Wednesday, September 30, 2009


last night while perusing etsy, i found the great shop horticopia, seller of serious succulents and such! not only do they have this amazing spiral aloe, they have a great selection of hens and chicks.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

destroying angel

this killer amanita mushroom was about 8" across with tendrils...rather stunning, literally: what's it's agenda?

Monday, September 28, 2009

a stormy weekend

torrential downpours were followed by wind, leaving this result at the end of the day.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

how to make basil oil

i grew a ton of basil this year: one of my few successful crops! but days are getting shorter and i have to harvest now before it fades away. what to do with all this deliciousness? basil oil! here's how: clean the leaves and blanche them for 30 seconds in boiling water: immediately submerge the leaves in ice water. dry the leaves and puree in a blender with extra virgin olive oil: for every 2 cups of tightly packed basil leaves, use one cup of the oil. store in the fridge for up to a month, or in a cool dark place for about a week. delicious and useful!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

the fennel is back!

after my baby black swallowtail butterflies stripped every bit of green from my fennel, i thought it was a goner for sure, but just as miraculously as metamorphosis, it has come back: yes!

Friday, September 25, 2009

breaking news:gnome village destroyed!

well, the gnome village lasted two weeks before the haters destroyed it...i am so sorry people are so angry! here is a note from the creator left on the tree.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

pretty in pink

one of the few insects still around here this first day of autumn are the katydids: i just put the second one back outside! i might let them stay if they were pink like this one from new york! other insects also come in various hues of the shade, including a grasshopper found in Seaton Marshes Local Nature Reserve recently. pretty!

Monday, September 21, 2009

plant a solar tree today!

architect neville mars has the brilliant idea to build trees: this parking garage design is pure genius! the solar panels provide optimum shade for cars parked beneath them as they follow the path of the sun like heliopsis! electric cars can recharge here. more solar tree ideas are on webecoist.

Sunday, September 20, 2009


alas: my hummingbirds have left me for warmer pastures:(...i always plant nasturtiums near the deck to attract them as close to house as possible: they are so cute. and the nasturtiums are so pretty! nasturtiums (and hummers) bring back lovely memories of growing up in berkeley, where they bloom year-round. this variety is called 'alaska mix' and has wonderful variegated foilage.

kingfisher blues

i have been working outside all weekend: not in the garden, on my computer. i have revamped my herban elements etsy shop; working on the design options one; haven't started on my dawanda site; blogged about a motorcycle the mister is threatening to buy; talked about the oysters we ate; raved about an amazing artist i stumbled upon, and bragged about my working conditions. all the while, the kingfisher has been chattering about! at one point, two were dancing (?), no, probably fighting, but whatever, it was so cool. i love belted kingfishers: they dive into the water, live in holes in the ground, wear fashionable accessories...and they look like mini pterodactyls!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

had to work this weekend...

this was my office today. not bragging...just saying.

toadstool obsession

not sure why...they look so cool, like where a gnome might hang out! i guess its been very damp around here, lately...

Friday, September 18, 2009

stinging caterpillar?

what? yeah: that's right! another scary garden danger are stinging caterpillars! the variety i am familiar with are saddleback caterpillars. i saw one, a huge beast, about 4" long, five years ago: as i approached it, it flared up, as if to strike me! i haven't seen one since til i almost stepped on two this week! this photo is the best (lame iphone camera, thank you very much!) of the one i saw today.
cute, yet nasty!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

name that fire pit

if you can come up with something clever to call this cast concrete fire pit, you could win it! solus decor is getting friendly on facebook with a
"name that fire pit" contest.
become a fan and enter to win!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

butterflies galore!

i forgot to post an update on my black swallowtail butterfly babies: they hatched! after a driving rain for much of the week, only two chrysalis remained, but on labor day, they miraculously opened ! it was really cool and i feel so privileged to have witnessed something of such exquisite beauty and grace!

religious freedom or renegade gardening?

i just read an interesting story in the wall street journal about a secretive religious group in new mexico who are planning to build a temple and a green house in an upscale neighborhood in santa fe. problem is, these divine gardeners have been guided to drink a hallucinogenic tea to "amplify their concentration which facilitates their connection with god"...and the supreme court agrees. the new greenhouse would grow the two plants needed for brewing the dreamy drink: neighbors are furious!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

stonehenge replica

ok: this stonehenge replica is sort of near me and i had no idea! its called foamhenge and is a project erected on april fool's day 2004 by enchanted castle studios in natural bridge, virginia: bravo!

let's get naked!

outdoor showers rock! there is nothing more summer-y than showering outdoors...yet, summer wanes...and frankly, cold showers suck! so, here is an outdoor hose shower that holds water heated by the sun: righteous! if you don't feel the heat and want to plan for next summer, here is apartment therapy's post on a selection of great outdoor hose showers.

Monday, September 14, 2009

great spangled fritillary

i think forcing the mister to NOT mow the lawn for several weeks earlier in the season has helped produce some amazing butterflies i have never seen before... or maybe i didnt notice them: no, that is not possible! this is a lovely great spangled fritillary on my pink buddleia. i love the fact that my field guide says they feed mostly on violets.

landscaping with logs

earlier this summer i had my 85+year old red oak cut down:( . my brother-in-law took most of the logs for his wood-burning stove, but a few hunks are left:
maybe i'll do this great idea! (via dornob)

Sunday, September 13, 2009

it's concrete, in a nutshell

kornegay designs out of phoenix has some cool, modern concrete planters: i like this nutshell textured one. a few of their designs might only look good at mcmansions, but others are fairly classic in inspiration.
whatever: they wont blow away, ever!

how green are compact fluorescent lamps?

well, they are great because they replace up to nine incandescent lamps, but dont forget: they contain mercury and need to be recycled, not sent to the landfill.
read more about compact fluorescent lamps on inhabit and about recycling them on

Saturday, September 12, 2009

great crocosmia!

these gorgeous crocosmia 'elizabethan gardens' are available from sunshine farm and gardens, a great source for all kinds of plants. i have a couple different crocosmia types in my garden, including 'Lucifer', which i made this necklace out of.

bathtub or birdbath?

this carved stone tub from vaselli seems too shallow and wide for my bath, and a little deep for my song birds.
i bet my great blue herons would love it though!

Friday, September 11, 2009

how to make lavender lemonade

this recipe via design sponge is perfect for the last lazy weekends of summer...and lavender syrup is a new idea (for me) and starting point for all sorts of herbal infusions: sweet!

Pitcher (makes 4 glasses):

3/4 Cups Vodka

3/4 Cups Lillet Blanc

1/2 Cup Lavender Syrup (recipe below)

1/2 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice

1/4 Cup Chilled Soda Water for each glass

French Lavender Flower for Garnish



Mix first four ingredients with spoon, pour over ice, add chilled soda water and garnish with lavender flower (or lemon wedges if you can’t find fresh organic lavender).

Lavender Syrup:

Add equal parts sugar and water to a medium saucepan and bring to boil. Add fresh organic French lavender to taste (or 1/2 cup dried food grade lavender for every 4 cups water/4 cups sugar) and boil for one minute over medium/high heat. Remove from heat and let steep for an hour.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

international shed of the year

not only is this shed the coolest i have ever seen, it was designed and constructed by chuck witmer of silver spring, maryland: a neighbor! see more photos of this awesome winner on we♥sheds and visit other contestants backyard creations on the shedblog (of course!).

invisible homes

jeweler michael hill is to build 17 underground homes under his new zealand golf course. pools or spas allowed. i guess no plants allowed, either.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

modern inversion planter

i love the concept of those upside planters for tomatoes, peppers, herbs, et cetera: they require 80% less water; push nutrients right down into the plants; and allow for earlier plantings; but frankly, they are really a design disaster and i cant get over their looks! but here comes the sky planter: sleek, modern and right up my garden path!

gardens and crafts

i love this garden sphere...and i think i have a bowling ball some where over there in the weeds! i discovered this great diy project on instructables and found out the instructor has an etsy shop of beautiful things. go buy something from gardens and crafts,
they definately rock!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

10 deadly things

poison,deadly plants
the garden can be a scary place, so be forewarned!
1. the medicinal belladonna's roots, leaves and berries are all deadly and used to tip poisoned arrows back in the day. this plant starts its killing spree by paralyzing the nervous system of its victim...and then, you die.
2. everybody knows hemlock and oleander will kill you, but what about rhododendrons? apparently people have died from sucking the nectar from the blossoms or drinking tea made from its leaves (?); the greeks found the honey also poisonous from bees who fed on azaleas, rhododendrons, oleander or dwarf laurel.
3. amanita, also known as the "destroying angel" mushroom, has no known antidotes for destroying your liver and killing you, but a few have survived after receiving a transplant.
4. eating the berries of the lily of the valley can lead to a coma followed by heart failure, which eventually leads to -you guessed it!- death.
5. et tu, foxglove? yes: headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, delirium, slow or irregular pulse, distortion of colors and finally, death caused by ventricular fibrillation!
6. dont eat the berries of jimsonweed or tea made from its leaves if you dont want to die...or be blind as a bat.
7. all parts of the yew tree are poisonous except the translucent red berries.
8. i love monkshood! but, dont touch it: it can kill you in as fast as ten minutes after absorption through your skin.
9. rhubarb stalks make a delicious pie, but the leaves, if eaten will cause the calcium content of your blood to drop, you'll have a heart attack and then, die.
10. although my great grandma insisted on taking a spoonful daily of castor oil, two well chewed beans from the castor bean plant can put you six feet under.
read more about deadly things here.

Friday, September 4, 2009

got bees?

apparently i do! just since the sedum started flowering this past weekend did i finally see some serious bees: very great!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

gnome crossing

a few weeks ago i wrote about the guerilla gardener who placed a little gnome in a tree nook, followed by coverage of his, a village has arisen from the tears we cried for the missing mate. its a little cartoonish, but fun, nonetheless.