Favorite Thing Friday: Bright Orange!

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After weeks of waiting, my baby nasturtiums finally started blooming. One morning I woke up and found a bright orange flower showing the rest how it’s done!

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A little nasturtium blooms!

My other three nasturtium plants continue to grow, but they have yet to produce a bud. I’m hoping all they need is a little more time. However, the intense heat of summer is making it tough for my plants to survive, much less grow. On average temperatures are around 108 degrees, which is a little overwhelming for delicate flowers. Still, if one can bloom then so can the others!

Despite some luck on the plant rack, the vegetable garden is struggling. Between super hot weather and “empty” soil, everything is fighting to survive. Whatever isn’t  struggling to live is getting attacked by blackbirds. My poor tomatoes keep getting gutted before I can pick them. This weekend, we’ll be investing in some wire caging.

On the up side, my bell pepper plant from last year is blooming and is likely strong enough to produce more peppers. I seriously cannot wait for that happen!

Another positive is a recent growth spurt on the snap beans. I’m being cautiously optimistic as they usually don’t hold up to extreme heat very well.  I’m hoping a little extra water will pull them through!

The garden may be growing slowly, but every little bloom is reason celebrate!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Jasmine Vines & Seedlings

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One evening this week, I opened up my back door to let my dogs outside and I was hit with an incredibly wonderful aroma. Soft, sweet, and intoxicating, little white flowers bloomed by the hundreds on my jasmine vines. The amazing thing is there were no flowers on either of my vines earlier that afternoon. It’s like they all decided to pop open at once and surprise me!

The aroma was so enchanting, I decided to open all my windows in the back of the house. Jasmine wafted through the house all evening and its continued to linger in the air all week long. Aside from the springy smell, the vines themselves have double in size this year and now wrap around patio roof posts. After watching them struggle this winter, its so nice to see them thriving.

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Jasmine vine gone wild!

The sunflower is another interesting story. Our Monster Sunflower sprouted two more stems with buds and this one bloomed this week. The other one broke off due to an odd angle and the weight of the bud.  The main bloom was quite small (as expected), but weirdly enough it grew larger after all the petals fell off. That’s a story I’ll have to share once it stops growing!

Over on the plant rack, my seedlings are getting so big! While my vegetable starters are almost ready to go into the garden (probably this weekend), my flower tray holds the biggest surprise. I’ve never been very successful in growing any sort of flower except a wildflower mix in the yard, so it was really exciting to see several sprouts. In particular, four out five nasturtium seeds came up! This week, they graduated to a larger pot, along with another unidentified flower.

The garden rabbit took a break from sniffing the jasmine to help me celebrate graduation day . . .

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I hope these guys keep growing!

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What’s your favorite thing this week?

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c.b.w. 2014

Favorite Thing Friday: Garden Sprouts

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Three weeks ago, spring settled into the Arizona desert with 75 degrees warming the air and a big blue sky. Weather like that leaves no other choice but to till and plant this year’s batch of vegetable seeds.

Sometimes gardening is all about experimentation. Last year, I planted every seed in a seed starter grid in order to give each plant a good start. The harvest was good, but not as plentiful as the year before. So, this year, we decided to start the seeds directly in the garden box.

While I’m all for trying new things, I was a little nervous to plant seeds in soil that is a bit “tired.” Our dirt has gone through quite a workout with three consecutive years of gardening. We’ve been relatively good about returning nutrients via compost and rotating crops, but Arizona dirt can be challenging due to it’s high clay content.

For two weeks, I went outside hoping to see little bits of green, but only found brown. I was starting to think our experiment was a supreme failure, until I went out a few days ago and found tiny little babies poking through the ground.

Peas …

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The garden rabbit is already hoping for a snack!

I’m not sure if this is a sunflower or a cucumber, but the garden rabbit thinks it needs a little help…

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Help! I’m stuck!

Cowpeas …

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This little guy sprouted just the other day!

The tomato plants are starting to sprout new leaves …

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Back from the dead!

A new raspberry plant is taking off …

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When do we get berries??

The blueberry bushes we planted last year sprouted all new leaves and flowers. At he end of last summer they shed all their leaves and looked like dead sticks. Good thing we never got around to dumping what we thought was was a dead plant. This spring they came back to life and are just beautiful!

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Beautiful blueberry buds.

The garden rabbit will be sniffing around all spring, so stay tuned for his adventures in the garden.

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What’s your favorite thing?

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c.b.w. 2014

Buds, Blooms, and Veggies!

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Green buttons wrapped tight
Rays of sunshine tucked inside
just waiting to burst

The sunflowers are getting ready to brighten the yard.

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Bright stars on the ground
Petals open, just one day
Quickly! Make a wish

Make a wish on this big star!

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After seven weeks of waiting, we picked our first harvest of zucchini.  Two plants produced these beauties and more are on the way!  I sliced one up and put it my dinner salad.  There is nothing quite as tasty as homegrown zucchini – so sweet and juicy!

Zucchini waiting to be picked!

The first harvest! Next stop: The kitchen.

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c.b. 2012

My Little Garden

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For the first time in a few years, I decided to get in the spirit of Spring and start a garden.  The backyard has been neglected for far too long and I have a hankering to dig in the dirt!  Two weeks ago, I started some seeds in preparation for a vegetable garden that will eventually fill a space off the back patio and a flower garden by the front door.  So far, its been a soothing and joyful experience to watch my garden take its first breaths.  It reminds of a Chinese proverb that hasn’t lost its truth despite several thousand years:

He who plants a garden plants happiness.

With it being so warm lately, it didn’t take long for my seedlings to poke through the surface and show off their little green leaves.  I call them my “babies” and I’m so excited to watch them grow each day.  And they are growing fast!  Maybe its because I talk to them and put them under the wind chimes, (they say plants grow best with “music” and conversation!).  Of course, it’s  far more likely the beautiful weather in Arizona this time of year is the real reason.  The sun is out all day and it’s a perfect 80 degrees.

I’ll be posting pictures as my little garden grows!

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My sunflower babies reach for the sun while a little “rabbit” watches.  He better not nibble on these little guys!

Sunflower Seedlings

Little beans, cucumbers, chives, and zucchini, greet my little “squirrel.”  There will be trouble if he eats anything but that acorn!

Vegetable Seedlings

To give my seedlings a little encouragement, I potted some flower plants and arranged them around the trays.  There’s nothing like a little color liven the place up! Hibiscus and pansies are the perfect babysitters.

Red Hibiscus

Pansies are such a happy flower!

These little miracles are such wonderful reminders joy and optimism.  When a new plant pushes its way towards the sun, I can help but smile and be thankful for the wonder that is life.

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c.b. 2012