Propagating Plants – An Update

gardening

It has been a little over a month since I propagated the lavender and blue potato bush. I thought I would write an update at how this process is going. My first post on this can be found under gardening and is titled Propagating Plants.

First of all, I want to say that I have been very diligent about watering the plants. They are on our potting table and I have been sure that they are taken care of in the mornings and are never dried-out. I have done nothing more to them than watering them.

From the beginning, all plants looked fine. One of the blue potato bush plant’s leaves started to wilt not long after being planted. I did not panick. It still looked alive. However, last night, I think reality has hit. The plant’s stem is dry looking and I think it has reached it’s end. The other blue potato bush is thriving. Last night I was so happy to see that new buds are forming on the plant. A sure sign of happiness!

Looks like the end…
Thriving!

The lavender seems to look pretty much the same as when I planted them. I guess that is a good thing. All seem to have attached themselves to their new soil.

Hopefullly, these cuttings will continue to grow and someday be able to be planted in the ground. I will keep posting every now and then on their progress. As always, Happy Gardening!

Building a Garden Tuteur

gardening

My husband and the kids are doing projects together this summer. I said, “Hey! How about me? I want to do a project too!” So, I got in on the deal. The project I chose to make with my husband was a garden tuteur. Tuteur is French, which makes it sound that much more appealing. It basically means stake or support. It is put in the garden to support climbing plants and vines but also for an aesthetic element to the garden.

The above is a sketch I did of the finished tuteur in our garden. I wanted a color that would complement the orange and lemon trees in our yard and also the lavender. A bright tourqoise stain was chosen. We chose to stain instead of paint the tuteur so it would not peel. Love the bright fun shade!

To make the tuteur we followed the building directions at: https://sheholdsdearly.com/diy-french-tuteurs-garden/

The tuteur was really pretty simple to make. It involved cutting boards on the table saw then using a mitre saw to cut the angles. Pieces were assembled using weatherproof wood glue and screws. We built the tuteur in two sessions. We stained it in two sessions as well, letting the stain dry overnight inbetween coats.

Of course, I say this was pretty simple to make only because I have a husband who has built a thing or two in his day and knows what he is doing. I’m sure if I tried to build this on my own it would have come out all lopsided and wonky. A BIG thanks to my husband for our great summer project! As always, Happy Gardening!

Zucchini Flowers are All the Buzz at My House

Cooking, gardening

Of course I had heard of people eating zucchini flowers. I had just never tried them myself. Since we have an abundance of zucchini in the garden right now, I thought we could spare a few of the flowers. So I searched for a recipe and went out to the garden to collect the flowers.

I collected four large zucchini flowers, placed them in my bowl and headed back inside. I decided not to wash them right away in hopes they would stay fresher until I was ready to use them. It would not be long anyway. So I set about making the rest of the dinner. We were having chicken with sundried tomatoes and olives baked in foil packets (to lock in the moisture), orzo, blanched and sauted fresh green beans with garlic (from green beans picked earlier in the day), and of course the zucchini flowers which would be lightly breaded and fried.

It was finally time for me to prepare the zucchini flowers. I washed and removed the stamen from one and set it on a towel, then another. As I was washing the third flower, I heard a buzzing sound. What! Oh no! A bee was inside the flower. I hurried the bowl outside to get rid of the bee before it escaped inside our house. When outside I pried the flower open a bit with a knife hoping the bee would exit without attacking me. Success! As I started to head back inside I again heard buzzing. What! Oh yes, another bee was inside the flower! I again coaxed this bee out of the flower. Was this it? No more buzzing. It was safe to go back inside and finish making dinner.

So, I think I will add a little note to the recipe for fried zucchini flowers. It will say, “Check for bees before taking zucchini flowers inside house”. How could the author of this recipe leave off such an important piece of information? Maybe this has only happened to me?

Regardless of the excitement in the kitchen, the meal turned out fine. The zucchini flowers did receive quite the buzz around the table. My family enjoyed them and we had a story to share as well. The recipe can be found at: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/fried-zucchini-blossoms. Just remember to check for bees! As always, Happy Gardening/ Happy Cooking!

Dinner is Served

Monarchs Are Back – 2020

gardening

Last year I penned a post about Monarch Butterflies in our garden. They are back again this year. The caterpillars have eaten almost all of our milkweed plants. Today, I saw one lone caterpillar cleaning up the scraps.

Caterpillar eating milkweed

Even more exciting is that, when I was sweeping the front porch, I spotted a chrysalis on the side of the house. This one being on the opposite side that I spotted one last year. There are also the remains of two chrysalises where I had spotted the one last year.

Remains of chrysalis
Chrysalis

Every day is a little different in the garden. I have to remind myself to be more observant on a daily basis or I could easily miss the little things that blend in so well. As always, Happy Gardening!

Propagating Plants

gardening

I have big plans for our backyard. Part of the plan is to plant more lavender (which is doing quite well in our yard) and blue potato bushes (which are relatively low maintenance). Since we already have these in the yard, I decided to try to propagate my own plants from cuttings.

I have been saving large yogurt containers for a little while now with the intention of using them as pots. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that the labels came right off and I could write on them with a Sharpie. I also poked holes in the bottoms of the containers with an awl for drainage.

Yogurt containers with awl

Next, a little research in propagation. April through June is a good time to propagate plants. I am in the window of time, early June. I took a cutting just below where the green part of the stem meets the woody part of the stem. Then I striped the leaves, leaving a few at the top and cut off the tips of the plants. Then I poked them into my soil-filled containers and gave them a good watering. I will just have to wait and see if I did this correctly.

Lavender Cutting

If this works, I figure I will be saving myself a little money from not having to purchase new plants. Of course, they will be smaller and take longer to grow, but I can spend the saved money for other things to complete the yard project. I will also have had a little fun trying something new. As always, Happy Gardening!

Dahlia Bulbs Coming Up in the Garden

gardening

Back when I ordered my Rheinland Astilbe dry root, I also ordered some mixed buttercup bulbs and some Myrtle’s Folly Dahlia bulbs. The bulbs are promised to show flowers by summer. I have been diligently watering the bulbs and this morning I saw a green shoot.

Careful not to get too excited, I gave the shoot a good looking over. Is it really the beginning of a dahlia or just a weed? It seems pretty thick, and does not resemble the other weeds in the area. I think we have success!

My latest idea is to take a photo every morning of the dahlia plant as it grows. My son (a photo wiz) can then help me create a time laps of the growth of my dahlia plant. However, if I know the rabbits around here, I had better act quickly and get my plant fenced in and safe before sundown.

Planting Bare Roots in the Spring

gardening

I ordered a bare root Rheinland Astilbe this spring. When I got it, I was a bit tired and put off planting it until the next day. It looked like a dried up root with bean sprouts protruding from the other end. Not too attractive. I read the instructions and put it in the soil and gave it a drink.

The next few days left me worrying about my plant. It didn’t look very happy. The bean sprouts were drooping and I did not think it would make it. However, I kept watering it.

One day, I went out and the bean sprouts had turned to beautiful green leaves! Wow! How did that happen? I won’t ask questions, I’ll just be thankful it is thriving. Now, every day it grows a bit taller and a few more leaves are growing.

I should have taken pictures in the beginning. But anyway…here is what it looks like today…

If all goes well, it will have beautiful pink flowers in early summer. As always, Happy Gardening!

Lavender Makes a Comeback

gardening

I posted earlier about how the bunnies thought my two young lavender plants were a salad bar. I then put up fencing around the lavender and gave the plants some extra loving care. They started to grow back and look healthy. Yesterday, to my great surprise, one of the lavender plants had produced it’s first lavender flower! Not quite in bloom yet but will be very soon. That is the amazing thing about gardening, the big changes from day to day. As always, Happy Gardening!

Spring 2020 – Our Bluebirds are Parents!

gardening

I’ve been keeping an eye on the bluebird house. If you’ve caught my earlier posts, you will know that we have a bluebird house that attracts families each spring. This spring is no exception. Today, I spotted the cutest little baby bluebird poking it’s head out the hole.

My son loaned me his tri-pod and I set my camera-up and took more than a few baby pictures and videos. I hope you will enjoy looking at a few of my favorite bluebird baby pictures… Happy Spring!

Friday Was Not JUST Another Day With Julie

gardening, life

If anyone noticed, Another Day With Julie did not post on Friday. Why? Well, Friday was not just another day with Julie. But regardless, it was quite a day!

I was having quite a lovely morning. Went outside to tackle some weeds. I was almost finished and decided to spray a few weeds with vinegar out back, near the garden shed. That’s when I saw something move to my left, right by the shed. A long, slithery, striped green and yellow thing. EEK!!!! I ran shrieking into the garage, shut the door and entered the house, never looking back. I do NOT like snakes (or mice for that matter)!

picture of a Santa Cruz Gartersnake, credit Dawn Ellner, Flickr
photo from: greennature.com/california-snakes Of course I didn’t stay and take a picture!

Now, feeling quite safe, I went about my business inside. I decided a bit later to watch an episode of This is Us that I had missed when it aired earlier. So, I sat down to watch it and then after a bit got thirsty and went to get an iced coffee. When I came back into the room, I saw something looking at me in front of the sliding glass door. Oh great! There is a lizard in my house!

This is not good. Living in Southern California, we are used to lizards. However, I do not like them in my house. We have had them in the house before and they are VERY hard to get out. They are tricky little guys. They are fast and not only can they run, they can climb. So if you corner them, they will just climb up the wall. They can also get injured pretty easily if one tries to place a container over them.

Since we are all home due to the Covid-19 restrictions, I have helpers. And I need help. This is not a one person job by any means. However, two of my potential helpers are in phone/internet meetings. Luckily, my son (while doing homework) was available.

I backed slowly out of the room so as not to scare the lizard. If it got away, who knows if we would ever find it. I then ran into the kitchen and got an empty yogurt container. Luckily, I had just washed one out, saving it for some practical use. This was it. Then I ran to my son’s room and gathered him. He was none too excited but was my hero and came to help.

The plan was to chase the lizard out the sliding door. First however, the door had to be opened without freaking out the lizard. Then it would have to be chased out the door. Easy enough or so one would think.

My son was armed with the yogurt container in one hand and a piece of paper in the other. My job was to go outside and move the screen door out of the way and then when given the signal open the sliding door and close it after my son chased the lizard out. One may think I had the easy job. Ok. Remember the snake? He was still out there somewhere now wasn’t he?

So, I make my way cautiously to the sliding door which is not so far from the garden shed. I open the doors and all is going to plan. My son chases the lizard. I start to shut the door. The lizard gets spooked and back in he goes. So, I too head back into the house through the other entrance and help the troops fight the battle from inside.

The sliding door is open. When I was outside I saw a lizard crawling on the side of the house. I am praying he doesn’t decide to come in as well. But back to the lizard on hand. My son and I talk strategy. I grab a large drawing board and position it so the lizard can’t get through my side or into a pile of boxes in front of the door. My son tries to get the lizard to go out. It is now in the corner. One turn and it could be free but it starts to climb the wall. My son stops him and we start making noise. Doesn’t work. The lizard is playing dead. Finally he moves ever so slightly. My son is able to scoop him up into the yogurt container and the lizard, container and all are tossed out the door. The door is slamed shut and locked. We have won the battle!

Lizard on side of house. Not the guy who got inside.

The whole episode took an extremely long time. I was exhausted. Apparently, we were a bit loud in our capture. Both husband and daughter heard our ruckus and wondered what on earth we had been up to.

After all that, I finally did get to finish my show. However, I just couldn’t be in that room anymore. So, I moved the laptop to the living room and watched from there. I have returned to the room now and as I am writing this, I am wondering if the lizard might have followed me inside when I ran in from the snake. Hmmmm…..