Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Garden Update

Northern California is finally easing out of the warm summer weather. Rain will be falling for the next several days, but the garden continues to grow. Heck, even roses are blooming!

The sweet basil is still going strong:

Roses are going through a second bloom period.

'Paris Market Mix' mesclun from Renee's Garden. The plants are really growing quickly in their cage!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tomatoes on October 30th

Amazingly, I still have ripening tomatoes on my single plant, despite the fact that tomorrow is Halloween. Rain is coming in, and it looks like it's going to be rainy through Monday. Hopefully the tomatoes will still ripen.

Cymbidium Orchid

Cymbidium Orchid, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

I saw this cymbidium orchid at a retreat back in May. The retreat grounds were filled with all sorts of colorful flowers, especially California-native wildflowers.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Gold Lace Primrose

Gold Lace, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Sorry for not blogging in the past week...been busy!

This is the 'Victoriana Gold Laced' primrose from Annie's Annuals. The heirloom flower is very pretty and unique.

Annie's Annuals is a wonderful nursery in Richmond, California (which is sadly a dangerous town). When you enter the nursery though, you feel safe as you gaze upon variety after variety of very rare or heirloom plant. Everything I've ever purchased at Annie's has grown extremely well. If you can't make it out to California to visit them in person, you can order online.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Mountains Loom...

The Mountains Loom..., originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

In this view, we see the incredible High Sierra jutting up from the desert. I took this photo on a drive back in July near Bishop, California.

On this particular drive, we left the hotel where it was 97 degrees. Upon reaching the trailhead at over 9000 feet, it was 70 degrees! Up at the lakes, clouds rolled in, wind blew, and we were forced to put on jackets. California is the place to be if you like climatic variation!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Tower

The tower of morning glories in my garden, taller than anything, even the bananas. The ladder is shown for scale.

From below:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

California Grape

A cluster of wild California grapes found on a vine growing in Las Trampas.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More October Garden Update Pictures

Some more photos of the garden on this warm October day:

'Heavenly Blue' morning glories are still blooming!

The morning glory vines are over 17 feet tall, and still growing. I can't provide them with any more support because I don't have a tall enough ladder.

'Thai Hot Dragon' chile peppers. They really are fiery hot.

'Oregon Spring' tomato plant still growing and putting out tomatoes.

October Garden Update

I have not been taking many pictures of my garden lately. Here's what it's looking like right now. Most plants are doing well.

Giant lemongrass:

Rose blooming by the morning glories.

Mesclun and lettuce in a cage. The cage keeps the squirrels, raccoons, and birds out 100%, plus the snails and slugs can't find the plants because they're 3 feet off the ground. The plants are finally taking off because of the cooler temperatures, rain, and lack of animal attacks.

The Tree-Root Waterfall

The Tree-Root Cascade, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Here's a pretty unique waterfall.

This cascade is formed by the roots of a bigleaf maple growing through the creek bed. The water flows over the roots in a curtain and plunges into a somewhat deep pool.

This waterfall, like many others in the area, only flows during the rainy season. It's completely bone dry right now.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Intense Lady Slipper

Intense Lady Slipper, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

These lady slippers are so interesting. The flowers are shaped exactly as the name would suggest. This particular flower was much richer in color than others nearby. Seen in the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum.

Anybody been there?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Berry Creek Falls

Berry Creek Falls, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

This is Berry Creek Falls, a 70-foot waterfall in Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The falls are surrounded by huge, majestic redwoods. An amazing place.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rose Crème Brûlée

Rose Crème Brûlée, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

After seeing a recipe for rose-flavored crème brûlée on Dessert First's blog, I decided to try the recipe with my French friend.

It ended up turning out wonderful. The vanilla cream was marked by the floral, spicy flavor of roses. Delicious.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Lemon Verbena Ice Cream

Fight the Heat..., originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

This ice cream, made with lemon verbena leaves, was delicious. I urge any and all gardeners to invest in a lemon verbena plant - it's possibly the best smelling herb I've ever encountered.

The leaves can be used in tea, jams, and many other ice cream.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Pine Canyon Poppies

Pine Canyon Poppies, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Back in March, I found this incredible field of California poppies. The field, located in Pine Canyon in Mt. Diablo State Park, was the most abundant display of poppies I've ever seen. Mt. Diablo is known for it's great wildflower displays - this is one of them.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Black-Eyed Susan

Black-Eyed Susan, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Minnesota has some great prairie wildflowers. This black-eyed susan was out in a field of daisies near St. Paul. Minnesota is a nice place to visit - when it's warm!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Windowsill Geraniums

Windowsill Geraniums, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

I saw so many of these while traveling, yet I hardly see any geraniums on windowsills here in America?

What gives?

They are beautiful, seem to be easy to care for, and grow well in containers...I don't understand why everybody doesn't have geraniums on the windowsill.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Chlorophyll, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

A close-up of my Abyssinian banana plant. These really are cool plants, and they grow quickly.

Anyone out there growing banana plants?

Monday, October 06, 2008

Looking Down on Rainbow Falls

A wonderful, 101-foot waterfall in Devil's Postpile National Monument. The hike was interesting and the waterfall rewarding!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Fall Blues

Fall Blues, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Not all fall colors are orange, yellow, and red.


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Rainy Day Hike

After the rain started falling last night, I knew I would have to go hiking today if I wanted to see the moss wet and green. The rain does so much for the forest: it cleans off the plants, pats down the dust on the trail, and brings out the color in all the mosses and leaves.

This tree was covered in a particularly vibrant moss.

Autumn Morning Glory

October, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

The 'Grandpa Ott' vines are still putting out a few flowers, but I've let them go to seed, so they don't have too much time left. On the other hand, the 'Heavenly Blues' are still growing and blooming strong.

Friday, October 03, 2008

It's Raining!

Northern California is officially in the midst of its first rainstorm of the season.

I just went outside and was amazed to see the rain coming down in sheets (not hard sheets, mind you, just light). Everything is wet, the water is tricking down the gutters, and when you walk on the brown grass it doesn't crunch underfoot.

Any other Northern California bloggers out there who are enjoying this rain?

Las Trampas Leaves

Las Trampas Leaves, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Although it's not as pronounced as on the East Coast, there is some fall color in California. This tree in Las Trampas was particularly bright.

Anybody else have fall colors nearby?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Lettuce in a Cage

Sometimes we need to go to extreme measures to protect our crops from squirrels. My crop happened to be lettuce. And the protection happens to be a rabbit cage.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

On the Trail

On the Trail, originally uploaded by ParsecTraveller.

Temple Crag looms in the distance, towering above Second Lake.

Big Pine is one of the best hiking areas I've yet seen. There are many trails, lots of lakes, and spectacular mountains.