Staking Tomatoes

Not “steak and tomatoes” but tomato stakes, those wonderful supports you place around your cute little tomato plants.  It takes planning and a healthy dose of optimism to set them up early.  While you’re waiting around for the perfect day to do that chore, your tiny plants morph into shrubs.

I have a few choice words for the lazy gardener who puts off this task.


Okay, now that I’m done telling myself off, I’m happy to report that I did manage to wrangle a couple of folding plant stakes around the prolific tomatoes.  I’m glad that’s done!

Staked Tomatoes

While I was at it, I tied a couple of old wooden trellises together into an A-frame for the pumpkin vines.  Hopefully, [insert optimism here] the elevated fruit deters the midnight foragers.  Time will tell.

Pumpkin Trellis

Happy Friday!

A (Laundry) Room with a View

Lindy-Lu Enjoys the View

For most of my adult life I lived in rented apartments. Dingy laundry rooms and laundromats were the norm. I once spent an hour with a police officer outside a Santa Rosa laundromat trying to reason with the woman who stole an entire dryer-full of my clothes. I managed to get everything back.

In 1996, my husband and I bought a house together with a washer and dryer hook-up in the garage. I figured life couldn’t get better than that.  Sure, we had rats and cockroaches out there, and it got pretty hot mid-July, but I didn’t have to leave home to make clothes clean. Life was good.

When we remodeled our house seven years ago, the architect suggested an indoor laundry room as part of the expansion and my heart did a little dance. It would be a laundry room with a view! Our small-lot house is a mere five feet from the neighbor’s fence, but oh the possibilities. The windowed door looks out on three glorious vines, Hardenbergia and two Star Jasmine. Cyclamen grow along the side of the house and Baby Tears have infiltrated the walkway, their tiny leaves tucked in close to the stone.  The greenery keeps me company as I wash, dry and fold for my family of four, an earthy reminder of the bounty of life’s gifts.

Garden Wanderings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

It’s fun traversing the garden with my camera in hand.  The lens helps me see things in a different light, though I’m not always able to capture it.  Beautiful, golden grasses grow at the edge of our garden, but I’ve never been able to record and share their beauty as they move in the wind, offset by the vivid blue sky.  The grasses remind me of a film from my childhood of “amber waves of grain.”

In reality, not everything in the garden is as beautiful as amber waves of grain.  This month I’ve decided to capture the good (flowering vines), the bad (frost damage) and the ugly (pine sap) of my recent garden wanderings.  Here goes:

Hardenbergia violacea 'Happy Wanderer' (Purple Vine Lilac)

Wrapping Around the Trellis

Daphne Odora

Frost-damaged Ferns

Pine Sap Clings to the Cat Netting

Bagby Garden

It’s been a joy to share in the Bagby School Garden experience these past few years. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Donna Boss since 2007. Donna and one other parent pioneered the school garden. They rallied volunteers and donors along with the school custodial staff, and with a day of sweat-equity, gave birth to the Bagby Garden and Outdoor Classroom.

Donna Outside the Garden Shed

A handful of parents turn out once a month and we collectively share and instruct eager students in the joys of planting, watering, harvesting and tasting the fruits of their labor. Students are inquisitive and willing to try new things. Green soup anyone? Kids covet the rakes and watering cans along with the over-sized wheelbarrow. At the school’s Open House my own children were proud to show off what they planted. Budding gardeners take pride in what they grow.

Bagby Garden

In addition to planting and harvesting, we have a chance to look at bugs, read stories and make garden-related crafts. One of the more popular Garden Fridays included a pumpkin raffle. Our first pumpkin harvest yielded several beautiful specimens. Other years, we supplement from a local patch. One afternoon, my garden duty was babysitting a pair of mantids (praying mantis) from curious but occasionally over-eager hands.

Pumpkin Raffle

Each summer we sign up to take care of the garden for a week. It’s my secret pleasure having the garden all to myself for that week. During the teaching Fridays my role is to instruct, not to plant, water or weed. It’s not always easy when you have green blood running through your veins to step back and let others do all the work (and have all the fun)!

Happy Gardener

My son graduates this year and a whole new crop of students will take his place. We’re both ready for new experiences and growth, but I’ll look back wistfully on my time in this lovely garden. It went by too fast.