It’s a Bug’s Life.

My purple hull peas are a bevy of activity.  Not necessarily, the kind of activity one would hope for.  I have several species of  insects on the plants, and it can’t be good.

The pea plants are waning, due to the heat.  I should really yank them up, but I keep hoping for just a few more peas.  But I think the bugs are going to win out.  Don’t they always?

Stink bug.  Didn’t realize they FLY.

For some reason, there are like 3 different types of wasp on this one plant.  My sister will go into anaphylactic shock  just reading this.  She HATES wasps, bees, etc.  Anything that goes BUZZ!  Sorry, Lori.

Bumble bees.

unidentified bug

and this guy.  Swallowtail caterpillar.  He can come back anytime.

It really is a bug’s life.

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Holy ground cherries, Batman!

Specifically, these.

I have no clue as to what is eating the leaves.  Luckily, (so far) they don’t seem to be bothering the fruit.  It could be this guy (if you look closely there is a swallowtail caterpillar), but they don’t normally eat holes in the leaf, they eat  the entire leaf. (Here he is munching on parsley, which they love!)

I grew ground cherries from seed last spring and planted them.  They did really well, but those two little plants never produced enough fruit to make jam.  But, this year, holy moly, those little plants have reseeded and produced multiple babies.  ( I am finding them places I never would have dreamed they would be.)

I am hoping for a bumper crop (holy or not).  Here is where I posted before on ground cherries.

I can just taste that jam now…


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How does your garden grow?

The garden is in full swing.  I can’t believe it has been a month since I posted.  Here is what is growing or just finished growing (potatoes) so far.

Tomatoes – three varieties, Potatoes – two varieties, Peppers – three varieties, green beans, pinto beans, speckled butter beans, lemon cucumbers, purple hull peas, swiss chard, Jack Be Little pumpkins, basil – two varieties, lemon verbena, lemon balm, oregano, lavender, parsley, salad burnet, thyme, germander, and tarragon.

peas, basil, tomatoes, parsley in back, chives, lemon balm, salad burnet.


lemon cucumbers.


pumpkins.  Well, at least a bloom which will hopefully become a pumpkin.

peppers – anaheim, bell, pepperoncini.  The anaheim have been very prolific.


purple hull peas.

lemon verbena.

I have a dear, sweet friend whom I have never met in person.  Amazing, isn’t it?  She lives in Canada and we email, facebook and mail packages back and forth across the border.  She is an amazing person and has a truly pure spirit, if you know what I mean.  She has sent me amazing gifts – REAL Maple Syrup, cookbooks, chocolate, picture frames – you see what I’m talking about.  Well, this last pkg. was all about gardening.  See for yourself.

which I promptly hung my hat on … ( I had been looking for something for just this very thing.

and she also sent these cuties

Thank you, Josee’, my dear sweet friend.

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Flight School

I have barn swallows which build a nest every year high above my side patio, underneath my arched window.  And even though they can be messy, v.e.r.y. messy,  I am still glad to share my space with them.  The adults have navy blue to purple colored wings with a breast of  light orange.  So beautiful.

One of the parents.

the babies

The best part is when the little ones can fly out of the nest.

We are able to watch them through the windows and it is pretty amazing.   The parents will take each of them, one at a time, and fly with them.  The others wait patiently for their turn.

Ling Ling especially enjoys this.

Good thing she is an indoor only kitty.

This one was pecking at my cushion, trying to find a worm or bug.  Too cute, but he better not peck a hole in it!

I am sad when they are gone, but look forward to seeing them again next year.  Although,  it will be nice to get my patio back.  🙂


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Mrs. Potato Head 2

I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait for Toy Story 3 to come out this weekend. I am so excited!!! Aaannd I couldn’t wait to see if my potato slips had grown potatoes.

Well, guess what?  They did.  Granted, not bushels and bushels but I considered this an experiment of sorts.  I wanted to see if the potato sacks I used would actually work. 

If you remember, this is how they started out.

They grew and grew.

until they began to wind down.  The leaves began to die. 

But, THIS is what was underneath this sad vegetation.

and these.

I couldn’t have been more thrilled! 

 Coming soon… Mrs. Potato Head 3.  Sweet Potatoes.  Feel the excitement.

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Ina and Me.

I have never met Ina Garten, but I know we could be great friends.  We have so much in common.  She likes to cook, I like to cook.  She loves Paris, I love Paris.  (except she has an apt. there and I just WISH I did)  She loves good food,  good company and so do I.  But, the main thing we share  is our love of hydrangeas.

If you have ever watched her show or read one of her cookbooks, you will have seen her beautiful hydrangea bushes surrounding her house/property. She is always making arrangements from them.  Gorgeous.  Her’s are mainly hues of blue and white while mine are PINK.

and one sweet Annabelle.

and what could be bad about that?

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Growing a little weed.

Not That weed.  This weed.  Butterfly Weed.  Asclepias tuberosa.

You would think it would be an easy plant to grow, right?  I mean,after all it IS a weed.  But, you would be wrong.  It has taken me three years to get this large of a plant.  I read “it may take as long as two years to establish from seed”. Great,  now they tell me. 

I also found out that transplanting butterfly weed can be difficult because it has a taproot.  That must be why it’s a weed.  Ever try to pull up a dandelion?  It has a long taproot also.

The first year the Butterfly Weed erupted, there were only green leaves and then nothing.  It disappeared in the fall and winter only to reappear in the Spring.  Now we’re getting somewhere I thought.  Nope.  More green leaves but bloom.  Oh well.   Maybe it’s  in a spot with too much shade.  They do like full sun.  But this year, it really took off and FINALLY,  blooms!!!!

It is a beautiful plant and well worth the wait.  However, it is also a wonderful plant because it is a butterfly magnet.  Hence, the name.  But you had probably already figured that one out.  The plant produces an abundance of nectar which attracts the butterflies AND the plant is an excellent host for the caterpillars.

I can’t think of any other weed I would rather grow.  No, really.

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Tammy Appleseed

I LOOOOVE SPRING!  It seems as if you can just throw seeds in a pot and they just grow and blossom with very little effort.  Remember the potato pots I started..

Yukon Gold

red potatoes

Well, here they are now……

red potatoes

Yukon Gold

Isn’t that amazing!  I hope I get some potatoes out of these.  I should be able to harvest around  June or whenever the tops start to turn yellow and die down.

I also planted some lettuce seeds in a wooden box I found in the garage.

I believe my son made this in woodshop several years ago.  (Hope he doesn’t want it back.)  It is perfect, because it has handles which will allow me to move it around when the sun begins to heat up.

That was a about a week ago.  Here they are now…

I also have beans coming up – speckled butter beans, Maxibel Haricot Vert beans and pinto beans!!!

These are the pinto beans.

These are the Maxibel Hericot Vert.

These around the round trellis are speckled butter beans.

and purple hull peas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My pepper plants are starting to grow.  These are anaheim.

My pumpkin seeds have sprouted, too.

Hoping they will climb UP the trellis.  Inside the teepee I planted Tom Thumb lettuces.  They are miniature bibb lettuces about the size of a baseball.  Don’t look too hard, they haven’t sprouted yet, hehe.

Here are the rest of peppers to put out:  some are bell peppers others more anaheim and jalapeno.

Last but not least are the tomato plants.

I have Porter planted here and a basil in front (it looks lime green but it was just the way the light was shining, it’s actually fairly green).  I also have San Marzano, Arkansas Traveler and Rio Grande in quart pots I need to put out. oy.  But, would you get a load of my peonies!  This is the prettiest they have ever been.

Tammy Appleseed is now resting.

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Not Lay’s Chips

I harvested my kale this week.  This kale is called Russian Red or Ragged Jack.  I like the name Ragged Jack as the only red, to be seen, is on the stems!

I have been wanting to make kale chips.   I decided to make them with this batch using the largest leaves.  After washing them, tearing of the stems, washing again and spinning dry in my salad spinner,  I added olive oil and sea salt.

I used about 2 tsp. olive oil to 3 oz. kale leaves.  I just sprinkled the seal salt  over the top.

then tossed together to mix.  Then I baked them in a 425 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes.

They really shrink up and become well, like chips.

Not Lay’s, but definitely good.  Not to mention good for you!!!

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Just a Hoe.

OH.MY.GOSH.  have I been busy and boy are my muscles (the few I have) SORE.  I was so excited to be out in the garden this past weekend.  It was truly lovely.  But, no time to sit around and enjoy it.   This was a working weekend.

First, I finished the edging.

Which meant tearing out the old black plastic edging.  When I was pulling it out, the top pulled off from the bottom.  Nice.

I even had a supervisor for the project.

Poor thing, she wanted to go outside so badly.

After the edging, came the sacks and sacks of compost/topsoil/bedding material to put in all the beds.  I turned it in with a pitchfork and a hoe, then raked it smooth.

I went back to the nursery several times for more compost to mix into the soil.  But it was worth it…..

Doesn’t that look much better?  I planted pinto beans, haricot vert, and speckled limas here.

In this bed, I planted my purple hull peas. Yum!

I have to say it is beginning to look much, much  better.  With the island finished and this edging that I have been working on F.O.R.E.V.E.R.  I can move on to other projects.  Like…

planting flowers and more veggies!

Oh, and by the way, Spring is definitely here.  This is how we know in Texas.

Yep, when the bluebonnets are blooming.

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