Garden Snapshot

Busy, busy, busy.

Did I mention I was busy?

I’m having fun in the garden in between appointments, exercise and carpool duties. Here are a couple of snapshots as I go about my day.

garden snapshot potatoes, watering can, geranium

Patio corner springs with life

There are two steps leading from our back door to the garden patio. They form an L shape, resting against the house and leading to the garden. The steps currently house a potted geranium, my new watering can and a ceramic bowl of water for the cats. I’m energized by all that color. The small fountain that the cats like to drink from is off-limits so that the birds can have a swim unmolested. The fountain is now surrounded by a small wire fence.

Staked inside the geranium are a pair of gardening tools, a gift from Talia and Belinda. They spotted them at a cat show and thought of me. Sweet, eh?

That small bowl of red potatoes grew in the center of my sheet mulch compost project. I’m looking forward to steaming them later this week. Red potatoes are one of my favorites.

bowl of red potatoes

Red Potato Compost Harvest

Here is a closeup of my garden fork and spade. Aren’t they cute?

garden tools meow

Charming gifts

And I’m off…

I hope you’re living life in the slow lane. I’ll catch up soon.

Garden Catharsis


Slinky Malinki

Today was one of those days.  We all have them.

The vet called to say that my sweet Slinky Malinki needed an additional blood test. Earlier tests revealed an infection, an elevated thyroid and unexplained weight loss.  She refused her pill hidden in delectable treats, and I wasn’t able to pill her without the help of my husband who’s on a business trip…in the Bahamas.

My youngest son called from school not feeling well and asked to come home early.  He seems to be doing okay, but he’s only called home from school twice in three years so I worry.  It’s a mom thing.

The check-engine light stubbornly refuses to budge on my aging van, much like the extra weight around my aging midriff.  This is not a good week for the car to break down.

So, when the going gets tough, the tough get gardening.  After dinner with the boys and a quick clean up, I headed out doors.  I pruned away dead branches from the lavender shrubs, cleaned out several pots, and watered my neglected annuals.  The coleus had to go, a task I’ve been putting off.  White flies or mites were everywhere, so any hope of saving cuttings was finally put to rest.  San Jose has a yard waste pick up each week with our trash.  I didn’t want to compost the ‘buggy’ plant so on to the heap it went.  I filled  up my watering cans, trimmed the potted roses and swept the by-now-dark front deck.

I brought the fairy garden into the garage for some TLC and finally called it a day.  Hard work, especially outdoors, is invigorating and cathartic.  Problems remain, but a clear head and a tired body put it all in perspective.

What do you do when the going gets tough?

Crafty Watering Can Brings Flowers to Life

Several months ago I attended a weekend scrap-booking retreat and fell in love with the Silhouette Cameo™. In fact, one of the designs, featured today over at Boomdeeadda, uses the Silhouette. Check out the clever lantern designed by Despina Boettcher.

Over the years I’ve admired all the various die cut systems, but never jumped in. Where would I store them all? Then along came the Silhouette. Simply attach the Cameo to your computer via a USB port and download (or create) designs. The watering can design below was only 99 cents. Most of the designs are under two dollars. If you’re a designer, you can make your own creations and even sell them to other users. So darn cool!

This weekend, while hiding indoors from the current heat wave, I had fun making this paper watering can.  The design, by the clever husband-and-wife team at SnapDragon Snippets was a great way to combine my love of crafting and gardening.  Since it was my first attempt, I used paper leftover from another project to see how it turned out.  I love it!

paper watering can

Paper Watering Can designed by SnapDragon Snippets

Since none of my real watering cans look this good, I decided to age my paper one for an authentic flare. I used a water-based dye ink called ‘garden green’ and brushed on a coat of gold and copper leaf flakes, originally used on a Craft It Forward project earlier this year.

Distressed paper watering can

Distressed watering can

Then I waved my magic wand to make it waterproof (or for the less gullible I added a small jar inside).

Garden flower bouquet

Garden flower bouquet

In an effort to beat the heat, I raced around the garden early this morning snipping hydrangeas, anemones and for height, a few snips of flowering basil. (Since the flowers take away from the flavor, I could snip to my heart’s content).

pink hydrangeas and anemones

Anemones, hydrangeas and basil

It’s easy to forget how relaxing it is to pursue a creative hobby. Cutting and arranging flowers is soothing too. Note to self (and anyone else reading this): remember to make time for your favorite creative endeavors.

Searching for inspiration? Here are a few:

Growing Peas and Carrots

Not only did I grow up eating peas and carrots, but I liked them, too. It will be nice growing our own crop this year, assuming the crafty squirrels let them grow.

grey squirrel


Last week I mentioned hedging my bets by starting a few seeds indoors.  Once I consulted the seed packet I decided to direct-sow.  I soaked half the seeds in water for 48 hours, then planted them directly outdoors. I saved the rest of the seed packet to replenish the inevitable casualties.

Looking left and right for squirrels, I surreptitiously pushed several seeds into the soil around the arbor. I planted the rest amongst the still-flowering annuals. With luck, they’ll all come up and produce lovely green vines along both sides of the sidewalk.


I have a lot of faith in the success of the carrots, since we planted starts instead of seeds.  I say ‘we’ because this year I had help from several of Jazzy’s day care children next door. The older kids planted two each;  I filled in later with the rest. Planting was fun, but the real hit: watering cans.  I never met a youngster that didn’t like water.



I think they’ll get a kick out of watching the carrots grow. I’ve added a carrot countdown in the sidebar to the right so we have a general idea of harvest day. Hopefully each young gardener grows at least one or two carrots to take home.

Stay tuned!

planting carrots

Little hands planting carrots

planting carrots from cell packs

Flip, tap, squeeze and release

Watering Cans: A Sprinkle a Day, Keeps the Dead Plants at Bay

One can never have too many watering cans. Sure, you can get by with one, but like scissors or reading glasses, variety and proximity equal efficiency.

Drip irrigation is the most water-efficient way to quench a garden, but it’s not always practical.  Suspended fairy gardens and potted plants need watering the old-fashioned way. Watering cans are useful for filling a bird bath or for topping off a garden fountain. Occasionally they double as a water carafe for thirsty cats or squirrels.

I’ve always loved watering cans. I’m not sure why they hold such appeal. I used to visit the upscale Smith & Hawken stores to ogle their copper and brass cans. My practical streak, however, landed me back at the hardware store where the hard-working watering cans could be found on the cheap.

My favorite watering can was a gift from Nichole.  It was so pretty that I kept it indoors in my office like a piece of art. She convinced me that watering cans belong in the garden so I put it to work. It’s faded from the sun, but otherwise in good working order.

Purple Watering Can

I have a small copper watering can once used for my indoor plants. As that collection grew, it was far too small to remain practical. I love the shape and patina, though, so I keep it around.

Copper Watering Can

Small Copper Watering Can

The remaining two cans are high-density plastic. They are easy to keep clean, light in weight and durable. I keep one near the fountain and the other up front near the hose.

Light Green Watering Can

Haws Watering Can

The attachments are long gone, but this watering can lives on

If someone gave me a few hundred dollars with the caveat that I could only spend it on watering cans, these would be on my short list:

Achla watering can

Achla Dainty Copper Watering Can

green leaf watering can

Esschert Design

mouse watering can

Mouse Watering Can

kitty watering can

Kitty Watering Can

What would you choose?