MLK Quote

MLK Quote

Nature's Inspiration Movie -- Nature's Inspiration Movie: The photographs in this short video are from award-winning photographer, Ken Jenkins, and they are breathtaking. However, this video is much more than beautiful photographs! Peggy Anderson has compiled beautiful quotations from the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, and many others that truly capture the beauty of nature and solitude. Absolute must watch for nature lovers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The First Day of Snow in 2016

We had our first snow on this past Saturday night (November 19). The rain turned into snow though the temperature was about thirty-seven degree Fahrenheit. It was a very strange weather phenomena.

I rushed out to bring the potted tender perennials plants indoor.

But it was not necessary. All the plants, even the heat-loving eggplants and pepper-plants, survived the snow. Apparently, plants can handle some snow and frost as long as the grounds do not freeze up and their stems/trunks do not freeze up and rot.

Winter is definitely in the year. Another year is ending. For most people, the year ends and begin with the new year eve. For me, the year ends and begin with growing season. Though the sky is bright with soft-cotton clouds;

Most of the trees have shed their leaves

However, the majestic oak, here, is still holding on to the leaves

grass is still green and much green can be seen among the plants but the growing period has essentially come to an end (unless of course one has a heated or some other kind of green-house). So, for me another year has ended. The new year will start sometime in April.

It's usually the time to look back into the past-year to take stock of what has succeeded in the garden; what failed. I usually do not dwell on such lessons. A plant or a garden can fail for too many variables -- climate, micro-climate, soil, too much rain, too little rain, too high temperature, too low temperature. I usually look to the coming year. I have already ordered newer flowering plants and varieties of vegetable and flower seeds. I need to order live-plants. I plan to trim some trees, cut down dead trees, expand the pool and create more raised-beds, and grow more flower. I hope to connect the front and back-garden through a corridor of flowers for my pollinator friends. That is why it is good idea to have plants in garden that can keep on flowering till the onset of "true" winter when ground freezes up, temperature is always below freezing and the atmosphere is laden with snow. Until the true winter sets in, native bees are out hunting as soon the sun is up and shining.

Saffron growing here. Saffron bloom in November and then again in April. I have to put up that protection-cover so that the bulbs are not eaten up squirrels and chipmunks. 

All the roses have gone into sleep for the year; but this plant decided to throw a last-minute show. Only this lonely rose bloomed in the last few days when it snowed and temperature has really dropped. 

Beside planning, I am enjoying the various color of fall in my garden,


and the architectural-structure left behind by the dead plants and seeds

I'm joining in the memes hosted by Rambling Woods, Photographing NZ and St Germain's meme.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Beautiful Fall

I have been away from the blog for a long time as I needed to rush overseas, due to family emergencies, on August 12. I was away from my garden, during the peak growing, blooming and harvesting season, for about a month. By the time I came back in the middle of September, temperature was becoming cooler and the vegetable garden was slowing down. But, the fall flowers were in full bloom; the bees and the wasps were hurriedly slurping up the nectar before the cold harshness of the winter kicked in.

Flower of Okra (also known as ladies-finger). 
Okras are very easy to grow but they need a long time to mature and produce substantial harvest. If you live in a colder region (zone 6) like I do, then you should start growing this plant from around December. Soak the seeds for at least 8 hours in warm water. Then, after you plant the seeds, leave the seed-tray in a warm place. Okras like full sun and heat, and produces the best flower (in my opinion) in the vegetable-world. The plant is tall (can even grow about 8 feet or so), strong and sturdy. I have never tried this but I think it can be very good support for beans and peas.


Morning Glory
Morning Glories have no help in the garden, as pollinators do not visit them, other than being such beautiful, intricate and interesting flowers. The blooms close as soon as they are bathed in sun-light. But a word of caution -- these plants can become invasive as they produce lots of seeds; the seeds can fall everywhere and survive the harshest winter, and emerge the next-year. I like these trailing flowering plants and just let the seeds drop wherever they want. So far, they have not become that invasive in my garden.

The old-world Calendula
One can make Calendula lotion and oil from these flowers. Pick up the freshest flowers and spread them out on a flat dry surface but away from the sun. So, let them air-dry (but don't dry them in sun or in oven). Then, put the dried flowers in oil (whatever oil you like -- olive, coconut, almond -- and whatever oil suits your skin). Leave the flower-infused oil in a dark cupboard. After a month or so, you can start using the oil directly (you can take out the dried flowers if you want; or leave them in the oil); or you can make lotion, balm, etc by using bee-wax.

The old-fashioned Marigold with such lovely smell. 
I love Merigold flowers, the original ones with good fragrance; not all the various hybrids that are produced nowadays. Pollinators also love these old-ones, and not the newer-varieties. They are so easy to grow. Take the seeds and sprinkle them on the ground; forget about them. They survive the winter in the ground; then they spring up next-year producing so many flowers; they bloom constantly from spring until it starts snowing. Once you have one of these old-fashioned plants, you do not need to buy any more. They produce so much seeds, you can spread them all across your garden and thus have them every year.

Some kind of Gaillardia

Aster September-Ruby

Sheffield Pink Mum

Native wood-aster, a magnet for pollinators as shown in the next picture

Boneset or native Eupatorium Perfoliatum, another magnet for pollinators. Please click on the images to view the pollinators. I find this interesting -- pollinators, in large numbers, always visit all these wild native flowers than they do the hybrids. These wild Wood-Asters or Bonesets are the true wild native versions of the showy-asters (like September-Ruby or Sheffield-Pink) or Eupatorium (like Chocolate Joe-Pye-Weed), respectively. I wonder why? Do the natives have more pollen and nectar? Or are the pollinators know the natives better?

It's middle of November and lots of work need to be done in the garden before the winter sets in. So, back to office, home and garden work.

I'm joining in the memes hosted by Eileen,  Rambling WoodsSt Germain's and Today's Flowers meme.