WordPress Needs a Scratch-and-Sniff Feature

Spring: when the birds sing, the flowers bloom and the intoxicating scent of the garden can bring you to your knees. I snapped photos today, with Mouse the Cat at my heals. We’ve been inhaling the tantalizing scent of freesias scattered throughout the garden.

mouse with flowers at his feet

Mouse tries out a new pair of shoe buckles

Freesia are native to Africa, named after a German botanist and now growing in San Jose. They get around.

yellow freesia

Yellow freesia

I bought a bag of assorted colors several years ago, and they’ve come back bigger and better every year. So far I’ve seen yellow, red and white (my favorite) but I think a few purple ones will be up soon. I took a handful to a friend today with a few sprigs of asparagus fern. The wonderful scent lingered in my car even after they were gone.

red freesia

Red freesia

white freesia

White freesia near the walkway

Freesias, sweet peas and daffodils

white freesia

Freesia toppling over the walkway

white freesia curb garden

Freesia in the curb garden

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could press your nose to your screen and drink in that scent? Perhaps one of those twenty-something technical geniuses will develop a scratch-and-sniff like feature.

The hyacinths are also up dusting corners of the garden with their potent scent.

purple hyacinth

Purple Hyacinth (William of ‘William and Kate’)

hyacinth

Pink Hyacinth (Kate of ‘William and Kate’)

It’s no surprise that even manufactured scents try to borrow from nature: rose-scented perfume, lemon-scented dish detergent and lavender-infused essential oils. Nothing tops nature.

Along the fence, our jasmine vine is in full bloom, inviting me to linger under its shade. I hope it survives the abuse it will get when work boots hit the ground. It’s time to replace the fence.

Star Jasmine

Star Jasmine vine

curb garden

Curb garden with daffodil and freesia

daffodils in the curb garden

Narcissus: 1) Daffodils; 2) Mouse the Cat

The flower is the poetry of reproduction. It is an example of the eternal seductiveness of life. Jean Giraudoux

So what do you think? Could “scratch and sniff” be the wave of the future? Mmmmmmm

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Xylocopa varipuncta: Love and Romance in the Garden

What a romantic! Did you know that the Xylocopa varipuncta, also known as the male Valley Carpenter Bee emits “a rose-scented blend of volatiles”  from within “massive thoracic glands.”¹

You can’t make this stuff up, folks.

While courting the shiny black females,

female carpenter bee

Female Carpenter Bee

the amber male, with his bright green eyes and fuzzy amber body, emits a special cologne.²

Valley Carpenter Bee

Valley Carpenter Bee

The female decides if she likes his cologne and only then does nature takes its course.

When Love-in-a-mist met the Valley Carpenter Bee, it was a match made in gardening heaven.

love in a mist with Valley Carpenter Bee

Valley Carpenter Bee circling a Love-in-a-mist flower

Love in a mist flowered all over the garden this spring, both front and back and the bees love it. It makes me so happy to see them buzzing from bloom to bloom. Sometimes I just sit nearby and watch them work.

bee on love in a mist

The more typical, seen daily be the dozen

What surprises me is that most of the bees are small with stripes. There are dozens of them throughout the day working in the garden.

Conversely, the golden hunk of bee is an occasional visitor.

Meanwhile, his female counterpart is out back pollinating the pumpkin planted by the squirrel.

pumpkin vine

Runaway Pumpkin Vine…and yes, love in a mist

The pumpkin vine is racing across the garden at record speed and it’s only June. In all my years of gardening, I’ve never seen anything like it.

The bees working in my garden are docile. They don’t mind my presence as I brush up against the flowers, currently referred to by my family as “the jungle”. Love in a mist has completely taken over.

love in a mist takes over

The Jungle

slinky love in a mist

Slinky guards her catnip near the love-in-a-mist

Slinky likes to rest near one of the flowers in the back, but to be fair, it’s also close to her secret Nepeta plant, also known as catnip.

Mouse is also enamored with this flower, attracting lots of camera time with his antics.

In case it’s not obvious by now, I love this beautiful plant and the ease with which it grows. The original seeds were part of a “seeds that attract hummingbirds and bees” packet a few years back. They didn’t do much throughout the drought, but they’ve loved our season of rain.

We’re in the midst of a long heat wave now, so it could spell the end. I’m enjoying them while they last.

¹Wikipedia: Xylocopa varipuncta

²Native Bees: What’s the Buzz

Have Carrot, Will Travel or Where’s Gardenerd?

Have you seen or heard from Gardenerd?

alys with gardenerdWell technically *I am* a gardening nerd and you’re hearing from me now, but this is different. Gardenerd is the brain child and mascot of Christy Wilhelmi, in Los Angeles, California. Here’s a snippet from Gardenerd: The Ultimate Resource for Garden Nerds.

Are you obsessed with organic gardening, have a thirst for knowledge and a healthy sense of humor? Whether you’re a novice or garden nerd veteran, there’s a place for you here.

At least a year ago my PR assistant, Mel, gave me a carrot plush toy. It’s the cutest thing ever. It also spawned an idea we couldn’t pass up. What if we sent this plush toy around the world so people could photograph it in their gardens? What if gardenerds all over the planet could then post their photos to Twitter or Instagram for all of us to share?

I’m like a child in a candy shop with this sort of thing. After meeting the traveling carrot via Sarah’s video, I quickly added my name to the list of garden hosts.

Gardenerd arrived in San Jose, California last week. He traveled thousands of miles from Waiuku, New Zealand via Sarah The Gardener. Sarah enclosed a few Kiwi treasures with her package as well. What fun!

Thank you, Sarah!!!

Gardenerd arrived with the first of several storms, bringing much-needed rain to our drought-parched state. What a weekend!

My first order of business was to take a quick pic in the garden with our guest. Mouse the Cat insisted on meeting him as well. As you can see, Mouse doesn’t have a shy bone in his body.

Gardenerd and mouse

By Saturday the rain was really coming down, so some quick rain gear was in order.

gardenerd in the garden

Gardenerd checks out the California native plants #wheresgardenerd

A produce bag, a newspaper cover and some scotch tape did the trick and he was ready to spend some time in the garden.

gardenerd on the garden trug

Gardenerd in his rain gear. He’s resting on my new planting Trug.

It’s been a busy time in the garden with the first day of spring less than two weeks away. I’ve been rotating compost bins, preparing gardening beds and assembling an elevated gardening bed called a Trug. More about that later. With the recent rain, the weeds are having a second go at garden domination. Sadly, they’re in for a disappointment. I’ve been plucking weeds and renegade lawn on a daily basis, keeping the garden in good shape.

Stay tuned for updates as I show my visitor around my garden and the nearby community.

If you’re interested in hosting Gardenerd, you can grab the details here.

You can follow Gardenerd’s adventures on Instagram or Twitter by using the hashtag #wheresgardenerd (with one ‘n’)

Snoopy in a Snow Globe

Growing up in the late sixties and early seventies, we all looked forward to the once-a-year Christmas specials. Long before Netflix and DVRs, if you wanted to see a Christmas special you had to be in front of a TV at 7:30 pm sharp. We didn’t always have a TV so we would often watch at a friend’s.

My favorite Christmas specials included How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the iconic A Charlie Brown Christmas. I related to Charlie Brown’s underdog status. I went to school with unkind girls like Lucy. But the real joy came from the wonderful scenes with the ever-confident Snoopy and Woodstock. Snoopy’s scenes, animated to Guaraldi’s extraordinary music, are what made it special.

So when I decided to reprise my snow globe this year, Snoopy and Woodstock made it to center stage.

snow globe snoopy detail

Snoopy and Woodstock ornament

Several years ago, my friend Marcia gave the boys an acrylic globe. We’ve used it as a terrarium for a while till the plants outgrew it. Another year we filled it with round, silk ornaments. It’s also beautiful unadorned.

Two years ago I made my first snow globe with Snow-in-a-can, a gift from my friend Kelly.

This year I filled the bottom of the globe with a scrap of poly fiberfill. I added a piece of cardboard cut to size. For some added sparkle, I covered the cardboard with a piece of iridescent cellophane I saved from last year. It once wrapped a plate of brownies from a friend. It reminds me of ice under a sunny sky.

Snow globe collage A - E

Snow Globe: Setting the Stage

I opened a packet of Snow-in-a-can, added water and voila. I rolled a few tiny hobby shop trees in the snow to set the scene.

snow globe snow in a can

Rolling a tiny tree in some artificial snow

Santa’s sleigh came together using a pair of felted stickers.

snow globe felt hats for sleigh

Felt hats become a small sleigh

snow globe sleigh detail

Tiny hobby shop trees rolled in “snow” and a sleigh made from craft supplies

Our darling snowman is one of the tiny ornaments we bought our first year of marriage. His scarf is a gift from Kelly.

snow globe detail snowman

The wee snowman is an 20-year-old ornament. His red scarf is a gift from Kelly and Alyster the Gnome

Here is the snow globe all put together. Now sit back and enjoy the falling snow, brought to us by WordPress this time of year.*

 

snow globe Mouse and Alys

Photographed outdoors to get the good light. The snow globe now sits in our living room. Mouse sits wherever he wants to because he’s a cat.

snow globe with Mouse talking

Mouse always has something to say

*WordPress should figure out a snow alternative for our blogging friends in the Southern Hemisphere.