Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Front Yard Fantasies

We had our first Master Gardening training session yesterday, and it was a lot of fun. The current crop of MGs in Collin County are certainly an organized and enthusiastic group. We even took a little preliminary test to see where everybody's level of gardening expertise is at; I think I did pretty well, but we won't get the results back until next week.

Anyway, one of the MGs was speaking to the group, and happened to mention that her entire front yard is a garden. No grass.

Needless to say, a little lightbulb started blinking above my head.

You see, half of our front yard is nice, lush, green St. Augustine grass. The other half, however, is a mixture of crabgrass and a bunch of sickly looking other grasses making an unsuccessful attempt to take over.

Wouldn't a front yard garden be wonderful? Think of all the plants I'd have to buy...(picture me rubbing my hands together with glee.) Think of all the extra space I'd have to collect different species...woohoo!

And, although it would mean less mowing, the idea was not met with particular glee by my husband.

"Are you sure that's legal?" he asked after a long silence.

Well, there's a lot to do before starting anyway, so I guess I'll add "check city ordinances" to the list. In the meantime, I've ordered this book, which should really get my creative juices flowing.

Here's a picture of the part of our front lawn I'm talking about:

Sunday, August 14, 2005

The Hummer Cafe...

...is open for business! I was afraid the feeder hanging outside my bathroom window would be too close to the house, but this little female rubythroat seems to like it just fine.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Making Herb Vinegar

When my organic herb garden went ballistic in the heat of summer last year, I made lots of herb vinegar with it. Since moving to our new house, I've kept herbs in containers so they're more under control. However, I recently had to pot up my variegated lemon thyme, and the thick, fragrant foliage is just begging to be made into salad dressing.

Before making last year's batch of herb vinegar, I searched the Internet far and wide for herb vinegar-making techniques, and settled on this nice lady's method, shared as an inspiration from her grandmother. Thanks Alleta, and thanks Ethel!

Alleta recommends Sunburst Bottle Company for purchasing corked bottles. I found some gorgeous (and super-cheap) colored bottles over at Specialty Bottle, but they don't seem to carry the ones I bought anymore. There are some comparable small corked colored bottles available here for under $2 each.

Friday, August 05, 2005

My Cantaloupe Wears Pantyhose

See? Well, I'm using it as a sling, not to hide the appearance of ugly lines and bumps. There's another melon forming on the same vine...this is 'Superstar', a good performer I've grown from the same batch of old Harris Seeds for the past three years.

Betcha haven't seen many of these - it's a pepper called 'Fish' with beautiful variegated leaves. The peppers themselves are supposed to be very good in seafood dishes, but I have't gotten any from this plant yet. Nice to look at, though. Seeds are available from Tomato Growers Supply.

A common site throughout Texas right now - the flowering of the big yuccas, otherwise known as Spanish bayonets. This flower stalk is at least 3' tall.

The latest addition to the family, as I continue to feed my growing passionflower obsession. I picked this beauty up for $6 the other day. It is Passiflora 'Incense' and smells wonderful.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Photo Update

Passiflora Blue Horizon

Ok, I can take credit for the passionflower in this photo. Looks like an alien being, doesn't it? The vine is loaded with buds, but they seem to only want to bloom one at a time.

Juliet Tomatoes

My first harvest of tomatoes - an Italian variety grown from Johnny Seeds called "Juliet" - continues to grow. These should make nice sauce or salsa...or both! The plant is massive.

Also grown from seed (seedsofchange.com), this is a Rosa Bianca Eggplant bustin' loose. There are four of these forming on the 2' tall plant.