The Rosy World of Our Patio

While the front yard roses are just starting their first bloom of the year, the backyard blooms are done.

It's time for the first deadhead of the year.

At the top, 'Moonstone' and it's unknown yellow companion display dozens of spent flower. Chop! Off the go.

Mr. Lincoln is also looking a little peaked. Much better after a much-needed haircut.

Not to be outdone by the roses, our spicy hot red chiles are getting a little rangy. Cutting it back to the new growth with help it produce another bumper crop...we've still got hundreds of dried chiles from last year waiting to be used.

Copyright 2014 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved.

The State of the Garden

So how's the garden doing this week?  A few cymbidiums are blooming, like this 'tethys,' above and the yellow one below.

Those orchids are almost done so it will be time to repot soon after we enjoy then a few more weeks.

In our herb corner, this iris is popping through.

Tomatoes will be available for harvest soon...

...and a new zucchini plant is pushing up through the soil.

Copyright 2014 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Tabling the Spring Project

Not every project in our yard has to do with plants.


It wasn't too long ago that my wife happened by a yard sale on her Sunday morning walk.

She picked up this table, which has a pressed-board insert, for five dollars. We used it for awhile on our patio when she started to complain that it was getting weathered.  I had an idea.

I sanded all the old lacquer and varnish off the wood and made it smooth.  I tried to stain it but the water spots were too deep.

Instead, we painted it blue. Initially, I put a coat of polyurethane on it to weather proof it but it left a brownish-colored hue to it.

My wife went to the paint store, where they told her to use a high-gloss exterior paint instead.

I got my friend and neighbor, Scott Connelly, on board. Scott is a mosaic artist and I commissioned him to make an insert for the table.  Here it is, insert in place (and at the top of this post), making it's debut as a cocktail table on our patio.

The scene Scott created for us is representing the view from our backyard. Here is the actual view with our plumeria in bloom, which Scott used to create the artwork. He added western bluebirds, my wife's favorite local species, to the picture.  Three of for me, one for my wife, and one for our son.

Now, it's time to test it out.

Works perfectly!

Scott Connelly can be reached via Facebook at Cross Centered Mosaics. They're beautiful and quite reasonable.

Copyright 2014 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Enjoying the Fruits of our Labors

Gardening is in full swing. Chores are being done with regularity and, in this warm drought year, the plants are doing spectacularly well.

We've been working our behinds off and, now, we're going to take a little break to enjoy the results. Check out the cherry tomatoes sneaking in to the hanging dendrobium, above.

Speaking of orchids, the cymbidiums on our orchid bench are almost overwhelming in their color.  My mother in law gets mad because I'm behind on my cymbidium care chores but they still bloom anyway.

The Moonstone and it's unknown neighbor rose let me know they're doing well in the drought. They survived our earthquake too, but that's a story for another day.

Double Delight still delights...

...and Mr. Lincoln is producing it's usual platter-sized, deep red blooms as it always does at the beginning of the blooming season.

Here's a very delicately colored pink bougainvillea to finish off this week's look at the beauty side of our garden.

Copyright 2014 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Lining Up the Lemon

Our Meyer lemon tree started off as a sapling only twelve inches tall. How it's grown over the years.

I've pretty much left it alone, just trying to let it establish itself in our tiny, three-tree citrus grove.

I think it's had plenty of time now. I'm going to trim it up to get it to start growing in the shape I want it to.

The loppers make pretty easy work of it, just chop a few of the bottom branches.

I'm not going to touch anything on top in the big producing area. I want fruit this winter so, for now, this is the shape I'm going to be happy with.

Copyright 2014 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved.

This Year's Feeding Schedule

My new lawn is looking a bit spotty in parts. Although it's still pumping up a lot of grass (with a lot of mowing), I think maybe the two weed 'n feed treatments might have given it a bit of indigestion.

I think it might be hungry but for food not laced with poison.

It's off to my friendly garden center to pick up some nitrogen-rich fertilizer.

The nurseryman there says I've got great timing. A rare rain shower is forecast tonight and putting fertilizer on your grass just ahead of the storm is the peak time to do it.

I load about three pounds into my feeder and shoot it out across the lawn.  Let's see if the grass likes it.

My lawn feeding schedule will be once a month for this season.

The other plants will be getting this liquid fertilizer.

Just dilute into a water pan and sprinkle on everything. This will happen every two weeks.

Hope the plants are happy with the food.

Copyright 2014 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

A Chore Left Undone

Until today, that is. A couple of years ago, my wife bought a jasmine plant with the intention of putting it in the pot where we had a morning glory growing.

Even the best intentions go awry, sometimes. The plant languished in our herb garden with the promise of "someday." I guess she had enough, so she finally got around to doing it this past weekend.

Fairly straightforward, clean out the pot, stick in the plant, and water in.

Here she positions the plant and cleans off the dead roots. She's much more careful than I am about these things.

In the end, here's a tidy jasmine in the pot. But wait, what's that at the bottom of the pot?

Turns out there's a lavender volunteer from a nearby plant growing out of the bottom of the pot. Handy little find. I transplant it into our citrus grove so when it grows up, it can attract bees to pollinate our fruit.

Copyright 2014 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Everything's Coming Up Roses

The first bloomers are here.  Just a quick post to highlight those roses pushing the boundaries.


While there are still some in the front yard that have yet to bloom, almost all the roses along our hot, sunny back wall are in bloom. 

That's 'Angel Face' at the top of the page...the very first to bloom this year.  This one, just above these words, is an unknown variety we got cheap because it had no name tag.

'Moonstone' is beautiful but flawed. The flowers get very heavy and break the stems. It's also a magnet for earwigs.

'Double Delight' lives up to its name...

...and 'Mr. Lincoln' is the elder statesman in our garden.


Copyright 2014 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

DINNER TIME! Dutch Oven Beef Stew

It can still get a little chilly at night here in Northern California. A hearty stew is just the thing to take the chill off. This reci...