5/20/13

Greenhouse Gardening

Our typical Oregon spring weather has returned.  That generally means about five days of rain and gray followed by a couple of days of sunshine, then five more days of rain and gray, and so on.  Both yesterday and today started out gray and chilly, but warmed up to be very nice, warm, and sunny.  I spent the gray part of the day doing hand stitching.

In general, I choose one floss color and then just work with that before putting it aside for the day.  Today, it was the lighter of the two golds.  That meant putting the hair on my Quilting Snow Lady.  I talked in a previous blog post about "fringe stitch" and my confusion about the proper way to do it.  As it turns out, I should have looked at that blog post again because I did today's hair wrong.


Yes, it looks okay, and it should be fine.  I did give it a tug after trimming the threads to be sure it won't come undone.  The challenge with this stitch is making sure the loops of floss are dense enough to give her enough hair.  She would be mortified if she had bald patches, as any woman would.  Then, she'd have to resort to getting some sort of body perm, and well, I just don't think it would be a good idea for her to sit under the hair dryer, do you?  Anyway, she has her doo now, and so she should be happy.  Also, I started hand sewing the binding on the Divine Promises quilt.  I have it nearly half way around now, so I should have that finished in no time.

By that time, the sun had come out, and so I decided to spend some time outside.  Actually, I spent most of the time in the greenhouse, but I had the door and window open, so it was a lot like being outside.  It certainly was warm in the greenhouse!  I guess that's kind of the point.  Anyway, I repotted the largest of the tomatoes and gave them tomato cages.


The smaller tomatoes are still not large enough to require repotting, but they will be in less than two weeks, I imagine.


Those black cords you see hanging down are for the drip irrigation system Mike rigged up last year.  He'll need to get it going before we take off for the weekend.  I feign ignorance on all things sprinkler.  Besides (and my feminist friends will hate me for this), I think men are biologically superior to women when it comes to sprinkling.  And if you don't believe me, just go on a hike with a man some time.  I guarantee you'll come back with "sprinkler envy".  And if you don't, I'm saying you just didn't drink enough water.

Let's see...what else did I do?  Oh yes, even the smaller tomatoes got nice new stakes.  Also, I repotted the dill and the basil.  I sort of propped up the dill with a bamboo skewer.  As much as I have exhorted it to stand up and fight, it still leans over as if its been beaten.  Sheesh.  I've never seen such wimpy dill.  I might have to give it a proper stake if it doesn't straighten up on its own.


Also, despite my neglect of the rosemary, it continues to thrive.  Today I rewarded its heroism with a brand new pot.  It was so terribly root bound in its old pot that I feared what might happen if I took it out.  And taking it out was quite a challenge too.  It clung on for dear life (perhaps literally for dear life).  For now, it's seated on the ground with the tomatoes, but I will move it outside the greenhouse for the summer eventually.  


Here's the thing:  I have tried and tried and tried to grow rosemary.  It always dies when I plant it in the herb garden.  I finally gave up and put a little plant in the greenhouse that I could use culinarily.  Over the winter, I almost completely abandoned it.  It got no water for months.  None.  Nevertheless, it bloomed away this spring and acted as if it had completely forgiven me for treating it so badly.  Then, I allowed it to get root bound way past the point of good taste.  Still, it continued to thrive.  I have half expected some sort of Rosemary Rescue Association (RRA to you) to come and remove it from our home for plant endangerment, but so far nothing.  I figure now that I've given it a little TLC, it will promptly die.  Anyone want to place a wager?

Here's my one lonely red leaf lettuce plant.  As I said in a previous post, I replanted some of the seeds a few days ago.  Perhaps now we can have some red leaf lettuce???  Third time's a charm, right?  Either that, or three strikes and you're out.


But look at my beautiful green leaf butter lettuce!  It's doing beautifully.  This week, it is on the menu.


Can you stand a few more pictures of iris?  Honestly, they are so beautiful right now that they practically take my breath away.



This yellow one is still tantalizingly close to opening.  I can't be sure it isn't the same as the apricot ones that are already open, but I don't recall those being this sunny yellow as buds.  I can't wait to see what I get when it opens.


Remember when I weeded and cleaned up the herb garden about a month ago?  Here's what it looked like then.


It's all growing and filling in now, and it's looking so pretty.  This image is taken standing at the other end, obviously, but I'm always surprised how pretty it looks once things get going for the season.  For just a little bit of effort, it's a great garden, and there are few things any more gratifying that having fresh herbs for cooking that I have grown myself.


But here is the most thrilling moment of the day.  I noticed that the plum tree is absolutely loaded with plums!


I talked last year in this blog post about our plum tree desires and my theories about fruit production.  I hoped that we would get enough for me to make plum chutney, but it wasn't meant to be.  By nature (I think), a fruit tree will shed a good portion of its fruit, and last year, I ended up buying plums at the Farmer's Market (because I was determined to make the plum chutney).  This year, seeing maybe four times as many plums as last year, I'm hopeful that this just might be the year I can make the chutney from my own plums.  Wouldn't that be thrilling?  Yeah, I am easily amused.  Besides, my life is boring, and so plums on the plum tree?  Whoa!  I need to sit down before I have a heart attack or something.

So with that, I took one more stroll around the yard before coming inside.  The rhododendrons have mostly done their thing, but these two are the last to bloom.  They are so pretty right now.


The one in the background to the left is the dark purple one, which is definitely my favorite rhodie in the garden.  The sun is a little bright, and so this image doesn't do its color justice.  It's dark purple like my darkest purple iris.  So pretty.


Also, this magnificent bright red azalea is in full flower right now.  Most everything in our garden is pink, lavender, and purple, and so this bright red azalea is always a show stopper when it blooms.


And now it's time for me to do some machine sewing.  I'm going to try to get the May block for the Hello Moon QAL done today.  I think I'll work on a few other blocks before starting my May NewFO.  Tomorrow, I'm going down to Salem with my quilting buddy Pat to pick up a few fabrics I need for that project.  

I'm having a lovely day here at the Three Cats Ranch.  I hope your day is lovely too.

14 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lynda Halliger Otvos (Lynda M O) said...

Thx for the tour. Rosemary goes cah-ray-zee just in the ground around here to the point of it being a pest in some yards. Your irises rock my world every year, beauty in its rawest form.

Sherry said...

You certainly have a green thumb, such beautiful flowers! The Quilting Snow Lady looks really spiffy with her hair, trouble would have ensued under that hair dryer!

KittyAnnArt said...

Iris's are my favorite flower. My dad had a rose and iris garden when I was growing up, I used to pretend I was in the 'secret garden' as in the book by the same name! I wish I could grow something but I live a couple of miles from the ocean and we have nothing but sand, and then there's the humidity in the summer that causes rot. I've given up on having a beautiful garden. We can grow azaleas successfully but that's about it!

Teresa in Music City said...

Oh yes! Always ready for more pictures of the iris and other gorgeous flowers in your yard! And that herb garden - I'm so jealous!!! Glad your day brightened up from the gloom after you gave your little snowlady her feisty hairdo :*)

Mrs.Pickles said...

wow great pictures!!

Lyndsey said...

The hair looks good on your snow lady, no hair dryer needed thank goodness (far too messy). A virtual walk round your garden is always a pleasure and your iris are stunning.

Diane Wild said...

What a lovely day in the sewing room and outside in the greenhouse. Your flowers are gorgeous. We are still waiting for the big bloom. So far, the lilacs have just started. Everything is so late this year. Thanks for the garden tour.

Dar said...

Your flowers and herb garden are lovely. You must have a green thumb on BOTH hands. I love seeing your iris too as it was my mom's favorite flower. Now I have greenhouse envy. Maybe I should invest in one of those and it will keep the bunnies and birds at bay -- but I wouldn't have Mother Nature to do my "sprinkling" if I did. Oh well, I'll just enjoy all your efforts and dream on.

Rose said...

Your snow lady is so cute! I used to live in Portland and really miss the green and the beautiful flowers, it almost made the gray and rainy days worth it!

Nita said...

funny how just seeing the pictures of your green house makes an instant connection to my nose. I can actually smell those tomato vines! That crisp smell they give off when you pinch off a sucker...

Marei said...

I had rosemary plants that were over 8 feet in diameter when I lived in the hot country...and I mean over 100 degrees for weeks (and weeks) on end. Keep 'em dry and threaten to kill them every so often and I guarantee they'll live.

kc said...

Your irises and rhodies are truly spectacular & beautiful, thanks for sharing!! Your tomatoes are coming along nicely - we just started harvesting ours, and tonight we had home-grown tomatoes & cukes, picked fresh this morning...yum yum!

We are too hot & dry for irises here, but they are among my very favorite! Our rosemary was finally wiped out by our last cold snap...oh well...our parsley, basil, chives & thyme are more than making up for it. Our parsley is even playing host to 3 VERY large monarch butterfly caterpillars. I can't wait for them to hatch out. They don't eat much at all, so we are enjoying watching them grow at lightning speed.

I'm glad you've decided to add a kitty to each square - wouldn't be right without one, imho.

Brown Family said...

My daughter grows herbs in her yard and always has beautiful Rosemary! I am amazed because I cannot grow anything!

Nan

quiltzyx said...

Everything is looking good! Maybe Rosemary likes to be root-bound? I guess we'll find out.
I'm glad the snow lady's Lucille-Ball-color hair isn't going to fall out. Then, again, she could always wear different hats, right?