A Spring Day – Easter!

SNOW IN BOISE
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SNOW IN BOISE

 

When Spring looks like the photo above, any little sign of growth is so very welcome. This is Inga’s front yard (my daughter in Idaho), taken when she was suffering from a bad case of Spring Fever this year!

BOISE SNOW
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BOISE SNOW

 

I remember an Easter Sunday in Kodiak, Alaska when I bundled all my family in heavy parkas, wondering if we’d see any sunrise at all – and we didn’t! On another Easter Sunday in Rhode Island, a heavy snowfall had covered everything by the time we finished church services.

Gradually, bits of color started to peek through the snow in Inga’s yard.

FIRST SHOW OF COLOR
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FIRST SHOW OF COLOR

 

Snow starts to give way.

SNOW GIVING WAY TO COLOR
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SNOW GIVING WAY TO COLOR

 

More color starts to show.

MORE COLOR
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MORE COLOR

 

Suddenly, the snow is gone and the blooms display their glorious colors.

FULL COLOR
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FULL COLOR

 

And that’s how Spring arrives in Boise, Idaho!

Spring comes in a different way here in Hawai`i. I’ve been getting sun, interspersed with a few rains, enough to help some of my plants send out blossoms.

Here is my own spot of bright yellow – sweet calendula.

CALENDULA
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CALENDULA

 

The agapanthus that I transplanted out of a pot is blooming again, and sending up more stalks that will open soon.

AGAPANTHUS
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AGAPANTHUS

 

The hibiscus that I cut way back has shown lovely growth and put out the first bloom just this week.

RED HIBISCUS
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RED HIBISCUS

 

Even the wild snapdragons that pop up all over are looking beautiful this year.

WILD SNAPDRAGON
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WILD SNAPDRAGON

 

The Japanese Walking Iris (Neomarica candida) is sending out all sorts of flowers.

WALKING IRIS
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WALKING IRIS

 

Here are a couple of close-ups of my blooms. Amazingly beautiful!

SINGLE IRIS BLOOM
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SINGLE IRIS BLOOM

 

ANOTHER VIEW OF WALKING IRIS
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ANOTHER VIEW OF WALKING IRIS

 

A newly planted ivy geranium cutting is already blooming.

IVY GERANIUM
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IVY GERANIUM

 

My vegetables and varieties of basil are sprouting. Here are my string beans. They have doubled in size and have started climbing just since I took this picture last week.

NEWEST CROP OF STRING BEANS
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NEWEST CROP OF STRING BEANS

 

Watching plants gradually come to life in the spring is probably why I still can get excited over the first blooms. They are a living lesson on an abundant life after death.

A hui hou!

Spring Has Arrived!

ELHARD'S DONKEYTAIL
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ELHARD’S DONKEYTAIL

 

Do you think my cuttings of donkey tail will ever look like the ones Bob Elhard grows above?

MY DONKEYTAIL CUTTINGS
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MY DONKEYTAIL CUTTINGS

 

Even though we don’t have as well-defined a change in season as most locations on the mainland and other parts of the world, there is a certain feel to this time of year. For me, it is a time when I simply have to pull up what has stopped producing and prepare the beds for new plantings. That time came for me this past week. Between the rain and the wind, I was able to do a little of that.

I was down to a few bug-eaten leaves on the mustards and collards, so those were pulled up and fed to the chickens. The same thing was true of my string beans, although I have new beans planted and they are already sticking up their heads.

STRING BEAN SEEDLINGS
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STRING BEAN SEEDLINGS

 

I was able to get my potted Bearss Lime into a larger pot. I need to trim this back a little bit, although you aren’t supposed to do a lot of pruning on citrus plants. I still haven’t decided if I’ll keep it in a large pot or if I’ll try to put it into the ground eventually.

BEARSS LIME
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BEARSS LIME

 

The four small beds I have by the driveway were cleared out. I thought I’d empty out the sweet potato bed because it didn’t look like anything was happening, and look what I found! So I replanted a few of the tiny ones.

FIRST SWEET POTATOES
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FIRST SWEET POTATOES

 

All that is left in the other three small beds is one pineapple that is slowly growing, the chives, and cilantro. You can see that I’ve put scrap pieces of lattice behind the back two beds. When I plant things like eggplant or bitter melon, they can grow up and over the lattice.

SMALL EMPTY BEDS
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SMALL EMPTY BEDS

 

You may remember where I wrote about my “pig dirt” in other posts. Here it is as I was hauling buckets of it into other areas of my plot. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to see how high this pile is because of the angle of the camera.

PILE OF PIG DIRT
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PILE OF PIG DIRT

 

I finally got down far enough that it wasn’t feasible to keep shoveling it up and into buckets. So I decided to put a border of lava stones around the outside. I thought I would make a large round bed for planting. Here is my meager beginning of that process. You can see the veggies still growing in the small beds.

PARTIAL ROUND BED
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PARTIAL ROUND BED

 

A friend commented that I wasn’t creating a round bed, but a square bed with rounded corners. It doesn’t matter what you call it, but with a little work, it’s starting to take shape. I still need to put more stones on the larger side to delineate the path where I’ll put black cinder.

ROUND BED TAKING SHAPE
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ROUND BED TAKING SHAPE

 

Here is a close up of the small crescent bed on the left. You can see where I’ve put small stones to divide it into patches. I’ve put in three kinds of basil and Greek oregano. Everything is starting to sprout.

CRESCENT BED
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CRESCENT BED

 

It feels like everything in my yard is without color, that it’s all just a shade of gray and an occasional touch of light green, but this is that “in between time” before things start to look lush again.

I have a few patches in all my beds that haven’t been planted yet. The seed packets are on my table, ready for sowing. This next week is Spring Break, so maybe I’ll be able to get around to a few gardening activities.

Have you started your compost pile yet?

An Simple Favorite – String Beans

GREEN BEANS
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GREEN BEANS

Can you ever forget growing up on canned green beans mixed with a can of mushroom soup and topped with canned French fried onion rings? A favorite dish for many housewives for many years – and even now – is the “Green Bean Casserole.” This began in a time before frozen vegetables came into existence, and I remember those days well!

Somehow I just can’t bring myself to make that casserole, mainly because I have had access to fresh green beans for many years. Who could adulterate such goodness by mixing it with canned mushroom soup and canned onion rings?

My love of fresh green beans began back in the mid-50s when I was a young married woman with a husband in medical school. We had a big back yard so we had it plowed up by an old guy and his mule for $5. Because this was in the Deep South, we planted okra, speckled butter beans, mustards, collards, tomatoes and Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans. When friends came to visit, we sent them home with bags of fresh vegetables, feeling like country cousins.

I’ve been growing beans ever since then, including the tender little French beans that are so sweet and tasty. My latest crop of beans is in one end of my longer raised bed, as shown here.

RAISED BED WITH BEANS
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RAISED BED WITH BEANS

This is a bowl of my first harvest this year, and I am picking more beans daily.

BOWL OF BEANS
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BOWL OF BEANS

These beans will never end up in the proverbial “Green Bean Casserole.” Now, I either steam them to go with a main dish, or make my favorite – a quick sauté in a pan with extra virgin olive oil and diced fresh garlic.

Mmmmmm….makes me hungry just thinking about it. Such a heavenly aroma! I think that’s what I will fix for lunch!

A hui ho!