from the ground up


Citrus gems.

A tiny flower, growing in mass.  Returning yearly, edging my herbs. Greens fade, browns darken. These small, amber gems glow, shine. Like the last moments of sunset on a lake. Holding the warmth a little longer, reflecting it back.

Common name: Gem Marigolds, Lemon Gem, Tangerine Gem

Latin name: Tagetes tenuifolia

Culture: Full sun.  Drought tolerant. Height:12 to 18 inches.  Width: Round and mounding, up to 12 inches.

Notes: Considered an annual, but reseeds freely.  An edible jewel!

Lemon yellow and tangerine orange, each with the sweet scent of their name. Together, a tangy blend. A robust bouquet, freed by the gentlest touch. Bright lemon and orange, a touch of fresh cilantro, spice of marigold, and just a zing of pine and sage. Orange is the olfactory hue.


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Color maize.

Harvest time in our garden!  It is so wonderful to see the abundance coming from all our hard work over these last few months. Overflowing bowls of tomatoes, cucumbers, beans, and dare I mention…. zucchini.  But, one of our most anticipated crops is finally ready to harvest and it isn’t a crop that we eat (or can, or freeze, or dry, or back, whew!).  Yesterday, in the warm, golden afternoon sunshine, we found the treasure pot at the end of this rainbow!

Now these beauties are adorning our table. Before long, we’ll gift them or move them around the house as “money” or “baby bottles” or “cooking” ingredients.  And those beautiful creamy husks…they have been saved for a rainy day project.  Stay tuned.


Cinderella’s secret.

Evening is, by far, my favorite time to wander in the garden.  The air is calm and cool and I enjoy the fading light, the setting sun, the quiet buzz of the hummingbirds, the rustling of the raspy cucumber leaves.  A highlight of my evening walks is finding garden treasures to show to my children.  I guide them to the gourds, where they discover the new, fuzzy beginnings of a birdhouse.

Or, let them “find” the bright yellow beans that lay under the foliage.

And quite possibly, the smallest tomatoes known to mankind.  I leave (most of) those on the vine as well, for surely they need to be eaten for breakfast tomorrow. Tiny fingers adore tiny tomatoes.

But, sometimes, I do stage a few treasures, just for my babies benefit.  One undiscovered secret is waiting, hidden among large spiny leaves.

The Cinderella pumpkin has a few secrets to share, and this mama can hardly wait for the little eyes and hands to discover them.


There are GIANTS in our garden!

It started very simply: A packet of seeds from our generous friend and neighbor.  We looked them over and decided we had more that enough room for a few big sunflowers. But these, Russian Mammoth, have surpassed all our daydreams and expectations.  They are towering, massive, huge, epic.  We are thrilled.


They are more than four feet beyond the height of our deer fencing and my sweet garden assistants can’t even get their hands all the way around the trunks of these blooming “trees”.

And what a treat it is to wake in the morning, to see the first rays of sun peeking into the garden and highlighting their cheerful faces.

These are at the top of the list of things to plant again next season.  But, my garden calculations were a bit off this year.  Next year, we plan to give them a little extra space!