood. We needed 18 boards and we had just a little Honda Civic. But G figured out how to transport 6 at a time using our old ski rack and bungie cords. We still have one to fill with soil.

G started the peas in our tomato pots while he was building the beds. We planted the Sugar Ann snap peas on February 28th. We also bought a ‘6’ pack of Outrageous lettuce which ended up having 12 plants which were planted at the same time. We had no frost days in March. We harvested our first lettuces last week – just about 60 days later. They are young red romaine type and pretty tasty.

G started the tomatoes on March 30th and they are in the big greenhouse. The weather has been so inconsistent. It got to 89 (!) on April 18th. But last night it was down to 39. It has been a mix of sun and rain. The warmth did push many plants to bloom early. The lilacs and rhododendrons are in full bloom – about 2 weeks early.

Next up – starting zucchini, planting radish, carrots, beets. Maybe starting some beans but those often do better started from seed when warmer.

New Raised Beds

New Raised Beds

Lettuce and peas

SugarSnap Peas

Tomato starts

Strawberry blossom

Meyer Lemons

Garden Kitty

Spring update


Mid-March 2016 update

Our wonderful rainy spring is continuing. The temperatures have stayed in the mid-50’s with one or two nights getting down to freezing. It has been quite rainy with a good long stretch of daily rain from mid-February to mid-March. It is a bit warmer than normal and the plants are taking advantage of the warmth and water. We did have one or two days of sun but of course – we were in Tucson!

The neighborhood is a rainbow of pastels. The star (pun intended) are the Magnolias. The Stella Magnolias are just thick with flowers but the real stunner are the saucer magnolias. There are several mature trees and the flower covered branches cover the yards. I love their pink and white blossoms.

The pieris is continuing to bloom along with Viburnum tinus. The flowering plums are mostly finished and covered with shiny new purple-red leaves. The white yashino cherries are just finished. The Quad has been in bloom the past two weekends. Forsythia is still in bloom but the green leaves are pushing up through their yellow flowers.

Daffodils are in full bloom with their happy faces. The early tulips are also starting to bloom along with patches of purple grape hyacinth. Pink is dotting the beds with mounds of pink heather, shocking pink azaleas and red currants. Chartreuse green euphorbia is the accent.

Spring is here

Iris reticulata

It finally feels like winter is coming to a close. I know there is a good chance still for some frost in March but the days are getting longer and more sunny days.

We have had a winter of heavy rain. No snow and no serious frosts although it did get down in the low teens once. But the rain! December and February have been deluges.

Everything seems to be right on time or a little early. The blooms have gone fast due to either a couple of warm days (almost 60!) or heavy rains. I thought I would layout a timeline of what has been in bloom.

January 2016

The month started out frosty and cold. We visited the Washington Park Arboretum on 9th of January and it was too early. The witchhazel was just starting to bloom but much was still in bud. A few hellebores. The star was Daphne bholua.

We made our second visit about three weeks later on 31st of January and the arboretum was in its prime. The witchhazel bushes were lovely scented clouds of yellow, the cyclamen coum was bright pink under the Stewartia and fields of hellebore.

February 2016

The month started with our small bulbs buds starting to color. The crocus and snowdrops reacted to a few warm days and by second week and Valentine’s day they were in full bloom in the backyard and in our front window box. The iris reticulata really did well over the winter and we had a great bloom. But the heavy rains mid month flattened them and bloom was over by the 3rd weekend (22nd). We also visited the arboretum a 3rd time on 20th and witchhazel was completely done as were the bulbs. Surprising their “Christmas Snow” hellebores did terrible. They may have had too much rain. They are stunted and not a lot of blooms.

This week we have had a whole new set of spring blooms in the neighborhood. Daffodils are starting to open and brighten the days. The flowering blooms are just starting to open and create fluffy pink clouds of color. The pieris is starting to open and so is the forsythia. A few azaleas are opening in the warmer microclimates.

There is also a lot of signs of growth. The crocosmias are coming up. The delphiniums are up at about 6 inches with several leaves. We had to prune our roses yesterday and the growth buds had already started to grow. The maples are starting to color with their leaf and flower buds. Indian Plum is starting to bloom.

I also love how the sun is up by 7:00am and it is still light at 6pm. Just two more weeks to daylight saving time and then the equinox.


We have been planning for over a year for this trip. It all started with a brochure that G received from the publisher of nature books – specifically nepenthes. They were leading a trip to Madagascar. It has long been on our bucket list but it is so far away. We are not getting any younger so it was time to go. We sent off our deposit.

It will be an active trip so I started walking in January. I have been doing 2-3 miles 3 days a week. Later I started jogging and the past couple of months we have also been doing hikes. I am ready.

The past couple of weeks we have been finalizing all our gear and clothes. We have verified our plane seats, notified everyone who needs to know and are now just counting the days.

We will fly direct to Paris which is a 10 hour flight. We have a 3 hour layover in Paris. Then it is 10 and half hours to Antananarivo. We will be traveling for just about 24 hours by this time. We get in late at night around 11pm and we will be picked up by our hotel. We have a day to recover before we meet up with the group.

This will be an amazing trip. You can see the places we will visit on the map – click the 3 bar icon on the upper left to see each place we will be visiting or traveling through. I don’t know if I will be updating on the road but do check back in a couple of weeks and we will have many tales to tell.